Carpet Cleaning Myths
Dirt is an abrasive, like sandpaper, scratching and dulling your carpet. Remember the feeling of sand between your toes as you
walk along a beach? Its like that every time you step on your carpet, you grind dirt into the carpet, grinding your expensive yarns
down into those worthless fibers that fill up your vacuum bag. A dirty carpet will not last as long as a clean carpet and every
moment you wait, your carpet wears out faster!
And while vacuuming helps, by itself, it’s simply not enough. The dirt causes micro-occlusions or microscopic scratches on the
carpet fibers. Dirt will stick to these scratches and will not vacuum off. The longer you wait to have your carpet cleaned, the more
damage you do to your carpet, the faster it wears out, the more money you spend replacing carpet.
Oily residues from the street and air are bonding to the carpet. They are brought in from your shoes, or from sweaty feet, or from
the kitchen. Slightly sticky, they grab dirt and lock it on. Soils bond with the carpet through a process called “oxidation” causing color change, and it becomes permanently attached. If you wait too long, you are throwing away the key to unlocking dirt and oil
form traffic lanes. Clean before traffic lanes show up! The longer you wait between cleaning the more soiling becomes permanent.
MISCONCEPTION #1A: You should wait as long as possible before having your carpets cleaned for the FIRST TIME!
Because of poor technicians and carpet cleaning methods this myth has been propagated (described in Misconception #6). Proper
carpet steam cleaning will remove soils and pollutants without removing any finish from a carpet, even a 5th generation carpet. The
carpet will not re-soil faster nor will spots reappear sooner. It will in fact last longer, look better, feel softer and smell fresher.
If you waited 2 years or more before cleaning your new carpet it may indeed soil faster if you choose not to reapply carpet protection
Carpet protectors wear off after 6 months to a year just as polish wears off a car. So after the carpet is cleaned, you have clean,
unprotected carpet, which will re-soil faster than protected carpet. It is recommended that protection be re-applied to any carpet
worth cleaning to help preserve it.
By cleaning your carpet more frequently, i.e. On a maintenance plan, you will increase the life span of your carpet and save
Clean your carpet for hygienic rather than for appearance.
It will be healthier and you will never see a soil build up or a traffic lane. Excessive wear occurs when the carpet reaches the
“Unacceptable Appearance Level”. It begins to wear faster, looks dirtier more often, and will need replacement sooner. You will
save money in the long run by hiring a professional cleaner more frequently.
You can Pay NOW, or pay LATER!
It usually costs more if paid later!
Misconception #2: The only reason to clean carpets is to remove the dirt.
No. As you probably know, outdoor air contains pollen, fungus, bacteria, air pollution, cigarette smoke, car exhaust and hundreds
of other chemicals. When you, your family members or friends come into your home, they carry those pollens, bacteria and
chemicals in their hair and on their skin, clothing and shoes. Not surprisingly, all those chemicals and toxins wind up; you guessed
it, in your carpet.
How long you would go before washing your underwear?
How often do you wash your kitchen floor? You clean these because of
hygienic, not just because they might “look” dirty. If you wash your kitchen floor once a week, it just makes sense to wash your
carpet once or twice a year. Clean your carpet for hygienic reasons instead of for appearance.
Is the air starting to smell stale and your allergies are acting up? If you have allergies, asthma, emphysema, or other breathing
problems, one major source of your problem could he the pollen, fungus, smoke and chemicals in your carpet. Pollutants in the air
are filtered through your carpet. The carpet traps them so you don’t breathe them over and over. But what happens when that trap
gets full? Your family starts breathing dust mite debris, pollen, pollutants, fungus, spores, bacteria and a long list of other really
Tearing out the carpet is not the answer! The American EPA found that homes with carpet are healthier, as long as they are
cleaned frequently. This is because of your carpets natural filtering ability, which traps that entire gunk, so your family doesn’t
breathe it over and over. Once your carpets natural filtering ability is full it’s time for a thorough cleaning for your health’s sake.
In addition, as you may know, tobacco smoke contains over 4000 different chemical compounds, 43 of which cause cancer. And
even if you don’t smoke, those chemicals get on your shoes and clothes, you track them into your home and you leave them in your
carpet. If you are sensitive to cigarette smoke, you might find that you’ll breathe easier after you hire a company to get those
harmful chemicals out of your carpet.
So another important reason to clean your carpet, in addition to getting rid of the dirt, is to get rid of pollens, fungus, bacteria,
residues from tobacco smoke and other pollutants.
Misconception #3: One method of carpet cleaning is as good as another.
One method of carpet cleaning is as good as another.
No. The dry cleaning methods, which are dry foam, dry chemical, and dry compound, are great for in-between or interim cleanings
or if the carpet needs to dry immediately, however, they do not rinse your carpet in any way, leaving soil and cleaning residue in the
carpet. 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 or 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
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.
