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What Should I Know About Carpet Cleaning?

By Nychole Price
Updated May 16, 2024
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Carpets become dirty very quickly, due to people wearing their shoes in the house, spilling drinks, dropping food and pets who have accidents. Carpet cleaning has become a necessity in most homes, especially those with children or pets. It can be performed by a professional service, or you can do it yourself.

Cost is definitely the biggest consideration when choosing a carpet cleaning service. The cost varies greatly depending upon the the type of cleaning they perform and the size of the company. Truck-mounted carpet cleaning services charge more than those with portable units. Smaller companies usually utilize portable units and are often the cheapest. Truck-mounted shampooers are the most effective at removing deeply embedded dirt, as they are more powerful.

It is easy for the average person to clean their own carpets. Carpet cleaning machines can be rented or purchased. When renting a carpet shampooer, look for either hourly or daily rentals, depending upon your needs. You can rent carpet shampooers at grocery and drug stores for a reasonable price.

Carpet cleaning machines are now sold in sizes not much bigger than a regular vacuum cleaner. Steam cleaners are lightweight and easy to maneuver, making cleaning your carpets as easy as shampooing. Personal carpet cleaning machines require you to fill them with hot water and carpet shampoo. Some carpet shampooers come equipped with attachments for cleaning furniture and automobiles.

Before you clean your carpets, move all your furniture out of the room. Shampooing your carpets with the furniture in place can cause a variation in the shades of the carpet. After removing the furniture, thoroughly vacuum the room.

Clean the carpets using a slow, smooth, back-and-forth motion. Release the carpet cleaner during the forward motion, then pull back slowly, to rinse the carpet. Absorb the water from the carpet by running the carpet cleaner over the same spot without releasing the carpet cleaner or rinsing the carpet. This should be done at least four times, to prevent the water from absorbing into the carpet pad.

Allow the carpet to air dry for at least twelve hours. Open up the windows of the house and run a fan. After the carpet is thoroughly dry, run a vacuum to fluff the carpet fibers. Never vacuum the carpet if it is damp, as there is a risk of electrocution, or shorting out your vacuum. Move the furniture back into place.

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Discussion Comments
By anon322822 — On Mar 01, 2013

Do your research. I am a professional textile cleaner using the VonSchrader "Air Cell Extraction" method. All methods have their place. But the truck mount guys are usually cheaper because there isn't a lot of set up; they just drag the hose in from the truck. The cleaning is done faster.

Be careful with hot water and wool carpeting and rugs. I have seen too many disasters. Also, dry time is a consideration. On a hot, humid day, hot water extraction or a rented store machine isn't a good idea because mold and mildew can start growing under your feet in favorable conditions.

If hiring a professional cleaner look for a VonSchrader Associate in your area. It may be apple polishing here a bit, but I believe it's a far superior method than anything else out there.

By anon316243 — On Jan 28, 2013

Definitely. Nowadays there are several carpet cleaning companies providing nice services to their customers. I've recently contacted to some carpet cleaning companies to get their best cleaning services.

By mark6969 — On Aug 25, 2012

Basically, make everyone take off their shoes, buy them slippers to wear and leave them by the door so they put them on when they get home.

By golf07 — On Oct 28, 2011

Whenever I have company coming to spend the night, I usually go on a cleaning frenzy. If I am really ambitious, this includes cleaning my carpets as well.

I usually go to a local retail store and rent a carpet cleaning machine from them. Most of them have carpet shampooers, but some of them have steam cleaners that I like to use too.

When I steam clean my carpet, it doesn't get as wet and dries much faster. I have also noticed that the spots don't come back nearly as soon after I steam clean as they do if I just shampoo the carpet.

I have thought about buying one to have on hand so I don't have to rent one all the time. They aren't that much to rent, but it wouldn't take long to own one if I continue to rent very often.

By bagley79 — On Oct 28, 2011

No matter how hard I try to keep my carpet clean and free from spills, it never seems to happen.

The first thing we do when we come in the house, is take off our shoes and that cuts down on a lot of the dirt.

The worst thing is when the kids spill something and try to clean it up themselves. They always end of leaving a spot somewhere because they don't use the right kind of cleaners.

