Let's face it. Carpet gets dirty and in some cases it can get really dirty. Cleaning it can be a chore. That is the reason many people prefer to call someone to do it for them. Also the equipment used by cleaning companies is far superior to anything that we can purchase or rent.
Some people believe that one method of cleaning a dirty carpet is better than others. Steam cleaning is touted as being the best. However steam cleaning is a misnomer. The correct word would be hot water extraction. The machine uses hot water to clean and rinse the carpet. This method gets embedded dirt out and is also useful for preserving the life of your carpet.
Another method that people refer to is dry cleaning. This is done by baking powder into your carpet with the beater bar of a vacuum. The powder can not be removed unless you are able to beat the back of your carpet which is impossible. Therefore it remains in the carpet. Dry cleaning methods are not able to clean and rinse the carpet. They can not get rid of excess water and it will remain in your carpet. It could soak through the carpet backing and this backing should never be wet.
Most professionals will tell you that stains do not come back. Once a stain has been properly removed it is gone. What in effect looks like a stain that has come back is residual left by a cleaner. Since wet spots and residue will attract the most dirt, as soon as any dirt enters the area it is attracted to this spot.
Major carpet manufacturers recommend steam cleaning (hot water extraction) for their carpets. New cleaning processes are being advertised such as Dry Steam. This type of cleaning is supposedly to be dry by the time the process is finished. They say they actually use more water than the hot water extraction method and yet leave no residue or water behind.
The choices for cleaning your carpet are many so the method you use most likely will be determined upon by using both and deciding which one you prefer. Many companies offer specials on 2 or more rooms to be cleaned. The best way to choose the way you want your carpets to be cleaned is to try one, wait until the next time your carpets need cleaning and try the other.
Look for soap residue and check to see how long your carpets take to dry. If your carpet is a high traffic area and prone to being stained, see if stains are completely removed. Most people especially those with children have their carpet cleaned more frequently. Talk to your family members and see which one they prefer. Word of mouth is a great advertiser. The key to the best method for you is the one you think does the best job.