Residential Carpet Cleaning

Unless your home has no carpeting, you have a need for residential carpet cleaning. Even if you're just on a fact finding mission about home carpet cleaning, you're ahead of approximately 75% of all people with carpeting. It's been estimated that only about 25% of all home owners have their carpet cleaned.

The focus here will not be on the majority of carpet owners that need to replace their carpet prematurely due to wear, ugly stains or embarrassing odors. Nor will the focus be on the majority of those with carpet that live in a less than healthy indoor environment, whose carpet is full of harmful soil, allergens and contaminants, all of which routine home carpet cleaning would remove.

Instead, this article is directed to the minority of carpet owners who are aware of the benefits of carpet cleaning services. The carpet owners who are in search of information about cleaning home carpet.

Most residential carpet cleaning shoppers are not interested in the technical aspect of carpet cleaning, like how many horsepower the engine on a truck mount carpet cleaning machine has, how much air the vacuum can move in a minute or how many square feet of carpet their machine can clean in an hour.

You care about how soon you can begin to use the carpet again, or if the bothersome stains came out or if it still smells like pet odors. You look forward to the look and feel freshly cleaned carpet provides. It's all about the final product.

Residential carpet cleaning is often viewed as a tolerable inconvenience. As an interruption to our lives. But you realize your carpet must be cleaned in order to maintain the appearance, prolong the carpet life and provide a healthier indoor environment for your family, especially those members that suffer from asthma, allergies or other sensitivities.

Which is the best carpet cleaning method for my carpet?

The best carpet cleaning method for your carpet is the one that's best suited to your cleaning needs. As with every profession, the best tool (method) for the job.

For residential carpet cleaning, most cleaners steam clean carpet using a truck mount carpet cleaning machine. This machine stays in a van parked outside your home.The machine can produce excellent cleaning results and fairly good production times. Not only can a truck mounted carpet cleaning machine clean carpet, it can also clean upholstery, tile & grout lines, and even remove water from flood damage carpet.

However, since this "wet" method uses hot pressurized water to flush and rinse the dirt out of your carpet, the tendency to over-wet the carpet can be a concern. Too much moisture means excessive drying times and the potential for mold or mildew growth which can cause respiratory issues in those with preexisting sensitivities and those that have never experienced problems. Also, spots can be "washed" into the carpet only to "wick back" to the surface as the carpet
dries.

Since the distance a truck mount carpet cleaning machine can reach is limited to the length of its hoses, a "portable" extraction machine can go where a carpet cleaning truck mount can't, like a high rise or an apartment building. As the name suggests, the portable is ideal for those hard to access jobs or when building security requires the doors to be kept closed. A portable is not as powerful as a truck mount but can serve a useful purpose in a carpet cleaner's arsenal of residential carpet cleaning equipment.

On the other side of the coin is the method known as low moisture or dry carpet cleaning. The methods within this carpet cleaning category are many, some good some not so good. Low moisture cleaning employs a floor machine that agitates a cleaning solution into your carpet with a brush or pad. The loosened soil, suspended in the cleaning solution is removed from your carpet with an absorbent pad.

The carpet can be back in use in about an hour or so with a low moisture carpet cleaning system. Because it uses no fossil fuels and far less water than a truck mount it's considered a "green" cleaning method. This method won't cause mold issues and eliminates wick back problems.

The go "anywhere" portability feature is a real benefit for high rise apartments or when the job requires the security of locked doors or when it's too cold or hot to leave the door open.

An often overlooked factor in the success of any method is the ability of the cleaning technician. The method will frequently get blamed for poor cleaning results when it's actually the fault of the technician. Some clients will prefer one method over another because of a past bad experience.

There are pros and cons for every method and a place for each method. Does one method clean better than another method in every situation? No, just as there are methods that don't clean well in any situation. Being a part of the carpet cleaning industry, I'm aware of the ongoing battle over which method (wet or dry) cleans best. And let's not forget the inner battles within the wet and dry categories over which is the best carpet cleaning method.

What other residential carpet cleaning information is necessary?

When choosing a residential carpet cleaning service, or any service company for that matter, the ads all look the same. They all claim to be the best, most thorough, quality service, often at the lowest price.

You don't really know how true the claims are until you have experienced the service. A referral from someone who has used a particular carpet cleaner seems to be the safest way to get a good job. Even then, however, satisfaction is not guaranteed.

Instead of leaving it up to chance to find a competent carpet cleaning service, ask good questions. Here are a few questions to keep in mind.

What steps are included in the service? The actual cleaning service should start with a good vacuuming. This critical first step can make a big difference in the final result.
  
Are there extra charges for: travel time, general spot removal, furniture moving, carpet preconditioning, deodorizing, or an application of a carpet protector treatment?
 
What kind of workmanship guarantee does the carpet cleaning service offer? Will they come back and re-clean any problem areas for free? Is there a money back refund policy in place?
  
What type of insurance do they carry? General liability insurance will cover slip and fall accidents due to wet carpet but generally not damage to the owner's possessions or even the item being cleaned. A separate endorsement many be needed for breakage or workmanship damages.
  
Are employees bonded and are they covered under a workman's compensation policy? A bond would pay if an employee steals something from the job site. Workman compensation covers an employee if he gets hurt on the job.
  
Is the actual cleaning work performed by the service company's employees or are they sub contracted to a independent carpet cleaner? The booking company has little if any control over the sub contractor entering your home. If a sub contractor breaks or steals something in your house you may have little recourse.
  
What training and certification does the company require? The certifying organization for the inspection, cleaning, and restoration industries is the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, (IICRC). Certification from the IICRC proves the applicant has completed coursework and passed exams pertaining to carpet cleaning.

How safe are the cleaning products? This should be a big concern to everyone, especially those with allergies or chemical sensitivities. Insist on cleaning products which are certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute's "Seal of Approval" (SOA). www.carpet-rug.org, or are certified by Green Seal, www.greenseal.org. Certifications by these two or other similar third party organizations can give you confidence that the cleaning products used for your carpet cleaning project meet at least minimum user safety and environmental standards.

If any question remains about a residential carpet cleaning service, its always a good idea to get a few references.

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