1-7 List: Costly Misconceptions Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning

Misconception #1: You should wait as long as possible before having your Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning

No. Dirt is abrasive like sandpaper. Every time you step on your carpet, you grind dirt into the carpet & fabric fibers. This cuts your carpet, just as if you had used a knife. A dirty carpet, furniture will not last as long as a clean carpet.  And while vacuuming helps–by itself, it’s simply not enough.  The longer you wait to for carpet & upholstery cleaning, the more damage you do to your fabrics and the faster it wears out.
Also, many say, “It seems like my carpet got dirty so much faster after I cleaned it the first time.” True. Some of this could have to do with a cleaner leaving a detergent residue.
You can test my theory if you have a carpet that has been down for two or three years. Take a glass of distilled water and pour it into a clean area of the carpet – where there are no spots and out of the traffic pattern.Then walk away. If you come back tomorrow and see a spot or ring of brown, that’s the dirt accumulated in and under your carpet. If it were a brand new carpet, you would obviously see nothing.

Misconception #2: The only reason for Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning is to remove dirt and stains – to make it look nice.

No.  As you probably know, outdoor air contains pollens, fungus, bacteria, air pollution, cigarette smoke, car exhaust – and hundreds of other chemicals.  When you come into your home, you carry those pollens, bacteria and chemicals in your hair and on your skin, clothing and shoes.  Not surprisingly, all those chemicals and toxins wind up in your carpet and upholstery.If you have allergies, asthma, emphysema, or other breathing problems – one major source of your problem could be the pollens, fungus, smoke and chemicals in your carpet.Studies have shown that the carpet & upholstered furniture is a major contributor to allergies or respiratory disorders of any kind, including asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, red itchy eyes, sinus infections, headaches, etc.

Misconception #3: Vacuuming is enoughThis is probably the most common misconception about carpets.

Many people think that just vacuuming their carpet & furniture is enough to keep it clean yearlong.And sure, vacuum cleaning will remove hair, dust, crumbs and other physical dirt, but what it can’t do is extract all the dirt from your carpet or furniture. Oh, and it doesn’t remove odors or stains.
Unlike vacuuming, professional Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning uses steam machines to reach deep into the fibers of your carpet and unlock dirt—even the smallest particles and most stubborn stains don’t stand a chance.So in addition to vacuuming at least once a week, make sure you get it professionally cleaned once a year. Only then will it be completely clean.

Misconception #4:  I can get the same results by renting a  machine and ‘doing it myself.’

Not true.  In fact, do it yourself machines are so inferior to truckmount equipment, it’s not even a fair comparison. The ‘do it yourself’ machine does not have the 200 degree hot water, higher cleaning pressure or even powerful vacuum that a truck-mount machine does.   Lack of vacuum power and poor suction causes damage by over wetting carpet that may cause mold to grow.

Misconception #5: One cleaning method is as good as another.

No.  The dry cleaning methods – which are dry foam, dry chemicals and dry compounds – do not rinse your carpet in any way.  Instead, they leave a dirty residue.  You might say they clean your carpet and upholstery only halfway.  The most effective cleaning method is hot water extraction.Hot water extraction means a hot water cleaning solution, under high pressure, is applied to your carpet & furniture and then extracted out of your carpet.Carpet  & upholstery cleaners use one of two types of hot water extraction.  If they use a large unit that operates from a van or truck outside your facility, it’s called truck-mounted extraction.  If they use a small unit that can be brought inside, it’s called portable extraction.  Shaw’s first choice is the truck-mounted unit – and it recommends the small, portable unit only in areas where the truck-mounted unit won’t reach.The truck-mounted extraction cleans much better because it heats the water to a higher temperature – which breaks up the dirt, bacteria, chemicals and pollens in the carpet.  Then the machine uses high suction to draw the dirt and chemicals out of your carpet.  This is the method we use the most, however we do have a high powered portable to use when our truck mounted hoses can’t reach.

Misconception #6: Having expensive, high-tech equipment is all a company needs to clean your carpet & upholstery properly.

Not necessarily. They need to be successfully trained to use it.
Many companies own hot-water machines but very few companies teach their employees how to use them properly.  This is why it’s important that you choose your carpet & upholstery cleaner carefully.  The best cleaning companies are those that are an IICRC Certified Firm (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) and employ technicians that have been classroom trained and have passed the written exam to become IICRC Certified Technicians.  Before you choose a carpet & upholstery cleaning service, ask to see written proof that the company is current IICRC Certified firm for this year and that the technician is certified to perform the work you’re requesting.

