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Pacific Sun's 'Best of Marin' 14 Time Winner! Serving most of Marin County

Serving the following Towns & Cities: Sausalito, Mill Valley, Tiburon, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, Fairfax, San Rafael, Novato



When we write about Intensive, Conservative, Economy, and Dry Carpet Cleaning, we are referring to the approaches a company and their technicians take toward carpet cleaning.

The first major difference between Intensive, Conservative, Economy, and Dry Carpet Cleaning is determined by the technician and the business plan of their company. Is the intention to do the best job possible as in an Intensive Cleaning OR is it to do a pretty okay and good enough job as in a Conservative Cleaning? Will they do a quick job and try to get in and out of your home as fast as possible as in an Economy Cleaning OR is their method set up to do a light weight and surface cleaning as in Dry Carpet Cleaning?

Conservative and Economy cleaners do not want to run into problems. They would rather not do all that is possible to get your carpet clean for fear of the time and effort it might take to do detailed work. They sometimes charge less and can not afford to take extra time and use extra product to do the job as it might be done by an Intensive Cleaner.

The equipment and style of carpet cleaning could be the same. When doing steam cleaning, they all use hot water extraction using a high powered machine in a van. Generally, they are all fairly equal, using plenty of water pressure, plenty of vacuum power, and plenty of heat. This is very different from the dry or low moisture type of cleaning.

Intensive Cleaning entails getting the best results using more of a much stronger pre-conditioning cleaning solution to penetrate the fibers, the spots, and the stains and using more rinsing solution to extract both the detergent and the soil. This is more of an aggressive type of cleaning. This type of cleaning takes more time and more cleaning product. An intensive cleaner will work aggressively to remove or reduce difficult stains.

Conservative Cleaning entails getting okay to good results using less and a less strong pre-conditioning cleaning solution to clean the surface of the fibers and the easy spots and using less rinsing solution to extract both the detergent and the soil. The objective is to wet the carpet less and to use cleaning agents that aren’t too strong. This assures the company of fewer problems and issues that can arise and require the technician to have to return to the job. It is also true in their approach to difficult stains. It is the safe approach but not as effective as an intensive cleaning.

Economy Cleaning entails getting passable and improved results using less and a cheap pre-conditioning cleaning solution to clean the surface of the fibers and the easy spots and using less rinsing solution to extract both the detergent and the soil. This is a no frills cleaning. The business model restricts the time that it would actually take to do high quality work. They are usually in and out of homes very quickly and depending on the technician, they may or may not work on difficult stains.

Dry Cleaning entails getting improved results using low moisture pre-conditioning solution to clean the surface of the fibers and the easy spots and generally using a rotary machine with a cloth on it to wipe and absorb both the detergent and the soil. This is a surface cleaning and the opposite of an intensive cleaning even if the technician works intensively. They also work on stains.


A couple of risks in any of these cleaning methods are Browning and Returned Stains. They are generally easy to handle.

In Marin County, the majority of the carpet cleaners fall into the Conservative, Economy, and Dry Cleaning methods. Several fall into the Intensive or High Quality category. For the most part, the Intensive Cleaners are going to charge more for their services, for good reason. We, at Atlas, consider ourselves Intensive Cleaners.

One of the major items that separate us from the other intensive cleaners is our tools (for rinsing and extracting). They have incredible rinsing power. As it rinses, it also agitates. They have the ability to move real slow or even stay still without over wetting or soaking the carpet. While that is happening, the heat levels are getting increasingly high within a steam chamber. Basically these tools outperform everything else that’s out there in soil removal.

As we have always said, any kind of cleaning method (even a rental) should improve the look of your carpet, though is it the best cleaning?

Hopefully, we have helped educate you that all carpet cleaners, methods, and systems are not equal.