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  • Writer's picture KMPC staff writer

Should I Clean My Carpet Myself or Hire a Professional?

Updated: Mar 2, 2021

How Buying Services Can Make Us Feel

We love buying goods and hate buying services. Why is that? Well, all services are temporary, and it can be hard to see and feel the value of the service you paid for when there is no material good for proof of purchase. This can leave us feeling empty handed. For Example:

-The car Mechanic that charged you plenty but your car is still making that noise.

-The massage you paid for, but the therapist glossed over your areas of concern and you did not get the relief you had hoped for.

-Or a cleaning company you hired that cut corners and did not leave your home or office “feeling” clean.

When our clients first come to us, they have often already had experience with other carpet cleaning companies. Or they have used their own cleaning machine or rented a household carpet cleaner to do it themselves. Some experiences are good, some not bad, and some downright regrettable.

Key Ingredients for Carpet Cleaning

A proper Professional Hot Water Extraction (commonly called “Steam Cleaning”) of your carpet and upholstery will leave it feeling clean and soft. It is obvious you will need to use a shampoo (pre-conditioner) to clean the soil from the carpet or upholstery but the secret to a soft, clean feel is to use a rinsing agent that can be likened to a conditioner. From an article on selecting the best household carpet cleaner: “It’s also handy to have a rinse feature on your carpet cleaner. That allows you to go over the carpet after you’ve cleaned, using just water to “polish” it for a final rinse.”

Shampoo and Conditioner; we all know what those are, and most likely because of how we clean our hair. If you are to clean your hair in the shower with shampoo, but skip the conditioner, your hair may feel dry, brittle, and rough once it dries. The same is true with carpet and upholstery cleaning.

Will the cleaning cause my carpet to re-soil faster?

This is one of the most common concerns with Professional Carpet Cleaning. If the shampoo is applied properly (at the correct dilution) and a conditioning rinse is used in conjunction with adequate extraction power the answer is an overwhelming NO! The concern that carpets will get dirtier faster after cleaning was once (and in some companies’ case still) true until the carpet cleaning industry started to understand the chemistry of cleaning on a deeper level.

To pay a service company to steam clean or “shampoo” is a step towards a cleaner home or office because the process will be removing soil. However, without a conditioning rinse the carpet and upholstery often dries with a “crunchy” feel which is uncomfortable and not desirable. The crunchy feel is caused by shampoo residue left in the fabric and will actually attract more soil because of the sticky residue causing rapid resoling. Using too much shampoo increases the need for a rinse solution to completely rinse away the shampoo residue.

A Word on Household Carpet Cleaners

Some carpet cleaning machines from Big Box Stores can clean and in fact work well. They are designed to maintain your carpet and upholstery, if they are used correctly. By far the two most common mistakes are using too much cleaning solution and water, and not adequately rinsing and extracting the soiled solution from the carpet or upholstery.

We often recommend less-is-more when it comes to the label instructions on cleaning products and always recommend a separate clear water rinse and plenty of extraction strokes to insure proper drying.

Some care and patience is needed when working with a household carpet cleaner. From the same article on selecting the best household carpet cleaners is this Frequently Asked Question.

“Q. Is there a risk of carpet damage with a carpet cleaner?

A. If you purchase a carpet cleaner with rotating brushes and have a carpet with fragile fibers, such as Olefin or PTT, the cleaner may tear or rip the carpeting. You can also damage your carpet if you use a shampoo or cleaning solution that’s too harsh. Spot test the cleaner on an inconspicuous area before using the solution all over the carpet. .”

Purchasing your own carpet cleaning machine (a consumer Good) can help you to feel the value of the product for the service that it does. The one-time purchase of the machine and occasional purchase of cleaning solution may be less than hiring a Professional Carpet Cleaning company.

But “…the most precious resource we all have is time” (Steve Jobs) and he is correct “Your time, is your most valuable asset! After all, ‘time’ is the only resource you can’t buy more of!” (Steve Toburen, Director of Training for Jon-Don's Partners for Success™)

This is exactly why Services are available to us as consumers. To purchase a specialized service is to free up your time to do the things your really want to do. From an NPR article a few year back, “A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that when people spend money on time-saving services such as a house cleaner, lawn care or grocery delivery, it can make them feel a little happier. By comparison, money spent on material purchases — aka things — does not boost positive emotions the way we might expect.” “

A Word On Professional Services

An IICRC Certified Firm will have the knowledge and equipment to safely clean your carpet and upholstery. Certified Technicians understand cleaning chemistry and carpet construction. Few things add value to your life like increasing the cleanliness of your home or office. A Professional Cleaning Service would have an advantage over a household cleaner in these areas:

- Proper Personal Protective Equipment

- Carpet and Rug Institute and IICRC approved products

- Knowledge of cleaning chemistry and fiber identification

- Powerful extraction capability far greater than any rental or household cleaning machine

- Faster Dry Time

- Most of all the experience and equipment to get the job done right and in a timely manner

If a Professional Company can clean your home in 2 hours on a Friday morning have it dry by the time you come home from work and the same job would take you 4 hours on a Saturday morning, would you consider the cost of hiring a professional?

“Think of it as a way to buy back what has become for many Americans a scarce resource: free time.” “

In Conclusion: Is It Clean?

Something can look clean and not be. Truly clean carpet and upholstery looks great, feels wonderful, smells clean and fresh, and creates a healthier environment. On the other hand, carpet and upholstery that have soil build up looks bad, feels grimy, smells dirty and not very fresh, not to mention how unhealthy it is.

A Certified Professional Cleaner will not only clean with “shampoo” but also rinse with a “conditioner” to leave the fabric residue free. This will leave your carpet and upholstery feeling SOFT and CLEAN and you will feel good about your purchase of the cleaning service because the feeling is tangible. It is easy to find value when the service is done correctly and that “just cleaned” feeling will last longer increasing the value of your dollars spent.

IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) is the governing body of the Professional Cleaning Industry. You can look for a certified firm in your area here:

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