hot water extractor

“Hot water extraction and the reduction of allergen levels in your home”, may sound like the title of a Harry Potter fan fiction story but there’s nothing fictional about it.

Studies show hot water extraction is an excellent way to tackle the issue of allergens hiding in your soft furnishings and carpets. This won’t cure your asthma or allergies, but it will lessen their impact on your everyday life.

With fewer allergens in your home, there will be fewer reasons for your immune system to overreact. And you’ll suffer fewer asthma attacks.

This sounds good, but how does it work? Allow me to explain.

What is hot water extraction?

Hot water extraction is the fancy name for one of the most popular professional carpet cleaning methods. Since it’s recommended by most carpet manufacturers (especially for stubborn stains), hot water extraction is widely regarded as the “go-to” carpet cleaning method. It’s the cavalry you call when all else fails.

While it’s often referred to as “steam cleaning”, there’s a difference between the two carpet cleaning methods. Unlike steam cleaning (which uses actual steam) HWE uses hot water (duh). The difference is more than semantical – results are dramatically different.

Hot water extraction is great for removing stubborn stains. In fact, HWE is so effective that if you can’t remove a stain using this method, you can’t remove it at all.

The process has two stages. Stage one is pre-treatment. Carpet cleaning professionals apply specially prepared cleaning solutions to loosen any dirt or stains.

Stage two is the actual treatment. Once the solutions have had a chance to work their magic, carpet cleaning professionals treat the carpet with a large, powerful machine called “an extractor”.

The extractors cleaning professionals use are much bigger and much more powerful than the stuff that’s commercially available. Trying to clean your carpet with an extractor the size of a vacuum cleaner is like trying to stir your pot with a toothpick. But I digress.

The extraction process is pretty simple – the machine runs hot water through the carpet. When the hot water meets the cleaning solutions, it dissolves most of the dust, dirt, and unwanted particles in your carpet. Then the extractor sucks out the now dirty water, leaving your carpet clean and slightly damp.

Hot water extraction is a delicate process. If not handled properly (the machine is weak or the operator is inexperienced), it can leave your carpet too wet, or even dirty. So while it’s an effective process, I don’t recommend the DIY option.

How does hot water extraction keep allergen levels low?

Due to its very nature, HWE is great at reducing allergen levels. The hot water and the cleaning solutions work together to give you a cleaner and healthier home.

Hot water kills microorganisms. This is common sense, but before they test it, to scientists, it’s nonsense. So in 2013, Mitchel, et. al. decided to test how effective hot water extraction really is.

They took air and surface samples and analyzed them for microorganisms and allergens both before and after an HWE treatment.

Surprising absolutely no one, their results showed HWE treatment was pretty effective at obliterating bio-contaminants. Which is a fancy way of saying the treatment was effective at reducing allergens.

In the interest of full transparency, I must point out that the study was relatively small. 20 homes hardly comprise a large-scale study. Furthermore, the study doesn’t determine an effective treatment interval.

Note: In our experience, at least as far cleanliness is concerned, hot water extraction is recommended at least once every six months. Once every three months seems to be the sweet spot. 


While the study is by no means perfect, it shows what we intuitively knew (and we’ve observed in our work) – hot water extraction is very effective at reducing allergen levels in carpets and soft furnishings. What do you think? Do you want to try hot water extraction for yourself? Don’t hesitate to contact us and book your service today.

Samyx Cleaning - Branding Consultant, Author - Atanas
Author: Atanas Dzhingarov

Hi, I’m Atanas - brand consultant and writer. I’m helping Samyx Cleaning create the best cleaning company blog on the Internet. Join us on our journey and learn how to live a cleaner, healthier, happier life in the process.