How to choose a carpet cleaning company

How do you know who to hire?

There are many carpet cleaning companies in your area, but not all are created equal. So how do you know which one to hire? Many people just look for the lowest price, which often leads to unsatisfactory results. Others think that because the price is high the company does a good job. Both of these examples are not good methods in which to choose. With a few tips, and knowing the right questions to ask, the process can be a little easier. Here are a few things to consider when making a choice:

  • Ratings/Reviews – There are many places on the web that offer reviews. Google, Yelp, Yahoo, BBB just to name a few. Know who your hiring , if a company has poor reviews or no reviews at all, stay away!
  • Coupons and fine print – Those low price offers usually have many restrictions, and rarely turn out to be a bargain. Unfortunately bait and switch tactics are common in this trade, don’t fall victim. You can ask if the job includes pre-spray, spot removers, pre-vacuuming, fiber rinse? What is their limit for room size? Some items are legitimate add-on’s such as carpet protection, deodorizer, red stain removal and pet treatments. It is always a good idea to get the cost of the job, and what is included, upfront and in writing.
  • Who is doing the cleaning? –  There is a high rate of tech turnover in the larger carpet cleaning companies. Lets face it, carpet cleaning is not the most desirable thing to do. Ask…is the cleaner experienced? properly trained? does the company do back round checks on there employees? You just don’t know if  you are getting a great cleaner or the guy that just started yesterday. Even if you do ask these questions, it’s unlikely that you would be given an honest answer all the time.  A great choice may be a small owner/operated company. This way you can always be sure your carpets are cleaned by the same experienced carpet cleaner, usually for less than the big guys.
  • How will the carpet be cleaned? –  hot water extraction? dry cleaning? foam? these are just a few types. There has been ongoing arguments to which is the best. Shaw industries, which is the leading manufacturer of carpet, endorses the hot water extraction method. Will your carpet cleaner be using truck mounted equipment? or portable? Truck mounts offer more heat and vacuum, leading to cleaner, faster drying carpets.

Why do carpet cleaning rates vary so greatly?

There are many reasons why rates vary. The most obvious is the company structure. The young kid out high school trying to make a few bucks with a rug doctor rental is going to be less expensive than the national franchise with lots of trucks, employees and an advertising budget as big as the national debt. Many companies fall in between these two extremes, and they all have different goals and clientele. Some want to charge less, and run through your house at 100 mph so they can get to the next 10 jobs they have booked. Some want top dollar so they can focus on the quality of the work and not the quantity. I have seen some of my customers quotes from other companies that where so high it would seem that replacing would be a better option. The best carpet cleaner in my opinion is the one that takes the time to do great work for a fair price. Guess what? I know one!



Pristine’s new constant contact email archives


Pristine has sent out a few emails with tips and specials for our customers. These emails are now available to everyone through our constant contact archives You will find specials, as well as helpful tips for carpet cleaning, tile cleaning and sealing.

Preparing For Professional Carpet Cleaners

Getting ready for the carpet cleaners

Many folks want to know what they can do, to get ready for thier carpet cleaning appointment. That depends on the level of cleaning and the company doing the cleaning. The biggest challenge of the carpet cleaning job is the furniture, what to do with it? It’s not feasible to remove all the furniture from the house to do the cleaning, unless you are moving. We at Pristine can offer some recommendations.
Nickknacks and breakables should be removed and placed in another room, dinning room chairs, floor lamps, house plants and other similar pieces can often be placed in the kitchen or bathrooms. Some non breakable items can be placed up on beds and sofas. While we are cleaning we can move chairs, sofas, smaller beds and things like that. When we place them back we use plastic squares under the legs of the furniture so the dye doesn’t come out and stain the carpet. Metal objects also need plastic tabs to prevent rust. Most carpet cleaners, including my company, can not move certain items at all. These items usually include computers and electronics, large beds, china cabinets, large hutches as well as any large pieces with flat bottoms. If the furniture doesn’t have legs to put plastic squares under, it can’t be left on damp carpet.

Securing pets during cleaning

Then there is the pet issue… I love dogs & cats, so the last thing I would want to see is an animal get hurt or lost. When we come to clean your floors or carpets we use truck mounted equipment. The hoses run from the truck into the house, usually through a door. In my opinion this is the best, most powerful way to clean carpet, however leaves the safety issue of having the door cracked open for an hour or so. For this reason, pets need to be secured in a safe location. Another important reason is that when we clean, we spray a pre-spray cleaning agent on the floors or carpets before we rinse and extract. This creates two potential issues. If a dog were to walk through the pre-spray they would pick it up on there paws, then most likely go lick it off. Our cleaning agents do say they are safe for pets and humans, but I’m not so sure that ingesting it would make anyone feel good. The other issue is that they can walk through the pre-spray, then walk on other floors like hardwood or tile, leaving paw prints that can require some effort to remove.

During and after the cleaning…What you need to know

Safety is our main concern

Many carpet cleaning companies including Pristine Tile & Grout Restoration use steam extraction to clean the carpets. This method of cleaning carpet is recognized as the preferred method by the leading manufactures of carpet including Shaw Industries. While the carpet cleaners are hard at work you will notice several hoses and tools in the home, it is very important not to get in the way of these obstacles as they pose trip hazards. Since carpets and tile are cleaned with hot water they can remain damp for a couple of hours, this creates a potential slip hazard. If you walk down a flight of damp stairs that has tile or harwood at the bottom you must be very very careful not to slip. The best way to avoid problems is to stay off the carpet until it has completely dried.

