The choice of the proper cleaning system is extremely important. Some systems leave residues which promote re-soiling and defeat the whole purpose of cleaning. Some methods actually damage the carpet fibers and shorten the life of the carpet.
There are four basic methods for cleaning carpet:
If carpet is cleaned before it becomes too unsightly, the cleaning chore will be easier and more successful. Allowing the carpet to become overly soiled may result in irreversible damage. It is a common myth that cleaning the carpet before it is absolutely necessary will cause it to get dirty faster. This goes back to the days when the shampoo methods were the most common.
Carpet in a typical household should be professionally cleaned every 12 to 18 months depending upon the number of residents, amount and type of activity, and whether the carpet is light or dark color.
Professional Cleaning versus "Do-It-Yourself" Cleaning:
The maintenance brochure published by the world's largest carpet manufacturer, Shaw Industries, recommends professional cleaning over "Do-It-Yourself" because of the potential problems that can occur from using rental equipment - such as yellowing, over-wetting, fiber tip damage, severe re-soiling, excessive use of detergents, etc.
Most rental units available do not adequately clean and may actually damage the carpet.