AlpineCarpetCare.com

Consumer Guide


The Consumer's Guide To Carpet Cleaning
 

Discover the inside secrets of how to search out and find a reputable cleaning company to invite into your home... learn the truth about the 4 BIG RIP-OFFS, the 6 most common carpet cleaning misconceptions and the 7 costly mistakes you must avoid when choosing a carpet cleaner... Enjoy!

How To Avoid Four Carpet Cleaning Rip -Offs

RIP-OFF #1: Unbelievable Low Price. To some degree, all of us are attracted by low price because we want to work within a budget. But some carpet cleaners use price as the bait for their false and misleading advertising. They offer a cheap price; and then, once they’re in your home, they pressure you into buying “add-ons”. It’s as if you were buying a car and found that the dealer was charging you extra for the tires and steering wheel. Carpet cleaning is not as cheap as some unethical carpet cleaners would like you to believe.

RIP-OFF #2: Bait and Switch. Dual process carpet cleaning describes the process of shampooing or heavy preconditioning, followed with hot water extraction cleaning. Unfortunately, unethical carpet cleaners often use dual process as a bait-and-switch technique. Here’s how it’s done: First, they “bait” you with a basic cleaning (single process) at an unbelievable low price. Then, when you call, they try to “switch” you to more expensive dual-process cleaning. If you don’t fall for their switch and choose their basic service, you’ll likely receive poor workmanship using little or no chemical and they will not guarantee their work.

RIP-OFF #3: Unsupported Claims. "This cleaning Method is the Best!" You’ll read this in almost every ad. You’ll hear this from virtually every carpet cleaner. Remember this: The method that’s best for you is the method that achieves your goal. If you want a method that dries quickly, then a method that takes a long time to dry isn’t the best for you. So, before you choose a carpet cleaner, identify your objectives. Then select the method that best reaches those objectives.

RIP-OFF #4: Outdated beliefs. "Hot water damages your carpet" Years ago, many people believed this was true because their carpets were damaged by “technicians” who didn’t know how to properly clean using hot water. But today, we know it’s false. By washing and then rinsing your carpet with hot water, your carpet is thoroughly cleaned—in the same way that the person who showers and then rinses off the dirt and soap will be much cleaner than the person who takes only a sponge bath. Obviously, each carpet cleaner will be biased toward his own method. And each method does have advantages. So, I suggest you look to what carpet manufacturers say. Shaw Industries, the largest carpet manufacturer in the world, recommends only hot water extraction cleaning with a truck-mounted unit used by firms that are IICRC certified.

Six Costly Misconceptions About Carpet Cleaning

 MISCONCEPTION #1: You should wait as long as possible before cleaning your carpet. No. Dirt is an abrasive—likes sandpaper. Every time you step on your carpet, you grind dirt into the carpet fibers. This cuts your carpet, just as if you had used a knife. This cutting causes your carpet to wear out faster. A dirty carpet will not last as long as a clean carpet. And while vacuuming helps—by itself, it’s simply not enough. The longer you wait to have your carpet cleaned, the more damage you do to your carpet and the faster it wears out.

MISCONCEPTION #2: The only reason to clean carpets is to remove the dirt. No. As you probably know, outdoor air contains pollens, fungus, bacteria, air pollution, cigarette smoke, car exhaust—and hundreds of other chemicals. When you 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 and toxins 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, smoke and chemicals in your carpet.

MISCONCEPTION #3: One method of carpet cleaning is as good as another. No. The dry cleaning methods—which are dry foam, dry chemicals, and dry compound—do not rinse your carpet in any way. Instead, they leave a dirty residue. You might say they clean your carpet only halfway. The most effective cleaning method is hot water extraction. Hot water extraction means a hot water cleaning solution, under high pressure, is forced into your carpet and then sucked out of your carpet. Shaw Industries, the world’s largest carpet manufacturer, recommends hot water extraction as the primary method of cleaning carpets, along with an IICRC approved firm.

Carpet cleaners use one of two types of hot water extraction. If they use a large unit that operates from a van or truck outside your facility, it’s called truck-mount extraction. If they use a small unit that can be brought inside, it’s called portable extraction. Shaw’s first choice is the truck-mounted unit—and it recommends the small, portable unit only in areas where the truck-mounted unit won’t reach.

The truck-mount extraction cleans much better because it heats the water to a higher temperature—which breaks up the dirt, bacteria, chemicals and pollens in the carpet. Then the machine uses high suction to draw the dirt and chemicals out of your carpet. This is the method my company uses.

