The Approved Carpet Cleaners Association
So you are leaving the property, and amid all the stress you also have to sort out the carpet cleaning. But they don’t look dirty! and the landlord will not let you hire a machine so you have to pay someone to do the carpet cleaning, so the search begins for the cheapest possible price.
Here is the facts, the carpet is dirty, yes it is! Even if you have only been in the property for 6 months the carpet will have a dirt build up, think of it, would you put on a shirt belonging to a stranger if it had not been washed? The hire machine is not professional kit, at best they improve the appearance, and in the worse case the carpet is left wet, and a professional has to be called in to redo the cleaning. The professional carpet cleaning truck mount machine is valued at 20 times the value of a hire machine, and that shows in the cleaning, super hot water, powerful vacuum for really fast drying.
This carpet was cleaning was at the end of a tenancy, the tenant thought the carpet was clean yet a line is clearly visible between the clean area and the uncleaned area. The dirt may be from to name a few things, dropped food deposits spilled drinks, dirt from shoes or dirt from….bare feet.
Carpet cleaning by Afresh is done with soft water, rinsing them clean of any dirt and removing any chemicals, the hot water evaporates quickly and the soft water leaves carpets in top condition, none of the re-soiling, that you may get with hired a machines.
A popular sales line used by carpet cleaners, but is this a real guarantee and what of the nine tough questions to ask a carpet cleaner.
The idea behind the sales line is not to present a guarantee! Rather by using the term “thorough” the line is aimed a particular type of customer, the customer who is not looking for a cheap clean but a thorough clean, low price hunters are not prompted to act on the advert.
So what about the guarantee itself? Firstly it is assumed that the advert is from an established well equipped competent carpet cleaner, how then could any customer measure the thoroughness on one clean against another, previous clean? This can never be proven, unless the job is so poor that the carpet is still dirty, most carpet cleaners advertise a no quibble guarantee anyway.
What method of carpet cleaning do you recommend? Hot water extraction is the best for general carpet cleaning, however Dry Fusion cleaning is another high end method. Not all carpets can be cleaned with Hot Water Extraction. Low moisture cleaning may suit some customers need better than hot water extraction. Check your carpet cleaner here.
What type of equipment do you use to clean carpets? The type of equipment will vary depending on the type of carpet. The best hot water extraction system is a truckmount machine, which powered by a small petrol engine has greater power for vacuum, water heating and water pressure than can be produced using an electric portable machine.
What will your equipment remove from my carpet? This question is to again promote powerful carpet cleaning machines, over portables and DIY machines.
How often should I get my carpets cleaned? How much use do they get? If you have a large family and pets then taking up the care plan this question is aimed to promote may be the best option, however while carpet manufacturers recommend cleaning at least every 18 months it is assumed that the carpet is getting general use. A guest bedroom that is used once or twice a year, as long as it is well vacuumed, will not need cleaning as regularly.
What training have you had in carpet cleaning? The world wide body for certification of carpet cleaning is The Clean Trust formally known as the IICRC, they provide the highest standard with written examinations. Another trade body is the NCCA, having passed Clean Trust/IICRC training you can join the NCCA, although passing NCCA examinations does not qualify a carpet cleaner to join The Clean Trust/IICRC.
Newly formed TACCA is another body, rather than focusing on just training TACCA requires a certain standard in equipment used.
Are you a member of the NCCA? Being IICRC/Clean Trust qualified, and that qualification being up to date, is far more important than being in the NCCA. Requiring annual subscriptions many carpet cleaners are feeling that the NCCA means nothing to the general public, and does little to help them, this despondency led to the foundation of TACCA.
Are you certified by the IICRC and will you show me your certificates? IICRC/Clean Trust certification shows professionalism and that the technician is qualified, however many carpet cleaners have been cleaning for decades, having had training, but see no need to maintain the qualification. Many will also provide recommendations.
