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Myths About
Carpet Cleaning
Expert Articles by Richard Midgley
Master Cleaner
Owner, UK Carpet Cleaning™
San Diego County
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SINCE 2001

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Common Myths about
Professional Carpet Cleaning

... and the facts that set the record straight.

As a highly-trained professional carpet cleaner for almost two decades, I often hear several myths floating around about professional carpet cleaning. Perhaps the myths were started by other cleaner's advertising campaigns, or through casual conversations that become "urban myths" — but I'd love to set the record straight. On this page, I'll explore some of the most common myths I hear.

"After a professional cleaning,
my carpet will just get dirty faster."

In the industry, "getting dirty faster" is known as "rapid re-soiling", and it generally occurs due to poor cleaning methods and processes, performed by budget cleaners, who leave soil-attracting residues that remain in the carpeting after the cleaning. (More on this, below)

When I clean your carpets utilizing my 10-step cleaning process, then the answer is most definitely "no" — your carpet will not rapidly re-soil. My powerful truck-mounted equipment, carefully chosen solutions, hot-water-extraction method, and my meticulous 10-step cleaning process ensures a total deep cleaning, and leaves your carpet beautiful and healthy — and leaves behind no soil-attracting residues.

Some companies clean residential carpets with a bonnet cleaning process that was designed for commercial carpet cleaning applications. This process is quick, superficial (only cleans the surface), and FAST drying. This cleaning is designed as a maintenance method to be performed every 2 to 4 weeks — then followed up every couple of months with a deep-cleaning Hot Water Extraction (“Steam Cleaning”) method that removes the residues left behind by the bonnet method.

"My carpets don’t LOOK dirty —
so I don’t need a pro cleaner, yet."

Interestingly, most carpeting has been
engineered to hide soil.

So, by the time you see visible soil on your carpet, two important issues have come into play:

1. The indoor air quality has diminished due to the bacterial actions on the soil that may be bonded to the carpet.

2. The carpet fiber is being eroded away by the particulate soil that is grinding against the fibers every time you have foot traffic on the carpet.

There is a point in time at which a vacuum cleaner cannot remove the accumulated damaging soil due to the fact that the soil is bonded to the fiber by a sticky residue that vacuuming alone cannot remove.

Proper professional cleaning can break down that sticky bond and safely remove the accumulated soil. Carpets suffer irreversible damage if the tiny, sharp particles of soil are not removed on a regular basis.

(See Article: How Often Should I Have My Carpets Professionally Cleaned?)

The result of this type of damage is a traffic pattern that appears on your carpeting that is darker than other areas. What's happening is that the damaged carpet fibers are dispersing reflected light in different directions than how they did when the carpeting was new — with a uniform reflection from undamaged fibers.

To illustrate this, imagine a clear plastic sheet that has sand paper rubbed across it. The clear plastic sheet gets scratched and appears dull. No matter how much you clean it, the results will be the same — CLEAN, but dull. The same is true for carpet fibers.

"All carpet cleaners are the same.
I'll just choose the cheapest."

Not advisable.
Not all carpet cleaners have the same integrity, experience, and skill level.

If you have your carpets cleaned by an inexperienced, uneducated cleaner, it can — and usually does — lead to rapid re-soiling. Sometimes the carpets will look good for a few days, and then worse-than-ever in a couple of weeks.

The reason for a carpet rapidly re-soiling is often traced back to a poorly educated technician utilizing either the wrong cleaning method, or an incomplete 1 or 2-step steam-cleaning process.

Safe and effective deep cleaning is based on scientific cleaning principles. The equipment, method, solutions, and processes have to work synergistically. Each type of fiber — be it olefin, nylon, polyester acrylic, wool or a blend of any of the fibers — is unique to each person's household or office area. No situation is the same, and therefore one-size cleaning does not fit all.

The correct equipment, water temperature, detergent, dwell time, balanced air-flow and suction, and physical agitation — combined with the correct education regarding which cleaning detergent, oxidizing or reducing agents may be safely applied to obtain maximum soil and stain removal — have to be applied to achieve the best possible results.

The correct equipment and detergents are only part of the equation — the education/ training and experience are the other part — the same way a $90,000 grand piano will not turn me into a concert pianist, or a $20,000 stove will not make me a gourmet chef.

"I can get my carpets cleaned for
'$95 Whole House Special!' "

In order to make up for a lowball advertised price with high expectations —

"Carpets will look like new! All stains completely removed! 100% money-back guarantee! And other claims ...

— the technician has to move quickly to do several homes in one day. They have to use extremely high-pH cleaning solutions that are injected and extracted in a single cleaning pass. The failing of this budget process is that the high-pH cleaning detergents are not fully flushed from the carpet. The residue left behind will dry sticky. The high-pH sticky residues attracts soil and dust from the air, and it also clings to the bottoms of your shoes and spreads as you walk on the carpet, resulting in rapid re-soiling.

To guarantee the most effective deep cleaning possible without leaving soil-attracting residues, you need to hire an experienced professional that will take the time to do the job correctly and completely.

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