MISCONCEPTION #4: Having the right equipment is all a company needs to clean your carpets properly. Not true. Many companies own hot-water cleaners but very few companies teach their employees how to use them properly. This is why it’s important that you choose your carpet cleaner carefully. The best cleaning companies are those that have been certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning And Restoration Certification, known as the IICRC. Before you choose a carpet cleaner, ask to see written proof of the company’s IICRC certification and also the certification of the technician who is going to do the job! If they don’t have them—don’t use them!

MISCONCEPTION #5: The company that offers the lowest price is the company you should hire. No. I’ve seen so many problems arise from lowest-bid companies that I suggest you NEVER hire the company that quotes the cheapest price. The two most common problems are:

(1)The price may not be for the services you want performed. The company may be equipped to remove only the dirt from your carpet. But you may want bacteria, fungus, pollens, dust mites and tobacco residues removed as well.

(2)The price you see advertised may not be the price you pay. Many homeowners have learned that the low price they saw advertised lasted only until the carpet cleaner got into their home. Then they were pressured into paying a lot more for a variety of add-ons. (Some carpet cleaners even break the law by using illegal bait and switch tactics.)

MISCONCEPTION #6: Any honest, reputable carpet cleaning company should be able to give you an exact price quote over the telephone.
I wish this were true, but it isn’t.

Honest, reputable carpet cleaning companies almost never price carpet cleaning by the room. Instead, carpet cleaning is usually priced 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 use a measuring wheel to calculate the exact size of the carpet area.

To give you an idea of how we quote the cost of cleaning, here are the three things that we consider:

First, the type of carpet. Certain types of carpet are harder to clean than other types.

Second, the amount of soiling. Carpet that hasn’t been cleaned for ten years will take longer to clean than carpet that we cleaned within the last six months.

Third, the amount of furniture we have to move. If you move your furniture, you’ll save money.

7 Common MISTAKES People Make

When Choosing A Carpet Cleaner

 MISTAKE #1: You choose a carpet cleaner based on equipment alone. No question, your carpet cleaner needs first-rate equipment. But he also needs something else. He needs employees who are skilled at operating that equipment. Many companies own hot-water extractors, but very few companies teach their employees how to use them properly. The best way to know that the carpet cleaner’s employees have been properly trained is to make sure the cleaner has been certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). Before you choose a carpet cleaner, ask to see written proof of the company’s and the technician’s IICRC certification.

MISTAKE #2: You choose a carpet cleaner based on low price. Low price could be a problem in three ways: (1) Low price can be the bait that attracts your phone call. But once the cleaner gets into your home, he pressures you into a much more expensive job. (2) Low price can be for single-process cleaning. Rarely does the consumer know what this means and, when told, asks for dual-process cleaning instead, which costs more. (3) Low price means the carpet cleaner has cheap equipment, which will not effectively clean your carpet.

MISTAKE #3: You chose a carpet cleaner based on a single telephone call. Instead, invite the person to your home and ask for a specific written quotation. Then you’ll know exactly what the carpet cleaner recommends—and you won’t be the victim of high pressure tactics when the technician steps into your living room.

MISTAKE #4: You choose a carpet cleaner who doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee. In my view, every carpet cleaning company should be fully accountable for its work. And if you aren’t pleased with the job in every way, you shouldn’t have to pay for it. Period. Not all carpet cleaners offer a guarantee. Or, if they do, the guarantee may be “limited.” Ask the carpet cleaner if he offers a money-back guarantee and then make sure the carpet cleaner includes his guarantee on his written quotation.

MISTAKE #5: You choose a carpet cleaner without getting comments from his other clients. Any carpet cleaner can say anything about his past jobs. And, sadly, some of what he says may not be true. Make sure you ask for references or read comments from current customers so you can depend on the carpet cleaner and his work.

MISTAKE #6: You choose a carpet cleaner who isn’t certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). If your carpet cleaner isn’t a close friend, you may not know whether he has the knowledge or experience to clean your carpet well. If you want to be sure you’re hiring a competent professional, make sure he’s IICRC certified. The carpet cleaner must earn that certification through study, experience and successful completion of formal, written examinations. In effect, cleaners who are certified by the IICRC have earned a college degree in carpet cleaning.

In addition, IICRC carpet cleaners are dedicated to:

(1)honest, ethical business practices, (2) staying current on the latest method for carpet and upholstery care, cleaning and restoration, and (3) the highest possible level of customer service. You’re making a wise decision when you have your carpets cleaned by a member of the IICRC.

