Chem-Dry Vs. Steam CleaningThere are a lot of carpet cleaners in San Francisco, and the most common type of carpet cleaning is probably steam cleaning. Many people are most familiar with steam cleaning for carpet cleaning. However, North American Chem-Dry isn’t a steam cleaner.  Are you wondering what the difference between North American Chem-Dry and steam cleaners are? We’re here to lay it all out for you.

The Equipment

The cleaning process starts with the equipment you use. While just good equipment doesn’t guarantee a good carpet cleaning experience, bad equipment will certainly mean a bad carpet cleaning. You want only the most advanced carpet cleaning equipment used on your carpets. 

Traditional steam cleaning equipment is designed to pump high volumes of soapy water into your carpets at extremely high pressures. This high-pressure equipment can be rough on your carpet and ends up driving some of the dirt even deeper into the carpet and backing. Steam cleaners then follow up with extraction equipment that is supposed to suck all of the water back out of your carpets, but often the equipment is not powerful enough to accomplish that. This leaves your carpets soaking wet, meaning it will take days to dry completely. 

Chem-Dry is proud to use the most advanced carpet cleaning equipment in the industry. Instead of using high pressured water, we use hot carbonated bubbles in an advanced process called Hot Carbonated Extraction (HCE). Our HCE equipment uses low pressure, so it’s easier on your carpet. Extraction is even in the name because we emphasize extracting the moisture and soil out of your carpet with our powerful but gentle extraction equipment. Our equipment is CRI (Carpet and Rug Institute) approved, meaning the carpet experts recommend it for carpet cleaning. 

The Products

The cleaning solutions used when cleaning a carpet can make a huge difference, not only on how clean the carpet is after a cleaning, but how long it stays clean.

Most steam cleaners use detergents that leave behind a sticky soap residue. This residue attracts dirt, which means that your carpets will be dirty again shortly after cleaning. The harsh chemicals in the cleaning solution can cause additional wear on your carpets. Plus, the cleaning chemicals some steam cleaners use can be harmful to pets and children, as well as the environment.

Chem-Dry’s proprietary cleaner, The Natural®, is made without harsh soaps or detergents, so there is no dirt-attracting soap residue left behind. This means your carpets will stay cleaner for longer. The Natural® is green-certified and made from ingredients copied straight from nature, so it won’t damage carpets. It’s also non-toxic, so it’s safe for kids and pets.

The Process

Chem-Dry uses a very different process than steam cleaners. As mentioned, we use our Hot Carbonated Extraction process, the most advanced carpet cleaning process in the industry. The process used makes a huge difference in the results. 

Typical steam cleaners use a process that relies on soap and water. They push a large amount of water and soap into your carpet and then attempt to extract it all. This process attempts to loosen up all of the dirt, but the water is being sprayed at a high pressure, often pushing the dirt deeper into your carpets. You can’t see this deep dirt right after a cleaning, but as the carpets dry, that dirt is wicked back up to the surface.

Chem-Dry’s Proprietary HCE process uses the power of carbonated bubbles. These bubbles are sprayed deep into your carpets, where they attach to dirt and stains and raise them to the surface. This way, we’re cleaning your carpets from the bottom up instead of pushing dirt deeper into your carpets. We also use one-fifth of the water of traditional steam cleaning, which allows your carpet to dry in a couple of hours, rather than a couple of days–all without wicking issues. 


There you have it. Chem-Dry and steam cleaning are actually very different methods of carpet cleaning. North American Chem-Dry is always striving to offer you the best carpet cleaning in San Francisco!