Is your cleaning eco-friendly? Running a truckmount, or using electricity for a portable is far from carbon neutral! The question is aimed at cleaning solutions really, every decent carpet cleaner has access to and usually uses and carries with him eco friendly chemicals, these known as micro splitters are called eco friendly because they are not detergents and contain no chemicals known to harm humans, animals, or the environment, once used the biodegradable chemical breaks down to water.
We have all seen them, in the supermarket, DIY carpet cleaning machines for hire. They offer a cheap alternative to calling in a professional, but do they give the same results?
All trained professionals will be familiar with the four main components to successful cleaning, chemical, agitation, time and heat, let’s look at these four parts and how they relate to DIY carpet cleaning.
Chemical, bought at the time of hiring the machine, usually a solution added to the water in the machine and an additional four/five treatment sprays bought at additional cost which are sprayed on problem areas before cleaning, as the cleaning solutions need to be suitable for a wide range of carpets they need a neutral pH. The professional carpet cleaner will bring a variety of presprays to suit your carpet, different carpets can take stronger (10+ pH) chemicals and the cleaner will neutralize and remove the chemicals during the cleaning process. Additional specialized spot and stain treatments will be used for protein stains, coffee and tea, oil, gum, glue, body oils, make up, nail varnish etc.
Agitation and time, some DIY machines have a moving brush, between the solution spray jets and the vacuum, this is to loosen dirt softened by the solution. There is depending on the speed of the operator 1-2 seconds dwell time before the vacuum. Professional carpet cleaners will prespray the carpet with in his opinion the best suited chemical, treat spots and spills, and then use an additional machine to agitate or to really work these through the pile and loosen and break down the dirt. Once this is done the professional will leave a carpet to dwell, this allows the cleaning chemicals to further break down soils, fleas and mites may be killed by the solutions. This dwell time may last up to 20 minutes.
Heat. DIY carpet cleaning machine manufacturers recommend using hot water when filling the machine. Hopefully the water remains hot during the process, but cooling will take place in the solution pipes and of course over time. The professional will use either a plug in water heater, a petrol engine or a propane heater to super heat the water. Heat is adjusted to suit the carpet being cleaned, and the hot cleaning solution, or plain water, is sprayed under pressure into the carpet pile, this removes all dirt and kills fleas mites etc, the machine will then vacuum out the all the solutions leaving a clean carpet that will not resoil any quicker than a new carpet.
The vacuum on the lowest powered professional machine will be a twin vacuum and the industry competes continually for the most suction power, a DIY carpet cleaning machine typically has a single vacuum motor. At the top end of professional machines, a truckmounted machine has vastly more suction for drying a carpet and there is simply no comparison with any DIY machine vacuum.
Letting agents see thousands of carpets before and after cleaning and they need good results so they can let the property quickly. that is why letting agents simply will not accept DIY carpet cleaning and require the cleaning done by a professional. Re-soiling is much more likely with DIY machines due to lack of agitation and suction power, and “generous” mixing of solutions by DIY users. Below is a picture showing the soil left by a DIY machine, but removed after it was recleaned with a professional set up. This small sample of the waste water comes from a carpet that was supposedly clean after DIY cleaning.
One of the main causes of damage that I see is from wax on the carpet, well, not actually the wax itself, but damage caused by efforts to remove the wax. Here is advise on removing wax, without damaging your carpet.
I had a call from a woman who was comming to the end of her tenancy, but she had spilt wax on the carpet and was worried that she would loose her deposit. Now removing the wax, for a professional carpet cleaner is no problem, however she had tried to melt the wax with an iron, and had melted the fibres leaving a melted iron shape in the middle of her room.
Iron marks on carpets are so common! If you get wax on the carpet, there are steps you can take, but before I go into detail, my advise, Google carpet cleaners in your area and get an expert in, if you have wax on the carpet this is the safest and most successful method. If you try yourself, then you are accepting the risks involved. I have spoken to homeowners who have removed wax, without damaging the carpet, and so I will go through how they did it.
