Carpet Cleaning Misconceptions

6 Costly Myths / Misconceptions about Carpet Cleaning


Misconception #1: You should wait as long as possible before cleaning your carpet or upholstery.

Big mistake! It is an old wive’s tale that once you clean your carpet, it will get dirty faster. Actually, this statement had some truth in it a few years ago when carpets were shampooed. That process was similar to shampooing your hair, but not rinsing it out.  Today’s hot water extraction cleaning method does not leave a sticky, dirt attracting residue. However, some carpet cleaners will pre-spray your carpet with their cleaning agent and then do not use enough cleaning strokes to thoroughly rinse the fibers, thus leaving residue to attract soil.

Dirt is an abrasive–similar to sandpaper. Each time you step on your carpet, you grind dirt into the carpet fibers. This cuts into your carpet fibers, causing them to wear out much faster. While vacuuming helps, by itself, it simply is not enough.  Modern carpet yarns are engineered to conceal dirt – which is good, to a degree. Regular cleaning is needed because by the time your carpet begins to show soiling, for example, in the traffic lanes, the damage has already begun.  Regular, scheduled cleaning can prevent this from happening. The longer you wait to have your carpet cleaned, the more damage is done to the fibers and the faster it wears out. Dirty carpet simply will not last as long as clean carpet.  Worn fibers will also attract soil much faster. Cleaning should be done every 12-18 months or 6 months with pets, kids, spills or high traffic areas. But there is more than visible dirt to be removed. Learn about that in Misconception #2.

Misconception #2: The only reason you should clean your carpet or upholstery is to remove the dirt.

Not true! Not only do you want to clean your carpet for appearance reasons, you also want a healthy carpet – germ and odor free. Unfortunately, the dirt in your carpet has lots of company. Carpet is the biggest filter in your home and it needs hot water extraction on a regular basis to be an effective filter. As you probably know, outdoor air contains pollens, fungus, bacteria, air pollution, cigarette smoke, car exhaust and hundreds of other unwanted guests – not to mention the dirty work done by dust mites and their allergens. Did you know that tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 different chemical compounds, 43 of which cause cancer? Even if you don’t smoke, when you come into your home, you carry those chemicals on your skin, hair, clothing and shoes. Your pets also carry fleas and many germs on them. Not surprisingly, all of this winds up in your carpet and upholstery. As you walk on your carpet, all of these substances are stirred up and redistributed into the air you breathe. If you have allergies, asthma, emphysema or other breathing problems – one major source of your problem could be the unhealthy trapped indoor air and the “unwanted guests” in your carpet and upholstery. Cleaning also flushes the fibers of odors. You might be used to your home’s odors, but your friends likely are not. Cleaning makes your home smell fresh. Many clients notice immediately the clean smelling freshness after their carpet and furniture are cleaned. The soil, pollen, dust, germs and odor have been extracted from the fiber. Many sensitive people breathe easier after a true professional cleaning is performed in their home to remove these allergens and odors.

Misconception #3: One method of cleaning is as good as another.

Not at all! 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, which is a misconception. Click here to learn the differences between Cleaning Methods.   Misconception #4 speaks about how techniques besides using truck-mounted equipment is necessary for a quality cleaning job.

Misconception #4: Having the right equipment is all a company needs to properly clean your carpets and upholstery.

Big fat lie! Many companies own hot water extraction machines. But, a large number of employees and even owners don’t know how to use them correctly or clean with the proper technique. This will result in a low-quality cleaning job. One of the biggest complaints that our customers have had with other cleaning companies is the over wetting of their carpet. There are many different cleaning agents with different results to choose from. Hot water extraction cleaning can be the worst if not done right.  Many clients have been turned off with hot water extraction because of soaked carpets caused by improper cleaning technique or poor machine maintenance.  With good reason, they have been lured to advertisements of dry cleaning. They didn’t have soaked carpets but they also were disappointed and frustrated with the poor dry-cleaning results. There are different quality levels of machinery.  Referral Cleaning & Restoration recently spent $60,000 updating just one of our top of the line machines. There are many choices, and we could have spent less, but you have to invest in the best equipment to do the best high-quality work.  Some clients have resorted to cleaning their own carpet because of receiving such a poor quality cleaning job, supposedly done by a professional cleaner. But can cleaning your own carpet get the same results? Read  Misconception #5.

Misconception #5: I can get the same results by renting a machine and “doing it myself.”

C’mon now… In fact, do it yourself machines are so inferior to our powerful equipment, it’s not even a fair comparison. The “Do It Yourself” machine does not have the 200 degree hot water, higher cleaning pressure, and powerful vacuum that a truck-mounted machine does. The low-quality cleaning agents used by the consumer do not clean well and are not as concentrated, leaving a residue in the carpet that will attract soil quickly. Referral Cleaning & Restoration uses quality cleaning agents that are very concentrated, using less than 1/5 oz. per gallon of water.  Lack of vacuum power or poor suction causes damage by over wetting. A true professional’s years of experience produces the best results. A professional has made an investment in training to understand the equipment, to know the proper cleaning agents for the situation at hand, and to recognize the differences in fibers and carpet construction. Professional truck-mounted equipment will leave you with a cleaner and drier carpet.

Misconception #6: The cleaner with the lowest price is the company you should hire.

Let us explain… All of us like finding a bargain. But in the carpet cleaning business, companies know what they’re worth and they price their work accordingly. Pricing is across the board. Cleaning is a service, not a commodity. If Brand X is sold at Walmart for $100 and the identical item Brand X is also sold at a high-end department store for $150, then it is clear you have found a better price. Perhaps customer service and other things may still draw customers despite the cost. Remember, the price is what you pay and the value is what you receive. What value is there in spending half of what you should have spent on a quality service if the cheaper service doesn’t perform up to standards?

Problems regularly arise from a consumer trying to save on their cleaning.  Often, they found out the hard way that, “You get what you pay for.” Many consumers have wasted their money and were left with an ineffective cleaning, lost time, and unbearable frustration. The lifespan of their carpet is often shortened. A lower priced cleaner may be cheaper because they speed through the job. They may even use inexpensive portable machines or cheaper ineffective cleaning solutions. Perhaps they hire technicians that leave much to be desired. Can you trust them? Will you feel safe? Maybe they use unethical advertising methods such as the bait and switch technique where they offer a low price like $25.00 a room to get their foot in the door. By the time they leave, they have pressured you into buying extras like spotters, deodorizers or carpet protector. You paid a lot more than you expected, likely because they are paid on commission. If you don’t buy additional items, they do not make their commission and are more likely to rush your cleaning job. It’s not wrong to recommend these items if they are actually needed, but the client should never feel pressured into buying anything.

Warning: Most low quality cleaning companies price by the room instead of by the size or square footage of the area being cleaned. Hallways, baths, and closets may not have as much square footage, but these cleaners will still price them as a room – which is in their favor, not yours. Large areas or rooms such as great rooms and basements are considered multiple rooms – which again is in their favor, not yours.  Some people are so hung up on price that they fall victim to low priced carpet cleaners and then are “surprised” when they get short changed.

Since business began in 1977, Referral Carpet Cleaning has seen many cleaners come and go. Often, new companies just copycat other competitors’ low pricing when starting in business. They don’t understand how much it costs to run a quality cleaning service, so they begin cutting corners and then are quickly out of business.  The longer we live, the more we learn that there is almost always a reason you will pay more or less for anything you purchase.

The information presented so far has likely given you a new perspective on carpet cleaning, but to be fully educated, learn the 21 mistakes to avoid when choosing a cleaner.

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