Misconception #7: The company that offers the lowest price is the company you should hire.

This may be true for landlords and people moving out of rental units. Since they don’t have to live there, they can say they had the carpets professionally cleaned even if it looks worse than it did before. I’m not saying all landlords practice this. We do business with many landlords who require their tenants to use our services to protect their investment in carpeting. We have also been hired by landlords to come and clean after a tenant tried renting the rug doctor or hiring the cheapest guy.
    If you have to live there, or if you will be the one who pays to replace it, I suggest you throw out the lowest three bids. Just like in the automobile industry, the difference between the cheapest and the best may be a factor of 10 times or more. Like a used Yugo for $300 or a new Rolls for$300,000.Consumers who find themselves irresistibly attracted to the lowest price often go through very painful experiences before they have their first “painless” carpet &upholstery cleaning experience. We’ve hear their stories.
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A honest carpet & upholstery cleaning company should be able to give you an estimate over the telephone.

How we determine the price is base on the following:

1) Type of carpet. Some carpets are easier to clean than others.
2) The amount, type of soiling, wear age and how well you have taken care of your carpet.  Carpet that hasn’t been cleaned for ten years will take longer to clean than carpet that we cleaned within the last six months.
3) Amount of furniture that will have to be moved. A room with furniture typically takes at least twice as long to clean as one that is clear. If you can move it out or work around it, you’ll save money.

How To Identify & Avoid Carpet Cleaning Rip-Offs And Scams

Value Versus Price

Value Versus Price

Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.  Value Versus Price

Here’s a little story to illustrate the difference between Value Versus Price. Once upon a time, a local nursing home called because the local furniture store recommended me. They wanted a bid to clean 7,000 square feet of corridors, halls in the facility. After measuring it up, I gave the administrator my price. Based on the story I heard through the grapevine (last guys didn’t get it clean – just wet. And it smelled like a wet dog for 2 days), I expected my price to be higher. It soon became apparent the previous guys were pretty proud of themselves – they had charged 50% more than me!
     She quickly accepted my offer (before I changed my mind) and we set about with the security guy to schedule the work. It had to be done after dinner (7:00 P.M.) and completed before it got too late (patients had to sleep). I said, “How about Monday and Tuesday evenings? The security guy says, “Which one?” I said, “Both, why? How long did it take the last guys?” He said, they were in at 7:00 and out by 10:00.” I said, “You mean two guys did 7,000 square feet in 3 hours and charged 50% more than I’m charging and left it dirty and wet and smelling like a wet dog for 2 days and got paid?”
He said, “Yep.”
It took my 3-man crew 9 hours over 2 nights. We left the carpet clean, fresh, and dry. That’s value and price!
Value Versus Price - Warren Buffet

How to Choose the Right Carpet Cleaning Company: 7 Tips

In today’s modern world the internet is most people’s go-to when looking to hire a service. You will find the internet saturated with carpet cleaning companies, however not all are reputable, trained, or honest. It is essential to be informed before making a decision on who to hire. Consider the following tips & avoid these 7 mistakes that consumers make before hiring a carpet cleaning company.

Mistake #1 
Choosing a carpet cleaner based on equipment alone.

Sure proper equipment is necessary to do a good job, however if the operator is not properly trained the best equipment in the world won’t do what it is supposed to do. The best way to know that the carpet cleaner have been properly trained is to make sure the cleaner has been certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). Before you choose a carpet cleaner, ask to see written proof of the company’s and the technician’s IICRC certification.

Mistake #2 
Choosing a carpet cleaner based on low price.

Lowest price could mean a very costly mistake in three ways:

  • Low price is the bait that gets you to call & schedule the appointment. Once in your home, you are pressured into a more expensive job.
  • Lowest price can be for  a ‘single-process’ Once explained, the customer is pressured to purchase the more expensive “dual/deluxe process ” (Illegal “bait-and-switch”).
  • Lowest price probably means the carpet cleaner has minimal skills, will be using the cheapest chemicals and inferior equipment – you could actually be paying them to ruin your carpets or soft furnishings!
Mistake #3 
Choosing a carpet cleaner based on a single telephone call.

As with choosing any service provider it is always a good idea to check the credentials of the carpet cleaning company before you invite them into your home. How long have they been in business? Do they offer firm, written quotations prior to performing any services? Make sure to get references & read comments from current clients. These are all important considerations to avoid becoming the victim of high-pressure sales tactics when the technician steps into your home.

