How to Choose a Rug & Carpet Cleaner

Have you ever talked to a carpet or rug cleaning company that says

“We’re not the best, were just ok”? Never. Everyone says we’re the best, we are #1. What else are they supposed to say?

From low prices and high-pressure sales, to unqualified technicians and near worthless methods, how do you ever find a qualified, competent, professional carpet cleaner?

Here is how to Choose a Rug & Carpet Cleaner in Ottawa.  You start by reading this Consumer’s Guide. We published this guide in 1997, and besides a few revisions due to advanced equipment, procedures and chemistry, it still applies in every respect today.

You’ll discover how to avoid common carpet cleaning rip-offs, how to identify an honest qualified carpet cleaner, and steps to a fresh, clean, healthy carpet. PEACOCK RUG CARE wants to help you understand our industry better.

Now with this information, you can make an informed intelligent decision. Cordially, Murray Peacock, Owner

How to Prevent Becoming the “Victim of the Day”

Rip-Off #1 – Unbelievably Low Price To some degree, all of us are attracted by low price because we want to work within a budget. But some rug & carpet cleaners use price as the bait for their false and misleading advertising. They offer a cheap price, usually between $15.00-$20.00 per room, and then, once they’re in your home, they pressure you into buying add-ons that you assumed were already included, such as use of cleaning products, or a two step process. It’s as if you were buying a car and found that the dealer was charging you extra for the tires and steering wheel. Carpet cleaning, even though very affordable, is not dirt-cheap as some unethical carpet cleaners would like you to believe.

Rip-Off #2 – Bait and Switch Unfortunately, unethical rug & carpet cleaners often use dual process as a bait and switch technique. Here’s how it’s done: First, they bait you with a basic cleaning (single process) at an unbelievably low price. Then when get to your home, they try to switch you to a more expensive dual process cleaning. Then they high-pressure you into add-ons that are more expensive than the cleaning itself. If you don’t fall for their switch and choose their basic service, you’ll likely receive poor workmanship using little or no chemicals, may leave excessive amounts of soap residue in carpet, and will not guarantee their work.

Rip Off #3 – “Our Method is the Best…” You’ll read this in almost every ad. You’ll hear this from almost every rug & carpet cleaner. Remember this: This method that is best for you is the method that achieves your goal. If you need a method that dries quickly, then a method that takes longer to dry may not be as advantageous to you. So before choosing a cleaner, identify your objectives. Then select the method that best reaches those objectives. But lets not forget, the less water the carpet cleaner uses, the more “surface cleaning” you are getting. If a company advertises “dries in one hour”, I guarantee that you didn’t get a deep cleaning. We have cleaned hundreds of carpets that have been low moisture cleaned before by companies that advertise fast drying, and you wouldn’t believe the compacted soils that we remove.

Rip Off #4 – “Hot Water Damages Your Carpet…” By washing and then rinsing your carpets properly with hot water, your carpet is thoroughly cleaned, in the same way that the person who showers and then rinses the dirt off and soap will be much cleaner than the person who takes a sponge bath. Obviously, each carpet cleaner will be biased toward his own method. And each method does have advantages. So I suggest you look to what carpet manufacturers say. Shaw Industries, the world’s largest carpet manufacturer, recommends hot water extraction, and is the preferred method by other major fibre producers. In fact, in Shaw’s warranty, carpets must be cleaned annually by hot water extraction to remain valid. There are now over 50 manufacturers that recommend truck mounted cleaning. Some people believe that hot water damages your carpet, but this isn’t true. This misconception has in many ways been spread by dry or bonnet cleaners as part of their marketing campaigns. There have also been far too many hot water extraction companies who improperly use their equipment and do a very poor job. Then as a result, the equipment becomes the blame.

