» Costly Misconceptions


#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 the carpet fibers. This cuts your carpet, just as if you had used a knife. This cutting causes your carpet to wear out faster. A dirty carpet will not last as long as a clean carpet. And while vacuuming helps–by itself, it’s simply not enough. The longer you wait to have your carpet cleaned, the more damage you do to your carpet and the faster it wears out.

#2: The only reason to clean carpets is to remove the dirt.

No. As you probably know, outdoor air contains pollen, fungus, bacteria, air pollution, tobacco smoke, car exhaust–and hundreds of other chemicals. When you come into your home, you carry that pollen, bacteria and chemicals in your hair and on your skin, clothing and shoes. Not surprisingly, all those chemicals and toxins wind up in your carpet. If you have allergies, asthma, emphysema, or other breathing problems–one major source of your problem could be the pollen, fungus, smoke and chemicals in your carpet

#3: One method of carpet cleaning is as good as another.

No. The dry cleaning methods–which are dry foam, dry chemical with the thick white pads, and dry compound–do not rinse your carpet in any way. Instead, they leave a dirty residue. You might say they clean your carpet only halfway. The most effective cleaning method is hot water extraction. Hot water extraction means a hot water cleaning solution, under high pressure, is forced into your carpet and then sucked out of your carpet by a powerful vacuum. Shaw Industries, the world’s largest carpet manufacturer, recommends hot water extraction as the primary method of cleaning carpets. Carpet cleaners use one of two types of hot water extraction. If they use a large unit that operates from a van parked outside your home or business, it’s called truck-mount extraction. If they use a small unit that can be brought inside, it’s called portable extraction. Shaw’s first choice is the truck-mounted unit– and it recommends the small, portable unit only where the truck-mounted unit won’t reach. The truck-mounted extraction cleans much better because it heats the water to a higher temperature–and shoots the cleaning solution into the carpet at higher pressures–which breaks up the dirt, bacteria, chemicals and pollen in the carpet. Then the machine uses high suction to dray the dirt and chemicals out of your carpet. This is the method that I use.

#4: Having the right equipment is all a company needs to clean your carpets properly.

Not true. Many companies own hot-water cleaners but very few teach their employees how to use them properly. This is why it’s important that you choose your carpet cleaner carefully. The best cleaning companies are those that have been certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, known as the IICRC. Before you choose a carpet cleaner, ask to see written proof of the company’s IICRC certification.

#5: The company that offers the lowest price is the company you should hire.

No. I’ve seen so many problems arise from lowest-bid companies that I suggest you NEVER hire the company that quotes the cheapest price. The two most common problems are:

  1. The price may not be for the services that you want performed. The company may be equipped to remove only the dirt from your carpet. But you may want bacteria, fungus, pollen and tobacco residues
    removed as well.
  2. The price you see advertised may not be the price you pay. Many homeowners have learned that the low
    price they saw advertised lasted only until the carpet cleaner got into their home. Then they were pressured into paying a lot more for a variety of add-ons. Some carpet cleaners even break the law by using illegal bait and switch tactics.

#6: Any honest carpet cleaning company should be able to give you an exact price quote over the phone.

I wish this was true, but it isn’t. Honest, reputable carpet cleaning companies almost never price carpet cleaning by the room. Instead, carpet cleaning is usually priced by the square foot. So if you’d like me to tell you the exact cost of cleaning your carpet, I need to know the exact number of square feet that you want cleaned. To get an accurate measurement, I use an electronic measuring tool to calculate the precise size of your carpet area. To give you an idea of how I estimate the cost of cleaning, here are the three things I consider:

  • The type of carpet. Certain types of carpet are harder to clean than other types.
  • The amount of soiling. Carpet that hasn’t been cleaned for ten years will take longer to clean
    than carpet that was cleaned within the last six months.
  • The amount of furniture we have to move. If you move your furniture, you’ll save money.