Kids, pets, your significant other, and yourself all drag dirt into the house. No matter how careful you are, eventually it's time to deep clean the carpet. There are several options for doing this, all of which use the same process.
Deep cleaners inject water and cleaning solution into the carpet. The solution loosens the dirt particles in the carpet. The water helps carry the particles into the collection canister. The machines you can use for this vary in power, but not necessarily in capability. The larger the machine, the fewer passes it takes to truly get the carpet clean. Your task is to choose which way you want to go.
Home carpet cleaners
Some vacuum manufacturers sell carpet cleaning machine. They are priced just beyond the most expensive vacuum. Almost all of these machine are not really suitable for cleaning an entire house. It would take all day, and the machine would be taxed beyond its limits. These machines should only be used for cleaning spills. Often the manual indicates this very fact.
Don't waste your money on such a machine. You will work harder because of it, and the machine will break way too soon.
The DIY way to go is a rental from one of the home stores. The machines you can rent are commercial grade. They are made to clean all day long. While not as powerful as truck mounted machines, rental carpet cleaners will clean up just about anything.
Operating the machine is simple. Fill it with water and solution. Make a first pass spraying the solution on your carpet. Wait for a while (the label of your cleaning agent should specify just how long) and vacuumed the water back up in a second pass. Use overlapping passes to make sure you get most of the water. If your carpet is still dirty, repeat the steps. I have found that some stains take as many as 4-6 passes to remove. These are the exception, however. In most cases you will be done after 1-2 cycles.
Make sure to clean entire rooms at a time. If you clean only one spot you risk creating a clean spot. One area will be noticably cleaner than the rest of the floor. To avoid this, it's best to clean everything.
When you are done the carpet should be clean, but still moist. Open a few windows in the house and wait for the carpet to dry. In most cases this should take less than 12 hours.
Carpet cleaning should be done on a warm day. Otherwise your carpets won't dry fast enough. If moisture stays in the carpet too long, you'll get mold. For this reason spring and summer are carpet cleaning season.
Rental carpet cleaners are sometimes available at grocery stores. These are fine machines and a perfectly good choice.
Hire a professional service
The professional use the same process as the rental machines do. The only difference is that their truck mounted equipment allows them to do the job a lot faster. Don't think they get the carpet any cleaner than you could on your own. Hiring one of these services is a convenience. There is no reason you can't do it yourself.
Carpet cleaning is not difficult at all. It just takes time. Pick the right machine and clear out your furniture.
(picture: Home Depot Rentals)