Seemingly endless is the technical data on carpet cleaning methods: Hot Water Extraction method (HWE) versus Low Moisture Cleaning system (LMC). It can get quite tedious trying to digest it all.
The average consumers’ concerns about having their carpet cleaned boil down to:
- How long do I have to live in limbo before I can move my furniture back and use all of my square footage?
- How long will I have to leave my doors and windows open, letting in the hot/cold/bugs/other pests?
- How much of my water are they going to use?
- Are the stains going to come right back as soon as the cleaner leaves?
To get the technical stuff out of the way, the Low Moisture Carpet Cleaners Association (LMCCA) published a technical report on the topic of LMC systems in which it described low moisture cleaning as “methods and or procedures that allow any fibers to dry to its natural state in two hours or less.”
There are two important factors that contribute to a quality, healthy carpet cleaning experience. The first is the quality of the cleaning agent used, and the second is the amount of moisture used. In 2007, LMCCA president Mark Warner wrote an article for iCleaning Specialist Magazine where he broke this second factor down simply when he stated, “Essentially, low-moisture carpet cleaning generally describes methods that clean with water at levels below the saturation point of the fabric. When the fiber has reached its saturation point, it cannot absorb more water. All additional water becomes freestanding water, and can puddle on the backing or travel down beyond the backing onto the subflooring and even into the subflooring.”
This pooling of water and dampening of subflooring Warner spoke of often results in mold growth. The EPA has openly expressed concerns surrounding hot water extraction method carpet cleaning and mold growth. Mold is known to cause allergic reactions, nasal stuffiness, asthma and other respiratory issues. Consider it a free gift with purchase of carpets cleaned with HWE method, often known as “steam cleaning.”
With the HWE method, water is pushed into the carpet, up to 1.5 gallons per minute, and then sucked out. The rest of the job is left up to the elements—essentially, the carpet is left to air dry and the family or business must now revolve their lives around staying off the carpet, sometimes as long as a day or two. The lengths many families and businesses will go to trying to speed up the drying process—opening doors and windows, running fans—usually just results in a higher power bill and opening up their homes to unwanted guests such as spiders and mice.
With low moisture cleaning systems, the amount of water used is drastically reduced, consisting only of the water in the EPA tested cleaning agent. The drying process is then rapidly accelerated by the use of a carpet cleaning machine which uses large, highly absorbent cotton pads and 1,750 random oscillating motions per minute to extract and absorb the moisture and soil from the carpet.
An additional benefit to low moisture cleaning is that it leaves less residue so the carpet will not absorb new dirt and stains as rapidly as after HWE cleanings. Carpet cleaned with LMC will be dry, healthy, mold-free and ready for regular traffic within an hour or two.
Remember, a true “green” carpet cleaner not only uses low moisture to reduce the amount of water used in the process, but also uses an environmentally friendly, EPA tested cleaning agent.
About the Author:
Ryan Kaufman owns and operates Kaufman’s Carpet Clean, providing carpet cleaning services in Boise and surrounding areas. Kaufman’s is one of a select few carpet cleaners in the Treasure Valley to exclusively offer Low Moisture carpet cleaning as a commitment to the environment and health of the families and businesses it serves. When consumers choose Kaufman’s Carpet Clean they can expect superior service, less residue left behind and their carpet to be dry in an hour or two so their lives and homes can get back to the way they were, but cleaner.