Brief History of Carpet Cleaning

Carpets made walking barefoot in our homes a reality.  Carpet is also responsible for laying in front of the fire or the T.V.  And as I can speak from experience here in Minnesota, carpet also lowers heating costs in the winter.  The one thing people realized early on was it gets dirty and it’s not as easy to clean as hard floors.  So how did they get them clean?

The first cleaning method was “have the slaves or maids clean them”.  I would say lol but there is nothing funny about slavery or indentured servitude.  The reality was that carpet cleaning was only affordable to the wealthy.  Carpet was primarily loose rugs that could be removed from a room and beaten to remove the dust and dirt.  Sometimes a stiff bristled brush was used to sort of sweep the dirt and sand from the rug.  In 1827 a publication teaching servants housekeeping said to use a lemon to remove ink stains.

The 1880’s took a bit of the load off of the servants by the invention of carpet sweepers.  By 1900 the horse drawn door to door carpet care business was in swing.  Early models were so large they were on a carriage drawn by a horse and parked at the curb of the building getting cleaned.  Sounds familiar to me as a professional carpet cleaner.  Soon in the 1920’s the wealthy were given the opportunity to own their own personal carpet cleaners.  These were expensive and John Q. Public couldn’t afford it for decades after that.

In 1947, I am very glad to say, hot water extraction was invented.  Though consistently improved over the last half a decade or so, hot water extraction has continued to be the leading method.  It is hard to believe that a $2,000 portable unit and a $70,000 direct drive truck mount fall under the same classification, but they do.  From rug doctors wielded by homeowners to Hydramasters wielded by professionals the hot water extraction industry continues in full swing to this day. There have been other attempts to improve on the carpet cleaning industry such as dry cleaning, foam cleaning, rotary cleaning, etc.  Each of these methods spiked interest when they first came out.  Each declined as fast as they rose as people were disappointed in the results they received.  Even with the bad publicity of cheaper portable machines, the positive results of high end hot water extraction truck mounts has maintained the lions share of the carpet cleaning industry with no signs of slowing down.  In some ways the carpet cleaning industry is still a door to door industry.  Though now it is a multimillion dollar door to door industry.

2 replies
  1. David
    David says:

    I appreciate you posting the history of steam carpet cleaning I was trying to find information on the topic. I am curious who invented it still. So far I have not found that info.

    Really like your site. I am in the same business down in Kansas.

    Reply
  2. David
    David says:

    I appreciate you posting the history of steam carpet cleaning I was trying to find information on the topic. I am curious who invented it still. So far I have not found that info.

    Really like your site. I am in the same business down in Kansas.

    Reply

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