The appearance of the carpet in a home are one of the first things noticed. If you are selling your home, having your carpets professionally cleaned is an easy, cost effective way to give your house a facelift before showing prospective buyers.  Stains and worn traffic areas can disappoint potential buyers and the thought of having to replace the carpet can cause them to walk away.A quality carpet cleaning by a professional can do wonders by removing stains as well as lifting the nap of the carpet to reduce the traffic wear and giving it a fresh look.

There are many different options you have when looking for a professional to clean your carpets, below are some of the methods available. Contact a professional in your area you are not certain which method is best for your style of carpet.

Hot Water Extraction or "Steam" Cleaning
This is the most common method where a cleaning solution is sprayed on the carpet and immediately extracted (along with the dissolved soil) by a wet vacuum. Extraction equipment can be portable or truck-mounted, the latter being more powerful in terms of spray pressure, heating capabilities and power of the vacuum pumps. Hot water extraction is often referred to as "steam" cleaning and is considered by many carpet manufacturers as the most thorough method. Drying time is generally between 4 to 6 hours.

In this process a shampoo is applied to the carpet and then agitated with a brush mounted on a floor machine. The solution absorbs soil and crystallizes as it dries. Soil and shampoo are then removed through vacuuming at a later time. This method is also referred to as encapsulation. Drying time is generally between 1 to 2 hours.

 Bonnet Cleaning
This method is similar to the shampooing process in which a pre-spray is applied to the carpet and then is absorbed with cotton or synthetic bonnet pads attached to a floor machine. This removes the soil as it is absorbed on the shag pad.  When one side of the pad becomes soiled, the pad is reversed until both sides are soiled, at which time it is replaced. Drying time is generally between 1 to 2 hours.

Foam Cleaning
This system uses detergent in the form of a foam.  A machine generates a foam, which is agitated on the carpet by brushes. The foam is then removed, with trapped soil, by an extraction-vacuum pickup.

Dry Cleaning
In this process the cleaning agent, an absorbent dry compound (containing solvents and detergents) is sprinkled on the carpet and worked into the pile by a machine. It is vacuumed off after about half an hour, removing the soil suspended by the compound. Drying time is usually less than 1 hour.