Mistake #4

Choosing a carpet cleaner that doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee.

Inexperienced cleaners have all kinds of reasons why they would never offer a guarantee: “What if the carpet is 20 years old and has permanent stains? – I’ll lose my shirt.

Experienced cleaners know that consumers aren’t unreasonable, generally. They have a pretty good idea which of their stains are permanent and they don’t expect a 20-year-old carpet that 4 kids and 10 pets were raised on will look like brand new because it was cleaned. They also know that a company that doesn’t offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee is not very  confident of their ability to delight their clients with good old fashioned skill and service. Ask him if he offers a written guarantee and make sure it is included on the written quotation.

Mistake #5

Choosing a carpet cleaner who doesn’t use safe, natural cleaning products that are free of harsh chemicals.

Most carpet cleaners use a toxic chemicals, that according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can cause damage to the liver, central nervous system, and kidneys.

Some of the harmful ingredients that may be found in carpet cleaners include:
  • Pesticides
  • Disinfectants
  • Formaldehyde
  • Fragrances
  • Acids
  • Lye (Sodium Hydroxide)

Besides being detrimental to the health of humans, these carpet cleaning chemicals can also be harmful to animals & the environment as well. When the toxins in the chemicals are exposed, they contaminate both air and water which harm the earth.

Mistake #6

Choosing a carpet cleaner who isn’t certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI)

I shudder to think what some of these guys are doing to people’s carpets by going out there with no formal training and trying to operate a truckmount that puts out 3 gallons of 200-degree water per minute at 500 psi. Even worse, trying to get a carpet clean with a rug doctor or portable that doesn’t have any power. (I see the results every day.)

Though seeing your operator’s certification (not his boss’s) doesn’t guarantee he will do a good job, not seeing it can mean just about anything.

Mistake #7:

Choosing a carpet cleaner who doesn’t use a truck-mounted, hot water extraction system.

Truck-mount systems are the Rolls Royces of carpet cleaners. The world’s largest carpet manufacturer Shaw industries “recommends the hot water extraction system, to maintain their carpet/products warranties. This system of cleaning extracts dirt and bacteria from your carpet fibers unlike other methods. Compared with portable machines, truck-mount systems use hotter water, higher pressure and stronger suction. All the way around, you get a much better job. 

Please give us a call at (973)343-7627 if there is any additional information, questions or concerns. We look forward to being your carpet cleaning company of choice.

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A-Z List: Germs, Crud, Critters Seeping in Carpet & Furniture

A List of Slime, Grime, and Livestock: That’s Seeping, Creeping & Galloping Through Your Carpet & Furniture.

You work hard to keep your home clean and free of dirt, bugs, and allergens. But did you know that even when your carpet looks clean and spot-free, they might actually be home to all sorts of unwanted guests?

Carpet & Furniture not only beautifies and insulate your homes from the cold, it also traps and filters dust, bacteria, debris and much more, which makes it a hotbed of bacteria. This can be problematic, as you can unknowingly introduce microorganism from the outdoors and into your carpet. But enough of that lets see that list.

 A-Z LIST to the Slime, Grime, and Livestock
That’s Seeping, Creeping and Galloping Through Your Carpets & Furniture.

  • A – Asphalt
  • B – Bacteria
  • C – Car exhaust, Chemicals, Coffee
  • D – Dirt, Dust
  • E – Earth
  • F – Fertilizer, Food particles, Fungus
  • G – Gravel, Grease, Grit
  • H – Hair,  Herbicides
  • I – Industrial waste
  • J – Jelly
  • K – Kool Aid
  • L – Lint
  • M – Milk, Mud
  • N – Nicotine
  • O – Orange juice
  • P – Pesticides, Pet stains, Pollen, Pollutants, Rock
  • S – Sand, Soda, Soil, Soot
  • T – Tar, Tobacco
  • S – Smoke
  • U – Urine
  • V – Vomit
  • Y – Yucky stuff

Plus, don’t forget living creatures, such as fleas, dust mites, and other parasites and germs that live, hide, and breed in your carpet & upholstery. Once they set up housekeeping, they multiply. (Will you help us? We’re trying to find at least one thing that’s in your carpet and furniture for every letter of the alphabet. So far, we don’t have anything for Q, W, X,or Z. If you can think of something that could be in your carpet or furniture that begins with these letters – or any other letters – please call, 973-343-7627 write, or e-mail us and we’ll consider including them in our next- consumer’s guide blog.)

