Insider Insights: Commercial Carpet Cleaning Techniques

commercial carpet cleaning machine

When it comes to commercial carpet cleaning, there are several factors to getting the job done right. Powerful, commercial-grade equipment and high-quality cleaning solutions are at the top of the list. But to make sure you’re tackling the job with the right tools, you need to know which carpet cleaning method to use.

There are five main techniques professionals use for commercial carpet cleaning, each with unique benefits and equipment requirements. So, how do you select the best technique for the job? From soil level and moisture threshold to drying time and business type, there are a handful of aspects to consider as you’re making your choice. To help you identify the best fit for the job, here are some insider insights from our pros. Let’s take a closer look at the five most common commercial carpet cleaning techniques.

Hot Water Extraction

Commonly referred to as simply “steam cleaning,” hot water extraction is a powerful cleaning process that uses a combination of hot water, high pressure and cleaning solutions. Commercial-grade extractors can be portable or truck-mounted and provide heavy-duty cleaning power by injecting the hot water and cleaning products into the fabric fiber, then lifting out the loose dirt. Hot water extraction is an extremely effective cleaning method, removing up to 90% of dirt and bacteria from carpet. However, because it is a high-moisture technique, a longer drying time is needed — especially in heavy foot traffic areas like office buildings or 24-hour businesses — after cleaning.

Absorbent Compound

Also called “dry cleaning,” this method is often ideal for areas that need a low-moisture cleaning treatment, such as glued-down carpet or high foot traffic areas. It’s also a popular choice for smaller day-to-day stains and spot cleaning, as it works by binding with dirt as it’s scrubbed or brushed into the fibers. The absorbent compound is typically distributed with a cleaning machine and can be brushed mechanically or by hand, as needed for smaller areas or more delicate materials.

Carpet Shampooing

A tried and true carpet cleaning technique, wet carpet shampooing is often used for more heavily soiled carpets. A foaming shampoo is typically applied with a rotating carpet cleaning machine, which is then scrubbed into the carpet to bring any dirt, bacteria and grime that is trapped in the fabric fibers to the surface, before being wet vacuumed up.


This low-moisture technique is a popular choice for light- to medium-soiled carpets in areas that require a fast turnaround time or shouldn’t be treated with water. With encapsulation, carpets are cleaned using a polymer-based synthetic foam that most commonly crystallizes as it dries, trapping dirt and grime in the crystals. There are also foams that dry to a white powder or a waxy film, but crystal-based products are the most common. Once the foam has dried, lifting the dirt from the carpet fibers, it is vacuumed up leaving behind very little, if any residue behind.

Bonnet Cleaning

This low-moisture technique, also called spin cleaning, is best suited for lightly soiled carpets. It works by using a bonnet machine — a commercial carpet cleaning machine equipped with an absorbent rotating pad — and a light wash of cleaning solutions to scrub and brush the surface of the carpet. Bonnet cleaning is a popular choice for touching up hotel rooms and other areas where areas need to be cleaned quickly.

Tackling a commercial carpet cleaning job can be demanding, but going in prepared with the right know-how, tools and equipment allows you to stay on top of the game. Shop our catalog to learn more about carpet cleaning machines, accessories and solutions. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, feel free to reach out to us. We’re here to keep supplying the pros from one commercial carpet cleaning job to the next.

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