Hot Water Extraction (HWE) – The Cleaning Method to Tackle In-fabric Allergens!

hot water extraction cleaning for allergens

If you’re an allergy sufferer and yet a sworn carpet lover, you may wonder how best to keep your rugs and home allergen-free. And as vacuuming alone is never sufficient to eliminate all types of allergy-triggers, you need to consider now and again what are the other methods to deep clean your home.

But how to choose what the most successful carpet or upholstery cleaning technique is when it comes to keeping allergies in check?

Well, in this article, will give you a comprehensive answer by comparing several high-end professional methods along with comparing their efficacy in tackling dust mites, mould spores, pollen, pet stains and quite a few other allergy-exacerbating agents.

We will also focus on the hot water extraction cleaning method in details and discuss why it’s often a the #1 winner among in the quest of tackling allergens.

How does the hot water extraction (HWE) cleaning method work?

The hot water extraction method is ideal for deep cleaning carpets and upholstered furniture, including those made from natural materials.


The method involves spraying hot water into the fabric under very high pressure. It is the power of the stream (pressurised water), the temperature of the water and the powerful suction unit that dislodges accumulated dust, agitates and eliminates stains, and of course, remove all hard particles stuck within the fibres of upholstery or carpeting.

Also, with this method, it is not uncommon for badly stained fabrics to be pretreated with a stain-removal solution, first. And for better results, one can add a bit of toxic-free eco-friendly detergent too.

Read: Removing Stains The Green Way Without Toxic Chemicals

So, once the carpet has been treated and well-rinsed, the equipment is then used to extract the water, leaving your floor covering thoroughly clean and almost dry.

We have to note here that the HWE method is often referred to as steam cleaning and the terms have been used interchangeably. But the two cleaning techniques are not quite the same.

What are the advantages of professional HWE cleaning?

Professional hot water extraction has a number of benefits, especially for people suffering from allergies or asthma. Here’s what the HWE professionals at had to share:

  • The method can be applied by using hardly any detergents, so it is ideal for people who suffer from Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) or are simply slightly more reactive to chemicals;
  • Powerful truck-mounted hot water extraction equipment successfully neutralises dust mites – one of the most common live allergen;
  • The technique also combats pet stains arguably better than other methods, considering that the protein in pet urine and saliva is the actual allergy-trigger for people allergic to pets;
    Industry-grade HWE machines are powerful enough to extract 95% of the water, leaving no chance to mould spores to develop – another live allergen that makes life a nightmare for many susceptible folks.

Further reads:

  1. Alleviating Multiple Chemical Sensitivity in the Workplace!
  2. Chemically Sensitive and Pregnant: You Got This!
  3. 4 Facts or Fictions About Fibromyalgia!

Why DIY carpet cleaning promotes allergies?

It goes without saying that if you resort to DIY carpet or upholstery cleaning, you cannot expect the same results as a professional service would achieve. It is proven that rental steam cleaners for home use are not as powerful as industrial-strength cleaning machines. The former will most likely drench your carpet, leaving it wet sometimes for days. Their vacuum systems are just not strong enough to extract all the residual moisture.

Note: Consider that it takes less than 12 hours for mould spores to colonise the carpet backing, you will inadvertently create the conditions for severe reaction in loved ones who are allergic to mould. Although many promote the benefits of using an air purifier, such products can only tackle the effect of allergens to some extent and are not a viable solution.

Another drawback of steam cleaning system rentals is that they do not kill dust mites 100%.

The microscopic crawlies can be exterminated only in temperatures higher than 130°C. And unlike professional hot water extraction treatment or dry steam cleaning systems (also called vapour steam cleaners), rentals do not generate enough heat. The temperature drops very quickly and the water loses much of its heat upon getting into contact with the carpet surface.

Note: Dry steam cleaning units also called vapour steam cleaners are less popular but superior than HWE in terms of tackling allergies to mould and dust mites using only 5% of water but they fail to extract the leftovers once done which is ultimately their weakness. Consider the fact that ‘steam cleaning’ as a term is most of the time used by companies which actually offer HWE cleaning. Steam cleaning commercially is kind of used now for hard surfaces / disinfecting walls, floors and equipment, commercial kitchens, etc.

A helpful video to insert:

So, to sum it all up, the DIY cleaning approach should be avoided if someone in your family suffers from an allergy to mould or dust mites. And even if not the case, it just won’t do any favours to your carpet.

However, there are some easy natural cleaning tips to prevent allergies!  Or check the 9 Mind-Blowing & Cleaver House Cleaning Tricks to Make Your Home Shine.


hot water extraction cleaning for allergens


What about dry carpet cleaning and allergies?

How does the dry cleaning method work?

The dry carpet cleaning method is suitable for refreshing delicate or brightly-colored upholstery fabrics, rugs and carpets.

They use different types of detergents and equipment.

However, not all of them are strictly dry cleaning techniques as they do employ the use of liquid. Whether we’re talking about bonnet cleaning, encapsulation cleaning or dry cleaning that involves using chem powder and a machine with a counter-rotating brushing system, these methods have one thing in common:

They all use chemicals.

This makes them often unsuitable for people who suffer from an environmental illness and in need of a chemical free solution.

Dry cleaning vs. hot water extraction cleaning

As we’ve cleared above, depending on what type of carpet you’ve got, sometimes, opting for dry cleaning is just better than using any sort of technique that involves the use of water.

Also, in terms of allergies to mould, some may choose the quicker drying time of dry carpet cleaning than risk creating an environment for mould growth by wetting their carpet to get it cleaned.

Still, if your choice between the professional hot water extraction method and any type of dry carpet cleaning process is not ruled by these factors, then, it’s better to go for the HWE cleaning technique.

Here’s why:

  • It is a far superior for eliminating stains (including the allergens in pet stains) than any dry carpet cleaning method;
  • Coupled with a good vacuuming, first, hot water extraction equipment will disintegrate and subsequently extract the signs of pet dander and pollen (another common allergy-trigger).
  • Dry carpet cleaning is not a reliable method against dust mites;
  • If your carpeting has been already contaminated with mould, the high temperature used in a professional pressurised hot water extraction cleaning process will neutralise the spores far more effectively than chem powder.


Now you know why avoiding the use of chemicals or relying on (regular) steam cleaning and home rental cleaning systems of dubious quality can put allergy sufferers at risk. So, if you’re one of them, stay safe and go green and allergy-free by opting for the hot water extraction method when deep cleaning your home.

Have you ever tried HWE or do you have any tips that will help keep our homes allergen-free?

Leave your tips in the comment section below and please share this article!

About the author

Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog! I believe in living green, organically, and natural in every aspect of our lives. My mission is to help educate you on how to live green, help save our environment and to help you and your family live a happier, healthier life!

5 thoughts on “Hot Water Extraction (HWE) – The Cleaning Method to Tackle In-fabric Allergens!”

  1. Pingback: Cleaning Tips When Moving Out of an Apartment or House

  2. I thought that steam cleaning is the same thing? Means my steamer isn’t really sucking any allergens out but rather only suppresses them. I’ve lived in a lie.

    1. HI Sonya,
      There is so much misinformation out there – you really got to do your research. I was also amazed at the HWE and how much better it was than regular steam cleaning. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Have a healthy, happy & blessed day!

    1. Hi Asma,
      Glad I could teach you something new and hopefully helpful. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Have a healthy, happy & blessed day!

Would love to know your thoughts!

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