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Is Your Professional Carpet Cleaner Doing a Good Job

Updated on October 3, 2013

Professional carpet cleaning is not everyone's favorite thing to spend their hard earned money on. For this reason, and the fact that the soil is not always visible, a thorough carpet cleaning gets pushed to the bottom of the average homeowner's to do list. To aid in the longevity of your carpet, and for health and well being, an annual regimen should be held.

Why not feel satisfied that your carpet was cleaned to its full potential and will dry in an acceptable time frame?

Why should you accept my opinion?

Carpet cleaning is a subject that has more depth than most people would believe. Many factors such as pH, materials used, chemicals, time, drying and many other things come into play for satisfactory results. Only a well trained carpet care professional will have the proper array of knowledge to achieve these results. Capet can be easily damaged and many companies will void the warranty for the simple mistake of using the wrong cleaner.

I have gathered a plethora of information from five years of working in the industry with a well established and prominent carpet care company. We were held to very high standards and deviation from those standards was not accepted. While working there we were required to go through IICRC(Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration) training course with an annual refresher to hold that certification. I have a comprehensive understanding of the industries materials and how to clean them to their fullest potential.


I chose to list price as the very first one. You can weed out a lot of poor carpet cleaners with the simple expression "you get what you pay for". In my experience and the experiences shared with me by my past customers I have come to know that a great deal never seems to end that way. The company I worked for was more on the higher side of pricing, but it worked because we prided ourselves in an over satisfactory job. We were called out to many jobs where an inexpensive carpet cleaner did a poor job and a residue was left or stains returned.

Not to say that a cheap carpet cleaner will always be a poor one. There are many businesses that lower prices when just starting out to gain a client base. Use your best judgement here. If you see an amazing deal in a coupon for a larger company it may not be the best choice. Whereas if you hear from a friend or acquaintance that a carpet cleaner is cheap and did a good job then this rule may not apply.

Buzz Words To Listen For

These are a few keywords that may help you determine if your carpet technician is qualified for his job. Granted these words may not be needed in your situation so don't base your judgment solely on the use of them.

  • pH
  • Wool
  • Jute
  • Backing
  • Fiber
  • Solvent
  • Pad
  • Traffic wear
  • Nylon

Knowledge of the Subject

This one holds true with any profession, but I chose to list it here because chronologically you would be able to make a decision with this in mind before they start. I do want to point out that just knowledge alone does not mean you will get a good job. I worked with a few certified and very smart carpet technicians that would not take the time needed or dry properly and leave the customer with a less than satisfactory job. That goes to show that letting up on any of the mentioned aspects may give way to poor quality.

As a customer you should feel as if the person in your home knows exactly what they are doing and leave you with no doubts that the job will be done correctly. There is nothing more unsettling than the moment you realize that you know more about the conversation than the "so called" professional you are speaking to.

Again, use your judgement in these situations. If it is a company that you have had a good experience with before but the tech seems a bit confused, you might give them the benefit of the doubt. I was a rookie technician at one time myself and had plenty of embarrassing mistakes in my language and sales. I always tried to follow those situations up with a great cleaning job and I never had an issue when the job was finished.

Approximate Job Time

The company I worked for expected roughly 300sqft of carpet to be cleaned in about an hour. This could be used as a good example of the time it takes for a quality carpet cleaning job. Moving furniture or stubborn stains obviously will add to the time.



Large open rooms and big hallways go quite a bit faster so you might keep that in the back of your mind.

Time On The Job

Here again this can vary quite a bit depending on the average speed of the technician, how soiled the job is, and many other aspects of the job. If the end result is satisfactory then I wouldn't fret too much about it. Every home and every carpet is different in my opinion. Sometimes I would spend forever on a job that first looked as if it should only take an hour or so.

If you can casually get a look at how your carpet technician is cleaning try to see if they are overlapping the stroke of the wand you can get an idea of the quality of the job. This is very important for a proper rinse and getting all the soil removed. Just like mowing the lawn you cannot speed through a carpeted room and expect a properly cleaned floor.

As with any profession I feel like I can differentiate between a fast, skilled person and a fast but sloppy person. Use your best judgement and give the technician a chance to finish the job before you pick it apart. There are many stains that chemicals are used to treat and then followed up with a rinse or different chemical. You may be judging the quality of the job too soon in some cases.

Paper tabs to protect furniture.
Paper tabs to protect furniture.

Protection for Furniture

Carpet cleaning can be very risky if you own a large amount of expensive or fragile items. A lot of equipment is involved to properly clean and dry your carpet. Most of the time multiple hoses are used to transfer water and waste to and from a truck. These hoses have the potential to knock things over or scratch wood if not taken care of in the correct fashion.

For the edges of furniture and corners of walls we used a plastic guard that stands up to protect any hoses that may drag across that area and scuff the finish. Taking care not to break furniture legs off by using furniture skidders.

Another major concern when cleaning carpet is keeping the furniture from touching the wet fibers. This can cause the furniture to deteriorate or even mold if it is made of a lighter material. Furniture stain bleeding onto the carpet is another major concern. This is like paint getting on the fibers. You cannot get the stain out unless you are right there with a carpet cleaning machine and the spot is fresh. Even then you will need a bit of luck on your side. For this issue your carpet technician should have a method for protecting the legs of the furniture from coming in contact with the carpet. Usually a small paper square with foil on one side is used for legs with a smaller footprint. The foil will not allow the water to penetrate through and ruin the furniture. The other method I am aware of is a block of foam used to hold a larger footprint up off of the carpet a bit higher when weight or size is an issue.

Don't allow your possessions to get ruined while your trying to clean your home. Also keep in mind that sometimes accidents happen. There are some incidences that are just unavoidable. Like that rickety old cabinet you've been meaning to throw away for years. Don't get upset if a slight bump sends it to the junkyard.

Carpet Drying Tips

  1. Ideal drying temperatures are between 75 and 80 degrees. Use the furnace if you need to. This helps extremely well.
  2. Turn on all house fans. Including a whole house fan if you have one.
  3. Stay off the carpet as long as possible.
  4. Open up the house for the first hour or so to vent the humidity.
  5. Dehumidifiers work great if you own one.

Proper Drying

I put this one last in the list because it is one of the most important things a carpet technician can do to make sure the job is well done and to a satisfactory level. With hot water extraction carpet cleaning(the best method in my opinion) you can't get away from the carpet being a little wet. It is just the nature of the beast. A good technician on the other hand should be able to speed the drying to its full potential. The faster a carpet dries the less likely stains will wick up from the backing in the carpet and reappear. It also lowers the risk of resoiling as wet carpet will cling onto the soil much easier.

The carpet technician should get a fan blowing on the finished area as soon as he has thoroughly cleaned. The company that I worked for provided us each with three large industrial fans every day in our trucks. With the fans running and a proper wand stroke to vacuum out most of the water a technician could leave a job with the first rooms cleaned being dried and the final rooms being slightly damp to the touch.

Don't Waste Your Money on a Bad Job

With the attributes listed here you should be able to make an accurate assumption about the quality of your carpet cleaning. Service jobs are becoming more and more expensive these days while quality seems to be a bit harder to find. If you happen to find a service professional that gets the job done in a timely fashion and with satisfactory results keep them close and don't stray too far to the competition. Loyalty can get you very far with the service industry.

PS - Carpet technicians always appreciate tips. If they deserve one don't be shy.

Are you usually satisfied with the job after your carpet is professionally cleaned?

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