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Once you have your carpets cleaned, do they get dirty faster?

I’ve heard that saying a lot of times myself. It’s been around a long time, and years ago it was true. It comes from a time when most carpets were shampooed. The carpets were scrubbed with a foaming cleaner and then the foam was either sucked out with a wet vacuum or in some cases, allowed to dry and then dry vacuumed in an attempt to remove the residues. The problem was that the shampoo or other cleaning products were never actually rinsed from the carpet. The remaining residues made the carpet slightly sticky and from then on the carpet would attract dirt faster.

Many years ago, we were the first in the area to offer hot water extraction or “steam cleaning” and this greatly reduced the amount of residues left in the carpet. However, it did not completely solve the problem because there was still no separate rinse performed. Unfortunately today, many cleaning firms still use the steam cleaning machines or truck mounts in the same old way.

Fortunately, we’re proud to tell you that we were also the first cleaning firm in the area to modify the steam cleaning process and develop it to include pretreatment of all soil and stains and a final rinse step. We call it our “Clean & Rinse Process.” With this process, residues are no longer a problem, and your carpet will not get dirty faster after a cleaning from us. So with dirt causing damage to your carpet, if your carpet is even a little soiled, you would do best not to wait to have it cleaned.

I vacuum regularly and we’re careful with spills. Why do I need the carpets cleaned?

Great! Regular vacuuming is one of the best things you can do for your carpet. Don’t forget to use the hose end or a small tool to vacuum the outer edge of any carpeted stairs you may have. The soil really gets impacted in this area from traffic and most people just vacuum the top of the tread area. Eventually however, vacuuming will not be enough to maintain the carpet. The problem is that over time, an oily film builds on the carpet. This can come from pollution, moisture and cooking oils in the air, perspiration from bare feet, etc. Another big source of oily film is pets; they have oily coats and they sweat from their feet (I know, I have three large dogs!). Now it’s not that this oily film in itself looks dirty, but what happens is that all the dust and dirt we all have sticks to the oil and therefore to the carpet. At this point, your vacuum can no longer remove it and you must have it cleaned to remove the oil and dirt. The good news is that the cleaning method and products that we use are the very best at removing the oily film and soil.

How often should I have my carpets cleaned?

Well, I would like to give you two answers here. First, I must tell you that you should have it professionally cleaned at least every 12 to 24 months. One reason I say this is that most carpet manufacturers require this to maintain the warranty on your carpet. They do this because soil and grit in the carpet is the major cause of carpet damage and wear. The soil and grit are abrasive on the fibres, causing them to become rough and then mat together. If left longer, the abrasion will even cut the carpet fibres causing them to fall out. The abrasion can also wear off any stainguard treatments that have been applied, causing the carpet to soil even faster and absorb more stains.

The second thing is, warranty or not, it just makes good sense to have your carpet last longer and be healthier for your family. You wouldn’t wear the same shirt for a year without cleaning it, would you? Having said all that, some people are exceptionally clean, as there are rooms that they rarely use or have no warranty. For them, my best answer is to have the carpet cleaned when it starts to look a little dull. The problem is that it can be hard to tell. One way to tell this is to compare the look of the carpet in a traffic area to that under a piece of furniture, or to a piece of unused carpet that you may have left over. When you start to see a bit of a difference, that is when it is time to clean. If you have come to a point where you say to yourself, “This carpet is filthy, and I’ve got to get it cleaned,” this is usually an indication that you waited a bit too long. We can still do a great job, but by then you may have some carpet damage.

How long will the carpet take to dry?

It depends on many factors. Generally, carpets are fairly dry overnight. However, if they are very thick piled or if we have to go over them several times to get them cleaned, they may take longer. Carpets in basements, especially damp basements, may take a little longer, as well.

Note: There are cleaning methods that dry faster. However, they are generally considered by the industry to be more of an interim or surface cleaning method. Our cleaning is considered a restorative or deeper cleaning.

Why do you recommend area rugs be cleaned in your shop?

For one thing they go through a more extensive process when done in-shop. When in the shop, we are able to flip them upside down and use a special machine called a rug beater. This machine uses a rotating drum with special belts that vibrate the carpet to dislodge the damaging grit, while it vacuums the back. “We Beat The Dirt Every Time.” This of course can’t be done in the home. Then, after a surface vacuuming, we clean the rug much in the same way we do in-home and handwash any fringe. The second advantage is that we have a proper dry room where area rugs are hung to dry. This allows them to dry faster and air out. This is especially important for fine wool rugs.

Note: Although we will clean synthetic area rugs in-home if you wish, we strongly recommend that wool rugs be done in-shop.

Can I drop my rugs off to be cleaned?

Certainly. We just ask that you make an appointment. Most of our work is done in-home and there is not always someone in the shop (We don’t want you to drop by and find no one there).

If I have my rug cleaned, will all the stains come out?

