Q. Why is hot water extraction (steam cleaning) the best method for carpet cleaning?
A. Steam cleaning is the only method of carpet cleaning that uses high power extraction equipment. This provides the most efficient reduction of bio-contaminants, such as molds, pollens, dust mites and their fecal matter. This method, when following industry standard procedures, will leave the least amount of chemical residue when compared to other methods. This means a cleaner, healthier carpet. This is also the method recommended by leading carpet manufacturers and fiber producers to keep your carpet warranty valid.
Q. What about “dry cleaning” methods other than powder?
A. Dry carpet cleaners also use moisture to clean. They typically require several hours of drying time. These methods provide the consumer with a topical or maintenance cleaning – see Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification standard. While cleaning the top portion of the carpet pile, it does little to the lower part of the carpet. This gives the illusion of a thoroughly clean carpet. This is a good interim or maintenance cleaning method.
Q. Are do-it-yourself type of cleaners (either homestyle or the type you would rent from the grocery store) good for or harmful to carpeting?
A. These units are fine if they are used for spot cleaning or touching up. Operation instructions must be followed. If you desire a thorough cleaning, you will not be satisfied with the results. Most often overwetting occurs or too much detergent is used leaving a residue. This causes the carpet to re-soil quickly, and the carpet becomes stiff.
Q. How often should a carpet be cleaned?
A. The largest fiber producers (DuPont and Monsanto) and carpet manufacturers (Shaw and Mohawk) recommend cleaning every 12 to 18 months. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends more frequent cleanings for allergy sufferers. In our area with the existence of peat dust, mold spores, and pollens, cleaning the carpet once a year is usually sufficient.
Q. How important is it to maintain your carpet properly?
A. It is very important to maintain your carpet. Regular vacuuming, approximately two to three times per week) and annual professional carpet cleaning will increase the life of your carpet. This will also enhance the performance of your carpet. If protectants are added periodically, your carpet life will be extended by 40 percent, according to a recent DuPont study.
Q. How long after the carpet is installed should soil retardants and stain repellents be reapplied?
A. Normal use will wear off soil retardants in two and a half to three years. The stain repellents will wear off in about five years. Both products can be reapplied periodically or as needed. Scotchgard or DuPont Teflon are acceptable soil retardants and will not void most manufacturer warranties.
Q. Are some types of carpet easier to maintain than others?
A. Yes. Low-cut pile and level-loop commercial-grade carpet are two of the easiest styles of carpet to clean. They allow soil to be removed easier than a Berber or plush-style carpet. Nylon fiber responds best to cleaning while olefin and polyester are slightly more difficult. Natural fibers, such as wool, require more care and caution.
Q. Should I expect even the best carpet cleaner to get all the stains out of my carpet?
A. The definition of a stain is something that is on the carpet that won’t come out with normal cleaning. Not even the best carpet cleaner can remove all stains from the carpet. Some spills can add dye to the carpet, irreversibly changing the color of the carpet. Other agents can strip the dye from the fibers. However, there are processes that can remove some dyes and sometimes spot dyeing can be used to add color back again. The results vary from incident to incident.
Q. Why is it that spots seem to reappear after the carpet has been cleaned?
A. Re-occurring spots can result from two different scenarios. The first is the spot was not adequately removed during the cleaning. The second is typically associated with larger spots. The source of the spot originally was liquid and saturated the backing of the carpet. After the professional cleaning, even though the backing should not get wet, the fibers dry causing any sticky substance from the backing to wick up to the surface. This is similar to what happens to a wick in an oil lamp. The wick soaks up the oil from the bottom all the way to its tip.
Q. What are some of the most common mistakes homeowners make in trying to maintain their carpet?
A. Many homeowners think “If a little is good, then more must be better.” More is not better when it comes to most cleaning agents. Another problem faced by people is that they apply products that are not suitable for carpets like window cleaner, chlorine bleach, or tile cleaner. Another common mistake is that some people believe that if you clean your carpet, it will get dirtier sooner. This used to be true of all cleaners 25 years ago. But, if you use an industry-certified fiber specialist, this should not be the case today.
Q. Vacuuming is a very important part of carpet maintenance. How often should it be done, and what type of vacuum works the best?
A. Vacuuming daily is not too often, even if only one person lives in the home. Usually two to three times a week is enough. An upright style vacuum with a beater bar and soft bristles is a very good choice for a vacuum. Couple this with a low filtration vacuum bag and correct height adjustment of the vacuum from the floor, and you have achieved just about the best system for vacuuming.
Q. What is the average cost for carpet cleaning, and what should a homeowner look for in a reliable carpet cleaning company?
A. The cost for cleaning a carpet depends greatly on three things: the style of carpet to be cleaned, the soil content in the carpet, and the amount of carpet being cleaned. A reputable carpet cleaning company will often charge per square foot.
When searching for a reliable carpet cleaning company, select a company that has been in business in your community for several years. Also, look for one that is involved in the community. This shows the consumer that the company is concerned about its high standard and reputation. Most importantly, the technicians of the company should have formal training or certification in the carpet service field. Your company of choice should also belong to an industry trade association. Lastly, get references from your local carpet retail store and from friends and family who have been satisfied with their carpet cleaning company.
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