Costly Misconceptions About Rug & Carpet Care

Misconception #1 – Wait as Long as Possible Before Cleaning Your Rug or Carpet. If you hire a company that removes some dirt but fills it with soapy residue, then cleaning your rug or carpet should be done as little as possible. But waiting too long will not benefit you in the long run. Dirt is abrasive, like sandpaper. Every time you step on your carpet or rug , you grind dirt into the carpet fibres. This cuts your carpet, just as if you had a knife. This cutting causes your carpet to wear out faster. A dirty carpet will not last as long as a clean carpet. And while vacuuming helps, and is very important, it is simply not enough by itself. The longer you wait to have your carpets cleaned, the more damage you do to your carpet and the faster the fibres wear out.

Misconception #2 – The Only Reason to Clean Carpets is to Remove the Dirt. No. Rugs & Carpets act as sinks to the atmosphere, trapping out of the air contaminants such as pollens, fungus, bacteria, air pollution, cigarette smoke, food particles, oils, hair, animal saliva, car exhaust — and hundreds of other chemicals. Not surprising, all those chemicals and toxins wind up in your carpet.

Misconception #3 – One Method of Rug & Carpet Cleaning is as Good as Another. No. All methods have their advantages and place in the cleaning industry. The dry cleaning methods, the very first method ever used for cleaning — dry foam, or dry compound, or carbonation — do not rinse your carpet in any way. They spray a water based solution on the carpets, place a thick cloth or bonnet under a floor buffer and wipe the dirt into the bonnet. This cleans the top well but does not remove dirt or contaminants from the base of the fibres. The most effective cleaning method is HOT water extraction. Hot water extraction means a hot water cleaning solution under high pressure is forced into your rug or carpet and then rapidly extracted out. This method actually rinses or extracts the dirt and pollution out of your carpets. By incorporating our duel dynamic rotary extraction processes along with truck-mounted power, you get the deepest cleaning possible. Period!

Misconception #4 – Having the Right Equipment is All a Company Needs to Clean Your Carpets Properly. Not true. While proper equipment is very important, we need to remember that people clean carpets. Many companies own hot water extractors but very few companies teach their employees how to use them properly, or what balance of chemicals to use with it. This is why it’s important that you choose your carpet cleaner carefully. Giving a man a scalpel doesn’t make him a doctor.

Misconception #5 – The Company That Offers the Lowest Price is the Company You Should Hire. NO! I’ve seen so many problems arise from buying solely on price, that I suggest you NEVER hire the company that quotes the cheapest price. The two most common problems are: The price may not be for the services you want performed. Instead of performing a complete six-step process, a cheap price usually includes only one. The company may be equipped or want to remove only the general dirt, or the topical soil from your carpet. Cheap price cleaning usually means rinsing with “soapy” water, which will leave sticky residue behind to attract dirt faster, or use inexpensive or inappropriate cleaning products. The price you see advertised might not be the price you pay. Many homeowners have learned that the low price they see advertised lasted only until the carpet cleaner got into their home. Then they were pressured into paying a lot more for a variety of add-ons that can double or triple the price.

Misconception #6 – Any Honest Rug & Carpet Cleaning Ottawa Company Should be Able to Give You an Exact Price Quote Over the Telephone. I wish this were true, but not necessarily so. Close estimates can be made, but to get an exact price quotation, it usually is good for the technician to see it. The advantages are great. We offer a free, no obligation carpet audit, or inspection on the condition of the carpet, suggestions on its maintenance, and give you a written quotation that prevents any surprises on cleaning day. To give you an idea as to how we quote cleaning, here are the three things we consider:

  • First, the type of rug or carpet. Certain fibres are harder to clean than others, and some need much more careful handling such as wool or cotton.
  • Second, the amount of soiling. A Rug or Carpet that was cleaned within the last six months would be easier to clean than one that hasn’t been cleaned for ten years that suffered heavy soiling. Therefore the price would reflect that.
  • Third, the amount of furniture we have to move. We generally don’t charge for moving basic furniture, but when a room is full of furniture, we have to reflect this in the price simply because it takes us much longer to clean.

Which Cleaning Method is Best?