MISTAKE #7: You choose a carpet cleaner who doesn’t use a truck mounted, hot water extraction system. You might expect this from me, since my employees and I use this type of system. But there are several good reasons. Portable hot water systems are good, and they can even be great when used by a trained, hardworking cleaner, but they aren’t as efficient as truck-mounted systems. Truck-mount systems are the Rolls Royce's of carpet cleaners. Compared with portable hot water systems, truck-mount systems use hotter water, higher pressure and stronger suction. So all the way around, you get a much better job. No two ways about it.

VALUE VS. PRICE

Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.

When you select a carpet cleaner, you’ll choose from a wide variety of cleaning methods and prices.

Shaw Industries, the world’s largest carpet manufacturer, recommends hot water extraction from a truck-mounted unit, and using a portable unit only in areas where the truck-mounted unit won’t reach.

Here’s why: A truck-mounted unit cleans much better than a portable unit for three reasons:

(1) It heats the water to a higher temperature. For every 18 degree increase in temperature above 118 degrees F, you double the water’s cleaning ability. So if the water temperature is 136 degrees F, it will clean twice as well as water that is 118 degrees F. 154 degree water will clean four times as well as 188 degree water. and so on, until you reach a water temperature of 250 degrees F.

(2) It shoots the cleaning solution into your carpet at higher pressures, which breaks up the dirt, bacteria, chemicals and pollens. 300 to 400 pounds per square inch is the optimum pressure for truck-mount hot water extraction.

(3) The machine uses stronger suction to draw the dirt, chemicals, bacteria, pollens and tobacco smoke residue out of your carpet.

Not surprisingly, having your carpet thoroughly cleaned with truck-mount hot water extraction costs more than renting a shampooer at the corner grocery store. Plus, store rental machines frequently have bacteria problems.

If you bought the cheapest carpeting you could find, then renting a small shampooer might be all you need. No question, it will get out some of the dirt—but the key work here is “some”. It will not get out many of the pollens, chemicals, bacteria, and dust mite residues.

On the other hand—if you want your carpet to look good and give you years of dependable service—then you need to take extra good care of it. This means you need to have it cleaned by a skilled, qualified technician at least every 12 to 18 months, depending on the amount of soiling and foot traffic it receives. And you need to have it cleaned thoroughly, as only a truck-mount hot water extractor can do.

Do You Want Clean, Healthy Carpet?

Which is more important to you: a clean carpet—or a clean and healthy carpet? Yes, I assure you, there is a big difference.

Each carpet cleaning method has advantages and disadvantages. Some methods will get out only the dirt. Other methods will get out dirt and grease. Still others will get out virtually everything. And, to be sure, some are more expensive than others.

If all you want is a cheap, rinse-the-dirt-off-the-top cleaning—which you might find for around $9.95 per room—then I respectfully ask that you call another company.

But if you want to protect your health—if you want to protect your investment in carpeting—if you want to protect your family from the countless bacteria, fungus, pollens and dust mites that reside in your carpet, then you’re invited to call me.

The truck-mounted hot water unit we use is the most effective cleaning system available today. Likewise, it’s one of the most expensive units on the market. But we bought this unit for a good reason: More and more families want the good-health benefits that come from having a fresh, clean carpet

Which Method Cleans Best?

 Dry Foam: The carpet cleaner applies shampoo to your carpet, allows it to dry, and then, without rinsing, sucks the dried shampoo into a vacuum. Can you imagine applying shampoo to your hair, allowing it to dry and then removing the shampoo from your head with a vacuum? This method leaves dirty residue in your carpet, which is one reason dry foam is not too effective.

Absorbed Pad (Bonnet Cleaning): This method is similar to dry foam, except that the company sets a large cotton bonnet on your carpet and with a floor polishing buffer machine on top “buffs” the carpet. The rotating motion causes the bonnet to absorb dirt from your carpet. This method is also called bonnet cleaning. Bonnet cleaning is like trying to use a large cotton towel or mop to rub the dirt out of your carpet. It’s not very effective.

Dry, Absorbent Powder: The dry-compound method spreads a moist, absorbent powder through the carpet. The powder is allowed to dry and then sucked into a vacuum. This method leaves dry sponge particles at the base of the carpet yarn. And because the carpet is not rinsed, this method is not very effective.

Hot Water Extraction: This is a fancy way of saying that a hot water cleaning solution under high pressure is forced into your carpet and then sucked out of your carpet.