Truck-mounted steam cleaning units will remove ALL the soil from the carpet.
To the contrary of many cleaner’s boasting, No they will not. Only 20% of the soil trapped by a carpet is actually stuck to the fibers
and requires a specialized cleaning method, like steam cleaning, to remove it. The other 80% is loose soil and needs to be removed
by dry vacuuming. This why the “STANDARD for CARPET CLEANING”, written by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, Restoration
Certification (IICRC) states that:
‘per vacuuming is the first step in any cleaning method.’
If proper pr- vacuuming is not done the loose soil and hairs will stick to the carpet when they get wet and the fine soil, at the
bottom of the carpet, will just turn to mud.
Its like having sand or hair in your hand. When its wet it sticks like glue. When it is dry, however, it blows off cleanly.
Wick happens as the fine soil, now mud, gets pulled with the water up the carpet fibers as the carpet dries. The soil that was
hidden now becomes visible and the carpet may look worse after cleaning. This is a common problem for cleaners who don’t pre-
vacuum or who rely on the customer’s inefficient machine. It is for this reason that I insist on pr- vacuuming the carpet myself with
the best dry vacuum system available.
Many people use the dry methods to avoid the wicking problem, But if the carpet isn’t thoroughly vacuumed before a dry method is
performed the results still won’t be any better. In fact, if the carpets do look okay after cleaning, all they’ve succeeded in doing is to
giving you the illusion of a clean carpet. All that soil still remains, grinding away at the carpet.
What to look for in a Good Vacuum.
“A top-fill upright vacuum with brush agitation, or a canister vacuum with a “power head” incorporating a brush agitation should be
selected and used with routine frequency.” It should have a high efficiency filtering system or bag to keep dust from being
recirculated and contributing to indoor air pollution. (STANDARD for CARPET CLEANING)
Bags should be emptied when they are HALF FULL so the vacuum can operate at peak efficiency. When the bag is half full it loses
30% to 40% of its airflow and just won’t pick up any more soil, even though you think it is. When choosing a vacuum, don’t be
sucked in by a fancy name or a low or high price. You get what you pay for But some salesman mark the price up so you think
you’re getting a great deal when they give you a discount. If you need a new vacuum I’ll be happy to give you more advice.
Misconception #5: The company that offers the lowest price is the company you should hire.
This may be true… But not often. Here are two important points to consider:
1) The price you see offered might not be for the services you want performed. You need to decide what you want to accomplish
before you choose a company. If all you need is for a company to remove only the top dirt from your carpet, there are plenty of
companies willing to take your money, or you could rent a machine and do it yourself.
But should you want deep soil as well as the bacteria, fungus, pollens, dust mites and tobacco residues removed, then you need to
hire a company that is fully trained, takes the time to pre-vacuum, and properly equipped with a truck mounted steam cleaning unit.
This is the only way to assure that your carpet remains healthy and free from dirt, disease-causing bacteria, and hurtful chemicals.
You won’t get the lowest price But what you will get is the best value for your hard earned dollar, saving you time and money long
Remember, you get what you pay for.
(2) The price you see advertised might not be the price you pay. Many homeowners have learned the hard way 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 extras. Some carpet cleaners even break the law by using illegal bait and switch tactics.
A company can offer you THREE things:
1) Best Service
2) Best Quality
3) Best Price
But they can only offer TWO at the same time!
Misconception #6: Hot water damages your carpet and it will get dirtier faster if it is steam cleaned.
This isn’t true. The truth is you could steam clean your carpet once a week without damage. People get this misconception
because of bad technicians and improper cleaning methods
a) Some technicians still use the ONE STEP method. They just start steam cleaning the carpet without prepping it, cleaning
with ONE solution only. The cleaning solution, usually a very strong cleaner, is also the rinse solution. This tends to leave a soapy
residue on the carpet, which attracts more soil. As well, it is usually too strong and removes soil resistors from 5th generation
carpets. This is why some people would never clean their carpet because they thought that steam cleaning would remove the
finish from the carpet and it would soil faster.
Bare not Some technicians move too fast or don’t use any soap at all. They are trained to sell rather than clean so if they are
not’t able to get any extra money from you for extras and add ons, they cut corners, not completely cleaning the carpet. Soiling and
spots reappear sooner.
Steam Cleaning requires a well trained technician. Like a violin played properly, it will render the most beautiful music the ear can
hear. If played improperly, well, where are the earplugs! If a tech “screws up” with a dry method the worst that happens is the
carpet Is not’t cleaned. Improper steam cleaning can and has Left A Soggy Wet Mess, physically damaging the carpet. This is
where the bad rep comes from. We have the best carpet cleaning service in Michigan.