Should you really clean your own carpets?
Have you really thought seriously about cleaning your own carpets? Does the cost, risk and results really give a saving over the fees of a trained and experienced carpet cleaning professional?
Below are just some of the reasons why you should employ a professional cleaner.
To hire a machine, first, you must drive to the store, in a suitable vehicle, and be able to load and unload, a heavy, cumbersome machine into your car. It may require two people and it may also leak water everywhere if it cannot be stood upright.
You must buy some cleaning detergents. Pre-cleaner, different types of spot and stain removers, rinsing detergents, de-foamer and maybe de-odourisers. The cost is rising quickly above the basic hire charge as advertised. For wool carpets, you may require different detergents and these may not be good enough to clean, for example, polypropylene. But if you use the wrong detergent on wool, you may cause permanent fibre and/or dye damage.
When you arrive home, after unloading everything, you spend the next hour reading the instructions for using the machine and then the labels on all of the chemical products learning what to use when and how much to mix. Do you get frustrated, forget about measuring and then just “glug” the chemicals into the machine? Bad idea. Too little and standards will be low. Too much and you produce more foam in the vacuum tank, use more de-foamer and the carpets will re-soil more rapidly.
Before you start cleaning, you have to move out breakables, delicates and anything that could be damaged by water, move as much furniture out as possible. Not an easy task and, without proper handling and lifting techniques, could easily lead to personal injury.
Now you are ready to go. Vacuum the carpets with your own vacuum cleaner. Get the water as hot as you can, mix your detergent, pour it into the machine. The pre-cleaner for heavy soiled areas will be in a hand trigger spray bottle. Do you know how much to use? A bit less? A bit more? Can you remember exactly what this spot and that stain was? How long it’s been there? What did you do at the time of the spillage? Do you need to neutralise the chemicals you used? Did you bleach the stain and/or the carpet dye? (The term “Oxy” on a product refers to a bleach used for cleaning). Did you blot the stain or rub it? Or even scrubbed it? Too much agitation will burst the pile or fray the carpet/rug. Professional cleaners can agitate in different ways without causing pile damage.
Now you start the machine. Should you move it quicker for a dryer carpet or slower for a cleaner carpet? On the stairs, is the hose long enough to reach the top? Did you remember to pay extra for the hand tool so that you could clean the stairs?
You are part way through your first room and the water in the machine is now cold. Do you continue with less efficient cleaning or change the water for fresh hot water? Wasted chemicals and more cost.
Manufacturers will claim really rapid drying times achieved in ideal conditions. Your home is not an ideal situation. Your carpets are soiled greater and different to those in the laboratory. Drying times will be extended significantly. Several days to completely dry are not unusual, often accompanied by a musty odour!
During this longer than expected drying time, the house is still being used. People are walking on your cleaner carpets and, because they are still wet, they will attract more soil from the shoes and slippers of the family as they go back and forth. Let’s hope that they don’t slip when they walk from the wet carpets onto the hard kitchen floor.
Because you have cleaned in an unfamiliar way, maybe using too much chemical, maybe over-wetting the carpet, the residues will stick to your childrens’ knees, socks, hands or to the feet or fur of your pets. Are they sensitive to these chemicals? Will they break out in a rash or worse?
In spite of the claims that I’ve seen made by various manufacturers, the chemicals they supply fall well short of premium quality professional products and tend to be formulated to create greater usage. Use more, pay more, clean more often paying yet more again.
Oh, and don’t forget to return the machine back to the store on time or there may be a penalty charge!
So, what has been the real cost of cleaning your own carpet? What is your time worth? What was the real cost of all of the chemicals and how much is left over or wasted? Are the left-overs safe to keep? Has your furniture caused permanent rust or dye stains on the wet carpet?
Don’t think that if anything goes wrong your home insurance will protect you. Most will explicitly exclude any damage caused by any cleaning process.
Now you may be thinking “I need to have my carpets professionally cleaned”
A professional carpet cleaner will use more powerful industrial quality equipment and eco-friendly cleaning solutions sourced from plants or food grade ingredients. They will be able to recognise the type of construction and installation of the carpets and test to identify the fibres used. They will be able to remove more stains more successfully than a typical homeowner could ever imagine. They will be able to achieve cleaner results, quicker with much shorter drying times, measured in hours rather than days.
Does your family deserve safe, clean carpets?
Can you really afford to Do-It-Your-Self?