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MISCONCEPTION #1:  You should wait as long as possible before cleaning your carpet.

No.  Dirt is an abrasive - like sandpaper.  Every time you step on your carpet, you grind dirt into the carpet fibres.  This cuts your carpet, just as if you had used a knife. This cutting causes your carpet to wear out faster. A dirty carpet 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 have your carpet cleaned, the more damage you do to your carpet and the faster it wears out.

MISCONCEPTION #2:  The only reason to clean carpets is to remove the dirt.

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 surprising, all those chemicals and toxins wind up in your carpet.

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.

MISCONCEPTION #3:  One method of carpet cleaning is as good as another.

No.  The ‘dry’ cleaning methods which are dry foam, dry chemicals and dry compound do not rinse your carpet in any way.  Instead, they leave a dirty residue.  You might say they clean your carpet only halfway.  The New Zealand Standard calls them ‘surface cleaners’

The most effective cleaning method is hot water extraction.

Hot water extraction means a hot water cleaning solution, under high pressure pressure, is forced into your carpet and then sucked out again carrying the dirt with it.  Shaw Industries, the world’s largest carpet manufacturer, recommends hot water extraction as the primary method of cleaning carpets.

Carpet cleaners use different types of hot water extraction;

If they use a large petrol or diesel powered machine that operates from a van or truck outside your facility, it’s called an independent truck-mounted extraction unit.  It relies on the high pressure (in the order of 500psi) of the solution pump to dislodge dirt from your carpet in a process similar to the way a dish-washer cleans dishes. There are not many of them in New Zealand, let alone Timaru.

If they use a truck mounted unit that uses your electricity to power its machinery it is, I guess obviously, called an electric truck mount and uses much the same components as the small portable that is brought inside.  It has the added disadvantage of hoses being dragged through your property and the ensuing loss of pressure, heat and suction in these long hoses.

If they use a unit that can be brought inside, it’s called a portable extraction unit.

There are two types of these;

A unit with a ‘wand’ that looks and operates like a slightly larger than normal vacuum cleaner.  These are not very effective because, like the electric truck-mount, there is little or no agitation of the carpet to remove the deep-seated dirt.  The operator has to ‘scrub’ the carpet to remove any heavy soiling.  Also the hoses are dragged around your furniture and doorways etc.

An ‘Upright Portable’ machine. This is a powerful self-contained unit with a beater brush that gently but firmly massages the dirt from deep in your carpet. Standards New Zealand in NZS 3733: 1995 describes these units as effective deep cleaners and efficient surface cleaners!

This is the method my company uses.

· MISCONCEPTION #4:  Having the right equipment is all a company needs to clean your carpets properly.

· Not true.  Many companies do not adhere to the New Zealand Standard’s recommendation for a full restorative clean. Most don’t own this Standard, and some haven’t even heard of it. Check that the company you use can show you their copy and its reference to their cleaning system!

MISCONCEPTION #5 The company that offers the lowest price is the company you should hire.

No. I’ve seen so many problems arise from lowest-bid companies that I suggest you NEVER hire the company that quotes the cheapest price.  The two most common problems are:-

The price may not be for the services you want performed.  The company may be equipped to remove only the dirt from your carpet.  But you may want bacteria, fungus, pollens, dust mites and tobacco residues removed as well.

The price you see advertised may not be the price you pay.  Many homeowners have learned that the low price they saw advertised lasted only until the carpet cleaner got into their home.  Then they were pressured into paying a lot more for a variety of add-ons, or told that their rooms were much larger that those quoted over the phone.  (Some carpet cleaners even break the law by using illegal bait and switch tactics.)

MISCONCEPTION #6:  Any honest carpet cleaning company should be able to give you an exact price quote over the telephone.

I wish this were true, but it isn’t.

Honest, reputable carpet cleaning companies almost never price carpet cleaning by the room.  Instead, carpet cleaning is usually priced by the square metre.  So if you would like me to tell you the exact cost of cleaning your carpet, I need to know the exact number of square metres that you want cleaned.  To give an accurate price, I need to see the room to calculate the exact size of the carpet area, and how difficult it is going to be to clean.

To give you an idea of how we estimate the cost of cleaning, here are the three things we consider:

· First, the type of carpet.  Certain types of carpet are harder to clean than other types.

· Second, the amount of soiling.  Carpet that hasn’t been cleaned for ten years will take longer to clean than carpet that we cleaned within the last six months.

· Third, the amount of furniture we have to move.  If you move your furniture, you’ll save money. (For pensioners and people who are disabled we provide this as a free service.)

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