So… How Do You Pick a Good Carpet Cleaner?
Professionally Trained and Qualified
One of the first things that I recommend is ensure your carpet cleaner is trained and qualified by the IICRC or at least one of your nationally recognised bodies. That’s always a good start. It shows you that your carpet cleaner is interested enough in carpets to find out how to clean them properly!
I met a carpet cleaner on site once who had been trained internally by his organisation (insert name of big national franchise here) and did not believe cleaning chemicals were required for carpets, he only used hot water! This shows me not all people are teachable or follow their professional learning.
No Dry Cleaning!
A qualified carpet cleaner will very rarely if ever Dry Clean a carpet. The exception is as preparation to steam clean or if the carpet is clean and needs a once over to satisfy bond cleaning requirements.
Dry cleaning often leaves the underlying causes of spots and stains untreated so they return again. Why? Say you have an baby who spills milk on the floor, you clean it up but after a little while the patch becomes darker, this is due to the oils and fats left in the carpet attracting dirt and dust which sticks to it. Dry cleaning the carpet will clean the top layer but whats left underneath will soon come to the top again and attracting dirt again.
One of the most common comments I have heard from customers who were unhappy after a dry cleaner did their carpets is “after a week or two the stains came back again”
Also be aware that in some countries dry cleaning certain carpets in certain applications (eg synthetic carpets in commercial premises) will void the warranty, makes you wonder huh?!
Steam Cleaning or Hot water Extraction
Hot water extraction which is known as Steam cleaning is the most commonly used highly effective form of carpet cleaning when done correctly. I use the example of cleaning clothes, if you have a stain or spot on your favourite shirt you treat the stain and then wash it. You certainly don’t rub it with chemical treatments and leave them there and start wearing the shirt again.
Once again, inexperienced or unqualified a steam cleaner can cause issues. I met 2 locals who had a steam cleaner come in and leave the carpet so wet it took about 3 days to dry, and left a mouldy smell after. That sounds like they didn’t extract the water and were using too high a pressure, combined they soaked the carpet through to the underlay, very unprofessional.
Most professionals will use a truck mounted system but a good portable can produce great results too, it may just take longer to complete the job due to filling and emptying tanks and lower vac and water pressure.
So what else is useful? Sometimes online reviews are useful. Be wary of too many unspecific reviews. Look for reviews that give some details, specific problems that were solved. Check some negative reviews, every company has them, did the company respond favourably, did they try to resolve the issue? As a rule I don’t use anyone for any service who has under 4 stars. I recommend you do the same.
The Carpet Test
Speak to them and ask if they can test the carpet first, before starting. This is a simple test and (you may know what the material its made from but if they cant figure it out then they aren’t properly trained!) A good carpet cleaner will have different treatments for different materials so will always want to test the carpet before cleaning it to ensure they are choosing the right treatments for removing spots, stains and soils and nothing too harsh or damaging to your carpet type. A good carpet cleaner will test the carpet even if you tell them what material it is! I have many clients who told me they had wool carpet only to find out it was Nylon, and some who told me it wasn’t wool as they couldn’t afford it at the time only to find out it was! So it isn’t that we don’t trust you, we dont always trust new carpet salesman to know what material they are selling!
Be wary of the cheap guys, if they need to be that cheap they are desperate for customers and for good reason. Dry cleaners seem generally cheaper from the outset, especially the franchises, but you’ll often find that they initial price didnt include everything you expected. 5 rooms for $50 bucks sounds amazing until you read the fine print and the rooms can only be a maximum size of 1.5m2 each and its $10m2 over that! Find out how the pricing works so you don’t get caught out. Corners will be cut. Many times we’ve been called in by real estate property managers to fix up the carpets after tenants hired the cheapest they could find but only ended up having to pay to get the carpets done a second time. Pay the right person once!
Just because they charge the most doesn’t mean they are the best! Find out whats included in the service. Many carpet cleaning companies will have tiers of pricing based on the level of service you desire. For example Bronze service may be a straight in and out clean, Silver may include a pre vacuum and deoderise, Gold service may include the above plus carpet grooming, carpet protection treatment and a box of chocolates! Once again, find out how the pricing works so you don’t get caught out.
These will get you on the right path, to summarise, How to get a good Carpet Cleaner:
- Make sure they are qualified
- Ask them if they test the carpet before they start
- Go for a steam cleaner
- Check their reviews, minimum 4 stars average
- Understand exactly what you are paying for and don’t go for the cheapest
We hope this rundown gives you the confidence to pick a great carpet cleaner who’ll look after you well for many years to come.
Until next time, Dan