After we’re gone

One of the most often asked questions is “how long it will take for my carpets to dry? The answer varies greatly depending on conditions…. Is the heating or cooling on? Is the outside humidity high or low? Ceiling fans on? Pristine always uses extra “vacuum only” or “dry strokes” while cleaning to ensure we remove as much excess moisture as possible, most of our jobs are dry in just a couple of hours, in some cases the first rooms we clean, are dry before we leave.

You may notice we put plastic squares under the legs of furniture to protect the carpet from furniture stain or rusting from metal furniture legs. It is best to leave these squares in place until the next day. If you removed furniture from the room before the cleaners arrived, it is important not to put it back until the carpet has fully dried, again, furniture on damp carpet is a big no no!



Tile & Grout Cleaning


Do I have to seal my grout?


The two main types of grout are sanded and unsanded, sanded is used in larger grout joints and unsanded in smaller joints. The sand is added to the grout to give it strength, but also leaves a rough texture. This porous rough texture absorbs spills, dirty mop water, outdoor soil and so on, making it difficult to clean. In no time the grout will be stained, discolored, and just plain ugly. Using a quality sealer on the grout will help prevent permanent staining, as well as make cleaning easier. The misunderstanding is… people think sealer will keep their grout clean. The fact is sealer will only provide a barrier, thus making cleaning easier and permanent damage less likely, soil will still find its way to the floor, if I had the answer to preventing that, I would be a hero, and probably out of business. The unsanded grout ussually found on walls, and in showers, is much less porus, but still can benifit from sealer especially in a shower. There are often minerals in the water that can even leave unsanded grout stained after time, especially white grout.


Carpet Cleaning Tips & FAQ’s

What’s that ugly black line in my carpet around the base molding?

Quite often a black line will form in the carpet around the perimeter of a room., this is most noticeable in white carpet. The condition called filtration takes several years to become noticeable. The term filtration comes from your carpets acting as a filter. When air flows through the carpet it slowly deposits very fine, electrostatically charged particles in the carpet fibers. Once this black ring has set in, it is super difficult to remove. Filtration forms along the wall for two reasons, the padding ends at the tack strip which allows the air to flow through the carpet,  The second reason is that the vacuum just can’t get that close to the wall.

How can I prevent filtration from happening?

Frequently vacuuming your carpet is key… remove it before it sets in. You will however, need to use the slim crevice too that came with your vacuum to get close to the base molding. It is also important to vacuum the rooms that “no one ever goes in” that is where I see the worst of it. Leading carpet manufactures recommend professional deep cleaning of the carpet every 12-18 months. This varies with every home, as homes with high traffic, pets and children seem to take a bit more abuse.

If  I have a stain resistant carpet do I need to re-apply the protectant?


 Many higher end carpets come with stain protection, however this does not last forever, normal wear and vacuuming can compromise the protector over time. We always advise applying new protector every couple of years. We at Pristine, here in Fredericksburg, Va., use either Scotchguard or Dupont’s advanced stain protectant. The best time to apply this is right after the carpets have been professionally deep cleaned.

Are all carpet cleaning compaines the same?


Like any other industry, carpet cleaning companies vary tremendously. First, there are different types of carpet cleaning. Two of the most common are hot water extraction or steam cleaning and the other is dry chemical cleaning. Both have their advantages, however, the leading carpet manufactures say that steam extraction is the best for cleaner, longer lasting carpets. Then, there is the quality of the equipment being used. There are many reputable carpet cleaners out there, but there are also a lot of guys that buy cheap portable extractors and call themselves professional carpet cleaners. You would be better off renting a rug doctor than hiring one of these guys. Some of the higher end portables that have good power and heat can do a decent job.

The best carpet cleaning machine in the world is only as good as the operator. Carpet cleaning is a skill that comes with training and experience. When you hire a big company, it can be hit or miss, has the tech been cleaning for 5 years or did they start yesterday? Inexperienced can do more harm than good, if too much residue or water is left behind it can cause problems such as re soiling, and very slow dry times which in extreme cases can trigger mold and mildew to breed.

Tired of bait and switch?

The Stafford Virginia area has some great carpet cleaning companies, but as with any industry there are a few bad apples. Be very careful of companies that offer lowball pricing! Many companies will offer deals that sound too good to be true, because usally they are. Some compainies will give a low quote over the phone just to get in your house, once there they will tell you that it is going to be more for one reason or another. To run a reputable carpet cleaning company there are many cost factors to consider… equipment cost, repairs and maintenance, licensing, insurance, continuing education, advertising, cleaning chemicals, and gas is now approaching $4.00 per gallon! So, any company offering carpet cleaning for a ridiculously low price is either cutting corners, increasing the price upon arrival (bait & switch), not using the proper cleaning agents or procedures, or they will be out of business in a hurry. Pristine has been cleaning carpets as well as tile & grout in Stafford, Fredericksburg, and Spotsylvania Virginia for many years. We take great pride in cleaning the right way, for a fair price, and never increasing the price after we show up. But don’t take my word for it, visit our Home Advisor Ratings and you will see we have held a 5 star rating for the last 4 years!