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CHOOSING A CARPET CLEANER

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We here at Lack’s Cleaning Service are excited and grateful for the opportunity to provide you with information about carpet cleaning and help you choose a carpet cleaning company.

It seems that carpet cleaning is the subject of much confusion.  In fact, people have so many misconceptions about carpet cleaning, we decided to offer this consumer education message so when you select a carpet cleaning company, you can make an informed, intelligent decision.

We’ll share with you six costly misconceptions about carpet cleaning.  We’ll also give you seven questions you should ask a carpet cleaner before you invite him into your home.

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

Not true.  Dirt is an abrasive – like sandpaper.  Every time you step on the carpet, you grind dirt into your carpet fibers.  This cuts your carpet, just as if you had used a knife, causing it to wear faster.  Vacuuming helps, but by itself it’s simply not enough.  The longer you wait to have your carpet cleaned, the more damage you do to it.

Misconception #2:  The only reason to clean carpets is to get out the dirt.

No.  Outdoor air contains pollens, fungus, bacteria, air pollution, cigarette smoke, car exhaust— and hundreds of other chemicals.  When you and your family members come into your home, those pollutants are carried in and usually end 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 may also be aware that cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 different chemical compounds, 43 of which are known to cause cancer.  Even if you don’t smoke, those chemicals can get on your shoes.  You track them into your home and they get trapped in your carpet.

So, in addition to getting rid of dirt, having your carpets cleaned also gets rid of pollens, fungus, bacteria, chemicals and the tar residue from tobacco smoke.

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

No.  You can choose from 2 primary methods, dry cleaning and hot water extraction.

First I’ll explain dry cleaning.  May people believe that dry cleaning your carpet is like dry cleaning your clothes.  Not true.  All carpet cleaning methods use water in one way or another.  There are 3 types of dry cleaning:

  1. When a carpet cleaner uses dry foam, he applies shampoo to your carpet, allows it to dry and then sucks up the dried shampoo using a vacuum.  Can you imagine doing this with your hair?  This method can leave a residue in your carpet.
  2. Dry-chem is similar to dry foam.  The major difference is that when dry-chem is used, a large bonnet is placed on your carpet.  Using a machine, the bonnet spins from side to side, absorbing the dirt that is in the carpet.  When the bonnet is full they replace it with a new one.  This method is like trying to use a big towel to rub the soil out of your carpet.  It’s not very effective.
  3. Dry compound spreads an absorbent mixture all over your carpet.  It kind of looks like wet sawdust.  Then a machine brushes the mixture into your carpet which, in theory, causes the soil to absorb into the mixture.  After it dries, they use a vacuum to suck the material out of your carpet.  Your carpet is not rinsed in any way.

Now I’ll explain Hot Water Extraction.  Hot Water Extraction is done with a truck mounted system that heats the water to a high temperature and shoots the cleaning solution into the carpet at a higher pressure.  This breaks up the dirt, bacteria and pollens.  Then the machine uses high suction to draw the dirt out of the carpet.  Carpet will dry in approximately 4-6 hours.

Shaw Industries, the world’s largest carpet manufacturer, as well as most carpet retailers, recommends hot water extraction and it’s the method we use exclusively.

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

The truth is, most companies own hot water cleaners, but a large number of employees don’t know how to use them.  You probably know someone who bought the newest computer on the market, but didn’t learn how to use it for a year or more.  The same is true with carpet cleaning machines.  The company may own good equipment, but the employees may not know how to use it correctly.  This is why it’s important that you choose your carpet cleaner carefully.

The best carpet cleaning companies are those that have been certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification know 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.

Misconception #5:  The company that offers the lowest price is the company you should hire.

Maybe, but not always.  Here are two important points to consider.

First, the price you see offered may not be for the service you want.  If you want the carpet cleaner to remove only some of the dirt, you can choose from hundreds of companies that use small shampooers or other cleaning methods.  On the other hand, if you want your carpet thoroughly cleaned, you need to use a company that offers hot water extraction.

Second, the price you see advertised may not be the price you pay.  Some carpet cleaners advertise room cleaning between $3.95 and $9.95 per room, then pressure you into paying a lot more once they get inside your home.  Sadly, some carpet cleaners may even break the law by using illegal bait and switch tactics.  That’s why we’ve communicated this consumer education message, as a way of safeguarding the public.  The only way you can make an intelligent decision is to have all the facts you need.

Misconception #6:  Any honest carpet cleaning company should be able to give you an exact price quote over the telephone.

No.  Consumers often think that if they want to clean four rooms and the price is $6 per room, then the price will be $24.  But this isn’t always true.

Honest, reputable carpet cleaning companies usually price carpet cleaning by the square foot.  So, if you’d like me to tell you the exact cost of cleaning your carpet, I need to know the exact number of square feet that you want cleaned.  To get an accurate measurement I have an electric tape measure I use to calculate the exact size of the carpet area.

Even though I can’t give you an exact quote over the telephone, here are things I consider when quoting a price:

  1. The type of carpet.  Certain types of carpet are harder to clean than others.  So before I can give you a quote, I need to know they type of carpet you want cleaned.
  2. The amount of soiling.  Carpet that hasn’t been cleaned for ten years will take longer to clean than carpet that was cleaned within the last six months.
  3. The amount of furniture that has to be moved.  If we have to move furniture, the bid must include that labor.

When scheduling your cleaning job, be sure to include all the areas that you want cleaned so there isn’t any confusion or surprises on the day of cleaning.

Also, be sure to ask these seven questions and listen carefully to the answers:

  1. What method of carpet cleaning do you recommend?
  2. What type of equipment do you use?
  3. What does your equipment remove from my carpet?
  4. How often should I get my carpets cleaned?
  5. What training have you had?
  6. Are you certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) and will you show me your certificate?
  7. What’s the total price I’ll be charged?

If you’d like to have your carpets completely cleaned, removing all allergens, bacteria and pollutants, then we invite you to give us a call at (623) 776-1534.  Our office will be happy to answer any additional questions you may have regarding carpet cleaning and set up a time to come over and give you your FREE cleaning audit.

Here’s one final point.  We guarantee our work.  That’s right.  We fully guarantee every cleaning job we do.  If you aren’t happy with our work, we’ll re-clean the area for FREE.  If you still aren’t happy, we’ll pay the cleaner of your choice to re-clean the area.  What could be more fair?

Thank you very much for reading this consumer education message.  Once again, if you have further questions or would like to schedule your FREE cleaning audit with Lack’s Cleaning Service, give us a call at (623) 776-1534.

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