Consumers Guide To Carpet Cleaning
Hi! This is Maurice Rae. I am the owner of Magic Carpet, full member of the National Carpet Cleaners Association, and Certified by Woolsafe. I’ve been in the carpet business for over 30 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, then you can make an informed intelligent decision. In just a moment, I’ll share with you six costly misconceptions about carpet cleaning. Plus I’ll offer you four recommendations. And I’ll give you six questions you should ask a carpet cleaner before you invite him into your home.
Misconception #1 You should wait as long as possible before cleaning your carpet.
No. Dirt is an abrasive - like sandpaper. Every time you step on your carpet, you grind dirt into your carpet fibers. This cuts your carpet, just as if you used a knife, causing it to wear out faster. A dirty carpet will not last nearly as long as a clean carpet. And while vacuuming helps by itself, it's simply not enough. Then longer you wait to have your carpet cleaned; the more damage you do to your carpet and the faster it wears out.
Misconception #2 The only reason to clean carpets is to get out the dirt.
No, as you probably know, outdoor air contains pollens, 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 wind 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 and chemicals in your carpet.
In addition, as you may know, tobacco smoke contains over 4000 different chemical compounds, 43 of which cause cancer. And even if you don’t smoke those chemicals get on your shoes, you track them in to your home and you leave them in your carpet.
If you’re sensitive to cigarette smoke, you might find that you’ll breathe easier after you hire a company to get those harmful chemicals out of your carpet.
Misconception #3 One method of carpet cleaning is as good as another.
No. You can choose from three primary methods: Dry cleaning, Dry Fusion and 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 three methods of dry cleaning your carpets.
Dry foam shampoo When a carpet cleaner uses dry foam, he applies shampoo to your carpet, allows it to dry and then extracts the dried 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 a residue in your carpet, which is one reason dry foam is considered to be a maintenance system.
The dry-chemical method is similar to dry foam. The major difference is that when dry-chemical 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. Like the dry foam method this system is considered by many within the industry to be only a maintenance process..
The dry compound method spreads an absorbent mixture over your carpeting. Then the machine brushes the mixture into the carpet, which in theory causes dirt to absorb into the mixture. When the mixture has dried it is vacuumed out of the carpet. This method is also considered to be a maintenance process.
Dry Fusion Deep Heat Cleaning - New technology from Australia – this system also uses a bonnet system. However, that’s where the similarities end. Dry Fusion takes the best features of hot water extraction (hot water) then makes it continuously hot – it then takes the best features of dry cleaning (low moisture & mechanical agitation) and then combines them together. It deep cleans, deodorizes, protects and dries the carpet in the same process (your carpets will be dry within 30 minutes of completing the cleaning assignment). This is one of the systems my company uses.
The third 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 then extracted out of the carpet. This method is also referred to as steam cleaning even though steam is not used.
Some people believe that hot water damages your carpet, but this isn’t true. By washing and then rinsing your carpet with hot water, we clean your carpet completely in the same way that the person who showers and then rinses off the dirt and soap will be much cleaner than the person who takes only a sponge bath. This is also one of the systems my company uses.
Misconception #4 Having the right equipment is all a company needs to clean your carpets properly.
Not true. Many companies own professional equipment - but a large number of employees don’t know how to use them. You probably know someone who bought the newest computer on the market but didn’t learn how to use it for a year or more. The same is true with carpet cleaning machines. The company may own good equipment, but the employees may not know how to use it correctly. This is why it’s important that you choose your carpet cleaner carefully.
The best carpet cleaning companies are those that have been certified by the National Carpet Cleaners Association, known as the N.C.C.A. The Woolsafe Organisation or I.I.C.R.C.
The carpet cleaner must earn the certification through study and the successful completion of formal written examinations.
Misconception #5 The company that offers the lowest price is the company you should hire.
Maybe but not always.
Here are two important points to consider.