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How To Identify & Avoid Carpet Cleaning Rip-Offs And Scams

Rip-off #1: Unbelievable Low Price

To some degree, all of us are attracted by low price because we want to work within a budget. But some carpet cleaners use price as the bait for their false and misleading advertising. They offer a cheap price – usually between $60.00 and $80.00per room – and then, once you’ve taken off work and moved out all of your furniture, come into your home and insist that you’re going to need all of these “add-ons”. It’s as if you were buying a car and found that the dealer was charging you extra for the tires and steering wheel. These are the guys who argue that you need soil-protection, then spray down plain water. Carpet cleaning is not as cheap as some unethical carpet cleaners would have you to believe.

Everybody knows, “you get what you pay for” and, “if it sounds too good to be true, it is.”

Rip-off #2: Bait and Switch

“Dual-process” “steam” carpet cleaning describes the process of shampooing or heavy pre-conditioning, followed with hot water extraction. Since this procedure is about the only way to make hot water extraction (falsely called “steam”) the least bit effective, it is really not optional. Unfortunately, unethical carpet cleaners often use “dual-process” as a bait-and-switch technique.

Here’s how it’s done:

First, they “bait” you with a basic carpet cleaning (single process) at an unbelievably low price. Then, when you call, or after they get into your home and inspect your carpet, they try to “switch” you to the more-expensive dual-process cleaning. If you don’t go for their switch, they often just walk, or you’ll likely receive a quick cold-water spray-and suck using little or no chemical (yielding worse than no results) and they, of course, won’t guarantee their work.

Rip-off #3: Unsupported claims

Of course, you’ll see this in every ad, and rightfully so. If a cleaner is not himself convinced that his methods are the “best”, then what are they?

Fastest? Most profitable? Easiest? Least fatiguing? Who would want a cleaner that didn’t at least try to convince you that his methods are the most effective? But remember this: the method that’s best for you is the method that achieves your goal. Let’s say you want a method that restores your carpet to like-new condition as possible, reduces your exposure to pathogens and contaminants, that dries quickly, and leaves the carpet smelling fresh. Then a method that soaks the carpet takes days to dry, looks worse than it did before, and smells like a wet dog for a couple of days, will probably not be the method for you. So before you choose a carpet cleaner, identify your objectives. Then select the method that is most likely to achieve your goals.

Rip-off #4: Outdated Beliefs:

Maybe I can demonstrate how false this claim is by relating a little horror story from my early days – one of many thousands. When I first started, I was trained for 2 weeks in the use of the “Spin-Bonnet” method hotels in New Jersey. I was a degreed Engineer, no stranger to education, and I felt I needed a broader background than “just mix it up, spray it down, and scrub it back up. If the spots don’t come out, squirt some of the concentrates on it and it will scrub right out.” (Actually, I got on quite famously this way for about a year).I found one supplier who had put together a complete formal carpet cleaning training program including:

  • Carpet construction and fiber identification
  • Chemistry of cleaning and spot removal
  • Carpet cleaning methods
  • How to fix problems associated with cleaning
  • How to repair split seams, permanent stains, etc.

…which they got accredited – passing the exam meant you would actually receive college credit. I received post-graduate credit. Anyway, here’s what happened.

It took a year for them to call me with a date. I thought, with 600-800 cleaners, plus janitors and employees, they were all filled up, right? Nope. With the instructor’s three new employees (guys he had to train anyway), me, and 2 other guys, we had 6 – enough to give the course. Well, we learned about chemistry and pH and how to identify and select the right stuff for the job, right? One of the cleaners was an independent who had never before received any training. Now, armed with all this new information, he figured out how to save time and money. A few days after the course, I got a call. He wanted me to help him fix a

problem with his 1,000 square foot job. When I got there, I found he had used caustic soda to boost his pH (so he could go faster). This caused the whole area to “brown-out” (turn yellow). I recognized the problem from the class and spent hours with my “spin-bonnet” methods fixing it. When we were through, he asked me, “how much?” On an hourly basis, I told him $750. By the look on his face, I could tell he only charged his client $550. He charged only .55 cents per square foot (easy to get jobs that way!)

He probably did the whole job in less time than it took to fix it and made almost $100 per hour – until he paid me to fix it.

The moral of the story is:

  1. Very few cleaners around Northern New Jersey got trained that year.
  2. Just because someone gets trained doesn’t mean he’s fit for the job.
  3. It’s a good thing I learned how to fix problems.


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