I've been making carpets in the Greater King County beautiful for over 12 years. And in that time, I've learned that carpet cleaning is the subject of much confusion. In fact, people have so many misconceptions about carpet cleaning that I decided to offer this consumer education message so when you select a carpet cleaning company, you can make an informed intelligent decision. In this report I'll share with you the 6 most costly misconceptions about carpet cleaning.
MISCONCEPTION #1: "You should wait as long as possible before cleaning your carpets.....because once they're cleaned they'll get dirty faster" No. Dirt is an abrasive - like sand paper. Every time you step on the carpet, you grind dirt into your carpet fibers. This cuts your carpet, just as if you had used a knife, causing it to wear out faster. A dirty carpet will not last nearly as long as a clean one. And while vacuuming helps - by itself, it simply is not enough. Then, the longer you wait to have your carpet cleaned, the more permanent the traffic lanes become and the more damage you do to your carpet and the faster it wears out. Carpet that gets dirty fast usually has residue from the previous cleaning in it. This residue turns carpet into a dirt magnet. The only way to solve this is to have the residue removed by a trained carpet cleaning professional. I won't detail the process here, but it is quite simple. If carpet is properly cleaned and protected with Scotchgard it will stay cleaner and stain-free longer than with cleaning alone.
MISCONCEPTION #2: "The only reason to clean carpet is to get the dirt out" No. As you probably know, outdoor air contains pollen, fungus, bacteria, air pollution, cigarette smoke, car exhaust - and hundreds of other chemicals. When you and your family members come into your home, you carry those pollens, bacteria and chemicals in your hair and on your skin, clothing and shoes. Not surprisingly, all those chemicals pollens and bacteria end up - you guessed it - in your carpet. If you have allergies, asthma, emphysema, or other breathing problems - one major source of your problem could be the pollens, fungus, dust mites and chemicals in your carpet.
MISCONCEPTION #3: "One method of carpet cleaning is as good as another" No. You can choose from 2 primary methods: Dry cleaning or hot water extraction. First, I'll explain dry cleaning. Many people believe that dry cleaning your carpet is like dry cleaning your clothing. This is not true. All carpet cleaning methods use water in one form or another. Here are the 3 methods of dry cleaning.
When a cleaner uses the Dry Foam method, he applies shampoo to your carpet, allows it to dry, then sucks the dry shampoo into a vacuum. Can you imagine applying shampoo to your hair, allowing it to dry and then removing the shampoo from your head with a vacuum? This method can leave residue in your carpet, which is one reason dry foam is not very effective.
The Dry-Chem method is similar to dry foam. The major difference is that when Dry-Chem is used, the company sets a large cotton bonnet on your carpet. Using a machine, the bonnet spins from side to side, absorbing the dirt that's in the carpet. After the bonnet is saturated with dirt, another cotton bonnet is applied. Bonnet cleaning is like trying to use a large towel to rub the dirt out of your carpet. Like Dry Foam, Dry-Chem is not very effective.
The Dry Compound method spreads an absorbent mixture that looks like wet sawdust all over your carpeting. Then the machine brushes the mixture into the carpet, which in theory causes the dirt to absorb into the mixture. When the mixture has dried, a vacuum cleaner sucks the material out of the carpet. Because the carpet is not rinsed in any way, this method is not very effective.
The second carpet cleaning method is called Hot Water Extraction. This is a fancy way of saying that a hot water cleaning solution under high pressure is forced into the carpet and sucked out of the carpet. This method is also referred to as steam cleaning even though steam is not used. Shaw Industries, the world's largest carpet manufacturer recommends Hot-Water Extraction cleaning only. Here's the link to-Shaw's Carpet Care tips.
You can choose from two types of Hot-Water Extraction: Portable extraction, which is done with a small machine. Or Truck Mount extraction which means a large cleaning machine is mounted in a truck or van. Not surprisingly, the truck mount extraction cleans much better because it heats the water to over 200 degrees - and shoots the cleaning solution into the carpet at around 400 lbs. of pressure - which breaks up the dirt, bacteria and pollens. Then the machine uses high-powered suction to draw the dirt out of the carpet. In effect the carpet is sanitized due to the high water temperature. This is the method my company uses and carpets dry in about 2 hours. I use a PROCHEM Everest hp truckmount, the undisputed industry leader.
