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6 Common Carpet Cleaning Misconceptions

 

Misconception #1 “You should wait as long as possible to clean your carpet.”

Not true!  Dirt is abrasive, like sandpaper.  Every time you step on the carpet, you grind dirt into the carpet’s fibers. A dirty carpet will not last nearly as long as a clean carpet.  While frequent vacuuming is an important part of proper carpet maintenance, by itself it’s simply not enough.  The longer you wait to have your carpets cleaned, the more damage you will do to your carpet and the faster it will wear out.

Some have said that regular carpet cleaning puts unnecessary wear on the carpets. This is no more true then saying washing your clothes puts unnecessary wear on your clothing, so wear them as long as you can before washing. You know that if you do that, when you do finally clean them many of the spot and soil will be permanent. Where as, if you had cleaned them in a timely manner the spots most likely would have come out.

In fact most carpet manufacturers of carpet such as Shaw & Mohawk require hot water extraction every 12 to 18 months to maintain their warrantees. For environmental reasons, the EPA recommends that they be cleaned even more often than that.

Misconception #2 “The only reason to clean your carpets is to get the dirt out.”

Not true! In addition to dirt each and every day our carpets are subjected to cooking oils & smoke, skin cells, pet dander, food spills and more. Also, as you probably know, outdoor air contains pollens, fungus, bacteria, air pollution, cigarette smoke, car exhaust, and hundreds of other chemicals. If you have allergies, athsma, emphysema, or breathing problems one major problem could be those pollens, fungus and chemicals in your carpet.

 

Misconception #3 “One method of carpet cleaning is as good as another.”

Not true! Actually, you can choose from two primary methods; dry cleaning, or hot water extraction.

Many people believe that dry cleaning your carpet is like dry cleaning your clothing.  But this isn’t true.  Almost all carpet cleaning methods use water in one form or another, the term “Dry Cleaning” usually means that a very limited amount of moisture is used in the process. Here are the three most common types of dry cleaning you can do on your carpet.

One very popular method is the bonnet method. With this method a shampoo solution is sprayed onto your carpet.  Some companies call it a carbonated carpet cleaner.  A machine, similar to a floor buffer, with a bonnet or pad on the bottom spins the bonnet from side to side, absorbing the dirt from the carpet.  This method cleans the surface of the carpet and in most cases will restore a clean appearance to a lightly soiled carpet but it is not designed to restore a heavily soiled carpet. The bonnet method can leave chemical residue which accumulates and in time can attract soil. This is an effective method for maintaining the appearance of the carpet. Periodically hot water extraction should be used to remove deeply embedded soil and residue from the shampoo or carbonated cleaner. Bonnet cleaning is not an effective deep cleaning method.

Another type of dry cleaning is dry compound, which is a matter of spreading an absorbent mixture all over your carpet.  The compound looks like wet sawdust or a light colored powder.  A machine works the dry compound into your carpet and the dirt, is absorbed into the mixture. When the mixture has dried it is vacuumed up removing most of the mixture. This is an effective method when application of water in any form will damage the material being clean, such as in the case of Sisal rugs. Because the carpet is not rinsed, this method is not an effective deep cleaning method.

The fourth type of dry cleaning is called encapsulation. Like bonnet cleaning, this is an effect method for maintaining the appearance of the carpet, particularly in commercial carpets.

Polymers allow shampoo residues to truly encapsulate remaining soils, usually in a crystalline structure. The crystallizing polymer encapsulates soil so it can be extracted with routine vacuuming. There is no sticky residue so it cannot attract soil. This is the method that Monarch Cleaning Services prefers to use to maintain the appearance of commercial carpeting between hot water extractions.

As in the case of all of the previously mentioned dry cleaning methods, encapsulation cleaning is not an effective deep cleaning method and periodic hot water extraction should be used to remove deeply embedded soil and encapsulation chemical from carpet.

The second carpet cleaning method is called hot water extraction.  This is a fancy way of saying that hot water solution under pressure is forced into the carpet fibers and then vacuumed out of the carpet. This method is also referred to as steam cleaning, even though steam is not used. Most carpet mills including Shaw Industry, the world’s largest manufacturer, recommend hot water extraction. You can choose between two different types – portable extraction, which is done with an electric powered machine, brought into your home, or truck mounted extraction, which means that a large cleaning machine is mounted is a truck or van.

It is not surprising that truck mounted cleaning is much better because it heats the water to a much higher temperature, and it shoots that hot water into the carpet fibers at a higher pressure. This breaks up the dirt, bacteria, and pollens.   Even though a high volume of water is passed through the fibers, carpets dry much fast with the truck mounted machine as a result of its superior suction. To speed the drying even more, a high velocity fan should be moved from room to room as each room is cleaned. The truck mount method of cleaning is the method that Monarch Cleaning Services prefers to use.  We will however employ the use of portable cleaning units where situations require it such as in the case of high rise buildings.

Misconception #4 “Having the right equipment is all that the company needs to clean your carpet properly.”

Not true!

The best carpet cleaning companies are those who are certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, known an IICRC.  Cleaning Professionals who are certified by IICRC have, in effect, earned a degree in carpet cleaning.  The IICRC provides written credentials to the company that it certifies.  So, before you choose a carpet cleaner, ask to see proof that the company is IICRC certified.  Or you can verify the companies certifications at www.iicrc.org.

IICRC is an independent, non-profit certification body. Its mission is “to set and promote high standards and ethics; and to advance communication and technical proficiency within the cleaning, inspection and restoration industries.”

Monarch Cleaning Services is a company which has been certified by IICRC. A carpet cleaning company cannot buy this certification.  The carpet cleaner must earn the certification through study, experience, and the successful completion of formal written examinations. They cannot receive this certification by merely joining some group or franchise. Those who achieve this status as a “Certified Firm” have not only years of practical experience, but they must also complete a rigorous academic program followed by a 2 hour test.

Once certified each certified technician is required to keep their expertise at the highest level by attending training updates, various industry events and ongoing studies as well as practicing their trade in actual field work. Those who have achieved this level of expertise are at the top of their profession.

Misconception #5 “The company that offers the lowest price is the company that you should hire.”

Not true! It is highly unlikely that an IICRC certified firm, with many years of experience, would be able to provide a certified technician and also offer the lowest price.

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

Not true! I wish it was that easy, but it’s not.  In my opinion, honest, reparable, carpet cleaning companies, usually price their carpet cleaning by the square foot.  So, if you would like to know exactly what it is going to cost, we need to know the exact number of square feet that you want cleaned. Now, you will be glad to know that the carpet area to be cleaned is usually not anywhere near as much as what people think.  Even though we cannot give you an exact price over the phone, here are a few things that I would take into consideration when giving a price:

First of all, since we charge by the square foot, I need to know exactly the size of each individual room that you want to have cleaned.  Second, the amount and type of soiling. Most household soiling can be removed with our standard pre-spotting & pre-conditioning. However pet stains, wax, ink, large rust areas, food dyes such as Koolaid and wine sometimes require more time and special chemicals.  Third, the amount of furniture that has to be moved.  Our prices include moving most furniture.  But if you would like us to move furniture that is unusually heavy or large, this could have to include extra labor.  On the other hand, if the house is empty and we are not moving or working around furniture, such as in the case of a move-in or move-out, there will be a discount – you will save money.

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It was a pleasure doing business with Monarch.  They did a wonderful job cleaning an antique tapestry that has been in my family for years.  What’s more, they cut their original estimate in half because I had overstated the size of the tapestry (with no additional costs for pickup and delivery).  It’s refreshing to encounter […]