Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it best to put off cleaning your carpets as long as possible?
No. In fact, many of the major carpet mills today recommend professional cleaning at least once per year. Foot traffic on the buildup of soil and dirt particles in your carpet create abrasion that breaks down your carpet’s fibers. The higher the traffic in a given area, the more often the carpet will need professional cleaning.

Why should I clean my carpet?
Bio contaminants, volatile organic compounds, combustion products, asbestos, dust mites, chemical contamination, outdoor pollutants, pesticides, allergens, grease and oil deposits, sand, soil, food particles, bacteria, and a host of other really gross stuff will make its way into your carpet. Quite simply, your carpet acts like a filter. It collects and traps these contaminants within your carpet, which in turn cleans the air you breathe and allows you to live a healthier life.

But like any other filter, your carpet needs to be cleaned on a regular basis, or it will lose its filtering ability. If these contaminants are in your home, they could be contributing to your family’s health and allergy problems. Dr. Michael Berry, Deputy Director of the Environmental Criteria and Assessment Office of the Environmental Protection Agency stated, “Based on what I have learned from researchers working in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe, I have reached the conclusion that carpeting and fabrics that are not properly cleaned and maintained have the potential to cause a variety of health problems inside the building and home environment.”

Perhaps the biggest reason to have carpet cleaners clean your carpet professionally is to increase the life of your carpeting.

How often should a carpet be cleaned?
Every home is different and the frequency of cleaning will vary from one household to another, depending upon the number of occupants and the level of usage. But at a minimum, an average home with two adults should have the carpets professionally cleaned every year. People with more traffic (pets, children, multiple house guests, etc…) will need them cleaned more often. The fact is the best thing you can do for your carpets is to have them regularly cleaned by a qualified professional carpet cleaning company. This investment in cleaning will not only make your carpet last many years longer, it will also lead to a healthier indoor environment.

In a home, the carpet acts like a large air-filter absorbing odor, dust, oil, and spills. Like an air-filter, as the carpet gets more saturated it becomes less capable of filtering, and holds onto debris. The more this soil and dust gets trampled into your carpet, the more and more difficult it becomes to restore it to a “like new” appearance. It is the buildup of this dirt and soil that promotes wear to your carpet far more than foot traffic. Foot traffic grinds the soil against the carpet fibers and causes this sandpaper effect that will cause the fibers to dull and become warn looking.

Does my carpet get dirtier quicker after I clean it?
If your professional carpet cleaner does their job correctly, this is not true. You cannot clean a carpet too often; in fact, not getting your carpet cleaned is much worse. Periodic cleaning will extend the life of your carpet, while helping to keep your home healthier.

Are there Standards to the Cleaning Process?
In 1992, representatives from the carpet manufacturing industry, the carpet cleaning industry, and the federal government set a common set of standards for the carpet cleaning industry. These standards are now referred to as the Soo1-92 standards. It was agreed that each of these cleaning processes should include these common steps:

  • Pre-Vacuum
  • Pre-treat spots, stains and heavily soiled areas
  • Hot Water Extraction
  • A thorough rinse
  • Furniture Moving
  • Complete Drying within 24 hoursCleaning your carpet in accordance to these industry standards will help assure that you’ll get a quality cleaning job.

Is it better to have your carpet steam cleaned or chemically dry cleaned?
Various methods of cleaning have different functions, both in interim maintenance and restorative cleaning.

According to a survey conducted by Cleanfax, a cleaning industry magazine, some 88.6% of the professional carpet cleaners are using hot water (steam) extraction as their primary cleaning method. Dry foam cleaning was used by 1.5% of the professionals surveyed. Both Shaw Industries and Mohawk, who together manufacture over two thirds of the world’s carpet, recommend hot water or steam extraction cleaning.

Steam cleaning is both a surface cleaner and a deep penetrating cleaner. It can remove surface stains and also deep clean down into the carpet pad where bacteria and other stains can linger. Definitely ask both carpet cleaning professionals for the advantages and disadvantages of these methods.

Will steam cleaning my carpets get the padding or sub-floor wet, causing mold, mildew, or damage to the carpeting?
Not if done properly. Steam cleaning is the safest and best cleaning method available today. Also, it’s the system which is most consistently recommended by manufacturers of residential carpet. The amount of water and steam put in the carpeting is minimal and dries very quickly. Rental equipment, however, is sometimes known for causing over-wetting issues.

Does steam cleaning affect stain resistance of STAINMASTER® carpet?
No. Tests indicate steam cleaning does not affect the stain resistance performance of STAINMASTER®. STAINMASTER® texture retention warranties require steam cleaning or hot water extraction at least every 18-24 months.

Is there truly a difference in what type of carpet you clean?
There is definitely a difference in what type of carpeting is being cleaned and what level of dirt can be extracted. Berber carpets tend to clean very well but normally have reappearing stains in the next few days after they are cleaned. Also, the frieze type of carpet can hold moisture so it must be cleaned at a lower psi and done over more frequently or have an air mover readily available to dry after it has been completely cleaned.