If you know what the stains are from, we could give you a better answer. Unfortunately, there are several substances that will damage and permanently stain a carpet. Even treated carpets are not totally impervious to all stains. A lot depends on what the carpet itself is made of, if it’s been stain treated, how long the stain has been there, etc. The good news is that when we clean a carpet or area rug, we do not charge extra to try everything we have to remove the stain. But no one can guarantee that all stains will come out. As a basic rule of thumb, stains and spots that simply look like dark areas on the carpet are likely to come out. The problem is usually with areas that are lighter than the rest of the carpet, indicating a colour loss or areas that have a colour change, for example beige to red. That doesn’t mean they won’t come out, just that they are more problematic.

Note: Depending on certain conditions, as a last resort, it may be possible for us to patch a permanently damaged area with a new piece of carpet.

Why does my year-old carpet seem so matted and dull?

Do you live in a new subdivision? The reason I ask is that often the carpet that is installed in a new home is “builders’ quality.” Basically, a builder wanting to keep the cost of a new home low for his customer, will go to a carpet supplier and say I have 20 or so new homes—how cheap can you supply carpet or what is your bid? The supplier, wanting the sale, will spec a lower quality carpet. There is nothing wrong with that. That’s just the way it often gets done. The fact is that any carpet looks good when new. The problem is that less expensive carpets are made less dense and from less expensive fibres. These lower quality carpets tend to mat more readily and can attract oils much more than higher quality carpets, causing them to get dull and dirty faster. This has the effect of making people think that carpet in general is bad, when in fact they may just have a lower quality carpet. The other thing is if you moved in while there is still construction in the area, there is likely a lot of dirt in the air that may be coming in and getting on the carpet.

Is it a good idea to use mats to protect the carpet?

Yes and no. The problem with mats placed on the carpet is that people put them in high traffic areas, thinking that at some point they will remove the mat and have great looking carpet underneath. But what usually happens is that the carpet all around the mat gets worn or faded and the dirt falls off the mat, leaving a ring around it. So if you remove the mat, the area underneath is so distinctly different that you end up having to leave the mat there, so nothing is gained. The only time that mats placed on the carpet may have some value is when they are placed where you may have sudden damage, like from sparks in front of a fireplace or cigarette burns near a smoker’s chair, etc. In any event, never place mats with a black rubberized backing on another rug as it may stain it. Having said that, mats placed before the entrance to carpeted areas are a great idea. They can absorb dirt before it is tracked onto the carpet.

Your quote for cleaning is higher than others. Why?

Because we do a better job. Sorry, I guess that deserves a better explanation. A lot of people look at carpet or upholstery cleaning as if it were a product. What I mean by that is if you were to see a product such as a toaster at one store, and then go to another store and find the same exact toaster for $10.00 less, you could buy it knowing you got a deal; it’s the same thing that you are buying.

However, when you “buy” carpet cleaning, you are buying a service, not an end product, and those services and results can be vastly different. We have no problem with people charging less. We believe that in general, you get what you pay for. We actually feel that if some company is willing to charge, for example, half of what we charge and then does half as good a job, we think that is fair and you got what you paid for. The difference from us is that we have always specialized in superior cleaning for “fussy” customers.

For example, many companies offer hot water extraction or “steam cleaning” and whether you use us or not, this is the type of cleaning that we and most carpet manufacturers recommend. If you have never seen others do it, a combination wand is used to inject a cleaning chemical into the carpet under high pressure. It then takes maybe a tenth of a second to break down and mix with the dirt and stains before powerful vacuums suck it out. As a system, nothing removes more dirt.

There are some drawbacks however. First, the cleaning chemical is not on the carpet long enough to break down the soil and stains completely. Second, like all cleaning systems, you are putting a cleaning chemical on the carpet and, though for the most part you are sucking it back out (with some systems they tell you to let it dry and vacuum it out later), the bottom line is that you are not truly rinsing it out. This is a problem because any cleaning chemical left in the carpet will become sticky and cause more rapid resoiling. So what we do differently to solve these problems is apply our special cleaning solution to the entire carpet separately first, from a pump sprayer. This gives the solution the time it needs to work, much like soaking your clothes before you wash them. Then, because the cleaning solution is already on the carpet, we can use a special neutralizing rinse in the machine. So when we come along with the wand tool, we are not only rinsing out the dirt, we are rinsing out the cleaning chemicals, as well. So your carpet gets cleaner because the cleaning solution has had time to do its job, but it also stays cleaner because we have rinsed the cleaning chemicals out. We do a similar process with upholstery, except that we do a full hand shampoo of the fabric before rinsing it and the soil out. “If It’s Not Rinsed, It’s Not Really Clean.”

I purchased carpet cleaner, will using it harm the carpet?

