How To: Choose a Carpet Cleaning Company!
Why: Do Your Carpets Ripple?
How To: Repair holes and tears!
Advice: For Pet Odors and Stain Problems!
Education for Consumers:
Hello. Phil Dreessen here, thanking you for giving me this opportunity to provide you with this informative guide about carpet care and tips on selecting a carpet cleaning company.
As many of you know, I am the owner of A Personal Touch Carpet Cleaning Services and have been in the carpet care business for over 28 years. In that time I’ve seen a lot of confusion and misconceptions surrounding the processes involved with carpet care. In response I decided to put together this booklet to help guide you in protecting your investment. My hope is that you will feel confident and well-armed with an arsenal of knowledge assisting you in making intelligent and informed decisions with regards to caring for your carpet and other household fabrics.
Inside this booklet, not only will I share with you six costly misconceptions about carpet cleaning but will also offer a few solutions. I have also included some very important questions you will want to ask any potential carpet cleaning company before inviting them into your home.
If you still have questions, concerns or would like to know more please feel free to contact us at A Personal Touch Carpet Cleaning Services anytime. We are happy to speak with you and will do anything we can to help.
Other Available Publications:
How To Care for Your Carpet How To Select A Professional Carpet Cleaning Company Guide to Carpet Repair & Re-stretching Common Carpet Care Tips and Remedy’s How To Care for Your Stone and Tile How To Improve Your Indoor Air Quality Carpet Purchasing Guide Guide to Carpet & Pet Emergencies Unwanted Guests: A Guide to Common Pest Removal A Personal Touch’s Monthly Newsletter
Costly Carpet Care Misconceptions
1. You should wait as long as possible before cleaning your carpet. False! Dirt is an abrasive like pumice stones or sandpaper. Every time dirt is moved on your carpet, such as when you walk or when the dog rolls around, dirt is ground into the fibers of your carpet cutting them just as if you were using a knife. This damage causes your carpet to wear out faster so the cleaner the carpet, the longer lasting it will be. Vacuuming regularly and with the right equipment will help but it is not enough on its own. The more time between cleanings, the more dirt gets ground in and the more irreversible damage is done to your carpet and the sooner it needs to be replaced.
2. The only benefit or reason for carpet cleaning is to remove dirt. False! Air can contain fungi, bacteria, pollen, particulates, smoke, exhaust and hundreds of chemicals in addition to the oxygen we require. Most of those particles and chemicals find their way into your home, onto your carpet and other household fabrics. Cleaning your carpets regularly can help reduce symptoms from breathing problems such as allergies, asthma and emphysema.
3. All methods of carpet cleaning are the same. False! You can choose from the two main methods of carpet cleaning which are dry cleaning and hot water extraction. Many people believe that dry cleaning your carpet is like dry cleaning your clothes, this is not correct. There are three common methods of dry cleaning carpets. When a carpet cleaner uses dry foam he applies shampoo to your carpet, lets it dry and is then removes it via a vacuum. This method can leave a residue on your carpet which can attract dirt and require cleaning more frequently. Can you imagine applying shampoo to your hair and removing it from your head with a vacuum after it’s dry?
The dry chemical method is similar to the dry foam method with a few key differences. With this method a large cotton bonnet is placed on your carpet and absorbs the dirt as it spins from side to side. Once the bonnet is saturated with dirt, another bonnet is used. This method is similar to using a large towel to rub the dirt out of your carpet. The dry compound method uses a mixture of compounds resembling wet sawdust that absorbs the dirt after it is spread and brushed into your carpet.
When the compound dries it is removed via a vacuum and can be left behind depending on the power of the suction. This can not only add to the particulates in your carpet, but can also act as an abrasive causing additional damage. Hot water extraction, or as it is more commonly known, steam cleaning though no steam is used. There are two types of hot water extraction, portable or truck mounted. The portable method uses a small machine that can be brought in to difficult places such as high rise buildings. Portable machines do not have the levels of temperature, suction and pressure that truck mounted units can reach and therefore are not quite as effective.
Truck mounted units use a cleaning solution that is lightly sprayed onto your carpet and then removed using water at temperatures over 150 degrees Fahrenheit and with 450 pounds per square inch of pressure. The water is infused with a light rinsing agent and then removed with 12 inches of vacuum suction. This combination of light cleaning solution, high heat, high pressure and heavy duty suction allows for the carpet to receive a deep clean while removing the excess water and leaving no residue on your carpet.
Some people believe that hot water damages your carpet but this is simply not true. Hot water extraction is the method recommended by Shaw Industries, the world’s largest carpet manufacturer. By washing and then rinsing your carpet with hot water we clean your carpet completely. The difference is similar to the level of cleanliness a person who showers receives versus a person who takes only a sponge bath.
