Dirty carpet? What to know before you hire a carpet cleaning service

Kim J. Clark

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BBB Tip: Dirty carpet? What to know before you hire a carpet cleaning service

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If you have water damage to your floors, or just a pet accident, you might be looking for a carpet cleaner. Regular carpet cleaning can extend the life of your carpet as well as rid of tough stains. In fact, most carpet manufacturers recommend having carpet professionally cleaned every 12-18 months, depending on how much foot traffic your home gets.

A professional carpet cleaning company can help you get the deepest clean possible and avoid the hassle of renting a machine. If you are considering hiring a pro, BBB recommends the following tips to ensure you receive top-notch service at a fair price.

How to Hire a Professional Carpet Cleaning Company

  • Set your budget. Decide how much you can spend and keep that figure in mind as you call different companies for pricing. Setting a budget can help you decide what rooms you want cleaned and which add-ons you can comfortably splurge on. When it comes to professional home carpet cleaning, steam cleaning may pose potential risks to your carpet’s longevity and condition. The high heat and moisture involved can damage certain carpet fibers and backing materials such as those used for cleaning carpet stairs, potentially leading to issues like mold growth and loosening of fibers. While steam cleaning can effectively remove dirt and stains, it’s crucial to consider gentler alternatives to ensure your carpet remains in optimal condition for the long term.
  • Get a free estimate. Reputable companies should be willing to offer you a free estimate over the phone. As you call around, provide accurate descriptions and measurements to get a more exact estimate. If you are having trouble with this, ask if the company offers free in-person estimates – some do. Once you have an estimated price, get it in writing if you can. Make sure the price the company quotes you includes the full service from start to finish. Ask if there are any additional services you may need that cost extra.
  • Find a reputable company. Read reviews and get recommendations from friends and family to find a reliable carpet cleaning company in your area. Over-wetting carpet and using improperly mixed chemical or brushing techniques can cause irreparable damage to your carpet, so it’s important you find someone who knows what they are doing. Inquire how long technicians have been practicing their trade and find out if the company is licensed and bonded.
  • Find out if there’s a guarantee. Many carpet cleaning services offer a guarantee, but the terms of each one can vary quite a bit. Ask what is included in the guarantee and get the details in writing when you settle on a specific company.
  • Ask about cleaning techniques. Hot-water extraction, sometimes called “steam cleaning,” is the most common technique professional carpet cleaners use and the method recommended by many carpet manufacturers. It involves spraying hot water, usually with a cleaning solution, onto the carpet and then sucking it back up into a machine along with any dirt and grime that might be hidden in carpet fibers. Cleaners may use a portable machine, which is ideal for multi-story apartment buildings, or a truck mounted system. The truck mounted units are the most powerful and your best option when available.
  • Find out what kind of rug cleaning services are available. Keep in mind that rug cleaning services are generally performed outside your home, so it’s extra important to inquire how your rug will be cleaned. Look for companies that perform hand-washing using an immersion method and find out if the company will be cleaning your rug personally or sending it out to a specialized, third-party cleaner. Try to hire a company that will handle the work in-house.
  • Be upfront about problem areas. An honest carpet cleaning company will admit that there are some types of stains that are difficult, if not impossible, to remove once they’ve set. When you call to get an estimate and again when the technician shows up to start the cleaning, describe and point out stained or soiled areas and let the technician know how and when it got there. This will improve your chances of having the stain fully removed.
  • Compare companies before you hire. Never hire the first company you talk to. Get estimates from multiple companies and compare their services, prices, and customer service before you choose one.
  • Prepare your home. Professional carpet cleaners will do the heavy lifting for you and move furniture out of the way when they clean your carpets. That said, you likely still need to prepare your home, explains the Washington Post. Store any clutter that could get in the way and, if you have prized or antique decorations or furnishings in areas that will be cleaned, move them yourself to avoid potential damage. 
  • Check the work before you pay. Never pay a company before the work is complete. Make sure you are satisfied with the job and if you notice any problem areas, ask the company to address them before you make a final payment. If you notice a problem after the fact, call the company as soon as possible. The quicker you get in touch, the more likely a company is to help resolve it for you. Follow BBB’s advice for hiring a contractor.
  • Allow the carpet to dry before you walk on it. Professional cleaning companies will let you know how long the carpet needs to dry and if there is anything you can do to speed up the process. Work the drying time into your schedule if you can. For best results, avoid letting anyone, including pets, walk across your newly cleaned carpets until they are completely dry.

For More Information

Find a carpet cleaning company near you.

For more tips, see BBB’s article on hiring a professional clearning service. To check the reliability of a company, visit BBB.org.

To report a scam, visit BBB.org/ScamTracker.


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