How long does the carpet cleaning process take?
It generally depends on many factors such as the amount of soil, how much furniture needs to be moved, specialty spotting procedures, setup time, and the size of the house. Most homes can have their carpets cleaned in several hours.

How soon can I walk on the carpeting?
Try to keep pet, children, and heavy traffic off the clean carpet during the drying process. Wait 24 hours before removing styrofoam blocks or protective tabs that have placed under the furniture to protect the carpet. Some carpets may feel slightly damp for up to 18-24 hours depending on the carpet and soil conditions. This is normal and will not cause any problems. Carpet will be safe to walk on in 3 to 4 hours.

What is the best way to prepare my carpet for a professional cleaning?
The best thing to do to prepare your carpet for the cleaners is to have as much furniture removed off the carpeting as possible and vacuuming it beforehand. Most carpet cleaners do that as part of their service, but always ask beforehand.

Do I have to move furniture?
Most companies include moving the majority of furniture in the main living area without charging extra for this service. All furniture that is moved should be returned to its original position. Fish tanks, waterbeds, loaded china cabinets, entertainment systems, pianos, large beds, dressers, and delicate or fragile furnishings are sometimes left in place for liability reasons. It is always appreciated if you remove the small items and breakables from the carpet cleaning area. It is best to check with your carpet cleaning professional beforehand to determine what furniture will be moved.

Can indentations from heavy furniture be fixed?
No guarantee can be made on removing indentations from heavy furniture. In addition to the pile of the carpet being crushed, the backing of the carpet is indented. Heat, moisture, and hand grooming with our equipment may help, but it will take time to release back to normal, if that’s possible. Severe cases may be permanent.

I am highly sensitive to odors. Will the cleaning have a smell afterward?
The truck-mounted steam carpet cleaning system is so powerful that it will leave the carpet smelling like almost nothing at all. If you desire, some carpet cleaners apply a mild topical deodorizer post-cleaning to address odor issues with your carpet.

How safe are your cleaning and protection methods for children and pets?
Most carpet cleaners use only the safest, most effective technology to assure not only your satisfaction, but your safety as well. They should not use any harsh chemicals nor leave any irritant residues.

How can I get rid of “new carpet odor?”
New carpet odor comes from a reaction between styrene and butadiene, the components of synthetic latex or styrene-butadiene latex (SBL). There is no natural latex used in carpet today; therefore, there are none of the latex proteins that cause allergic reactions in sensitive people, as might be the case with latex gloves.

Much of the discomfort that people experience during and immediately after new carpet installation is directly related to aerosolized dusts and biological fragments (bio-aerosols) that are rendered airborne when the carpet is “ripped out.” Positive ventilation helps a good deal here as well.

Can I get the pet odor out of my carpet?
Pet odor is a very common problem that could be much more complex than on first impression. Most consumers without specialized chemicals and extraction equipment may not be able to completely remove pet urine from wall-to-wall carpet or area rugs, because many products only provide temporary relief.

Professional residential carpeting cleaners have enzyme deodorants or powerful oxidizing agents that digest or destroy odor-causing protein and/or bacteria that are the source of urine odor. More importantly, they have efficient extraction cleaning equipment that is able to flush suspended or dissolved residues from the carpet to leave it residue and odor-free.

However, sometimes the odor is from pet urine which can easily soak through the backing of the carpet into the padding underneath. In more severe cases, the urine can penetrate into the sub-floor beneath the padding. This creates a problem that is multi-layered. To eliminate this problem, the urine must be removed or neutralized from each of the layers affected. If the contamination is limited to only the face yarn of the carpet then the cleaning itself may effectively remove the odor. In more severe cases a urine neutralizer may be applied. In the most severe cases, replacement of the carpet padding, treatment of the under-side of the carpet and the sub-floor may be required. Even replacement of the carpet, however, can not guarantee complete removal of the odor.

Remember that if the animal still resides in the house, he or she will almost inevitably re-mark his or her territory, thereby causing the odor to return.

Will steam cleaning clean the backing/padding of my carpet of containments and urine?
No carpet cleaning system will clean the backing or padding of carpet. If you have containments that need to be removed from under the carpet (urine, large spills, etc…), the residential carpet cleaner can actually uninstall the carpet and treat the problems directly. These are the only ways to fix backing/padding issues.

Can all stains be removed?
That is the million dollar question and the difference between a happy customer and a dissatisfied one. Of course there are permanent stains that can never be removed and should be addressed by your carpet cleaning professional once he looks at it. Pet urine stains, any type of artificially colored stains and many others are nearly impossible to remove – but can be lightened. Stain kits are available to remove these stains but once again there are factors involved as far as longevity of the stain, volume and carpet color as well.

