In the days before mechanical carpet cleaners, a person would take a rug outside and beat it.
If there were any stains, the person would take soapy water to wash it or send it to a professional cleaner. With the advent of wall-to-wall carpeting this was no longer possible. As a result, products were developed and marketed to meet this new consumer need.
Today a wide variety of carpet cleaning products exist. They can be found as dilutable liquids, ready-to-use pump sprays, powders, and aerosols. All typically contain biodegradable surfactants, designed to wet and clean the carpet fibers, but not the carpet’s backing. Some carpet cleaners use chemicals blended with biological technologies for longer lasting cleaning action. Most cleaners also contain an anti-soiling system. This system is designed to replace the factory finishes removed during the cleaning process. Limited amounts of solvents are used in some carpet cleaners, especially spot treatments. These solvents aid in the removal of greasy soils and certain stains.
Many of today’s carpet cleaning products are designed to be used with a particular type of cleaning machine. Dilutable high-foaming cleaners are used with “shampoo” units. Dilutable low-foaming products are used with hot water extractors. Dry powders, pump sprays, and aerosol foams are used with vacuum devices. Each of these cleaning formulations has specific use characteristics which only yield optimal performance when used with the right mechanical device.