4. Equipment is the key to cleaning carpets. False! While this is an important factor without proper training and education the equipment cannot be utilized effectively. This is similar to someone buying the top of the line smart phone or computer but not being able to “figure it out” to get the best use out of it. Selecting your carpet cleaner is imperative to getting the job done right. See our section on carpet cleaning company selection.
5. Hiring the company with the lowest price is best. Maybe, but not always! Before you decide, consider this:
The price you are offered may not be for the services you want or need to have performed. Before you select a company you’ll need to decide what you want to accomplish. If you want the carpet cleaner to simply remove some of the dirt, then you can choose from a slew of carpet cleaners or even rent a machine at the local grocery store. But, if you want a deep clean that will also kill unwanted chemicals, pollen, bacteria, viruses, pests and their eggs then you do want a company with truck mounted hot water extraction.
The price they quote and advertise may not be what you’ll end up paying! Many people have been caught by “bait and switch” tactics, misleading advertising or high pressure in home sales pitches of a lot of discount companies. Don’t let this become your nightmare! A lot of companies will quote a basic price that does not include the entire job or everything you may want. Some items are “a la carte” or added extras. Be sure the person giving the quote understands your desired result and all it entails such as moving furniture, scotch guarding the fabrics, removing particularly tough stains, disinfection and deodorizing. Also be sure to get the quote in writing, with everything you want documented.
6. An honest company will give you an exact price quote over the phone. False! We do wish that it could be done but there are a lot of factors that can change the price, depending on what company you go with. Most reputable companies will charge by the square foot as room sizes vary from house to house. Once the carpet cleaner knows if and which pieces of furniture you want moved, then an accurate measurement of the area to be cleaned can be made. Whether you have the entire room cleaned, or just the main traffic areas you are only being charged for what is actually being cleaned.
This can seem daunting as most people do not want to have to break out the measuring tape and calculator to get square footage. If you want to get a “ball park” estimate on your square footage, please remember that while your house may be 2,000 square feet the amount of carpeting to be cleaned might only be 1,200 square feet. This difference is not only due to the indoor rooms without carpet, but most home measurements are actually outdoor measurements. They do not take into account the thickness of walls, support beams, room dividers and the like.
Even if you do have the exact square footage of carpeted area you desire to have cleaned, there are other factors to consider such as the type of carpet, the amount of soiling or difficult stains. Every home is different and sometimes even the same home can have different measurements depending on furniture placing or other changes. A good company will offer an in home written estimate with no cost or obligation to you.
A. Make a commitment to yourself to get your carpets cleaned.
The longer they stay dirty, the sooner they will wear out and need to be replaced. You’ll also be breathing in the pollen, fungi, chemicals and mites that live in your carpet.
B. Know what services and company you want.
Do you want only the dirt removed? Do you want the bacteria, viruses, fungi, pollens, pests and their eggs removed and killed? Do you want all the furniture moved? Do you want an upstanding company that does it right the first time, or a discount company with the lowest initial price?
C. Ask questions and be specific.
Remember when you whole heartedly believed that there is no harm in asking. There isn’t and the more you know, the better you are at selecting the right carpet cleaning company for you. Here are some suggested questions for any company you’re screening for carpet care. For a more complete guide to selecting the right carpet cleaning company for you, please see our free guide “How To Select A Professional Carpet Cleaning Company”.
1. What method of carpet cleaning do you recommend and why?
2. What type of equipment do you use to clean carpet? How hot does the water get? What is the suction power (psi)?
3. What does your equipment remove from my carpet?
4. What kind of chemicals do you use? How much? Will they be removed from my carpet when you’re finished? Is it safe for my child, pet or allergies?
5. How often should I get my carpets cleaned?
6. What training have you had in cleaning carpets?
7. Are you a member of the Better Business Bureau?
8. Are you certified by the IICRC?
9. Do you guarantee your work?
D. Get a firm quote in writing.
Once you’re satisfied that you’re working with an honest, competent professional invite them into your home for a specific, detailed quote in writing. A written quote gives you peace of mind that not only is the price there in black and white, but that your specific needs are being met with no surprises.
By following these recommendations you will gain all the information you need to make an informed, intelligent decision regarding your carpet care needs. If you want a quick, cheap carpet cleaning job there are many discount companies out there to help you.
If you want your investment deeply and fully cleaned and sanitized then I invite you to call me. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have, provide you any of our other guides, or come out to your home for a free in home estimate with no obligation to you.
