8 Mistakes To Avoid When Choosing a Carpet Cleaner

Mistake #1

Choosing a carpet cleaner based on equipment alone.

No question, your carpet cleaner needs first-rate equipment.   But he slso needs something else.  He needs employees who are skilled at operating that equipment.  Many companies own state of the art equipment but very few companies either teach their employees or have employees stick around long enough to learn how to use them all properly.  The best way to know that the carpet cleaner’s employees have been properly trained is to make sure the carpet cleaner’s employees have been trained and certified.  Before you choose a carpet cleaner ask to see written proof of the technicians independent Carpet & Rug Institute (CRI) certification.

Mistake #2

Choosing a carpet cleaner based on low price.

Low price could alert you to a problem in three ways: (1) low price can be the bait that attracts your phone call.  But once the cleaner(s) gets into your home they pressure you into a much more expensive job.  (2) Low price can be for a ‘single-process’ cleaning.  Rarely does the consumer know what this means and, when told, they realize it’s worthless and must choose the much more expensive ‘dual-process’ cleaning.  (3) Low price means the cleaner must use cheap equipment, cheap products and spend a little time as possible doing the cleaning to be able to make a buck – all of which will not effectively clean your carpets and may even leave them in a worse state than before the cleaning took place.

Mistake #3

Choosing a carpet cleaner based on a single telephone call.

As with choosing any service provider it is always a good idea to check the credentials of the carpet cleaning company before you invite them into your home.  How long have they been in business, are they a member of the Better Business Bureau, do they offer firm, written quotaions prior to performing any services are all important considerations to avoid becoming the victim of high-pressure sales tactics when the technician steps into your living room.


Mistake #4

Choosing a carpet cleaner that doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee.

In my view every carpet cleaning company should be fully accountable for their work.  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 guarantees.  If they do, the guarantee may be “limited”.  Ask the carpet cleaner if they offer a money-back guarantee and then make sure it’s simple, easy to understand and available in writing.

Mistake #5

Choosing a carpet cleaner without getting comments from their other clients.

Any carpet cleaner can say anything about their past jobs.  And, sadly, some of what they say may not be true.  Make sure you ask for references or read comments from current customers so you can depend on the carpet cleaning company, their technicians and their work.

Mistake #6

Choosing a carpet cleaner not certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI)

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’r hiring a competent professional, make sure he is CRI certified.  A carpet cleaner must earn this certification through study, experience and successful completion of formal, written examinations.  In effect, cleaners who are certified by the CRI have earned a college degree in carpet care and maintenance.

Mistake #7

Choosing a carpet cleaner who isn’t a member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Chamber of Commerce and EthicalServices.com

These business and trade associations are known to promote and in fact demand honest, ethical business practices from their membership.  EthicalServices.com is a trade association for carpet cleaners that are dedicated to setting a high standard for the industry.  It has been profiled on such news programs as ABC’s 20/20, and promoted on their website as a resource consumers should use to find an honest, professional carpet cleaning firm.  You’re making a wise decision when you have your carpets cleaned by a member of these noteworthy associations.

Mistake #8

Choosing a carpet cleaner who doesn’t use safe, natural cleaning solutions that are free of soaps, detergents and harsh chemicals.

You might expect this from me, since my employees and I use this type of system but there are several good reasons.  Although soaps and detergents work great to clean our laundry it’s actually the multiple rinse cycles that remove the sticky soaps and harsh cleaners used to clean our clothing.  If the same amount of rinsing were used to remove carpet cleaning “shampoos” your house would take weeks to dry!

With all the pollutants and contminants that get trapped in your home every day the last thing you need to  do is hire a cleaner who leaves behind their own phosphates, enzymns, perfumes, detergents and harsh chemicals.  Hot Carbonating Extraction (HCE) is the Rolls Royce of carpet cleaning. Compared to shampooing and steam cleaning methods HCE uses safer products, less moisture and leaves no unhealthy, sticky residues.  So all the way around you get a much better job.  No two ways about it.


Welcome to the Recommendations section of this consumer information message.  It might be handy if you have a pen and paper handy so you can write down some of the information contained in this and the “Questions to ask your carpet and upholstrery cleaner” sections of this message.

If you’re thinking about having your carpets cleaned, we offer you these four recommendations:

Recommendation # 1

Clean on a Regular Basis.  Make a commitment to yourself to get your carpets cleaned on a regular basis.  The longer they remain dirty, the sooner they’ll wear out.  Plus the longer you have to breathe all the pollens, fungi, chemicals and dust mites that live in your carpet, the longer you will be living in an indoor envoironment that has poor Indoor Air Quality.

Recommendation # 2

List your objectives.  Do you want only the surface dirt removed, or do you want the bacteria, fungi and chemicals removed?  Do you want to be able to enjoy the use of the cleaned area as soon as possible following cleaning and do you want it to remain clean for a longer period of time?  Also do you want the cleaning product to leave the carpet totally safe for infants and pets who sit and crawl close to the carpet fibres?  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 they might not be in business tomorrow?

Recommendation # 3

Ask questions.  Ask your cleaner lots of questions, they will appreciate the fact that you obviously care about your carpets and upholstery.  A professional company should be very willing to let you know why they should be the carpet cleaner of choice.  If they are too busy to answer your questions or are evasive, call another cleaning company who will answer all of your questions.  If they are too busy to answer your questions, they are not likely to give you the service you deserve and expect.  The way you learn about a company is to ask specific questions and listen carefully to the answers.

Recommendation # 4

Get a Firm Quote before the Job.  Once you’re satisfied that you’re working with an honest, competent professional cleaner, invite him into your home and ask for a specific quotation in writing,  A written quotations gives you the assurance that you know exactly what your job will cost – no suprises, no bait and switch.

That doesn’t mean that you will not be offered additional services that are designed to keep your carpet and upholstery cleaner longer, such as “Stainguard”.  This is a value added service that you should seriously look at and consider for your carpets and upholstery.  It is not a useless service designed to “jack up: the price of your cleaning.   In fact at Chem-Dry Ottawa, all of our cleaning packages include the application of Protectant for your carpets.

By following these four basic recommendaions, 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.  However, if you want a professional guaranteed job done on your valuable carpet and upholstery investment, take the time to look for a professional in your area that will provide you with the service you deserve and expect.

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