Carpet Cleaning: Bonnet versus Extraction Methods
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Carpet Cleaning: Bonnet versus Extraction Methods

November 5th, 2013   •   No Comments   

There are a wide variety of ways to keep your commercial carpeting looking clean and fresh; however, two methods tend to be the “go-to” for most maintenance staff. Bonnet carpet cleaning involves using a rotary floor machine to clean the floor using a pad soaked in cleaning solution. Extraction methods consist of using hot water and pressure to eject dirt from carpeting and then vacuuming up the dirt along with the dirty water. Both methods will get the job done, but each has their own benefits and drawbacks. What are the differences between carpet cleaning: bonnet versus extraction methods?

Bonnet Carpet Cleaning

Bonnet cleaning has been the standard in carpet cleaning for many years. Bonnet cleaning often gets a bad rap for not cleaning carpets deeply, as well as many carpet manufacturers not recommending it for its propensity to strip carpet fibers. However, bonnet cleaning does have its place in the world of commercial floor care.

Bonnet cleaning consists of using a cotton “bonnet” attached to a rotary floor machine (side by side or low-speed buffer) to “dig up” the dirt in the carpet fibers, as well as using a cleaner that contains bleach brighteners to polish the carpet fibers which makes the carpet appear cleaner. However, bonnet cleaning does not do so well to get really ground in dirt out of heavy-traffic areas of carpeting. Often, carpets that have been bonnet cleaned and are then subsequently cleaned using a deep extraction method end up with spots where the bonnet has ground in dirt into the padding.

If the carpet to be cleaned is in a lightly trafficked area, bonnet cleaning is a great, easy and inexpensive method to keep it clean. It is easy to bonnet clean carpeting regularly, with some companies bonnet cleaning sections of carpet on a weekly basis. However, for light traffic areas, once a month bonnet cleaning – along with daily vacuuming – will often suffice to keep carpets looking clean and new.

Extraction Carpet Cleaning

Extraction cleaning, also known as hot water or deep extraction cleaning, is the preferred method of carpet cleaning in a lot of commercial buildings. Extraction cleaning relies on hot water being forcibly expelled onto dirty carpeting, with the hose then suctioning up the hot water and the expelled dirt, leaving carpets cleaner and brighter. The hot water allows the carpets to receive a level of disinfection too, yet another selling point for extraction cleaning.

The main drawback to extraction cleaning is the price. The equipment is more costly to purchase as well as to maintain, and it requires more skilled labor to operate than bonnet cleaning. It can also reduce the life of the carpet, as the injection of hot water can cause the carpet to begin separating from the carpet padding. Also, the water may not always get completely extracted which can cause mildewing in the padding, adding a bad odor to the environment.

A Dual Approach

A mix of both bonnet and extraction cleaning is the preferred method of many in commercial floor care. Bonnet cleaning allows the carpet to be cleaned often, with little output in terms of money and time. Extraction cleaning can then supplement bonnet cleaning a few times per year, giving the floor a deep clean that bonnet cleaning cannot quite accomplish. The best methods of floor maintenance are usually a combination approach such as this, and will keep the carpeting functional and attractive for years to come.

Deciding on which method to use can be complicated. It might be easier to ask a professional to visit your facilities and give you a free estimate.   If you are in Austin or within a 30-mile radius, you can call Austin Professional Cleaning Services ( for free estimates and advice.

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