Carpet Repair & Re-stretching
Over the last 8 to 10 years the basic construction of carpet backing has changed dramatically. It used to be a woven mesh consisting of jute (rope). Only expensive, special order carpets are made with jute backing now. Jute is a very stable fiber that would only get loose or ripples after the carpet pad underneath had deteriorated and allowed the carpet to sag. It would also usually shrink with excessive heat and humidity. A flooded room could shrink up to 6 inches in length after drying.
Today’s carpet backing consists of a rope type plastic mesh and glued together with latex glue. Well, plastic and latex will relax with heat and humidity causing the carpet to ripple like ocean waves. Since it is more pliable, installers will usually just use a knee-kicker to install the carpet. It is faster and they can get it tight enough to give you a year warranty. They also do not let the carpet warm up and get to room temperature, which usually takes 10-12 hours, before they start stretching the carpet into place.
Now 3 years later, ripples are beginning to appear in doorways, halls and larger rooms. Installers should put all the seams in doorways and then stretch away from the seams to outside walls using a power-stretcher. The power-stretcher has a long handle that uses hydraulic force to stretch the carpet to “drum tight”. This gets the whole room evenly tight because it’s not dependent upon the physical strength of the installer. “Drum tight” means that when you lift up the carpet in the middle of the room, you could be lift it up an inch – let go of it – and it’ll snap back down into place. If you can lift the carpet up 2 or 3 inches and it takes a long time to lay back down, your carpet is too loose and ripples will soon appear if they have not already.
If the ripples are left to grow over 3 to 5 years, they will begin to lay over on themselves which will cause the backing to separate and de-laminate which will cause permanent ripple because the top layer will be separated from the bottom (stable) layer and will always be loose and disintegrate over time. So, don’t let the ripples get too big or go too long over time.
Pitfalls on carpet repair & re-stretching
Be aware of those who say that the knee kicker is all you need to install or re-stretch carpet. It’s like putting a bandage on a 6 inch gash head wound. It may slow the bleeding down, but it will not fix it. Make sure the company ONLY uses a power stretcher for new installations, warranty work and re-stretching.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Does the room need to be empty? Not necessarily. Just small things and breakables need to be removed. Sometimes this means the china or figurines in hutches. I’ve got skidders to put under couches, dressers, beds and other heavy furniture in order to move them out of the room or to one side, then the other. I usually need to be able to lift up the carpet on 3 of the 4 edges of the room so that the whole carpet can move.
2. How often does a carpet need to be stretched?
With using the power stretcher to get the carpet drum tight, that should keep the carpet tight for the rest of its life (10+ years).
3. What does it cost?
Since the whole room needs to be stretched, we will measure the whole area or areas and charge between 50 to 60 cents per square foot. Empty homes range from 30 to 40 cents a square foot.
4. If the ripple is in the doorway, why does the whole room need to be stretched?
The seam is in the doorway and you should always stretch away from a seam because it is extremely hard to open up a seam, trim the excess off and put it back together without some part of the seam being noticeable. Also, the carpet is one big piece of carpet, so if it’s loose in the doorway, it will be loose in the middle of the room also.
Patching a hole, burn, tear or a stain is extremely hard to do without looking like a patch. The reason is that the donor piece of carpet is brand new or from a closet and is not faded or worn to some degree. Therefore, the color and texture will be a little, or a lot, different depending on the area where the patch is needed. Most of the time the patch is still better than the hole or the burn in the carpet.
Another common repair is putting in tack strip and stretching the carpet to newly installed tile floor or hardwood floor, or around new toilets.
Pet Stain and Odor Removal
“We’ll get rid of your troublesome pet stains and odors for good!” – Phil Dreessen, Owner
Pets are wonderful… of that there can be no doubt. The unconditional love pets give their owners has enduring value. The thought of going through life without one’s prize pet(s) seems unbearable.
The benefits of pet ownership are slightly offset by the sometimes erratic behaviors and traits of individual pets. You have to take the good with the bad.
Pets do, however, leave their mark…
1. FUR: Animal dander and hair shedding are allergens that contribute to asthmatic symptoms for many people. Pieces of pet hair firmly embed in carpets, rugs, furniture and even draperies. It’s virtually impossible to remove it all, but professional cleaning is recommended frequently to control the fur problem.
2. OILS! Pets secrete oils from their fur and feet that leave a residue on your carpets and flooring surfaces. This oily residue also penetrates deep into upholstered furniture, contributing to the accumulation of smelly, hard to clean soil deposits.
3. SMELLY ODORS! Many pet owners do not realize that their home has an odor problem because their sense of smell becomes acclimated to the malodors over time. Guests can tell immediately if you have a pet unless you’ve been very diligent with cleaning. That’s where we come in!