Well, I’m not really the person to ask, but if used correctly, probably not, or at least not directly. The only real harm from using personal carpet cleaners or rentals for that matter, may come from the fact that they are simply not anywhere close to as powerful as professional equipment. Therefore, they may not remove all the damaging soil and only do a surface cleaning. Also, the cleaning products that can be supplied to consumers will not be as effective as those available to professionals. It is also possible that cleaning the carpet yourself may void your warranty. If you use the cleaner incorrectly, however, there may be other problems. For example, there are many who believe that if a little is good, a lot is better, and they excessively wet the carpet, which may cause the carpet backing to separate.

Having said this, I believe that personal carpet cleaning machines do have one great use. If you do get a spill or have a pet accident and can pull out a cleaner to immediately clean up the spot, they may pay for themselves for this purpose alone. It’s always better to clean up a spill immediately than to leave it and let it set in.

I used a spot cleaner. The spot came out, but seemed to come back. Why?

First of all, you may not have gotten all the stain out. Often, when something is spilled on the carpet it can penetrate quite deeply, making its way into the underpad or even the floor underneath. When you cleaned it, you may have gotten it out of the carpet fibres, but as things dry there is a wicking action that takes place and the stain that is in the backing of the carpet may have wicked back to the surface. Another possibility is that the cleaner you used left sticky residues in the carpet and over time soil was attracted to the spot, making it look like the stain came back.

At this point, people will often apply more spot cleaner to the carpet only to leave more residue and cause more rapid resoiling. Try a little lukewarm water on the spot. If it foams up with a little massaging with your finger, you probably have a lot of residue. Rinse the area with more water and blot with an absorbent white cotton towel or paper towels to remove the foam residue, even stand on the towel on the spot to absorb as much as possible. If there was no foam in the carpet or if the spot again comes back when dry, apply a solution of about 25% white vinegar and 75% water to a colour-safe cotton towel and use it to gently rub and dampen the carpet only enough to remove the stain. Returning stains are a common problem even for professional carpet cleaners. The advantage that we have is that we rinse all carpets with a mildly acidic rinse. This removes and neutralizes the cleaning chemicals and puts the carpet back to its natural slightly acidic state, thus greatly reducing the chance of stains returning.

Should I have my carpet stainguarded?

That depends. If your carpet is new or even if it is less than 10 years old, it has likely been treated for stain and soil protection from the factory. The treatments work so well and are so easy to apply at the factory level that very few carpets produced anymore don’t have some sort of treatment. If your carpet is less than a year or two old and you have never had it cleaned, the existing stainguard treatments will likely survive one or two cleanings if done by a knowledgeable professional cleaner. I say knowledgeable because some cleaners will use chemicals which are too harsh, meaning too high in alkalinity, and can strip off the stain treatments. If your carpet is older or heavily used, you would likely benefit from a stain and soil repellant treatment, but only after cleaning.

Remember that stainguard treatments are not a stain proofing; some things can still stain a treated carpet. The problem with stainguard is that we feel it has been somewhat overhyped. Much of this comes from cleaning firms that may lead you to believe that it’s a wonderful, magical, impervious product that you simply must have. Even worse, some of the less reputable companies may not apply the product at the full and proper rate, leaving you with little or no protection. The truth is, when applied properly, it works, and your chances of getting a stain out of a treated carpet are much, much better than a nontreated carpet and any soil on the carpet will be easier to remove. But if you think you can stainguard your carpet and then do anything you want to it and it will still come clean, you have been misinformed and oversold in my opinion.

We found a used chair we want to buy from a smoker. Can it be cleaned?

Yes and no. Although I’m sure that we could clean the chair very satisfactorily for the old owner, it’s very unlikely that all the smoke odour could be removed to your satisfaction. The smoke will have penetrated deep into the cushion foam and would be expelled every time you sat down.

What causes carpet ripples and can it be fixed?

There are several reasons that a carpet may buckle. It may be that the house has settled and/ or the carpet relaxed over time. It may have stretched due to heavy traffic over time. It may have been damaged by rolling friction like a wheelchair or office chair (Rolling friction is one of the worst things for a carpet. Use a plastic protector mat under rolling office chairs). Of course it may also not have been stretched enough in the first place. It’s also possible that a carpet may stretch from excessive moisture like a flood or even extreme over-wetting by a carpet cleaner. Most of the time carpets can be re-stretched. As trained carpet installers, we do offer this service.

My carpet is old. Will it clean up and is it worth it?

Possibly. If you’re in town, we could do a free inspection and quote. We would let you know how we think the carpet would respond and if we think there are any issues with the carpet itself. Unfortunately, you often can’t really tell just how a carpet will respond to cleaning until you try. So the other thing we would do for you is if you want to go ahead and book the job, we could do a test cleaning, for a minimum charge. If we have cleaned a section of it, and you don’t feel that the results are worth it, you would be under no obligation or pressure to finish the job. I will tell you, though, that it’s very rare that people are not surprised how well an older carpet will respond to our cleaning.