Over the years, I’ve heard many myths about proper carpet cleaning that, frankly, make me shudder. Some may have had some historical basis in fact, but those days are as much a thing of the past as $2.00 a gallon gas. Join me as I bust the top five carpet cleaning myths. Note: No carpets were harmed in the making of this post.
Myth #1: Method-Schmethod, One Way is Just as Good as the Next
As a carpet cleaning specialist, The Specialist, for over 15 years, I call “Foul!” There are almost as many methods for cleaning carpets on the market as there are carpets to be cleaned. The “dry cleaning” method is a really popular one, but is one of the worst things you could do to your carpet. This method includes dry foam, powders, carbonation, buffing and shampooing. Your carpet is mostly dry when you’re done, but often these chemicals leave a residue that attracts new dirt.
Most carpet manufacturers tell people to use a truck-mounted hot water extraction system, just like the one I use, to comply with warranty requirements. While this method may have left carpet too wet (an invitation to mold) “back in the day,” the improved technology used today leaves your carpet drier than the “dry cleaning” methods. And, if you follow my post-cleaning instructions, your carpet will be fully dry in no time.
Myth #2: Put Off Carpet Cleaning as Long as You Can
What? Really? OK, a long time ago this was good advice. Carpets made before the introduction of 5th generation nylon material required harsh and highly alkaline chemicals to clean them. These chemicals left behind an awful, soapy residue that acted like a dirt magnet causing almost immediate re-soiling. The machines from that day belong in a museum of primitive technology. With today’s advanced materials, high-tech equipment and much friendlier chemicals, not only can you avoid quick re-soiling but you can extend your carpet’s life by getting a professional cleaning every 12 to 18 months.
Myth #3: Why Should I Clean It, It’s Not Dirty
Have you ever looked through a microscope at a small sample of everyday fabric? Trust me, if you haven’t, don’t; some things you just don’t want to see. Regular cleaning is necessary to remove unseen dirt, contaminants (ever wonder what happens to that “sneeze cloud”?), and allergens even when you can’t actually see them. Not only can this reduce the life of your carpet, it can build up and cause health problems! Regular vacuuming and a professional cleaning every 12 to 18 months, people. Or else I’ll post those microscope pictures…
Myth#4: Bleach. It Does a Carpet Good
Um, no. No, it most certainly does not do a carpet good. While it may remove your stain, it can also remove your carpet’s color. Bleach is an oxidizer, sometimes called a stripper; oxidizers work by transferring oxygen to the fibers and changing the materials’ properties. Professional may use it on a stain that won’t come out with any other treatment, but we know how to do it and NOT lose your carpet’s color. Plus, if you’ve tried to spot-treat a stain with an ammonia-containing product, you could potentially create a serious, life-threatening reaction if you use bleach and there’s still some ammonia left in your carpet. It’s called Mustard Gas and you don’t want to be around it.
Myth #5: The Latest and Greatest “Product X” Takes Out Any Stain from Any Carpet
Oh sure! That really does work! And for $500,000,000.00, I’ve got a great bridge to sell you. Seriously, no matter what the infomercial says, there is no “one perfect solution” that will take every stain out of every carpet. Stains are unique (some are acidic, others alkaline, yet others biological) and each one of these requires a different approach. Without the correct treatment, that stain could become a permanent part of your décor. Unless, you’re really into Jackson Pollock, you won’t like the results. And this should not be taken to mean that I don’t like his work, so please, no hate mail.