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Why hire a professional carpet cleaner?

Eliminate the need to rent a machine

This is probably the biggest reason to hire a professional rather than go at it yourself. When you add up the cost of the carpet cleaning machine, the cost of the cleaning chemicals and the additional tools you may need to do stairs or upholstery you are not saving all that much and the rental or homeowner cleaners are no where near as powerful as professional carpet cleaning systems.

Different types of carpet

There are many different types of carpet on the market, nylon, berber, wool and so on. Professionals have the skills and knowledge to determine what type of carpet you have and what type of cleaning agents will work best without damaging the carpet.

Sanitizing

A true professional will  be using powerful truck mounted equipment capable of producing extreme heat, the heat that is needed to kill germs, dust mites and other contaminates found deep in the carpet pile.

Difficult spots and stains

There are many different types of stains, some can be very challenging such as urine, red dyes found in kool-aid. These types of specialty spotters are just not available to the public.

The physical aspect

Carpet cleaning is very strenuous work, just lugging the machine to and from the store is enough to cause back pain and the actual cleaning is even harder work.

Inferior cleaning 

The portable equipment available for sale or rent is with out a doubt leaving dirt and soil behind. The vacuum motors in this type of equipment are no comparison to the what the pros use. Not only is dirt being left behind but usually too much water and cleaning agents are left behind as well. Over wetting can cause mold, mildew and odors. Leaving chemicals behind will cause faster re soiling from sticky residue.

Leases and security deposits

Most leases state that the carpets must be cleaned by a professional carpet cleaner, and they will ask for a receipt to prove it. They know that a professional job is far superior to the  do it your self jobs.

 

 

Professional Carpet Cleaner

How carpet cleaning companies compare

Carpet Cleaner Specialties

Like any industry, carpet cleaners come in many different levels of service and specialties.     Some companies focus on just carpet cleaning while others may have strong specialties such as water damage restoration, fine rug cleaning, tile & grout cleaning, hardwood floor cleaning, furniture and upholstery and so forth. It is always a good idea to seek out the company that focuses on the specialty that you may be looking for to ensure the best possible out come.For example, my company has a strong focus on carpet cleaning but we are also the leader in tile & grout cleaning, and shower re-grouts in Fredericksburg, Stafford and Spotsylvania Virginia, however, we would not touch a water damage or hardwood floor job because we just are not properly set up for that.

Not all carpet cleaners are created equal

Like all industries, carpet cleaners come in a wide variety. Some are big national companies, some may have a few trucks, some are 1 truck owner operators, some are scammers and then there are the ones working out of their trunk with a rug doctor. All these different scenarios have good points and bad points.

Lets take a closer look at each of these different scenarios and see how they differ.

1. The big national franchises such as Stanley Steamer, Chemdry, Coit – the services and pricing these companies offer can vary greatly from place to place. The high advertising budgets will increase the cost as well as pressured up sells. They also have a higher rate of employee turnover making this option a gamble…it can be a great experience or a horrible one. On the up side, these larger multi-truck operations are usually prepared to provide same day service.

2. The local medium sized business – These companies are generally a good bet, they are not so big that they cannot keep a handle on their customer service, they often have a few trucks for quick service and they usually invest in good training for their techs. On the down side they do have some overhead such as shops, training and employee benefits making it a little more expensive, but you get what you pay for!

3. The Owner Operator – This is the category my company falls under, and is great choice for many reasons. Not many techs from larger companies will care enough to provide the level of service that the owner of a company will. Many owner operators use superior truck mounted equipment and have far more cleaning experience than most techs just in it for the paycheck. Their overhead is generally lower making it affordable as well. The downside is they do become busy in the height of the season, and with only one truck it can be difficult to get an emergency appointment. The owner operator is the best option for the planners looking for the best of both worlds….quality & price.

4. The lowball hack – This is one to watch out for. Often they use inferior equipment that is no better than what anyone can rent in a grocery store, they most likely are uninsured and untrained, they cut corners in the products they use (if they use any) Be very wary of companies with unusually low prices, unlettered trucks, no websites or reviews, advertise with flyers on  utility poles ect… Most of the people who use these guys are renters who don’t care, they just want any receipt they can turn into their landlord upon move out.

5. Scam companies – This is the one that bothers me the most! These are the companies that have no intention of cleaning your carpet for the advertised price. It is called bait and switch, they advertise cleaning at truly unbelievable low prices and then change them once in your home, for sometimes huge amounts. These folks are high pressure and often prey on the elderly…. in my book, they belong in jail! This bait and switch news clip will make you sick!

It is always a good idea check out a companies online reputation before you hire them, make sure they have many good ratings not just one or two.

 

Spring Carpet Cleaning

Why clean the carpets in the spring?

Spring is knocking on our doors, which means it’s time to get down to some serious cleaning. Although we had a relatively mild winter, the grit that makes it’s way into your home in these colder months is plentiful. In the warmer months people work on the outsides of their homes more often, which usually results in sweeping or blowing off the walkways, patios and decks. This maintenance that is part of the weekly yard work helps remove that soil before it enters the home. However, in the winter, that is not the case and the soil easily finds it’s way to the floors of your home. If not removed in a timely fashion it could cause scratching of the surface.

Why am I getting traffic lanes in my carpet?

