FREQUENTLY ASKED CARPET CLEANING QUESTIONS
Q. How long will the carpet take to dry?
There are several variables that can help or hinder the drying of carpet:
- The type, and power, of equipment used. The New Zealand Wool Board recommends hot water extraction (steam cleaning). 1st Alert Carpet Cleaning uses a powerfully customised, van-mounted hot water extraction system. This allows less water to be used during the cleaning process, and more water to be sucked out by the powerful vacuum motors. The water used is also considerably hotter than that used by portable machines. This all leads to faster drying times.
- The skill and care of the operator. We’ve been cleaning carpets for 22 years now and have passed all standards required by IICRC.
- Air movement and dehumidification. Open windows and doors when you can to ventilate the house. Use dehumidifiers and oscillating fans if available.
The type of carpet you have will affect drying times. Different carpet fibres have different capacities to hold moisture.
Q. Will my carpet shrink or smell musty?
A. No. Provided your carpets are cleaned professionally, they will not shrink, and will actually smell fresh and clean.
Q. Is it true that carpet cleaning takes the natural oils out of the carpet and that this will cause re-soiling?
A. The main point to remember here is that oil is sticky and so dirt will readily adhere to it. For this reason carpet manufacturers make every endeavour to remove as much oil as possible before the carpet reaches the retailer. After the production process of turning the fibres into carpet, there is less than 5% of oil left in the carpet. There are some companies who promote the replacement of the carpet oils as a major benefit for their customers. In fact, the opposite is true. There is no evidence to suggest you can replace the carpet’s natural oils with anything that would not in fact make the problem of keeping the carpet clean worse and manufacturers would most certainly discourage any such suggestions of trying to replace the oils.
Q. Will my carpet get dirty more quickly after cleaning?
A. It is a common misconception that carpet re-soils more quickly after cleaning but in fact it is something of an illusion. Consider the following scenario. You have just purchased new carpet for your home and, naturally, you expect the carpet to be 100% clean, which it is. Carpets collect soil from the bottom of the pile to the top. So, by the time the carpet is visibly dirty (say 1 year later) the carpet is now 100% dirty. You now decide it’s time for a professional carpet clean. Afterwards the carpet looks clean again and you are delighted with the results. However, even the most experienced carpet cleaner cannot remove all of the soil from a carpet. Thus even after cleaning, the carpet may be only 80% clean. So the starting baseline has changed. It may now take only 9 months for the carpet to become visibly soiled again. The carpet appears to be getting dirty more quickly but the phenomenon is caused by the soiling process having a headstart. We recommend regular cleaning as preventative maintenance.
Q. New carpet doesn't need cleaning - does it?
A. Again, this gets back to the problem of soil collecting at the bottom of the pile first and working its way up. By the time the carpet is visibly dirty it is now 100% soiled and will never be able to be brought back to its original condition. The best form of defence is prevention. A powerful upright vacuum cleaner with a pile brush is a good investment, and regular shampooing will ‘chip’ away at the soiling process.
Q. Is steam cleaning more risky to the carpet than other methods of carpet cleaning?
A. The steam cleaning process will not damage the carpet, but if the operator is inexperienced some problems are possible. Overwetting of the carpet fibres is the greatest danger to carpet from the modern steam cleaning process. Overwetting of the carpet can lead to prolonged drying times, split seams, odour problems and even browning. Too much water put down (usually due to not enough heat) and not enough extracted again can even cause shrinkage. However, a cleaner who is attentive to detail and who maintains a high standard of equipment is extremely unlikely to ever encounter these problems.
Q. What are shading and pile reversal?
A. To varying degrees, most cut-pile carpets exhibit a characteristic known as shading – apparent shade variations caused by relatively slight changes in pile lay from traffic, vacuuming and general use. Since the sides of fibres reflect more light than their tips, pile laying away from the observer appears lighter, while pile laying toward the observer appears darker. The simplest form of traffic-induced pile reversal occurs where changes in the direction of traffic flow create shear forces that strongly orient the pile. For example, the force of traffic turning to the left causes the pile to lay to the right, and vice-versa. This form of pile reversal occurs can be entirely random and is usually permanent. Manufacturer’s disclaim against this problem.
Q. How much should cleaning cost?
A. Many customers will consider different companies purely on a price comparison basis. This approach has its pitfalls. You may have heard the saying ‘the bitterness of a poorly done job remains long after the sweetness of a small cost saving’. Budget cleaning firms will often cut costs (and corners) by using poorly trained, sometimes casually employed, servicemen and cheap, aggressive chemicals which may leave a soil-attracting residue, or worse, actually damage the fibres, drastically reducing their life. So don’t choose the lowest price. You might save yourself a few dollars but buy yourself a whole lot of other problems.
What If I Have Other Questions?
The above information is given to help you to make informed decisions regarding the maintenance of your valuable carpet, but it may not cover everything. If you have further questions phone us on (09) 5764 751.
We are always happy to provide free advice over the phone. Likewise, call us if you need information on stain removal, pest control, fabric protection, upholstery and leather care or rug cleaning.