Choosing the Best Carpet Cleaner
How can you spot the best carpet cleaner? A truly professional carpet cleaner?
Perhaps you've seen the abbreviation "IICRC certified" on a carpet cleaners truck, yellow pages ad, or business card, but have you ever wondered what it stood for or it's importance?
If a carpet cleaner advertises that he is IICRC Certified, he is telling you that he promised to abide by certain standards for cleaning, but few consumers understand what they have promised to deliver. He is saying he as a carpet cleaning professional, he is the best carpet cleaner he can be.
As I write this article, I know right now that Carpet and Upholstery Cleaners all over the world and I are developing a "love/hate relationship".
The best carpet cleaner professionals will love me, because I will be exposing the cheats and frauds, the carpet cleaning scam artists and rip-off artists.
The carpet and upholstery cleaners who are either unethical or not yet certified will probably hate me for explaining to consumers exactly what they can expect from a true professional.
I have included with this article an abundance of links, and following each one will explain each point in more detail. So if you'd like to know what the best carpet cleaner will offer, then click on the link for more details.
The IICRC Standard
IICRC is an abbreviation for the
The IICRC has set Industry Standards that the Carpet and Upholstery Cleaners typically self regulate by agreeing to abide by the standards. There are certification classes held all over the world and the accepted standard overall is the standard set by the IICRC. If a cleaner abides by these standards he wants to be the best carpet cleaner.
Nine Basic Carpet Cleaning Industry Standards to Expect From A Professional
Here are nine basic industry standards, designed to provide you the consumer with a professional and thorough cleaning from your carpet and upholstery cleaning professional. Follow them and you will find the best carpet cleaner for your home or business.
1.) A Professional Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner will perform a pre-inspection carpet audit.view a sample audit /questionnaire here
A Professional Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner will provide a quote, not an estimate, up front, before the work begins
A Professional Carpet Cleaner will use products that are environmentally friendly whenever possible.
A Professional Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner will provide you with a written guarantee.
A Carpet Cleaning professional will pre-vacuum your carpet.
Moving Furniture should be free….within reason.
Pre-Spray or Pre-treatment of carpets is included!
Special Spots, Stains, and Odors need additional time and special treatments, and so the carpet cleaner should make every effort to inform the customer upfront about additional charges in a written quote.
A Carpet Cleaning professional will take the necessary steps to complete your carpet cleaning job. What are the steps to a completed carpet cleaning?
1.) A Professional Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner will perform a pre-inspection carpet audit.
What's a carpet audit? A carpet audit is a period of inspecting every bit of the carpet or upholstery that is to be cleaned. The best carpet cleaner will usually want to have the consumer present to answer questions about the nature and origin of the stains, in order to eliminate "mystery stains". Knowing the nature of stains will improve the carpet cleaner's ability to remove the spot.
Other areas covered by a carpet cleaning audit include damage, fiber type, cleaning methods, dry times, and expectations of both the consumer and carpet cleaner.Click here for a sample carpet audit and what you can expect.
2.) A Professional Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner will provide a quote, not an estimate, up front, before the work begins.
A quote is a fixed price, an estimate in carpet and upholstery cleaning might as well be called a "guesstimate" by many companies. Be wary of guesstimates and ask for a quote during a carpet cleaning pre-inspection. If your estimate is for a date some number of weeks or months in the future, be sure to request a date that your quote is valid until.
3.) The Best Carpet Cleaner will use products that are environmentally friendly whenever possible.
The days of toxic cleaners and cleaning companies are rapidly closing like a noose on a horse thief. Government regulations are ever tighter, to the dismay of many carpet cleaning companies, and the delight of professionals and environmentalists alike. "Green chemicals are neither green in color or necessarily non-toxic, but they are environmentally friendly.