What about reoccurring spots & stains?
If a spot returned a day or so after cleaning, it may have been due to the nature of the spot. Deep stains tend to surface if they are in the backing of the carpet.

How do I remove a stain from my STAINMASTER® carpet?
A recommended cleaning procedure is the use of a mild liquid dishwashing detergent with sufficient quantities of water to flush the stain out of the carpet. After each application of the detergent and water, be sure to blot any excess moisture with a clean white cloth. Always blot from the outer edge of the stain, moving towards the middle to prevent spreading. On more difficult stains or larger areas, INVISTA recommends a professional cleaning.

My carpet has bleached or faded spots, can you correct that?
If you have spots or small areas that have been bleached out – they may be spot dyed, depending on the type of carpet fiber.

I have bleach spots on my carpet. How do I get the color back in my carpet without doing more damage to it?
Chlorine bleach potentially does two things to nylon carpet fiber. First, it removes color – that’s obvious. Second, it may damage the polymer dye sites, depending on how concentrated it was when spilled. With wool, the fiber may be dissolved or significantly damaged.

If diluted bleach was spilled on the carpet, chances are good that it can be neutralized (this is essential) and re-dyed with appropriate dye stuffs. However, it takes a trained and experienced technician to re-dye carpet to the correct hue color and shade (grayness), without circles or a variety of other problems.

Can mold grow in a wet carpet?
Most tufted carpet is made of plastic face yarns and backings, and synthetic latex and there is nothing organic to support mold in the carpet itself. Therefore, mold cannot technically grow on carpet. However, average household soil found in carpeting is about 40% organic (12% cellulose, 12% protein, 10% oils, 6% food stuffs); therefore, mold can grow on the soil in carpet given the right conditions listed above.

For any material to support common indoor mold growth, it must:

be organic,
be damp or wet,
have a moderate temperature (68-86ºF),
be in a stagnant air environment, and have these conditions present for several days
However, if carpet is kept clean and dry, there is little or no possibility for mold growth. Even with soiling and normal household conditions found in most homes, it takes considerable time for mold to grow on carpet soil, and then only if dampness is present.

How much better can a professional clean my carpets than doing it myself?
Usually much better. The style of equipment and the type of chemicals being used are the biggest determining factors in achieving a clean carpet. The machines and chemicals used by professional carpet cleaning companies are typically not available on the consumer level and you will probably struggle trying to duplicate the quality of a job done by an experienced professional.

Is it better to get an estimate over the phone or in person?
Estimates can be given over the phone but for an accurate price, it is always better to have someone look at your carpeting in person. There are many factors involved in cleaning such as amount of furniture, size of rooms, accessibility, level of dirt in the carpeting, etc., that cannot be answered over the phone and can only be judged upon inspection.

What should I look out for when being charged for carpet cleaning?
Some companies charge by square footage and others by the number of rooms being cleaned. Always ask about referrals, their experience, the process to prepare your carpets for cleaning, what type of system is being used, and the guarantee, if any. Pricing is usually very close and competitive in the carpet cleaning industry but the level of service and customer satisfaction should always overshadow a few dollars.

Does Scotch guard really work?
The factory stain resistant on your carpet will gradually wear away due to normal foot traffic and soil. By having carpet protector re-applied after cleaning, it will help you with the cleanup of spills and also reduce the wear of your carpet fibers – helping to extend the life of your carpet.

Will vacuuming regularly decrease the stain resistant chemical in my carpet?
No. Regular vacuuming is an important part of complete carpet maintenance. Vacuuming will help to remove dry soil particles that can dull fibers and cause matting to occur.

What regular things should I do to prolong the life of my carpeting?
There are three steps you need to do:

  1. Regular vacuuming of carpet. This is the most important thing you can do for your carpet. Vacuuming removes the dry particle soil from your carpet that is tracked in by you, your children and your pets. If dry soil is left in your carpet the grit constantly wears your carpet fibers like sandpaper. This eventually removes your stain resistant coating on the fibers, then permanently wears the fibers itself, dulling the carpets color. This results in damage beyond repair, which ruins the beauty of your carpet.
  2. Prompt cleanup of spills. The quicker you clean up spills on your carpet, the easier they are to remove. Use clean white absorbent materials. Always blot up spills, do not aggressively rub or brush carpet.
  3. Periodic professional cleaning. Professional carpet cleaning is required to remove the deep down soil in your carpet that vacuuming does not reach. It also removes the oily soil from your carpet. Also, hot water extraction will refresh the texture of your carpet by resetting the twist of the carpet fibers. Periodic cleaning by a professional will also keep your carpet warranty valid.

How do I maintain the manufacturer’s warranty on my carpet?
Each manufacturer will have a specific set of requirements. The most common is that you must have your carpets professionally cleaned (by a certified firm that offers hot water extraction or steam cleaning) at least every 18 months. Also, the proper protectors must be reapplied after every cleaning.