Chem Dry Vs. Steam Clean

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There are two ways to clean carpet and upholstery: Chem Dry and steam cleaning. Each process uses a different cleaning method, but in the end, your carpet and upholstery are usually clean. When making the decision about which method to use, there are some things to know and consider.

About Chem Dry

  • Chem Dry is a company well known for cleaning upholstery and carpets with a chemical cleaner rather than hot water. It uses microscopic carbonated bubbles to get deep into the carpet and then, with the help of carbonation, the dirt, stains and grime are extracted away. The terms "chem dry" and "dry carpet cleaning" are often synonymous with carpet and upholstery cleaning using this method.

Chem Dry Pros and Cons

  • The major benefit of using Chem Dry is that the carpet and upholstery quickly dries. Little to no liquid is left behind in your carpet, which can often lead to more dirt and grime getting trapped in. You can usually walk on carpet immediately even though the cleaned surfaces will not be completely dry in the first few hours. Some people may think the cost of chemical cleaning is expensive, but it actually costs about the same as professional steam cleaning. You cannot, however, do this process yourself at home.

About Steam Clean

  • Steam cleaning uses hot water and a chemical cleaning solution. A cleaning machine agitates and soaks the carpet to loosen the dirt and stains. The machine then immediately vacuums up the water, cleaner, dirt, stains and grime leaving you with clean carpet or upholstery.

Steam Clean Pros and Cons

  • You can hire a professional to steam clean your carpets and upholstery, or you can do it yourself with a rented or owned machine. While some people are concerned about the chemicals in the cleaning solution, you can use just hot water, especially if you are doing it yourself. Cleaning it yourself is cheap compared to professional cleaning, and buying a machine usually pays off in about two cleanings. The disadvantage of steam cleaning is that the water tends to remain in the carpet or upholstery for days. Professionals are able to extract more water than the average homeowner, however some water is still left behind. This water can then trap in more dirt and grime if it is used. There is also a chance, if it does not dry thoroughly, that the moisture could lead to possible mold and bacteria growth.

Which Cleans Best?

  • The debate is on. Some homeowners believe Chem Dry can get rid of stains that steam cleaning could not and vice versa. There are no official studies to compare both cleaning processes, but since steam cleaning can leave water and chemicals behind, if you have small children or pets, you may wish to consider Chem Dry or just use plain hot water when steam cleaning. Both cleaning methods, however, work well and should be considered as a viable and effective option.

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