The term carpet extractor is well-known in professional carpet cleaning circles however as a homeowner and an individual this may mean absolutely nothing to you. A carpet extractor is most likely to conjure up images of an appliance that would tear out old and worn carpets from any room in your house. In actual fact a carpet extractor is simply a technical name for a steam cleaner. An important point to consider is that a steam cleaner doesn’t actually use any steam to clean your carpets and upholstery. It could therefore be referred to as a hot water extraction method of cleaning your carpets.
If you wish to use this cleaning method then a carpet extractor can be considered an essential component. The machine will work by spraying cleaning solution directly into the carpet and then extracting or sucking it straight out. Most carpet extractors will have 2 to 3 tanks that will hold the liquid. One specific tank is traditionally used to hold the dirty and waste water. The second tank can either hold hot water on its own, or combined with a cleaning solution. You may occasionally find that the second tank is a flexible bag that fits perfectly inside the waste water tank.
Prior to using a carpet extractor to clean your carpets in this way you must ensure that you have adequate time for the carpets to dry out fully before anyone will need to enter that room again. Many people choose to clean their carpets in this way prior to going to bed, and they can rest assured that the carpets will be perfectly dry by the morning. It is recommended that you vacuum the room extremely well prior to using a carpet extractor. Should you find that your carpets have any existing stains, you may find it more helpful to spray the stains with a pre-treatment of some sorts prior to starting the actual carpet cleaning. Many commercial stain treatments will contain specific ingredients that will enable the process of breaking down stains to begin. This, in turn, will make it far easier for your carpet extractor to completely remove the stains.
You will find that there are numerous commercial cleaning products that are specifically designed to be used in carpet extractors and they all work very, very well. Many people prefer to use chemical free cleaners, as they may have small children or pets who are often found crawling on the carpets. If this is the case, you can actually use plain white vinegar with your carpet extractor. If you are not already aware, vinegar is completely safe and has antibacterial and antiseptic properties that will ensure that your carpets cleaned very effectively.
You can, of course, also use a carpet extractor with hot water alone. Hot water will still dissolve the embedded dirt which will then be sucked straight into the carpet extractor. The majority of carpet extractors require you to press a trigger which will then release the hot water and cleaning solution directly onto the carpet. As soon as you release a trigger, the machine will then extract the water which will immediately become dirty. It is recommended that you use one pass to release the cleaner and then 2 to 3 passes to ensure that the water is effectively suctioned up and will therefore provide a great clean.
You must ensure that you do not excessively wet your carpets as even the most powerful carpet extractors may have trouble removing every single trace of liquid from an overly saturated area of carpet. Unfortunately, should you leave too much liquid in the carpet it may not be able to dry quickly enough and will eventually begin to develop mould or mildew. Once you managed to clean your entire carpet you can also use fans or open the windows to help it dry out. Never replace any furniture or walk on the carpet until the drying out process is complete. On average this should take approximately 6 to 10 hours after the cleaning has been completed.
It is also important to remember that you should empty the waste water tank of the carpet extractor immediately after cleaning. Many people make the mistake of cleaning their carpets and leaving the dirty water to sit in their carpet extractor for a number of days and, unfortunately, this will then begin to release a very unpleasant smell. Carpet extractors come in a wide range of sizes and models. You can purchase a portable extractor for well under $100, whereas a large capacity commercial carpet extractor will cost in excess of $1000.