The principle behind cleaning carpets and upholstery is the same as washing other fabrics like clothing. When you do your laundry, first you need to get the loose dirt and sand off the clothing, and then allow it to soak in the detergent water, agitate it during the wash cycle, rinse it with clear water, and then dry it. If we leave any steps out, the quality of the wash will be compromised. With this in mind, let’s look at the different methods of carpet cleaning.

DRY FOAM The technician applies shampoo on your carpet, scrubs it, allows it to dry and then without rinsing, vacuums the dried shampoo out. Can you imagine applying shampoo to your hair, allowing it to dry and then removing the shampoo from your head with a vacuum? This method leaves a sticky residue in your carpet, which is one reason dry foam is not the most effective.

BONNET CLEANING This method is similar to dry foam, except the company sets a large cotton bonnet on your carpet under a floor buffer. The rotating motion causes the bonnet to absorb the dirt from the carpet. Bonnet cleaning was originally developed as an interim cleaning to keep the top of the carpet looking clean between thorough flush cleanings.

DRY ABSORBENT POWDER The dry compound method spreads a moist, absorbent powder through the carpet. A machine like a floor buffer or one that has counter-rotating brushes scrubs the carpet. The powder sponges absorb the dirt in the carpet, is allowed to dry and then vacuumed. This method leaves dry sponge particles at the base of the carpet yarns.

STEAM CLEANING This is a fancy way of saying that a hot water cleaning solution under high pressure is forced into your carpet and then extracted immediately out. There are two types of extractors, portable and truck mounts. Portable extractors have improved tremendously in the past couple of years.

Both systems will clean remarkably, as long as the technician is trained and experienced. Peacock Rug Care insists on truck-mounted power for homes and businesses, simply for its ability to remove soils from deep within a carpet. And applying our duel dynamic process, we always get the “wow” effect from the client. In a recent Technical Bulletin from Shaw Industries recommends HOT water extraction system, which research indicates provides the best capability for cleaning.

Hot water extraction is the only method that rinses out the dirt from the base of the biers upwards. This method breaks up the dirt, bacteria, chemicals and pollens in the carpet and rinses them all out. To illustrate, suppose you put too much soap in your clothes washer, skipped the rinse cycle and then left the clothes in a pile to dry. You can imagine the end result. Now, where do you think the blame should go, the machine or the operator? By washing and then rinsing your carpet with hot water, we clean it completely, in the same way that a person who showers and then rinses off the dirt and soap will be much cleaner than the person who takes only a sponge bath.

What to Avoid When Choosing a Carpet Cleaner

MISTAKE #1 – Choosing a Carpet Cleaner Based on Equipment Alone There is no question that your carpet cleaner needs first rate equipment. But he also needs something else. He and his employees need to be skilled at operating the equipment. Many companies own hot water extractors, but very few companies teach their employees how to use them properly, beyond brief training. It’s a fact that a skilled, experienced cleaner can do a better cleaning job with a portable extractor than an untrained person with a powerful truck mounted unit. Our technicians have years of experience, and all of us want to “wow” the client.

MISTAKE #2 – Choosing a Carpet Cleaner Based on Low Price Low price could be a problem in three ways:

  1. Low price can be the bait that attracts your phone call. But once the cleaner gets into your home, he pressures you into a much more expensive job.
  2. Low price can be for a single process cleaning. Rarely does the consumer know what is included and when told, asks for the dual process cleaning instead, which costs much more. What this means is they have one price to get into your home, and another price to clean thoroughly.
  3. Low price in many cases means the carpet cleaner has either old or cheap equipment, lack of extra tools needed to complete a job properly, or uses very little chemical to clean properly, or do the job quickly leaving a sticky residue behind. A common complaint with cheap price cleaning is that carpets are wet for days.

MISTAKE #3 – Choosing a Carpet Cleaner Who Doesn’t Offer a “Don’t Pay Guarantee” In our view, every service company should be fully accountable for their work. And if you aren’t pleased with the job in every way, you shouldn’t have to pay for it, period. Not all carpet cleaners offer a guarantee. Or if they do, the guarantee may be limited. Make sure the carpet cleaner offers a money back guarantee, and be sure he puts it in writing. Peacock Rug Care was the first carpet cleaning company in Ottawa to offer a don’t pay guarantee… and we still stand behind it today.

