The carpet is the most popular floor covering in the United Kingdom, and there are good reasons for that. With the exception of a few hot months during summer, the UK climate is generally quite cold. Carpets resolve this issue by retaining heat, and plus - they're a really good insulator.

The obvious downside to carpets, however, is their difficult maintenance. Apart from being difficult to get stains out off, they also collect the majority of dust in our homes. It's also estimated that in every square inch of carpet, there are over 200 000 bacteria. This does not account for harmful germs, dust mites or allergens such as pollen and pet dander.

As you can now imagine, leaving your carpet untreated professionally can be of big concern. That is especially true for parents, as children's main playground when they are little is the floor.

Due to the above, the importance of carpet cleaning is beyond any doubt. And if you're wondering should you rent a carpet cleaner or hire a professional, we are here to help you.

How does steam cleaning work?

Steam cleaning delicate carpet

In reality, both industrial and rental machines utilize the hot water extraction cleaning method. Water, under high pressure, is sprayed directly into the carpet. Depending on the temperature of the water, steam evaporates as an after-effect. This is why the method is also known as steam cleaning, but it's the water that does the work.

Back to the point, once the water is sprayed, it's immediately extracted with a powerful vacuum. During the extraction process, dirt, dust and allergens are also removed from the carpet. What's more, due to the high pressure with which the water is sprayed in, old stubborn stains are removed. In terms of the cleaning solutions used, they vary based on the carpet type and issues to be dealt with.

What's the difference between rental and commercial carpet cleaning machines?

  1. Rental machines are way less powerful than commercial ones. This can be fatal if your main goal is to deal with old stains and restore an old carpet. For example, the most powerful Rug Doctor machine has a power of 150 psi, compared to commercial ones with over 500.
  2. Rental machines also have a smaller water tanks, which is a big inconvenience when cleaning larger spaces.
  3. They are also not suitable for all types of carpets and rugs. Some materials require a more delicate approach with specific pressure and water amount settings.
  4. Due to their minimal suction power, drying also takes significantly longer compared to professional machines. Instead of a couple of hours, the drying process may take as long as half a day.

Although the cleaning process is the same, these four key differences are worth knowing before you rent a carpet cleaning machine.

What products do professional carpet cleaners use?

Another very important point worth going over is the cleaning products used during the deep cleaning of a carpet. If you've already rented a machine, chances are you have only one universal spot remover and one pre-spray product. When it comes to professionals, however, they arrive with a full arsenal of detergents suited for all types of carpet issues.

Most professional cleaning companies use Prochem cleaning products. Prochem is the most established provider of cleaning detergents not just in the UK, but in Europe. They're well-known for being a reliable source of high-quality products. The results achieved through their solutions some consider as magic!

Trafficlean, for example, is an amazing pre-spray product which is, of course, is used on heavy traffic areas. Apart from being able to dissolve dirt, it also eases the removal of greasy stains as well. Non-commercial pre-sprays on the other hand are usually only successful at removing recent staining.

If you have paint stains or marks on your carpet, professionals are likely going to deal with them using Solvex. This detergent has saved customers all over the UK thousands and thousands of pounds worth of carpet repairing services. Using it, stains from paint, which are even a couple of days old, are likely to be dealt with. It's even effective against oil based paint, which non professional products can't even dream of removing.

Smoke & Odour Neutraliser is another niche product does an amazing job at removing unpleasant smoke smell odours. Some of you have likely moved into flats where the previous owners were smokers. Others may have experienced an unpleasant fire accident, which resulted in the whole property smelling of smoke. These types of issues cannot be dealt with reliably with a rental machine and a generic cleaning detergent.

In conclusion

DIY carpet cleaning may only be worth it for light refreshing in-between professional carpet cleaning services. At first glance, by renting a machine you are saving money, but the reality is different. Most of us are not fully aware of how to operate a carpet cleaning machine. This can result in the carpet being left more wet than it should be or with a sticky residue.

This type of outcome can actually decrease the carpet's lifespan, resulting in you actually losing money in the long run. This is why professional companies make sure to properly train their employees prior to their first cleaning job. Apart from internal training courses, most even opt out from pristine courses, such as those of WoolSafe and Prochem.

Cleaning the carpet yourself also takes more time compared to a professional cleaning session. The only real upside is the ability to perform the cleaning at your own free time. During holidays and especially during summer, the waiting time of professional cleaning companies can be weeks. If, however, you are expecting guests over the weekend and there's no one able to book you, renting might be ideal.