Many cleaning professionals, along with many experienced carpet cleaning technicians, are unaware of how important grooming is to carpet cleaning. Grooming, sometimes called carpet raking, is typically performed right after carpets are cleaned using heated carpet extractors and similar extraction methods.
According to Carpet Care Seminars' Jeff Bishop, who has also developed many courses for theInstitute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), some of grooming's benefits include:
• Helping the carpets dry faster and more evenly
• Untangling carpet fibers and pile yarn, which not only can reduce drying times but also improves the appearance of carpet
• Assisting in distributing carpet protectors and anti-static chemical treatments more uniformly and thoroughly into carpet fibers, allowing for more effective carpet protection*
• Removing wand stroke patterns, which can stay in carpets long after drying, marring the appearance of the carpet

Carpet grooming is best performed on cut pile or plush carpets using a 12- or 18-inch carpet rake, according to Mark Baxter, an engineer with U.S. Products. It should not be used on Berber and most wool carpets.
"Grooming should be performed not only after carpet is cleaned, but on a regular basis before and after vacuuming as well," notes Baxter. "Grooming a carpet before vacuuming, for instance, helps loosen soils so they can be removed more effectively."
Baxter adds that after vacuuming, grooming can help prevent carpet "pathways" from developing. "Together, this keeps carpets healthier and looking like new."
* Carpet protectors are part of a finishing process designed to coat carpet fibers, helping to minimize soiling and prevent spills from becoming stains. Applying anti-static chemicals to carpets is also a finishing technique used to minimize or eliminate static electricity.