What is the Best Method of Cleaning Carpets?

Allergens, dust, and grime. You name it and it’s probably gotten stuck on your carpet at one point and some of it has proven very difficult to remove completely. In the old days, you could only use carpet shampoo to clean all of the gunk off but in this day and age, there’s a whole avenue of ways to clean your carpets.

From DIYs like using baking powder or vinegar to remove stains to hiring a professional to come and steam clean your rugs, you don’t have to worry because you’ll always end up with clean carpets. The question is; which one do you choose?  


Methods for cleaning carpets

There are a lot of options when it comes to cleaning carpets, and different methods work well with different carpets and different flooring materials. Here are the top options for cleaning carpets:

Shampooing your carpet

This method is one of the oldest methods used to clean carpets. A detergent is applied directly to the carpet and then a machine is used to agitate the detergent to produce a foam-like substance that is then spread around the carpet. 

A vacuum is used to remove it. This leaves the carpet smelling better and looking clean but it doesn’t address the issue of breaking down the dirt that has accumulated in the fibers. All it does is make your carpet smell better.

Dry powder cleaning

This method comes highly recommended because it takes the shortest amount of time. After all, your carpet doesn’t get completely soaked. It involves mixing a natural and gentle cleaning product with water, detergent, and a solvent to create a powdery substance that is then sprinkled onto the surface of your carpet and then slowly absorbs and dissolves the dirt. 

After letting it sit on your carpet for the appropriate amount of time, you vacuum it off. This method addresses the dirt and grime on the surface of the carpet but doesn’t give you a deep clean.

Bonnet Cleaning

The bonnet cleaning method is widely used for commercial buildings that have vast amounts of carpet. Only the surface of the carpet is cleaned because of the sheer amount of foot traffic it receives. Self-neutralizing detergent is sprayed into the carpet and it’s then agitated with a rotary scrubber with a dry cotton bonnet pad attached which leaves the carpet looking clean and fresh.


Dry-cleaning works by spraying acid on a piece of carpet to remove oil and dirt, along with some traces of dirt leftover from cleaning the carpet. Most dry cleaners will dry clean your carpets in one of two ways: hanging and rolling. 

Hanging is the traditional method, and it works to remove any dirt and stains from your carpets. Hang your carpet in the garage or outside, and allow it to dry in the sunlight. Rolling a carpet is a quicker option that removes any dirt leftover from the cleaner. You can take your carpet to the cleaner to have it machine-cleaned, or roll it by yourself in the washer.

Foam Carpet Cleaning

This method combines the shampoo and dry powder method. Small amounts of water and cleaning powder are mixed and applied to the carpet. The foam acts like the dry powder and absorbs the dust from the fibers but is more effective since there is water incorporated, it can spread more easily. A vacuum is then used to suck all the cleaning products from the carpet. This method is ideal for tougher carpets.

Steam cleaning

Also called hot water extraction, this is the modern version of shampooing your carpet. With steam cleaning, water is heated between the temperatures of 150° and 300° Fahrenheit (66-149° Celsius) to produce steam that is mixed with a cleaning solution and applied directly to your carpet. 

Sustained contact of up to three minutes effectively removes the dust and dirt that have clung to the fibers and kills all the bacteria that have had a chance to grow over time. This method one of the most effective to make sure your carpet is clean and sanitary. This is also applicable to almost any type of carpet, whether for home or commercial use.

You can hire steam cleaners from your local supermarket but just understand they will not be as powerful or effective as the type of machine a professional carpet cleaning company has access to. So what option is best for you is a personal decision and often comes down to a cost based decision. 


There are many different carpet cleaning options available, but which one is best? All these methods achieve cleanliness to some degree but choosing which one depends upon your needs.


If you don’t have the time to wait for your carpet to dry, it’s best to use the dry powder or foam cleaning method but if you want a deeper clean that ensures the bacteria are taken care of, steam cleaning is the one for you.