How to Shampoo Carpet
Professional carpet shampooing is one of the best ways to keep commercial carpets clean and in good condition. Once the shampoo suspends and lifts grime from the carpet, it’s much easier to vacuum when it dries. Oftentimes, the appearance of the carpet continues to improve over time through subsequent vacuuming as suspended soil is continually removed.
There are a few different methods for shampooing carpet, and some professional terminologies are often confused with one another.
Here, Jon-Don experts will provide advice and detailed step-by-step instructions on how to properly and professionally clean a carpet using the right equipment, shampoo solutions, and tools for the job.
Shampooing vs. Steam Cleaning
Many homeowners and non-professionals will use terms like "carpet shampoo" and "steam cleaning" interchangeably, however, they are very different cleaning methods.
Steam cleaning usually describes the process of hot water extraction wherein very hot water and high pressure is used to clean the carpet. Some steam or hot water mist may appear to come from the cleaning tool — which is not always an actual steam cleaner. However, the presence of steam is why some may call it "steam cleaning."
Typically, a pre-spray or pre-conditioner is applied to the carpet before being thoroughly rinsed and extracted using a portable or truck-mounted extraction system.
Shampooing, on the other hand, relies on a rotary brush carpet cleaning machine to apply the shampoo and work the foam into the carpet fibers. Once dry, the cleaning residue is removed with a vacuum, which is very common in interim maintenance programs for commercial carpets. For heavily soiled carpets, shampooing could be followed up with hot water extraction for a deeper, more thorough restorative cleaning.
Why Shampooing Carpet is Important
Commercial carpeting is often subject to high foot traffic that brings in a lot of dirt, dust, and allergens. Not only does this create an eyesore that could potentially turn customers off of a business, but it can also negatively impact indoor air quality and contribute to the poor health of building occupants.
A thorough shampooing cleans a carpet of dirt and grime, maintaining its cleanliness and presentability, and extending the carpet’s life. For best results, commercial facilities should have a maintenance program for carpeted areas that includes daily, periodic, and restorative carpet cleaning procedures.
How to Properly Shampoo a Carpet
During the shampoo process, a high-foaming detergent solution is applied to the carpet nap through a shower or channel-feed nylon bristled brush. The brush rotates at a speed recommended by the equipment manufacturer that is safe for the carpet being cleaned. A pre-conditioner may or may not be used prior to shampooing.
The agitation of the brush creates a foam that suspends the dirt and soil, lifting it up and away from the carpet fiber. Depending on the detergent, either a wet vacuum will be used to extract the suspended soils and detergents, or, upon drying, suspended soils and detergents are removed through routine dry vacuuming.
Due to the aggressiveness of the brush, rotary shampooing is considered to be a restorative cleaning method. However, when a carpet needs a deep restorative cleaning, rotary shampooing followed by hot water extraction is Jon-Don’s recommended method.
Note: Brushes that are not properly lubricated with shampoo can cause textural damage to the carpet. Carefully monitor the shampoo process to ensure enough carpet cleaning solution is present.
- Before beginning, thoroughly pre-vacuum the carpet to remove as much dry soil and debris as possible.
- Dilute Matrix® Champion Rotary Shampoo at 8 oz per gallon of water into the shower feed tank on a rotary shampoo brush machine.
- Establish an area of about 4ft x 4ft to focus on. Go over the area twice in a circular motion using a carpet cleaning machine, like the Unipro Floor Machine, overlapping half of the circle. The foaming should diminish as you clean. Continue this process throughout the room, working in sections until the entire carpet has been shampooed.
- For extremely soiled carpet, follow the shampoo process with hot water extraction using a truck mount or the Prospector® PE500 Carpet Extractor with Heat. If this was a regular maintenance cleaning, the shampoo residue can be vacuumed after drying.
- If the carpet is a cut pile, groom the carpet after cleaning with a Grandi Groom Carpet Brush for improved appearance and speed drying.
- Set up Dri-Eaz Dri-Pod Floor Dryers throughout the area to speed dry the carpet.
Warning: Always test materials for colorfastness, follow label directions and never mix products unless specified in the label directions. Each situation reacts differently and results may vary.
How Often Should a Commercial Carpet Be Shampooed?
The cadence of shampooing will highly depend on where the carpet is located and how susceptible it is to getting dirty. For example, high foot traffic areas will require more frequent cleaning to keep carpet looking its best, while lower foot traffic areas can get away with being shampooed less frequently.
Here are a few general best practices for shampooing carpet:
- High foot traffic areas, such as entrances and hallways: 1–2 times a month.
- Moderate areas with standard foot traffic: once every 2 to 3 months.
- Lower-risk areas that don’t see a lot of consistent foot traffic: once every six months or so.
Even if a carpet appears clean on the surface, dirt and grime that’s worked its way deep into the fibers likely won’t be notable at a glance. Regular maintenance cleaning helps keep everything clean and in good shape all year long.
Using Homemade Carpet Cleaning Solutions
A homemade carpet cleaning solution may be used to treat a very small spot or carpet stain, however, commercial carpeting requires regular, thorough, and professional carpet shampooing to look its best and maintain its usefulness.
In a pinch, you may make a cleaning solution by combining warm, clean water, white vinegar and a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle to treat a minor stain. Spray the solution onto the affected area and blot it up with a paper towel.
Professional Products and Equipment for Shampooing Carpet
Whether it’s a maintenance cleaning or an especially soiled carpet, Jon-Don has the tools, carpet shampoo formulas, equipment, and accessories you need to keep commercial carpet looking its best.
Carpet Cleaning Equipment:
Shampoos and Rinses:
For more expert tech tips and training, check out our calendar of carpet cleaning seminars. These instructional sessions are geared towards technicians, owners, and managers of carpet cleaning companies to ensure that your clients receive the best care possible.