Benefits Of Cold Versus Hot Water Carpet Cleaning

Benefits Of Cold Versus Hot Water Carpet Cleaning


The professional carpet cleaning industry is invariably struggling with the issue of whether to clean carpets with cold or hot water.

While there are pluses and minuses supporting both methods, in the long run, it appears that hot water wins out if the goal is faster and more effective cleaning…at least according to the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus.

In a question and answer format, volunteers from the Department of Physics answered the following questions:

Question: Aren’t cold and hot water actually similar?
Answer: Although cold and warm water are pretty similar, there are some ways that temperature makes a big difference. For instance, many materials can dissolve better in hot water than in cold water. Also, while hot and cold water are made of the same type of molecules – one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms – the difference between them is the speed of the molecules “jiggling around.”

Q. Why do materials dissolve better in hot water?
A. The basic reason is that it often takes energy to pull a molecule (such as soil) away from other similar molecules. The hotter things are, the more often you get that [needed] energy. Also, chemical processes almost always happen more quickly at high temperature. Often for a molecule to go from one place to another it has to go through a state of higher energy, like going over a little bump. Again, the hotter things are the more often that happens.

Q. Are cleaning chemicals more effective in hot water?
A. Yes. Chemical processes almost always happen more quickly at high temperature.

“This tells us that there is considerable science behind the benefits of hot water carpet extraction,” say Bob Abrams, carpet care product manager for Nilfisk-Advance commercial business, makers of U.S. Products brand professional carpet extractors. “This allows carpet cleaning technicians considering this issue to make fact-based decisions.”

This is one of the great debates of the carpet cleaning industry. Scientifically, hot water has been proven to improve the effectiveness of cleaning chemicals. However, many new carpet cleaning chemicals perform very well using cold water.

Many green cleaning advocates encourage the use of cold water for two reasons:

  1. When hot water and chemicals are mixed, they can release fumes that can be potentially dangerous to the user. Cold water minimizes this.
  2. Cold-water machines generally use considerably less energy, making the machines much more sustainable, and very often these systems are more cost effective as well.

Our recommendation is to evaluate the soil load and make a determination from there whether to use a hot- or cold-water machine. For excessive soiling, hot water may prove more effective.

At Complete Carpet & Tile Care, all of our technicians are extensively trained to use cold water extraction, along with pre-agitation, and the right solutions to achieve comparable, if not better results than the traditional “steam cleaning” process.



Albert Trujillo
(702) 201-6121

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