It’s easy to see why carpet is one of the most popular flooring choices in the nation. It looks great, feels soft underfoot, and it’s inexpensive to install. The problem with carpet is that it requires a fair amount of maintenance to look good and to reach its full life expectancy. Every time you step on it, you grind dirt into the fibers. This dirt is abrasive, like sandpaper, and it causes the fibers to wear out faster. Because of this, clean carpets are not only like to look better for longer, but will also actually be more durable than carpets cleaned less often.
DIY vs. Professional Carpet Cleaning Services
There are both do-it-yourself methods and a variety of professional systems for cleaning carpets. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Hiring a professional service is one way to ensure that the job is done using the best equipment and the best cleaning solutions for the job. Carpet cleaning services are often also proficient in repair, meaning that you may be able to have runs or small tears fixed at the same time your carpet is being cleaned.
While do-it-yourself methods cost less, they are rarely as thorough. Even if you rent the same equipment that a professional service is likely to use, unless you have some experience operating it, it will be difficult to get the same results. Additionally, you’ll have to lug the bulky equipment to your home, and then back to wherever you rented it!
The bigger problem is that do-it-yourself methods provide plenty of opportunities for you to damage your carpet. The three most common ways that do-it-yourselfers (and inexperienced pros) damage carpets is by over shampooing, over wetting, or failing to protect the wet carpet from furniture.
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Picking the Right Service
When choosing a carpet cleaning service, stick with reputable firms and check prices upfront. Stairs are more labor intensive, so most firms also charge for them separately on a per-step basis. Offers of “3 rooms for $49” may sound good, but most companies can’t make money at those prices. They’ll try to sell you extras like pre-spotting, soil retardants, or deodorizing and anti-static treatments that may end up costing far more than the all-inclusive prices offered by other firms. Remember the following three rules, and enjoy like-new carpet for longer:
Vacuum regularly: The single most important thing you can do to both clean carpets and to prolong their life is vacuum regularly and thoroughly. Tests have shown it usually takes a full seven passes with a vacuum cleaner to clean all the loose dirt out of the carpet. A lightweight, upright vacuum cleaner is usually the easiest to use. To be effective, it must have strong suction and have some sort of vibrator to loosen the dirt.
Eliminate stains immediately: The next most important factor in good carpet care is to clean up stains as quickly as possible. The longer a stain sits there, the harder it is to remove. Make sure you use the right cleaning materials or you may make the situation worse.
Clean your carpet regularly: Finally, you need to have your carpet cleaned regularly either by renting equipment or hiring a service. Clean carpets at least once every 12 to 18 months, and even more if you have a large household with a lot of foot traffic. You should also have them cleaned after any major soiling event such as remodeling or holiday parties. The sooner you remove dirt, the better.
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