Carpet cleaning myths

  1. “This is brand new carpeting and is only 2 years old, I’ll call you when it really looks like it needs a cleaning”

    I hear this one all the time, and because this myth is so wide-spread, I’m going to provide a two-part answer:

    a) The EPA has actually conducted air quality and carpet cleanliness studies which indicate that carpet cleaning at regular intervals keeps your carpet about 1500% cleaner than vacuuming alone…1500%, that’s quite a difference! The studies found that people actually became ill 3 times more often when carpeting was removed from buildings or structures. This is because your carpeting acts as a natural filter for everything from dirt, dust particles and debris to pollen, dander and dust mites. Fortunately, our bodies are equipped to handle the latter, but we are not equipped to handle their fecal matter (Yes, I did say fecal) along with the bacteria that feed off of their fecal matter. It is imperative that the carpet cleaning method actually be “steam” clean extraction in order to produce water hot enough to sanitize your living areas and kill off and extract the bacteria and fecal matter.

    b) Secondly, It is the dirt you cannot see which causes the most damage to your carpet fibers. Tiny microscopic pieces of dirt, sand and debris that cut, tear, abrade and break the fiber filaments down prematurely. It’s a term we in the industry like to refer to as “abrasion.” Abrasion is a fancy way of saying that your carpeting is getting trashed. The protective coating (on all 5th Generation Nylon carpeting) has long since eroded and sand has begun to cut and tear into the filaments. This causes them to lose their natural crimp, matte and lie down and refract light differently, ultimately leaving your carpeting looking dull, dirty, dingy, matted, worn and abused. This is why cleaning at regular intervals is so vital and this is also why the continuing application of a carpet protectant is so essential to continue the longevity of your carpeting.

  2. “Carpet protection seems way too expensive to be worth it…I think I’ll hold off”

    In the long run, carpet protection is actually the cheapest and easiest route…let me tell you why? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Your carpeting is more than likely the single biggest investment within your home. And just like anything else, if you want it to look beautiful 10 years into the future, it needs to be properly maintained and cared for. Now, not all carpet protectors are created equal either. However, I utilize and trust a carpet protector called Maxim Advanced and it is simply amazing. With the application of this amazing product, your carpet will actually last longer and I can guarantee that. The two levels of protection (stain protection and soil resistance); provide you with more time to clean up spots and spills, which reduces the likelihood of a permanent stain.

  3. “ I don’t need to have my carpet cleaned professionally, that’s what my Bissell is for!” or “No that room is good, we just rented the Rug Doctor from Fry’s and it did an…OK job”

    I hear this one a lot as well, and while I think it’s great that my customers’ have access to a machine that is capable of cleaning spots or spills as an interim maintenance solution, I strongly discourage the use of these machines as the only maintenance or cleaning solution. For larger areas or entire rooms, these machines simply do not have the power to extract all of the water and moisture that they are able to put out. Secondly, the recommended detergent, dilution ratios leave way too much soap and residue suspended within all that moisture. These soils eventually wick to surface and act as a magnet, which ultimately attracts more dirt, grime and grease and leaves your carpet dingy, dirty and matted.

  4. “You should actually avoid cleaning your carpet, or at least wait as long as you can before having it  professionally cleaned”

    myth dates back an earlier period when the science behind the chemicals and the processes was not fully realized. Carpet quality was lower and the options were fewer. Carpet cleaning methods and methodology was in its infancy. These early cleaning pioneers left soap and residue within the carpeting which sustained rapid re-soiling. This prompted the invention of what is called a fluorochemical or carpet protection as well as greatly enhanced cleaning methods, processes, chemicals and equipment. The cleaning process is now broken down to a literal science. The Carpet & Rug institute, the IICRC, as well as Mohawk Industries and Shaw all recommend hot water, truck-mounted extraction cleaning as the preferred cleaning method of choice.

  5. Dry cleaning is actually a better cleaning method than “wet” or steam cleaning!”

    This myth has all but been dispelled. However, the myth was probably once derived as somewhat believable due to the fact that “dry” cleaning can of course, dry more quickly. However the myth grew due to the overabundance of “bad” (and by bad, I mean inexperienced, untrained and without the proper equipment) steam cleaners out there. A lot of these guys would and still do leave the carpet way too wet. They don’t take the time to do the “dry” pass. Sometimes they clean with way too much pressure and water or even detergent or all three. Often times, they don’t properly neutralize their cleaning solution back to a pH 7. All of these factors combined, attributed to this myth. However, dry cleaning, while it might appear to leave the carpet dry on the surface actually leaves a substantial amount of residue within your carpeting. There is either very little to no extraction taking place, so all of the dirt, soil and soap is left within your carpeting and ends up attracting more dirt…”It’s a viscous cycle.”

  6. “You seem way more expensive than the coupons I usually get in the mail”

    I don’t even know if it’s worth responding to this one. I think, by now most of us know what these guys are up to. Its classic “bait and switch” at its best. Beware of anyone who cannot quote or will not quote you an upfront per square foot price. These “coupon guys” as I like to refer to them use guerrilla marketing tactics and high pressure salesmen to force you into spending a lot more money than you had bargained for initially. They nickel-and-dime you on every conceivable “up-sale” requiring you to pay extra to even use detergent on the cleaning of your carpet. And you’re like: “Really…extra to use some detergent, but I thought you were here to like…clean my carpet…really?” Shady, shady, shady, shady. Here are a few pointers I tell my customers or prospects to search for or insist on when seeking professional carpet cleaning:

    1. Insist on an IICRC Certified professional (This means the professional has taken a course of at least 16 classroom hours of training and received at least a 75% on the ensuing exam. They have at least been taught best practices and methods.)
    2. Inquire as to which cleaning method will be utilized? (And insist on hot water, truck-mounted extraction…preferably with a Rotary Jet Extraction machine)
    3. Inquire as to the type of soaps or the level of pH of the detergent utilized (anything over 10 for Nylon carpeting is simply too strong)
    4. Inquire as to the pricing structure (and insist on square foot and not per room)
    5. Ask for a free estimate before-hand

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