Point #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 shampoo’s or other cleaning methods. Or, you can even rent a machine 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 the correct equipment for your particular carpet and trained to national standards. This is the only way to assure that your carpet remains healthy and free from dirt, disease-causing bacteria and hurtful chemicals.
So remember that the price you see offered may not be for the services you want performed.
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 amount they were charged.
And 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 offer a cheap price usually between £10.00 and £15.00 per room and then pressure you into paying a lot more once they get inside your home. Some of them may even be breaking the law by using illegal bait and switch tactics.
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. This is why I’ve provided this guide.
Any honest carpet cleaning company should be able to give you an exact price quote over the telephone.
I wish this were true, but it isn’t. Any honest, reputable carpet cleaning company would require answers to a number of very relevant questions.
First - the type of carpet or upholstery. Certain types are harder to clean than others. So before I can give you a quote, I need to know the type of carpet or fabric you want cleaned.
Second - the amount of soiling. Carpets or upholstery that hasn’t been cleaned for ten years will take longer to clean than those that have been cleaned within the last six months.
Third – the amount of furniture that has to be moved. If we have to move your furniture and many other items then the job is going to take longer. But if you move your furniture, you’ll save money.
To recap, I consider the type of carpet or upholstery the amount of soiling and the amount of furniture that has to be moved. So, as you can now imagine, every quotation is different.
If you’re thinking of having your carpets or furniture cleaned, I offer these four recommendations.
Recommendation #1 Make a commitment to yourself to get your carpets cleaned. The longer they remain dirty, the sooner they’ll wear out. Plus the longer you have to breathe all the pollens, fungus, chemicals and dust mites that live in your carpet.
List your objectives. Do you want only the dirt removed, something you could do with a hire machine. Or do you want the bacteria, fungus and chemicals removed, which will require a specialised cleaning processes like we use. Do you want to work with an honest, reputable company ~~ or are you willing to risk working with the company that offers you the lowest price ~~ knowing that company might not be in business tomorrow.
Ask questions. The way you learn about a company is to ask specific questions and listen carefully to the answers. Here are the questions I suggest you ask…
1. What method of carpet cleaning do you recommend?
2. What does your equipment remove from my carpets and upholstery?
3. How often should I get my carpets & upholstery cleaned?
4. What training have you had in cleaning carpets & upholstery?
5. How long have you been in the business?
6. Are you a member of any trade association and, if so, which ones?
7. Are you certified by the N.C.C.A. and I.I.C.R.C. will you show me your certificates?
Once you’re satisfied that you’re working with an honest, competent professional, invite him into your home and ask for a specific quotation in writing. A written quotation gives you the assurance that you know exactly what your job will cost, no surprises.
By following these four recommendations, you’ll gain all the information you need to make an informed, intelligent decision. If you want a quick, cheap carpet-upholstery cleaning job, many companies in the phone book can help you. Or you can rent a machine and do the job yourself.
But if you want your carpeting to be completely and thoroughly cleaned removing the bacteria, fungus, chemicals, pollens and tobacco products then I invite you to call my company.
I’ll be happy to answer your questions, provide you a cost estimate over the telephone or come to your home and give you a free written quotation without obligation of any kind. To reach me please telephone 0800 783 7969.
Here’s one last point: I know that many consumers are skeptical about carpet cleaning companies. Before I got into the business, I was skeptical too. So in addition to dedicating my business to consumer education, I do one more thing as well. I guarantee my work. That’s right. I fully guarantee every job we do. If you’re not happy with our work, we’ll reclean the area for free. And if you still aren’t pleased, you pay nothing. Not one penny.
What could be more fair?
As a matter of fact, add this question to the list. Question #8 is “Do you guarantee your work? ” Not all companies do and it’s important that you have this information before you make your decision.
I hope you found this consumer message helpful. If you have questions or comments or if you’d like to schedule a free in-home/office survey, please Telephone: 0800 783 7969