The following steps provide a basic outline your carpet cleaner should perform in order to provide you with thorough carpet cleaning.
Step 1: Vacuum
In order for your carpets to be thoroughly cleaned, the first step should be vacuuming the traffic areas. The purpose of vacuuming is to remove as much of the dry soil from the cleaning areas as possible. In order to achieve maximum dry soil removal, it is best to vacuum north-south then east-west. This way all sides of the carpet fibers are vacuumed.
Step 2: Pre-Spot
This step consists of removing any special spots or stains prior steam to carpet cleaning. Examples of spots and stains that should be pre-treated consist of, but not limited to, are urine, red, rust, coffee, etc.
Step 3: Pre-Condition
This is an important step prior to steam carpet cleaning. During this step, the carpet cleaning provider will apply a pre-conditioner (aka pre-treatment or pre-spray) in order to emulsify suspended soils. Some carpet cleaning providers skip this step and choose to only pre-spot, however, preconditioning ALL cleaning areas ensures maximum soil removal is achieved.
Step 4: Extraction & Rinse
This is where the steam cleaning begins. Steam cleaning is achieved using hot water produced by specialized electrical and/or gas powered equipment. The purpose of the steam is to flush out contaminants within your carpet including, but not limited to, the pre-spotter, pre-conditioner and soil. The cleaning provider should use a specialized rinse intended to remove residues and prohibit browning within your carpet.
Step 4: Drying
The final step for steam cleaning is the drying process. Some cleaning companies use special air movers in order to expedite the drying process. If your provider does not use an air mover, its ok. Your carpet will be just fine.