There are several misconceptions about carpet cleaning that have remained over the years, despite the advancement of modern technology. Here we list some of the popular myths with the reasons why they are not applicable today.
Myth 1 “Wait as long as possible before cleaning a carpet because the more you clean it, the quicker it gets dirty”
Not true because dirt is abrasive so every time you step on the carpet, dirt is ground into the carpet fibres, damaging the carpet. A dirty carpet will need replacing before a clean carpet will. Vacuuming alone will not keep a carpet free from grease and fine grains that contribute to wearing out the carpet.
Myth 2 “You only need to clean a carpet when it looks dirty”
Not really – you would wash clothes once they’ve been worn, even if they look clean. The same applies to carpets – air contains pollens, fungi, bacteria and air pollution such as cigarette smoke, car exhaust fumes and hundreds of other chemicals. Your hair, skin, clothing and shoes can transport these from outdoors to end up in your carpet.
Allergies and breathing difficulties can be exacerbated by pollens, fungi and chemicals in your carpet.
Myth 3 “All cleaning methods have the same result”
There are two primary methods, dry cleaning or hot water extraction.
(a) dry cleaning (this is not like dry cleaning clothing because all carpet cleaning methods use water in one form or another, whether dry-foam, dry-chemical or dry compound methods are employed).
With dry foam, your carpet is shampooed and allowed to dry, followed by a vacuuming to remove the foam and any adhered dirt. This old-fashioned method is least effective and can leave a soil-attracting residue in the carpet.
The dry chemical method is similar to dry foam but a rotary machine is fitted with a cloth to rub the carpet and absorb the dirt. It is the equivalent of someone using a spot cleaner and towel but on a larger scale. This method also fails to achieve a deep clean and can also damage carpet fibres.
These dry-cleaning methods can be adequate for maintaining lightly soiled carpets.
The dry compound method spreads an absorbent compound over the carpet, which is then brushed into the carpet fibres by machine to absorb dirt into the mixture. When dry, a vacuum is used to remove the compound, much like the dry foam method but far more effective at removing dirt and residues. This is known as the HOST Dry Carpet Cleaner System which is recommended by over 70 carpet mills and is the most popular carpet dry-cleaning method in Europe.
(b) hot water extraction (or ‘steam cleaning’ although this description is inaccurate).
A hot water cleaning solution is high-pressured into then extracted from the carpet fibres by a powerful machine. Its deep cleaning action fully penetrates every fibre, extracting almost all the moisture pumped into the carpet, together with soil and residues, for the most effective clean.
The world’s largest carpet manufacturer recommends hot water extraction. Hot water will not damage the carpet – that’s another myth! Washing and rinsing carpets with hot water is the most effective way of cleaning – as with bathing, laundry or washing the dishes.
Myth 4 “Anyone with the right equipment can do the job”
Of course this is not the case. Training and experience are also important. Many cleaning companies own hot-water cleaners but some employees have little or no training and even some owner-operators don’t know how to use them properly. For this reason, it is important to choose a carpet cleaning service wisely.
Check that the company and on-site operators have been fully trained and certified by the Prochem Training School or the National Carpet Cleaners Association. The NCCA provides written credentials to companies it certifies therefore you can request proof or check the membership directory on the NCCA.co.uk web site.
Myth 5 “The lowest price must be the best value”
There are two important points to consider: that the quotes are for the exact same service and that an advertised price is the actual price you will be charged.
(a) comparative quotes are for identical services.
As you are reading this, you are clearly doing your research. Before you invite a company to quote, decide what you do and don’t need to achieve.
For example, if you want a quick surface clean, there are many companies that offer shampoos or similar cleaning methods – or you can hire a machine to do the job yourself.
However, if you want your carpet thoroughly deep-cleaned to remove dirt, bacteria, pollen, chemicals and other residues, the cleaning company should, ideally, provide a quotation for using a professional hot water extraction system – the best way to keep your carpet free from dirt and abrasive chemicals.
(b) ensure that the price you see advertised is for the services you want.
Home-owners have sometimes found themselves the victims of misleading advertising, that the amount they are charged is higher than the price in the advertisement or leaflet. Some carpet cleaners offer a low price, perhaps £9.99 per room, to give them an opportunity to pressure a potential customer into paying more once they are in your home.
Myth 6 “An honest company can quote over the ‘phone”
As with most services, an estimate can be given ‘site unseen’ but each job is likely to have different requirements so – should an honest company be pressured into quoting for the shortest anticipated service or cover themselves for unforeseen difficulties?
Reputable carpet cleaning companies often price a job by the square footage of carpet on the basis that this will determine the amount of consumables and time to be spent. If a potential customer can provide the exact number of square feet to be cleaned, it may be possible to get a quote over the ‘phone, subject to confirmation when the professional cleaner arrives on site.
Other factors that need to be considered are:
(a) the type of carpet. Certain types of carpets take longer to clean than others.
(b) the amount of soiling. Carpets with years of accumulated dirt will take longer to clean than carpets cleaned every few months. Also, any stains that may require special attention need to be taken into account.
(c) the amount of furniture that has to be moved.
Unfortunately, there are a number of cleaners who are inexperienced or do not take pride in their work. Remember to use an accredited cleaning company.