• johnoreynolds

Do I need a professional carpet cleaner?

Updated: Mar 25

How do carpets get dirty?

This is a question that is asked many times before employing a professional. Firstly we need to consider what really needs to be cleaned. If you want your carpets deep cleaned and rid of all bacteria and the little nasty things you can't see, our general carpet cleaners from our favourite electrical stores are not capable of doing this, they are only designed to clean the surface of our carpets and maybe dust and dirt that lays just under the surface of the fibres. This is great for appearance's sake, but what is left behind?

You also have to understand the construction and fibre of the carpet itself. Artificial fibres such as nylon or polypropylene will repel water, making them less likely to hold mud and soil, whereas cotton and wool are highly absorbable and will more than possibly stain.

How does a professional carpet cleaner assess my carpets? When you employ a professional and invite them into your home for a cleaning assessment, there will be a checklist of what they need and want to know. The professional you have chosen should have gone through rigorous training to ensure they know what they are doing. Getting the wrong cleaning solutions can damage your floor carpets. The checklist that any good professional uses is quite exhaustive, but it will ensure that there is no damage. ​ Carpet fibre identification: ​ All fibres react in different ways; this is why fibre identification is so important. Possible fibres that may be found in the carpets around your home or business. ​

  • Wool: Natural animal fibres

  • Viscose/Rayon: Man-made- regenerated from natural vegetable

  • Cotton: Natural – vegetable

  • Jute: Natural – vegetable

  • Nylon: Synthetic

  • Acrylic: Synthetic

  • Polyester: Synthetic

  • Polypropylene: Synthetic

All these fibres should be identified using a burns test. A small sample will be taken from an inconspicuous place like behind a door or where a radiator pipe may enter a floor. The fibre will be subjected to a naked flame and will react in a specific way; this will determine what threads you have in your carpeting. If this test is not conclusive, your professional will proceed to a float test. This test is to understand if your carpets will absorb or repel water. ​ The next stage to the checklist is a bleed test. This is really important as this will identify what type of cleaning solution should be used. A bleed test is relatively easy to carry out; it is a test where your professional will apply a small amount of alkaline and acid solution and leave for ten minutes. If one of the solutions is incorrect for your carpets, there will be signs of dye bleed, and your professional will be able to determine the best solution to clean your carpets.

Is stain removal part of professional carpet cleaning?

Most companies will advertise that they will treat stains before any carpet cleaning commences, and the treatment is included in the price, but this is only for stubborn soiling. Stains on carpets can be very time consuming to remove.

Let's use marker ink as an example: the image shows a bench cushion in a static caravan at a local holiday park. The owner said that a holidaymaker hadn't mentioned that an ink pen had leaked while one of her children was colouring in some pictures at the dining table. The ink had been on the seat for a few weeks, and as everyone knows, the longer you leave a stain, the harder it is to remove. The whole sofa would have taken around an hour to clean and refresh, but this callout was for a specific stain.

Although the stain was totally removed, the time taken was just as much as cleaning the whole sofa.

The process for removing the stain: ​ After completing the usual checks, it was identified that an alkaline solution could be used. On the first pass, the ink stain faded only a little, so the process was repeated until there was no noticeable change in colour. After finding that the colour was still showing, a mild Ph solution was used to lift the stain even further. This process lifted the stain until only a faded shadow was left behind. ​ The final stage of the process was using a hot iron(we do not recommend you do this), clean terry cloth and dye remover. The dye remover was applied and allowed to penetrate the last of the stain for several minutes, then the terry cloth was folded, placed over the dye and then the iron placed on top. After two passes, the last of the blue dye had totally gone, and the client was over the moon with the result. ​ This shows that stain removal will not be included in a clean price. You should be expecting around £30-£45 per hour for this service or maybe more depending on the process, chemicals and time required to remove the stain.

What is the cost of professional carpet cleaning? There is a process to determine the best possible method for your carpets in your home or business, and these methods will determine the price. ​ When your professional arrives at your property, they will follow their check guide and give you a price for the task you have asked for. You do not have to employ the first carpet cleaner who arrives at your door, get two or three quotes and try to barter and get the price down. Don't just choose the cheapest because they are the most affordable. You should be looking at a price around £40-£50 for a basic clean and spot treatment on a room approximately 12' x12' depending on the carpet construction and cleaning process. Should I ask for a carpet cleaning discount? ​ Of course you should, why wouldn't you? Most professional carpet cleaners will be happy to negotiate, but you should consider asking for additional work; this may be cheaper in the long run. Before your cleaner arrives, check the other carpets around your home. Do your stair, landing or bedroom carpets need cleaning? Most cleaners offer a multi-room discount. Average prices for around the home are: ​

  • Living room £40-£50

  • Stair carpet £35-£45

  • Landing or hallway £10-£15

  • Double bedroom £40

  • Single bedroom £25

​​ If all these prices are totalled at the top of the estimate, you will be expected to pay £190, but with a multi-room deal or a bit of bartering, you could probably have the double bedroom and landing cleaned for nothing, which will bring the cost down to £130. Check with the professional you employ if they have these discounts or ask if a deal can be made to reduce the price.

How often should I professionally clean my carpets? If you are looking for carpet cleaning in a residential environment, carpets should be cleaned at least once a year to remove general foot traffic marks, bacteria and anything else hidden within the fibres. If, however, there is a pet in the property, you may want to consider cleaning the carpets bi-annually (twice a year) to ensure that anything trodden in the carpet from your pets is eradicated and sanitised. ​ Commercial properties are slightly different as there are other cleaning options. If the cleaning required is for an office, pubs/clubs or communal areas, the carpets should be cleaned every two to four months depending on the traffic. Saying this, the different options for commercial vary depending on the soiling. A deep clean may not be required every visit; most professional cleaners offer a bonnet buffing service where a regular clean can be carried out using a rotary machine and minimal cleaning solutions to provide companies with a near dry finish when completed. ​ To summarise, carpets can get dirty for several reasons, and cleaning them correctly requires a professional approach to ensure no damage. Stain removal will not be added to carpet cleaning quotations, and we should not assume that all stains are removable. Carpet cleaning prices may vary, but on average most companies charge the same; always check if there is a discount for multi-room cleaning; most professional cleaners will be happy to discount the work to secure the clean. When to clean carpets depends on several factors too. Most cleans tend to be annual but consider the amount of foot traffic, and are there any pets? If commercial cleaning is required, ask if bonnet buffing is an option, this will ensure that your carpets are nearly dry when the job is completed. ​ If you have any further questions, head over to our contact page and send us a request, we'd love to here from you!

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