Pro Carpet Cleaners please answer

Can you steam clean a normal carpet or car interior if the weather is damp or muggy outside? Will the carpet dry anyway? Does it make any difference in drying if you use a rental or professional carpet cleaner?

Yes, it will take longer for the carpet to dry in muggy weather. You can help it by putting a fan in the car. The main thing is to make a few extra passes with suction only (no spray,) to draw as much wetness out as you can. Don’t get it too wet, or it will get moldy.

The difference between a rental machine and a pro’s machine is the size of the tanks and the strength of the vacuum motor. A stronger vac will leave the carpet drier.

I used to work as a carpet cleaner.

AskNott pretty much covered part 1. Commercially I used hot air fans for muggy days.
A rental machine is just plain dangerous. They lack the vacuum power to remove water form the carpet backing. The water stays behind and dissolves the substances in the backing. This isn’t a problem the first time it is tried but at some future time this liberated material will be lifted through the fibres and stain the carpet, a process technically known as browning.

Rental machines are the bane of professional operators. I lost count of how many carpets I have seen browned by these things. This becomes particularly noticeable when an industrial machine is used because the vacuum is powerful enough to draw the water out of the backing, as it should do. However that also means it draws the browning out of the backing as well. A carpet that was effectively ruined years earlier by a rental machine will show the damage as soon as a commercial machine is run over it. Of course it would have eventually shown after several runs with a rental. It’s quote plain where this browning is due to rental machines because it leaves a distinct pattern in the shape of the runs made with the machine, which are often at right angles to the runs the commercial operator has made.

Rental machines will clean your carpets, although they are painfully slow. But they will also commonly destroy your carpets without you realising. This is particularly true of noticeably soiled carpets, where repeated runs are needed to clean, but repeated runs leave ever more water in the backing.

Like the rental form says, use at your own risk.

Do the warnings about the rental machines apply to a machine that I could buy for mylsef? I was thinking of picking up a steam cleaner for the house, but now you’ve got me worried that I could ruin my carpet.

Are you only asking about car interiors or residence too? The OP isn’t clear to me, sorry.

In homes, turn on the A/C or heater to help dry out the carpet.

I had a hot water extraction unit in the 80s when I did apartment make ready in Houston (very humid place). I could do the carpets the afternoon before the move in, turn on the A/C and the carpets would be dry by the morning.

Oh yeah, my machine was by Castex. Very heavy duty portable (though largish) professional machine. I’ve never used the rentals or Green Machines so no opinion on those.

My Castex could suck furniture from next door. Pretty powerful suction, I’ll tell you whut.

So, what kind of carpet cleaner would you call a ‘professional’ unit, ie one that can clean carpets for a carpet cleaning business; and how much does it cost?

Strangelove I’m not sure what sort of machines you can buy for yourself. I suspect you are talking about the glorified wet&dry vacuum cleaners sold by Vax, Hoover etc. as steam cleaners. Eg:

In general these are worse for browning than the rental machines because they have less powerful pumps. They are really just running on commercial vacuum cleaner motors. They also don’t do as good a job at cleaning because they provide less water at lower temps than rental machines. Having said that they are good machines for what they are intended for: emergencies and accidents. In many cases it is much preferable to do a bad job fast and risk browning than do a professional job after the stain has set. I just wouldn’t use one on my own carpets for general cleaning is all I’m saying, especially not if the carpet is dirty.

Chuckster industrial carpet cleaners start around $1000 for a cheap, single motor model with a 5 gallon tank that needs to be manually emptied. Of course you’d be mad to try to do real commercial jobs with a machine like that. Practically they start at around $2000 and then work their way up rapidly as more motors are added and auto emptying features are added. Truck mounted models run $10, 000+. Quite a difference from home models.