No question, the most effective way to clean carpeting is with a Hot-Water Extraction unit mounted in a truck. It's the most powerful cleaning machine on the market and the only machine that thoroughly cleans your carpet and rids it of dirt, harmful bacteria, fungus, chemicals, pollens and tobacco residue. Methods that use cold and even warm water remove dirt - but are not nearly as effective as the Hot-Water truck mounted method.Some people believe that hot water damages your carpet, but this isn't true. By washing and rinsing your carpet with hot water, your carpet is cleaned completely - in the same way that a person who showers and then rinses off the dirt and soap will be much cleaner than the person who takes only a sponge bath.
MISCONCEPTION #4: "Having the right equipment is all a company needs to clean your carpet properly" Not true. Many companies own hot-water cleaners - but a large number of employees don't know how to use them. These companies use similar equipment and produce very different variations in the quality of their cleaning. The company may own good equipment, but the technician may have only two weeks experience. Employee turn-over with large franchise type operations is very high. Many of my clients have told me how they used to use a large franchise cleaning company in the past and their service was good in the beginning but went downhill from there. Often those companies are sending out their best, most experienced technician to the first time customers to win them over. After that, they start sending out the technicians who were just hired. This is why it's important for you to choose a carpet cleaner carefully.
MISCONCEPTION #5: "The company that offers the lowest price is the one you should hire" Maybe...but not always. Here are 2 points to consider.
#1. The price you see offered may not be for the services you want performed. Before you select a company, decide what you want to accomplish. If you want the carpet cleaner to remove only some of the dirt, you can choose from hundreds of companies that use small shampooers and other cleaning methods. Or, you can even rent a machine at the grocery store and do the job yourself. On the other hand, if you want your carpet thoroughly cleaned - if you want to remove the harmful dirt, bacteria, pollens, chemicals and tobacco residues - then you need to hire a company that uses a hot-water cleaner mounted in a truck. So remember that the price you see offered may not be for the services you want performed.
#2. The price you see advertised may not be the price you pay. Many homeowners have learned that the low price they saw advertised was not the price they were charged. If you've ever hired a carpet cleaner, you too may have been the victim of false or misleading advertising. You probably learned the hard way that some carpet cleaners advertise a cheap price and then pressure you into paying a lot more once they get inside your home. Some may even break the law by using illegal bait and switch tactics.
This is the one sales gimmick most carpet cleaners don't want you to know about. They know that a low price quoted over the phone will get them in the door more often than not. Then once their technician/hustler arrives they tell you that the low price quoted was for a single-process cleaning. If you want a dual-process, well that's extra. And if you have any spots, pre-treating each one will be an additional cost per spot, and if you want them to clean with detergent rather than just warm water, well that's gonna cost more. Next thing you know their $79 special is $279!
The technicians with these companies are often paid a low hourly rate and told they can have a large percentage of anything else they can sell the customer once they get in the home. Then you have these burly technicians standing in the living room giving the hard sell to the homeowner, It's not good.
MISCONCEPTION #6: "Maintenance programs are really a great deal!" Beware of maintenance programs. Some companies push you to agree to a maintenance agreement where they'll clean the carpets every 3 months for a slightly reduced rate. Rarely do these agreements work out in the customers best interest. It's like extended warranties pushed by electronics retailers, if it's such a good deal for you, it would have to be a bad deal for them. If maintenance programs are such a good deal for the customer, they would have to be a bad deal for the company. But in fact, they're not, they're a great deal for them and that's why they push them.
As in all businesses and professions, the carpet cleaning industry has its share of bad apples. I take no pleasure in telling you this, but some are unethical - and, sadly, a few are dishonest. By their misleading advertising and false promises, they cast a dark shadow on our entire industry.
Then you'll find other carpet cleaners - professionals like me who work hard to earn your trust and respect. As a way of improving our profession, I've dedicated my business to educating the public. The only way you can make an intelligent decision is to have all the facts you need. If you choose me to work in your home, please don't refrain from asking me questions.
I find it equally important to inform you that I am an Owner/Operator, that means that I am personally going to be working in your home, with a real desire to do the best work possible, I want you to be a lifetime customer, not a one time customer!