In a recent Technical Bulletin, Shaw Industries, the world’s largest carpet manufacturer, “recommends the hot water extraction system, which research indicates provides the best capability for cleaning.”

You can choose from two different types: Truck-mount extraction, which is done with a large machine mounted in a truck or van. Or portable extraction, which is done with a small, hand-held unit.

On which type to choose, Shaw’s Technical Bulletin states: “[cleaning] can be done from a truck mounted unit outside the facility with only the hose and wand brought inside, or where a truck mounted unit cannot reach, by a portable, self-contained system brought into the facility.”

As you can see, Shaw recommends the truck mounted unit first. And this isn’t surprising. You see, the truck mounted unit cleans much better because it heats the water to a high temperature—and shoots the cleaning solution into the carpet at higher pressures. This breaks up the dirt, bacteria, chemicals and pollens in the carpet. Then the machine produces huge vacuum volume to draw the dirt and chemicals out of your carpet. This is the method my company uses.

No question, the most effective way to clean carpeting is with a hot-water unit mounted in a truck. It’s the most powerful cleaning machine on the market and the only machine that cleans your carpet of dirt, harmful bacteria, fungus, chemicals pollens and tobacco residue and dust mites.

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 completely—in the same way that the person who showers and then rinses off the dirt and soap will be much cleaner than the person who takes only a sponge bath.

WARNING: Some dry cleaning companies are now incorporating extraction. Be sure that your carpet will be thoroughly flushed with fresh water—not water with cleaning solution in it. Also make sure the temperature is sufficient to kill bacteria and that the suction is powerful enough not to leave your carpet overly damp—wimpy suction just doesn’t cut it!

4 Steps to a Fresh, Clean, Healthy Carpet

And Questions to Ask Any Cleaner Before Inviting

Them Into your Home

If you’re thinking about having your carpets cleaned, we encourage you to follow these four steps:

STEP #1: Make a commitment to yourself to get your carpets cleaned.
The longer they remain dirty, the sooner they’ll wear out. Plus the longer you have to breathe all the pollens, fungus and chemicals that hide in your carpet.

STEP #2: List your objectives.
Do you want only the dirt removed, something you could do with a rented shampooer, or do you want all the bacteria, fungus, chemicals and dust mites removed, which will require a hot water truck-mount cleaner, as we use. Do you want to work with an honest, reputable company—or are you willing to risk working with the company that offers you the lowest price—knowing that the company might no be in business tomorrow.

STEP #3: Ask questions.
The way you learn about a company is to ask specific questions and listen carefully to the answers. Here are seven tough questions to ask a carpet cleaner before he begins to clean your carpet:

1. What method of carpet cleaning do you recommend?

2. What type of equipment do you use to clean carpet?

3. What will you 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 certification certificates?

7. Are your cleaning technicians certified by the IICRC and can I see their certifications?

STEP #4: Once you’re satisfied that you’re working with an honest, competent professional, invite him into your home and ask for a specific quotation in writing.
A written quotation gives you the assurance that you know exactly what your job will cost—no surprises.

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By following these four steps, you’ll gain all the information you need to make an informed, intelligent decision. If you want a quick, cheap carpet cleaning job, many companies in the phone book can help you. Or you can rent a shampooer from the grocery store and do the job yourself.

But if you want your carpeting to be completely and healthfully cleaned—removing the bacteria, fungus, chemicals, pollens, and tobacco products—then we invite you to call us.

We’ll be happy to answer your questions—provide you a cost estimate over the telephone—or come into your home and give you a free written quotation—without cost or obligation of any kind. To reach us, call (780) 464-1063

 

OUR 100% NO-RISK GUARANTEE

We want you to be super-pleased—in fact, absolutely delighted—with every carpet and upholstery job we do. So every job comes with our iron-clad, risk-free, guarantee. What does this mean? Simply this:

If you don't feel our cleaning and service is the best you've ever seen...I will not accept your payment. Furthermore, if for any reason you are later dissatisfied, we will return to your home as quickly as possible to remedy the problem. If we still can't make you happy, I will refund your money. What could be more fair?

Many companies don’t guarantee their work—but we feel nothing is more important than your complete and total satisfaction. We stand behind every job 100%. If you ever have any questions or concerns about our work, please call us right away: Call (780) 464-1063 Thanks.

Consumer Guide Courtesy of Alpine Carpet Care

Professional Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Since 1996.
For Professional and On Time Service call us Today at 780.464.1063