It doesn’t take a professional carpet cleaner to tell you that the sand and grit from outside can damage your wood floors or natural stone floors, but what many people don’t know is that these elements are more likely to cause scratching or “shading” to the carpet. The abrasive grit gets stuck deep into the carpet fibers and when walked on continuously it will give the carpet a worn look. By the time you notice the uneven wearing of the carpet, the irreversible damage has already been done.

Preventative carpet care

The best defense against shading and premature wear of the carpet is lots of regular dry vacuuming. Because vacuuming carpet is not the most exciting of tasks, it often gets rushed, leaving behind soil. I know this is true because when I replaced my vacuum cleaner, the newer model had a built in light indicator that would let you know when it stopped picking up soil. Red light, still picking up, green light good to move on. Now here is the amazing part, my wife always vacuumed the house on a regular basis, but when she tried the new vacuum the red light would not go out, I thought it was broken! She continued  to go over the same spot until finally the light went green. There was a lot of soil that was being left by our old vacuum, which was a good named brand. After the good, long initial vacuum it got easier to get the light to turn green.

I can’t end this blog without telling you how important it is to get out the crevice tool and get the corners and edges of your wall to wall carpet. This is the most overlooked part of vacuuming, in time, a black ring called filtration soil will form around the perimeter of the room. Once this sets in it is super difficult to remove this electrostaticly charged, ultra fine soil.

Professional carpet cleaning annually

Even the best vacuums and home steamers can’t compare to the powerful equipment the professionals use. In order to remove odors, pet oils, dander and other contaminants from your carpet it’s advisable to have the carpets cleaned by a professional once a year. Steam cleaning, also known as hot water extraction is the preferred method of cleaning according to Shaw Industries, the leading carpet manufacturer. Powerful vacuum, high heat and professional cleaning agents will get the job done.

Links to our websites:

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Carpet Cleaning Results…Using the Big Truckmounted Machine

These are some shots of carpet cleaning jobs in and around the Fredericksburg Virginia area. There are many factors that determine the quality of the carpet cleaning job, such as the machine being used, the cleaning agents, and the experience level of the person doing the cleaning. When choosing a carpet cleaner one must consider what they are getting for their money, choosing the lowest priced cleaner is surely going to lead to disappointment. We all know how much it costs for gas, cleaning agents, insurance, labor ect…  companies advertising ridiculously low prices are either cutting corners or using unethical bait and switch tactics don’t fall victim!

Cleaning Your Carpetfilter

Consider this, most of us wear our clothing once and then place it into the laundry for washing, we wash our bedding frequently, yet our carpets and upholstery go unwashed for as much as 1 to 3 years or more. Can you imagine wearing the same pair of socks for a week? Or sleeping on the same bedding for a year? Let alone 2 to 5 years? Your carpets and upholstery are subjected to far more pollutants on a daily basis, yet most of us do not clean the carpet regularly, or sometimes not at all!!

Also think about the deposits left behind by pets!!! Sometimes we lose the pet battle from time to time. Not only does it smell and make spots and stains, the odor associated with pets and accidents is actually decaying bacteria off-gassing ammonia gas as it decays. With “sick” carpets or floors, the only prescription is a super good cleaning and our sanitizing product that digests and destroys odor, not covering it up like Glade. Odor & bacteria must be extracted and eliminated!!!

My carpet doesn’t have a filter, does it? well, not really , but it does function like one. Our carpets mechanical design as a filtering device is very beneficial. It keeps the indoor air cleaner! Have you ever thought about what is really being collected, tracked through and spilled into your carpet?

The most common household pollutants are; dirt, dust, pollen, proteins, hair, pet dander, asphalt,sand, smoke residues, hydrocarbons,dead skin,live and dead dust mites & fleas that feed on dead skin cells, tar, bacteria, food soil,drinks,fungus, and sometimes even viruses not to mention body soils and fluids. Many of those common, everyday pollutants are in your carpets and upholstery this very minute. Not a pleasant thought, is it?ou might say…not my carpets, they look clean! Perhaps, but carpets are designed to hide soil from your eyes, keeping it trapped below the surface, where it does most harm by cutting and scratching the fibers. Not Sure? Place a new bag inside your vacuum cleaner, thoroughly vacuum all of your carpets. When done remove the bag and cut it open and take a look what was inside your visually clean carpet!!!

Now, all of your soils and allergens are in your carpet, and more is being brought in everyday, eventually the carpet will become full. As soil loads increase it may trigger histamine production in the body and elevate allergy symptoms like dry cough, itchy skin or even rash, sneezing and runny nose or throat irritation and sometimes sleeplessness. As you walk across your full carpet you re-distribute the dust and pollutants back into the air that you and your family breathe. As a result of being full, your carpets will also begin to appear visibly dirty. This visual soil may take upwards of 1 to 2 years before it finally shows itself, but by then you may have done considerable damage to your carpet, and surely have contributed greatly to having poor indoor air quality (IAQ).

What can be done?

For starters you really should clean your carpets more often. Shaw Industries, the world’s largest carpet manufacturer , recommends that you have your carpet professionally extracted every 6 to 12 months, just to maintain the warranty. Comprehensive scientific studies have proven that by simply cleaning your carpets, you will drastically improve the indoor air quality of your home, making it  a healthier place to be for you and your familiy!

View your carpets for what they are, a soft, warm, cozy, comfortable pollution filter that requires regular maintenance and cleaning, In addition to frequent vacuuming and spot cleaning, carpets should be professionally cleaned at least every 12 months!

Pristinepete.com

 

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!

pristinepete.com

 

 

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!