A Professional Carpet Cleaner will use products that are "green cleaning products" whenever possible to help you have environmentally friendly rugs. The products he uses will be biodegradable, he'll follow label instructions, including the instructions for carpet or fabric protector. There are still a number of carpet cleaning companies that will sell protector and either apply plain water, or they will apply an incorrect amount of protector for a given area.
A professional carpet and Upholstery Cleaner will use only products approved for your carpet fiber type and style. Carpets need to be treated differently according to their materials. You usually won't clean a wool carpet with the same carpet emulsifier or detergent that would be used on an olefin carpet. A stain resistant carpet needs to be cleaned according to warranty instructions, or you will void your warranty.
4.) A Professional Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner will provide you with a written guarantee.
A service guarantee is important for both the client and the cleaner. A customer service guarantee covers workmanship, and spells out the remedies for a clients dissatisfaction. My former cleaning business, Realclean Carpet and Upholstery Cleaners, in Chico, Ca., had a simple and straightforward guarantee. A trained professional will note pre-existing conditions and damages during the carpet audit, taking notice of conditions beyond his control.
5.) A Carpet Cleaning professional will pre-vacuum your carpet.
This is almost unheard of in the industry! Ask yourself or your friends and family if a carpet cleaner has ever pre-vacuumed the carpets before setting up their equipment? The plain fact is that professional carpet cleaners vacuum before cleaning carpets or upholstery.
Not just any kind of vacuuming meets the standard for the IICRC either! That's why a homeowner or business, even though they have pre-vacuumed, can't be sure they are getting the best cleaning at industry standards unless their carpets are pre-vacuumed according to industry specifications by a trained carpet and upholstery cleaner.
Pre-vacuuming must be accomplished using a vacuum cleaner with HEPA-filtration technology.
6.) Moving Furniture should be free….within reason
A professional carpet and upholstery cleaning company will inform the clients before the job begins, preferably over the phone and in writhing at the time of the price quote, what types of furniture will be moved and what furniture will not be moved, under the standard price for cleaning.
A common understanding of moving furniture procedures and preparations is best when both the cleaning company and the client agree on the pieces to be moved, and any additional cost for excessive amounts of furniture or cumbersome pieces.
7.) Pre-Spray or Pre-treatment of carpets is non negotiable!
Honestly folks, unscrupulous scam artists have been selling "pre-conditioning" for years at highly inflated prices. If you have really tough stains in your laundry, how do you dissolve them? With pre-conditioning. You treat the spots and then wash them in the detergent solution. Carpet cleaning is no different.
Understanding why you need preconditioning or pre-spray applied to your carpet correctly can give you a much better cleaning, extend the life of your carpet, and ultimately save you money.You can find out more about carpet pre-spray treatments here.
8.) Special Spots, Stains, and Odors Need Additional Care
When you have spots and stains some of them will need special treatment involving time and special chemical treatments. Ask your carpet cleaning pro if there is an extra charge for such spots, if he is honest and ethical he will give you a fixed price to attempt to remove the stain. The best carpet cleaner will gladly comply.
My own company policy was to give a quote with the understanding that if I could not remove the spot, I would not charge them. This made it clear to us both that I believed the stain would or would not come out, because I could not give any such guarantee unless I truly believed the odds were good that I could complete the job.
Odor elimination can also be guaranteed, but often in pet urine damage, or cigarette smoke odors, it is less expensive to replace the carpeting. Your Certified Professional is the best source for difficult stain removal help.
9.) A Carpet Cleaning professional will take the necessary steps to complete your carpet cleaning job.
What are the steps to a completed carpet cleaning?
When you are searching for the best carpet cleaner, rely on your own carpet cleaner reviews, or a carpet cleaner review from a family member or friend. Beyond that, arm yourself with the questions you should ask every carpet cleaner, before you invite them into your home or business. I want you to be able to find the best carpet cleaner and so I put together a shorter questionnaire for you to use, it's called...
The Nine Questions
you must ask in order to find the best carpet cleaner
before inviting them into your home or business.
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