The oils from fur have a distinctive odor. Have you ever gone into someone’s home that smells like “dog” or “cat”? All pets secrete an oily residue that gets on your furnishings.
Some animals literally use carpets as a toilet. It’s unpleasant to think about it, but it’s true. Most very young and old animals have “accidents”. The trouble is, for every time you know they defecate or urinate on the carpet, they probably are going 2-3 times! Urine is a menace to your furnishings because it destroys fibers and resists cleaning processes because of a waxy, sticky residue that is left after the moisture evaporates.
In many instances, the carpet is soaked with urine clear through to the back and the pad. This is where the majority of the contamination issues cause problems because it’s impossible to remove the deeply embedded deposits from the surface without professional help.
We’ve even seen cases where a pet has wiped and dragged its butt across the carpet, leaving a trail of fecal residue. It’s very gross, but not keeping the carpet clean is even worse!
Litter boxes are the source of strong odors. They must be changed frequently or the odor from feces and urine can be overpowering.
Pet odor and stain problem resolution:
Option 1: Either get rid of the pet or don’t own one to start with. NOT an option! Can you imagine not sharing your life with your pet? Of course not!
Option 2: Evaluate the Conditions. You can’t solve your pet stain problems without knowing the scope of the damage. You need a qualified professional to help you with this.
We offer an evaluation service for free. We use special urine detection equipment to locate spots and ascertain how severe the damage is. We’ll tell you what we find and offer you a number of options to remedy the situation.
To solve urine problems effectively, each and every spot must be identified and cleaned properly.
Your options for pet stain and odor removal:
A. Light to moderate deposits:
Surface cleaning: For light to moderate urine contamination where the backing and padding has not been saturated, a surface cleaning process is acceptable.
Using our “Pet Spotter” option, we pre-spray all the spots and stains with special urine pre-conditioner to dissolve the urine solids. This is a good surface treatment for 50-60% success rate.
Because pets track their urine messes onto other areas of the carpets, we think that it’s a good idea to disinfect the whole carpet.
We also have bottles of “Pet Spotter” to purchase for your future accidents. Visit our website and click on the Home Pro house or call us for available sizes.
B. Moderate to Heavy Contamination:
Once the carpet and pad are contaminated with urine, you have three options
1. Sub-surface extraction: 80-90% successful
From the top side of the carpet we pour a special cleaning solution on the urine spots, liquefying the urine deposits deep into the padding and backing.
Next we utilize a powerful deep-extraction tool to remove the cleaning products and urine deposits. Finally, we clean and sanitize the rest of the carpets as usual.
2. Guaranteed Odor Removal: 99% successful
Pull up the carpet and replace the contaminated padding.
Seal the floor and clean the back side of the carpet.
Seal the tuft bind (back side) to seal out any remaining residue (encapsulation).
Next, we clean the top side and deodorize, followed by reinstallation.
3. Replacement: 100% successful
If replacement is your choice, you must thoroughly clean the sub-floor and disinfect/seal it properly. We perform this service and we also recommend a reputable floor covering company to purchase and install new carpet. Cost varies depending on carpet and installation circumstances.
Try doing it yourself?
Cleaning up pet accidents is no fun. It’s advised to call a professional such as A Personal Touch to deal with pet accidents. It’s better to use paper towels to absorb and scoop up the solids with a spoon… as much as possible then call us for further advice. Call (720) 344-2870 for a free quote.
As in all businesses and professions the carpet cleaning industry has its share of “bad apples”. I take no pleasure in telling you this but some are unethical and sadly, a few are dishonest. By their misleading advertising and false promises they cast a shadow on our entire industry and cause many consumers to be skeptical about carpet cleaning companies. Before I got into the business 28 years ago, I was too. There are some companies out there, professionals like me who work hard to earn your trust and respect.
“We don’t cut corners, we clean them!” I guarantee every carpet 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 satisfied we’ll give you a refund. If your carpet needs re-stretching we guarantee it will stay flat for as long as you live there.
Not only do we stand behind our work at A Personal Touch Carpet Cleaning Services, we also are passionate about educating you, our customers, about caring for your carpet. After all, it’s one of the largest surfaces in your home and quite an investment. The only way you can make an intelligent decision is to be armed with knowledge and facts. This is why we have many guides available to you at no cost on how to protect your investments. If your carpet has developed some ripples I can share with you why your carpet is doing this and what it will take to make it like new again.
On behalf of A Personal Touch Carpet Cleaning Services, thank you for taking the time to read and consider this consumer awareness message. I hope it has been helpful. Please contact us anytime to receive one of our guides, for tips on carpet maintenance or if you would like to schedule a free, in home evaluation and estimate. We are always happy to help.