Why Carpet Cleaning Should Be Left to the Pros
Carpet cleaning seems pretty simple: rinse, scrub, rinse, dry, and presto—carpets that look like new. Right? After all, nearly two thirds of people decide to take on the chore themselves. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean that same two thirds might also be kicking themselves when instead of clean carpets, all they have to show for a weekend of work is a dingy, soppy mess. I talked to David Dotan of Chicago Carpet Care, one of the city's top carpet cleaners, to learn why getting a pro to clean your carpets can potentially save you from the horror of a wasted Saturday.
It's simple, really: they'll save you time.
More often than not, it'll only take a professional team a couple of hours to get everything done. "I would say the average two-bedroom apartment covered with carpet—which means two bedrooms, a living room, and a small hallway—should take anywhere between one to two hours for everything," David says. That includes the carpet-cleaning services that happen before the cleaning itself, such as setting up equipment and conducting a pre-wash and a pre-vacuum.
Doing this on your own, though? Expect a long day of work, according to David. "You're going to spend, I want to say, double the amount of time [as you would with hiring a professional]." But how do they save you time? Well, there are a few key ways.
They use equipment you're unlikely to find on your own.
The steam vacuum in your closet probably isn't gonna cut it when it comes to getting a professional level of deep, lasting clean, according to David. "None of our equipment most people have access to," he says, explaining that his team will sometimes use tools that cost nearly $70,000 on a job. "There's no chance you can get the same result [on your own]."
They might be the only ones who know how to clean your carpet.
Depending on the material you're working with, you might not have any choice but to call in an expert. Along with wool, carpets made from sisal fibers should be handled by the pros. "If someone has a sisal carpet in their home, they must call a professional. They cannot even try to touch it with water," David explains. This applies even if sisal isn't used wall-to-wall. "Either way, if it's an area rug or if it's wall-to-wall carpeting," he reiterates, "they must call a professional." And since your carpet may not come with a care label like your favorite blazer, it's better to err on the side of caution.
They can clean virtually any stain.
Outside of bleach, which technically isn't even a stain (it's a discoloration), there's almost no blot or blemish too tough for a pro to get out. While David admits that "blood is extremely difficult to get out," he says that just about everything else is manageable.
They clean things you didn't even know needed cleaning.
Big stains from spilled food or tracked-in dirt are usually easy to spot, but it's the slow buildup of dust and grit that's more difficult to catch and clean by yourself. For example, wall-to-wall carpeting has a nasty tendency to create a stubborn line of grime near the molding and walls it touches, David says. "That's also one of the most difficult things to get out," he adds.
Something else you could easily be overlooking? "Pet stains," David says. Through the use of special UV lights and glasses—more tools you're unlikely to find just lying around in your house—his team has frequently come across accidents that have gone undetected by pet owners.
They know how to clean carpet better than you do.
This kind of goes without saying, but there's a reason carpet-cleaning professionals are paid for this and you aren't (unless, you know, you're one of them). David's been on upward of 20,000 jobs in his more than 10 years of carpet cleaning. While you can still get an acceptably cleaned carpet by yourself, you're not likely to completely make up for that level of expertise, even with extra elbow grease.