Bringing the Heat: Understanding Hot Water Extraction

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When it comes to getting a deeper clean, you need a method that will bring the heat. Hot water extraction is a popular choice for cleaning and restoration professionals on a wide range of job sites, from commercial to residential. Let’s take a closer look at the process, including its pros and cons, and the essential tools of the trade.

What is Hot Water Extraction?

Hot water extraction is a professional carpet cleaning method that combines hot, high-pressured water with cleaning solutions to remove embedded dirt, soil and odors. It’s often used for cleaning heavily soiled commercial and residential carpets, and is a popular alternative to shampooing and encapsulation — also called dry cleaning — as it doesn’t leave behind residue. When performed correctly, it is a powerful process that can help extend the life of a carpet.

Is it the Same Thing as Steam Cleaning?

In a word, no. While the process of hot water extraction does emit steam, which can lead to confusion between the two processes, they are two distinct methods. Steam cleaning uses hot water to remove trapped dirt from carpet fibers, while hot water extraction combines cleaning products with the power of hot water to remove dirt, stains and unwanted odors.

Benefits of Hot Water Extraction

A highly effective method of carpet cleaning in both residential and commercial environments, hot water extraction offers a wide range of benefits.

  • Deep Clean: A combination of hot water and professional-grade detergents are pumped into the carpet to help release any embedded dirt and trapped odors, so that high-powered carpet cleaning machines can extract the water — taking the dirt with it. This process allows cleaning crews to remove not only the top layer of dirt, but also clean the deepest fibers of the carpet.
  • No Residue: Unlike other forms of carpet cleaning, which can leave traces of the product behind on the carpet surface, hot water extraction leaves the freshly cleaned carpet free of any surface residue.
  • Professional Equipment and Expertise: From high-powered equipment to a strategic plan of action, professional cleaning crews are equipped with the expertise, experience and equipment to effectively tackle the job.

Challenges of Hot Water Extraction

However, there are some challenges to using hot water extraction, making it essential to rely on trained and licensed professionals to complete the cleaning process effectively.

  • Amount of Water Required: This method of carpet cleaning requires a lot of water. Hot water extraction typically requires multiple passes over soiled carpets in order to get the complete deep clean, each of which require a large amount of water.
  • Drying Times: Because of the volume of water used, it also requires a longer drying time than some other cleaning methods. This can make it challenging to use this method for any high-traffic areas, such as 24-hour businesses or office buildings.
  • Potential Damage: There is also a risk of damaging the carpet through over saturation or high-pressured water. This is why it’s extremely important to turn to skilled cleaning and restoration technicians to professionally clean commercial and residential carpets. They can bring the level of expertise and care to maintain your carpet.

Tools of the Trade

  • Carpet Cleaning Machines: From extractors to spot cleaners, carpet cleaning machines and often portable, high-powered pieces of equipment designed for tackling large-scale jobs.
  • Truckmounts: As their name suggests, these heavy-duty pieces of equipment are not portable but are installed in cleaning trucks to provide additional power.
  • Cleaning Solutions: Detergents and other cleaning chemicals are available in a wide range of options, designed for treating specific types of stains, soils, carpet type and fabrics.

Hot water extraction is a powerful cleaning method for a wide variety of carpets. It’s ideal when targeting environments that can allow time for adequate drying overnight or between uses, that have deep-seated dirt and unwanted odors, or are in need of restoration. At Atex, we take pride in supplying the pros with the tools they need to deliver the best service. If your crew has questions or needs to restock your supplies, check out our online catalog or reach out to us. We’re here to help.


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