The picture opposite shows a carpet, where the owner tried to remove wax on the carpet with an iron, they failed to remove the wax, but did melt an iron shape into the carpet.
If you really want to try yourself, don’t rush! One method is to use ice cubes to freeze the wax, then with a blunt item, chip away at the wax, be careful not to remove any carpet fibres that are in the wax. Then use a solvent, to remove the remaining wax. Test the solvent in a hidden area or on a off cut of the carpet first, then add in small amounts and dab off. Some carpets have backing that are sensitive to solvents, so always test first and only apply in a small amount and dab away.
The most common method is to use an iron. Firstly, get a tea towel, nearly all the success stories I have heard have been when using a towel rather than paper. Set the iron on a cool setting, test on an off cut of carpet, or on a hidden part of the carpet. If the test area is undamaged, try on the wax. Then set the iron to a slightly hotter setting, test again, and if the carpet is not damaged, try on the wax. You can’t rush this, slowly increasing the heat and constantly testing will save your carpet in the long run. Once you get to a point that some wax has come off on to the towel, but the carpet is not damaged, that is your heat setting, and you may have to keep letting the carpet cool and applying the iron again to remove a little wax at a time. Of course do not leave the iron on the carpet, and keep testing the heat on your test area.
I hope I have been clear about the risks, and the steps you should take, the first being to get an expert in to deal with the wax!
If you keep testing on an off cut or hidden area you should see damage there, before you put an iron mark on your carpet as shown in the picture above! By far the safest and surest way to remove wax is to leave it to an expert, it’s worth a phone call to check prices first, often this can be done as a spot clean, which is cheaper than having the whole room cleaned, and certainly cheaper than a new carpet!
If you’re getting a new carpet, it’s not likely you’re worried about black marks around the carpet edge, but you should be! Most of us spend hours choosing the right texture, feel, colour, and price of your lovely new carpet. Often fitting is included in the price, but it is worth speaking to your carpet fitter or your local carpet cleaner about filtration marks or draft marks and stop those black marks around the carpet edge becoming a problem later on, but it has to be done before the carpet is fitted.
So what are filtration marks? Over the course of time any carpet that has air moving up through it or even across the top of the carpet in some cases will develop dark marks. The air is carrying with it tiny particles of dirt, and the air travels up through the floorboards, these particles are filtered out by the carpet (this means less pollutants in the air you are breathing!) and over time the dirt builds up and starts to show as black marks around the carpet edge
Clearly from the picture opposite if you have a light coloured carpet preventing filtration marks is a must. So how can they be prevented? As filtration marks are caused by air travelling through or across in the case of doorways, the gaps or holes that the air is coming through need to be sealed before the carpet is fitted. Clearly speaking to the carpet fitter before fitting, or even your local maintenance company will save your carpet in the long run.
So what if this is all too late, the carpet is fitted and you have black marks around the carpet edge, and sometimes in the doorways? Your local carpet cleaning company will, when you have your carpet cleaned, pay attention to the marks, and treat them with cleaning agents for that purpose. It should be noted though that filtration marks, as they develop over time, with a slow build up, are very hard to remove completely. It is also clear that without removing the air flow, the filtration marks will return.
So care for your carpet before it is fitted, stop concentrated air flow coming up through the floor and fit draft excluders to your doorways, and enjoy clean hygienic carpets.
Afresh is a carpet cleaning and upholstery cleaning company based in Essex in the UK. Often I get questions from clients, or I come across damage to carpets that could have been avoided if the client knew what do do at the time. So why not give that information before the problem arises, hence the Afresh carpet cleaning blog.
I will cover topics like spilt wax on fabrics and what to do, many a carpet has iron marks melted on to it! What about wooden flooring, is it healthier than carpet? Does it matter what your carpet is made from? What is a dust mite?
I hope you enjoy reading and I hope you get the most from your carpet and upholstery.