Carpet can take a lot of wear and tear, and getting it truly clean can be a time-intensive process that takes numerous steps. Pretreating the carpet before steam cleaning will help remove all the dirt and grime that has been ground in by foot traffic, and can also help kill bacteria and other unhealthy contaminants.
Importance of Pretreating
Pretreating carpet before steam cleaning it will not only make the final steps of cleaning go faster, but the final outcome will look much better. Some tough stains will be next to impossible to remove with a steam cleaner and solution alone. Food stains, blood, wine and grease-based stains are among the worst, and pretreating with a spot solution will help loosen these difficult stains. Don't just pretreat the stains, though. The entire carpet, no matter how clean it might look, can benefit from pretreatment. This will loosen ground-in, invisible dirt and grime that can become locked into the carpet fibers and might remain if only steam cleaners are used. Pretreating carpets will also help loosen microscopic particles that cause odors and discoloration.
Vacuuming and Solutions
One of the most important steps in pretreating carpets for deep cleaning is a thorough vacuuming. This will remove any loose dirt, dust, hair and fur that would otherwise get stuck inside the steam cleaner and interfere with the process and lessen the number of smaller particles that the steam cleaner removes. For carpets that haven't been deep cleaned in a while, it may be necessary to vacuum several times to remove as much loose dirt as possible. Pretreatment solutions should also be used. Most of these solutions come in concentrated or ready-to-apply forms that spray on. Applying these solutions to high-traffic areas is a must, but all areas of the carpet can benefit.
Establishing Product Safety
Read labels carefully before purchasing and applying pretreatment solutions. Not all are designed for every type of rug, and knowing what kind of fibers are in the carpet can help prevent damage, staining or discoloration. Carpets can be made from a variety of materials from wool to synthetic fibers, and not all of these materials should be treated the same. After matching a pretreatment solution to your particular type of carpet, try to the solution on an area of the rug that will be covered to make sure it's safe to use.
When Hiring Professionals
If you are hiring a professional carpet cleaning company to take care of deep cleaning carpets, be sure that pretreatment is part of the service. Because it is such an integral part of doing a thorough job, most reputable cleaning companies will include this step in the full, quoted price. Companies that charge extra for a step that they may consider to be optional should be looked upon with some degree of suspicion.
Debra Durkee has been writing professionally since 2005. She has been both a columnist and reporter, with her work appearing in print publications from the Metro Group, Inc in New York to the "Casa Grande Dispatch" in Arizona. Now a freelance writer, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from West Virginia University.