We have berber carpet in our family room, and I have found that cleaning berber carpet is much easier than the bedroom carpet.

The process of how I clean it is the same, but because of the texture and durability of the carpet, it seems to stay clean longer.

As soon as I have a spill or a spot on the carpet, I will spot clean it with an organic cleaner. This way I never have to worry about any chemicals damaging the carpet.

I also look for local carpet cleaning specials, and have a professional service come in at least twice a year for a deep cleaning of my carpets.

The last time I got a great price on a local Groupon deal. This saved me a lot of money, but they also did a great job. There is nothing like having your carpets look and smell like new again.

By Tomislav — On Oct 27, 2011

I just had my first experience with professional carpet cleaning services as my dog had a very (ew!) accident that I found one morning and needless to say the doggie carpet "spot" cleaner was not doing the trick.

Luckily because my husband knew the man who came and cleaned our carpet, I did not have to find out what the typical carpet cleaning prices were, as he gave us a friendly deal.

Also because the man was a friend and the spot was big but not that big, my husband asked if next time for small jobs if we should use a rentable carpet cleaner and just do it ourselves.

The man told my husband, that there is actually a machine in his truck that heats up the water to a ridiculously high temperature which is why our carpet looked so good and that the temperature is hard to match, if not impossible, in a rentable carpet cleaner.

And I have to say our carpet looked incredible – not only was it clean but it was sticking up all fluffy again like when we first moved into the house (the carpet stain was in a high traffic area, so needless to say the carpet is also a bit matted).

By Azuza — On Oct 27, 2011

@strawCake - I'll have to look out for that on my next grocery trip.

Anyway, my favorite carpet cleaning tip: don't have carpet. Seriously, I hate carpet. I much prefer hardwood floors. I have allergies, and I find that I feel much better in a place with hardwood floors. Carpets are full of all kind of dust and stuff, no matter how much you vacuum.

However, I have carpet in my current apartment, of course. So I got one of those at home carpet steam cleaners. I use it every few months, and it really helps my allergies.

One thing I like to do is put fans on the carpet while it's drying. I read somewhere that if your apartment is stuffy, your carpets might take too long to dry and get moldy!

By strawCake — On Oct 26, 2011

One thing that really helps me is carpet spot cleaner. It's just carpet cleaner that is meant to clean out small stains. You spray it on, rub the spot and usually the stain comes out. If the stain doesn't come out the first time, sometimes a second go around does the trick.

I find this really helps between thorough carpet cleaning. I have a cat, and he occasionally throws up or tracks stuff onto the carpet. Spot cleaner is great for these instances.

By robbie21 — On Oct 26, 2011

@suntan12 - I agree with you about carpet cleaning businesses. They have truck-mounted hoses that are able to get deeper into the carpet than home-rented machines can.

But the machines you rent yourself are nice if you are very fastidious and want to freshen up the carpets after a short period of time; most people aren't going to get their carpets professionally cleaned more than every year or two.

Something to be aware of with having your carpets professionally cleaned is that it can set off your carbon monoxide detector! I have no idea why that happens, but it happened to me. I suggest disconnecting it before they get started. I don't know if the same thing would happen with the equipment for homeowner use.

By suntan12 — On Oct 26, 2011

@Cupcake15 -You know I would rather have a carpet cleaning company clean my carpets for me because they can clean my carpets in thirty minutes, but it would take me a few hours to get the carpet just as clean.

They have commercial grade equipment that makes their cleaning more efficient. They also have better carpet cleaning solutions than the average person does.

I always watch out for those carpet cleaning coupons, and I usually get a pretty good deal when I need my carpets cleaned again. Sometimes the company will send me coupons for my patronage which is really nice.

By cupcake15 — On Oct 25, 2011

I think that the carpet cleaning companies do a good job, but it does come at a cost. Their services tend to be expensive and with the cost of one cleaning you can probably buy some carpet cleaning equipment and do it yourself.

I do this with a condo that I rent out and I have actually saved money because I have to clean the carpets after every tenet leaves and my rentals tend to be shorter term rentals of one to three months at a time.

I also don’t walk on the carpet with my shoes and leave my shoes in the closet at the entrance of the condo so that I don’t get the carpet dirty.

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