Not All Carpet Cleaners Are Created Equal
First of all, you should do some research. Would you buy a car without looking into the different models and retailers available? Most consumers would not buy the first car they saw because they liked the color. A car is an expensive investment, so more research is needed to choose a car according to what fits your lifestyle and budget, as well as its options and warranty. Just like an automobile is an expensive investment, so too is carpeting. You know that not all cars are created equal. Some cars will take you where you want to go with style and performance while others will just take you there. And just like there is a difference in the quality between cars, there is also a difference between carpet cleaning companies.
In other words, buying the cheapest doesn’t mean you are getting the best deal. Consumers should look at the value of their purchases and not just the price. What method of carpet cleaning is used? Does the cleaner use top-of-the-line equipment and cleaning solutions? Are you hiring a knowledgeable company who is certified in all areas of the carpet cleaning industry? Do they offer a money-back guarantee if you are not happy with the level of service you have received? You should ask these questions when calling around to find a carpet cleaning company. If you don’t, you are taking a chance that void your carpet warranty.
So what should you look for in a carpet cleaning company?
1. Make sure that the company uses the hot water extraction method from a truck mounted unit. This is the number one recommended method by major carpet manufacturers. Using any other method, such as dry chem., may void your warranty (check your warranty for more details). Hot water extraction provides the most thorough cleaning available which not only makes your cleaning results better, it also cleans your carpet of dirt, harmful bacteria, fungus, chemicals, pollens and tobacco residue. Some people believe that hot water damages your carpet, but this isn’t true. By washing and then rinsing your carpet with hot water, we clean your carpet thoroughly. How effective would washing dirty, greasy dishes in cold water be versus hot water?
2. The best carpet cleaning companies are those that have been certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, known as the 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. Cleaners who are certified by the IICRC have, in effect, earned a degree in carpet cleaning. The IICRC provides written credentials to the companies it certifies. So before you choose a carpet cleaner, ask to see written proof of the company’s IICRC certification. To search for a carpet cleaning company certified by the IICRC, you can call their referral line at call 1-800-835-4624 or log onto the IICRC Web site: http://www.iicrc.org.
3. Ensure that the cleaning company guarantees its work in writing. Any reputable company will, but sadly, not all companies do. When calling around for a carpet cleaning company, ask what the cleaner will do if you are not happy with the job. If he will not try to correct the problem or refund your money, all you can do is hope that the job results are to your satisfaction. Stop hoping for good results by finding a cleaner who guarantees his results.
4. Verify that the company is licensed, bonded and insured. You can ask for proof of these credentials before you hire a cleaning company. Don’t assume that because a company is doing business, it is licensed and insured. Hiring a company without these credentials is taking a huge risk.
Breath Easier with Clean Carpets
A carpet that has been rid of dirt, spots and residue is one important aspect of having your carpets cleaned. But more important than looks is the effects that carpet cleaning has on you and your family’s health. Outdoor air contains hundreds of chemicals such as pollens, fungus, bacteria, air pollution, cigarette smoke, car exhaust and many other. When you and your family members come into your home, you carry those pollens, bacteria and chemicals in your hair and on your skin, clothing and shoes. Not surprisingly, all those chemicals, pollens and bacteria wind up in your carpet. If you have allergies, asthma, emphysema, or other breathing problems, one major source of your problem could be the pollens, fungus, and chemicals in your carpet.
You might find that you’ll breath easier after you hire a company to get those harmful chemicals out of your carpet. So in addition to getting rid of dirt, another important reason to clean your carpet is to get rid of pollens, fungus, bacteria, chemicals and the tars and residue from tobacco smoke.
Consistency Is Key
Now that you are armed with the knowledge of how to choose a carpet cleaner and why your carpets should be cleaned, the next question is how often? Shaw Industries, the world’s largest carpet manufacturer, recommends having your carpets professionally cleaned every 12 months. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends having your carpets cleaned more often if you have children, pets or smokers in the home.
“Carpeting and fabrics not cleaned and properly maintained have the potential to cause a variety of health problems inside the building environment, ” said Michael Berry, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), former Deputy Director of the EPA Environmental Criteria and Assessment Office.
Seven Questions to Ask Any Carpet Cleaner before You Invite Him into your Home
1. What method of carpet cleaning do you use?
2. What type of equipment do you use to clean carpet?
3. What does your equipment remove from my carpet?
4. How often should I get my carpets cleaned?
5. What training have you had in cleaning carpets?
6. Are you certified by the IICRC and will you show me your certificate?
7. Do you guarantee your work?