It is hard not to be tempted by ads offering rock bottom prices. The question is how many of those ads are too good to be true? In a recent Angie’s List report, Jim Donovan from CBS Eyewitness News explained what you should know so that carpet cleaning doesn’t end up ruining your budget.

“A common complaint over the years when it comes to carpet cleaning companies is suggesting a price that just seems too low to be true. What happens is when the company arrives at a property, the consumer ends up paying more than they expected,” said Angie’s List founder, Angie Hicks.

In order to properly clean and remove dirt and stains, homeowners should be prepared to answer the following details -

•    Do you know what type of carpet you have - wool, synthetic, or silk?
•    How long has it been installed?
•    How often has it been cleaned?
•    Do you have pets?
•    How many individuals use that particular room of your property?
•    Do you have special areas that need treatments because you’ve had spills?
•    If there is a stain how long ago did it occur?

The more information you can provide, the more prepared a service provider can to not only quote but also successfully perform a cleaning.

A professional cleaning will help rid your home of hidden dust and allergens that regular vacuuming can miss, and it will help preserve carpet fibers and keep colors brighter. But getting this work done sometimes comes at too high a price because of disreputable companies who dangle get-in-the-door prices that don’t generally hold up once you let the company inside your home and can leave your rugs soggy, streaked or permanently damaged.

The two most common tactics:

  • Bait and Switch – This is the offer to get your carpets cleaned for $5 to $10 a room. Usually, the homeowner is told their carpet is in really bad shape and the offer didn’t include pre-spray, deep cleaning and sometimes even using hot water – all essential to a proper carpet cleaning.
  • High-pressure sales – This tactic preys on the homeowner’s desire to get the job done right. Homeowners are told there are some spots that need additional cleaning because of how dirty they are, and that without the extra attention, those areas of the floor will stand out and make the floor look bad.

Professional Companies Should Offer to do the following:

Can you speak directly to the owner regarding the company’s services? Who will be present on the job site – and manage the job -the owner, an assistant or employees ? How long has the company been in business? Can they provide references, industry affiliations and certifications?

  • Provide an estimate that details all charges.
  • Don’t guess if you don’t understand anything on the estimate. Do they charge by the hour or for the square feet of the room? Are they going to charge you for the square feet where your master bed is that you just want cleaned around? Do you need to move your furniture, or will they charge you to do that? Are all pre-sprays and other tasks included or add-ons?
  • Is there a guarantee? A good company will return to clean spots that reappear within a short period of time.
  • Beware of companies that have truck mounted systems or advertise steam cleaning. This methodology uses hot water in their process. Just like your home’s washer and dryer, heat can cause rugs to shrink, buckle and create permanent damage.
  • Does the company have liability and insurance? Is it up to date and sufficient to cover your needs if they break or damage something on your property?
  • How long have their employees worked for them? Have they passed background checks? Have they been individually been trained and certified? Ask how many years of experience they have with cleaning carpets.

Types of Cleaning Methods:

  • “Warm Water Extraction Cleaning” is the safest type of carpet cleaning. It involves a pre-treatment and then a blast of water going on and off of the carpet simultaneously. This is usually the only type of cleaning covered by a carpet warranty.
  • Carbonated cleaning allows cleaning agents to get to the carpet fibers with very little wetting. The solution doesn’t contain the oil or detergents that typically leave a dirt-attracting residue, and dissolved dirt is removed with a machine that rubs cotton pads over the carpet.
  • The HOST system is the only all-dry, all-natural cleaning system that is currently Green Seal certified. It uses an absorbent to pre-treat and clean the carpet by trapping grease and dirt, which then extracting it. It leaves the carpet ready for immediate use, with no downtime. It’s completely non-toxic, with no threat of moisture of harsh chemicals.
  • “Bonnet” cleaning uses spray foam that is removed by a rolling/buffing machine that has a bonnet-like attachment. This is mainly for commercial carpet and is similar to what buffing a hard floor surface is like.

Follow these tips to keep your carpet looking great:

  • The number one way to keep your carpet looking fresh between professional cleanings is to vacuum regularly – this keeps dirt from settling in. On a weekly basis, vacuum a room the same number of days as the number of people who use it.
  • Walking through your home with bare feet permits body oils to contribute a considerable amount of grime to the carpet fibers.
  • Try changing your furniture layout to alter your traffic pattern. Leaving furniture in one position for the life of the carpeting creates worn, dirty paths throughout the home and leaves pristine carpet in areas you never see. Carpet that wears evenly will last and stay cleaner longer.