6 Costly Misconceptions About Carpet Cleaning

Everywhere you look now-a-days, there seems to be an endless list of "professional" carpet cleaners. As most people do not know, there are various things to consider when dealing with your carpets and floors. Also, the biggest risk is the possibility of selecting the wrong cleaner. There are multiple elements regarding your carpets, which most people are unsure about. But what are these misconceptions, and how can you avoid them?

Misconception #1: You should wait as long as possible before cleaning your carpets
Dirt is abrasive; every time someone steps on your carpet, they grind dirt into your carpet. This has the same effect as cutting it with a knife. Vacuuming does help, but is not nearly as effective as having a professional clean it. Also, manufacturers can void the warranty on your carpet if you do not have it professionally cleaned at least once a year (warranties and manufacturer standards can vary).

Misconception #2: The only reason to clean your carpets is to rid of the dirt
Carpets are infested with pollens, bacteria, and chemicals; which are brought in on clothes, shoes and even people's skin. If people who have allergies, asthma, emphysema or other breathing problems, one major influence on these could be the various hazards embedded in your carpet. In other words, having a cleaner carpet means having healthier breathing air.

Misconception #3: One method of carpet cleaning is just as good as any other method
There are two primary methods of carpet cleaning; dry cleaning and hot water extraction. The first method, dry cleaning, actually uses water (all carpet cleaning methods use water in some way). There are three types of dry cleaning; dry foam, dry chem and dry compound method. Dry foam consists of applying shampoo, allowing it to dry, and sucking the dry shampoo into a vacuum. This method is not very effective, given it can leave a nasty residue on your carpets. Dry chem is very similar to dry foam, however, one major difference is using a large, cotton bonnet on the carpet, which absorbs the dirt within the carpet. After this method, the bonnet becomes saturated with dirt and the process itself is not very effective. The third type of dry cleaning is the dry compound method. This process consists of spreading an absorbent mixture (which is similar to saw dust) all over the carpet. Using a proper machine, the mixture is brushed into the carpet, causing the dirt to absorb in the mixture. After the mixture has dried, a vacuum cleaner sucks the material out of the carpet. Much like the other two methods, this process is also not very effective, given that the carpet is not rinsed in any way. The second type of carpet cleaning is hot water extraction. This process forces a hot water cleaning solution under high pressure, and then sucks the dirt out of the carpet. This process is commonly referred to as "steam cleaning", even though there is no actual steam used through this method. Shaw Industry, the world's largest carpet manufacturer recommends two types of hot water extraction; portable and truck mount extraction. Portable extraction is completed with a small machine, and is not very effective. The second recommended method, truck mount extraction, is a much more effective form of hot water extraction. Using a large machine connected to a van or truck, this method heats water to higher temperatures and shoots the cleaning solution with high pressure on the carpets. Contaminants such as dirt, bacteria and pollen are broken up during this process. Contrary to popular belief, hot water does not damage your carpet! In fact, washing and rinsing your carpet with hot water is the best way to clean it.

Misconception #4: Having the right equipment is all a company needs to clean your carpets properly
The proper training and knowledge from an IICRC certification is the difference between good carpet cleaning and excellent carpet cleaning. No company can buy this, they must earn it through study, experience and successful completion of formal, written examinations from IICRC instructors. In other words, they must earn their degree in carpet cleaning, water restoration, upholstery, etc. When selecting any cleaning company, be sure to ask to see written proof of their IICRC certification.

Misconception #5: The company that offers the lowest price is the company you should hire
There are several important things to remember when considering a cleaner. First, the price you see offered may not be for the services that you want performed. Before selecting a company, decide what you want to accomplish; either removing a small amount of dirt through most cleaners or a rented machine, or removing all the contaminants in your carpet with a professional, certified cleaner. The second part to remember is that the advertised price may not be the total price. Scams such as a $9.95 per room, high-pressured sales situations and illegal "bait and hook" companies should be avoided at all costs. Also, the total price may include random, non-existent fees. Finally, do some research and get all the facts that you need before you select a company!

Misconception #6: Any "honest" carpet cleaning company should be able to give you an exact price quote over the phone
Most legitimate carpet cleaning companies charge by square foot, where the total amount is measured for a price quote. However, the amount of square feet is not the same as the square footage of the entire house! Usually, about 60% of the entire house is the carpet square footage. The cost is also estimated based on the type of carpet (professional cleaners know that different carpets need different treatments), the amount of soiling (i.e. last time cleaned, presence of children, pets, etc.), and the amount of furniture that has to be removed (includes labor). back



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