The Importance of Value and Price

“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” When you select a carpet cleaner, you’ll choose from a wide variety of cleaning methods, prices, and technical qualifications. Shaw Industries recommends hot water extraction units, which under high-pressure force water into the carpet and instantly sucked back out. Not surprisingly, having your carpet thoroughly cleaned with our truck mount costs more than renting a machine yourself, but the results, visibly and unseen is incomparable. If you bought the cheapest carpeting you could find, then renting a small shampooer might be all you need. No question, it will get out some of the dirt — but the key word here is “some”. It will not get out many of the pollens, chemicals, bacteria and tobacco smoke residues. In fact usually, the end result with a rented machine is a carpet filled with detergent residue. On the other hand, if you bought high quality carpeting, and if you want it to look good and give you years of dependable service, then you need to take extra good care of it. This means it would be wise to have it cleaned by a skilled, qualified technician at least once a year, depending on the amount of soiling and foot traffic it received. And to deeply clean and disinfect all the carpet fibre, it needs to be hot water extracted.

Do You Want a Clean, Healthy Rug or Carpet?

A clean rug or carpet, or a clean and healthy rug & carpet? Yes, I assure you, there is a big difference. Each carpet cleaning method has advantages and disadvantages. Some will spread the dirt out so you don’t see it (called agglomeration). Other methods will make the top of the carpet look good. Still others will get out virtually everything, and to be sure, some are more expensive than others. If all you want is a cheap rinse-the-dirt-off-the-top cleaning, which you can get with any one-step process, then I’m sure there are many companies that can give you estimates. But if you want to protect your health, and your investment in your carpet and upholstery, and if you are concerned with your Indoor Air quality, then you are invited to give us a call. Have you ever seen how dirty a little boy’s pants get when he plays outdoors? If you have, then you know you can brush off his pants and make him think they’re clean. You could even get a cloth and wipe the dirty areas to remove the most obvious soil. But when you want the pants properly cleaned, you can machine wash them in hot water and detergent and you will KNOW they are really clean and fresh. So if you want a thoroughly clean carpet — if you’re willing to invest in your family’s good health — you’re invited to call us. And remember, we are not the cheapest in price, but we are also not the most expensive. Our prices are reasonable, which makes our value unbeatable. So when comparing prices, make sure you are comparing apples to apples.

Steps to a Great Rug & Carpet Cleaning Experience

If you’re thinking about having your carpets cleaned, I encourage you to follow these steps.

STEP #1 – Make a Commitment to Get Your Carpets Cleaned The longer they remain dirty, the sooner they’ll wear out. Plus the longer you have to breathe all the pollens, fungus and chemicals that hide in your carpet, the harder it will be on your family’s health.

STEP #2 – List Your Objectives Do you want only the dirt removed, something you could do with a rented shampooer, or do you want all the bacteria, fungus and chemicals removed, which will require a hot water, high pressure cleaner as I use. Do you want to work with an honest reputable company or are you willing to risk working with the company that offers you the lowest price — knowing that the company might not be in business tomorrow.

STEP #3 – Ask Questions The way you learn about a company is to ask specific questions and listen carefully to the answers. Here are 6 important questions to ask a carpet cleaner before he begins to clean your carpet.

  1. What method of carpet cleaning do you recommend?
  2. What type of equipment do you use to clean carpet and upholstery?
  3. What will your equipment remove from my carpets?
  4. How long will it take for my carpets to dry?
  5. How often should I get my carpets cleaned?
  6. What training have you had in cleaning carpets?

Now when you wonder How to Choose a Carpet Cleaner in Ottawa you will have these steps to follow and you’ll gain all the information you need to make an informed, intelligent decision. We’ll be happy to answer your questions, provide you with a cost estimate over the telephone, or come into your home and give you a free written carpet audit, without cost or obligation of any kind. Contact us today!

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