What you need to know before you hire a carpet cleaner

The Washington Consumers’ Checkbook ratings for local carpet and carpet cleaners show wide variations in the way companies work and the level of their fees. The companies with the highest ratings in the Checkbook comparisons were more than twice as likely to receive positive ratings as the companies with the lowest ratings from their customers for survey questions on “proper work”, “tidiness” and “overall quality”.

The company you hire will determine how good your carpets will look afterwards – and how long they will last. At the least competent companies, you risk permanent damage from overwetting, improper or poorly mixed chemicals, improper brushing, and other bad practices.

Before hiring a cleaning company, ask about their methods. For carpets, it’s usually best to hire a company that provides hot water using truck-mounted equipment. Carpets should be cleaned outside of your home. Most companies state that they hand wash carpets, but that’s just an umbrella term. Look for one that is hand washed using an immersion method. And do you know that many cleaners pick up carpets but don’t do the job themselves. Instead, they send them to specialist cleaners. If possible, contact the company that does the job directly.

Be sure to compare prices. If you can provide exact measurements and descriptions, most carpet and carpet cleaners give prices over the phone or email. Checkbook’s local cleaners ratings include pricing information gathered from Checkbook’s undercover buyers. Some carpet and carpet cleaners charge a lot more than their competitors to do the same job. For a medium-sized, low-pile rug that was 460 square feet, the prices for hot water extraction cleaning ranged from $ 106 to $ 414. For in-house cleaning of an 8 by 10 foot hand-knotted wool oriental rug, including pickup and delivery, prices ranged from $ 80 to $ 600.

Paying less doesn’t mean you get a bad job. Checkbook found that some of the companies that got the highest customer ratings for the quality of their work also charge below average fees.

When cleaning carpets at home, look for prices by room or area, not square feet. Businesses may envision more rooms in their home than you do – for example, two separate rooms in an L-shaped room. And don’t pay too much for add-ons like floor retardants and deodorants. The add-ons can dramatically increase the price for some companies, but cost little or nothing for others. What the additional treatments actually do and how effective they are also varies from company to company.

Ask for a written guarantee that the company will at least repeat the assignment if you find it unsatisfactory. Most carpet and carpet cleaning outfits come with guarantees, but what they promise varies. Give companies credit for speaking openly about their limitations before they go to work. Some types of stains are extremely difficult or even impossible to remove once they set, and companies may not know if they can remove them until they try.

Before starting work, be sure to point out any stains and tell workers what caused them. To clean carpets, remove or lift hanging objects that may be bumped into by cleaners, who generally walk backwards at work. Remove valuable valuables; The cleaning staff will usually move such items for you – but not necessarily with the care you require. To avoid surprises, write the total cost of the job in writing before the service begins.

Don’t pay until you check the work. If you are not satisfied with the finished job, explain that you will not pay until the job is done properly. If you discover spots or other problems later, get in touch immediately. The longer you wait, the more likely the company will suspect the spot is new.

DIY stain advice

Stains can ruin a carpet, but if you act quickly you can avoid disaster.

● Dab spills immediately with clean, white absorbent material.

● Means for removing stains before testing. Put a few drops of the solution on each color in the carpet. Then hold it against each color with white absorbent material, count to 10 and examine the results. If the dye has penetrated the absorbent material or if the color range has changed, contact a professional.

● Do not get too wet. Work with small amounts of solution.

● Do not rub or brush. Excessive stirring can cause distortion.

● Work from the outside edge to the center of the stain.

● Be patient; Some stains are slow to react.

● Be aware that random attempts to remove stains can cause indelible stains and / or permanent damage to fabrics. When in doubt, seek professional advice.

Washington Consumers’ Checkbook Magazine and Checkbook.org is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing consumers with the best service and the lowest prices. It is supported by consumers and does not take any money from the service providers it evaluates. You will have free access to all of Checkbook’s reviews and advice at Checkbook.org/WashingtonPost/CarpetAndRugs until January 25th.

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