Consumer Education Message

Hi.  This is Spencer Wilkerson, owner of First Class Carpet Service.  Thank you for visiting my website.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to provide you with information about carpet cleaning and help you choose a carpet cleaning company.

I am certified in ten areas related to carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning and hard surface cleaning.  I am designated as a Master Textile Cleaner because I have completed the highest level of certification through continuing education and meeting the requirements of the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration.  I have been in the carpet cleaning business since 1990, and in that time I have learned that carpet cleaning is the subject of much confusion.  In fact, people have so many misconceptions about cleaning that I decided to offer this consumer education message so that when you select a carpet cleaning company you can make an informed, intelligent decision.

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 the carpet you grind dirt into your carpet fibers.  This cuts your carpet, just as if you had used a knife, causing it to wear out faster.  A dirty carpet will not last nearly as long as a clean carpet.  And while vacuuming helps, by itself it is 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 get out the dirt.

No.  If you have allergies, asthma, emphysema or other breathing problems, one major source of your problem could be the dust mites, germs, pollens, fungus and chemicals in your carpet.  You might find that you’ll breathe easier after you hire a carpet cleaning company to get those harmful chemicals out of your carpet.

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

No.  You can choose from two primary methods:  dry cleaning or hot water extraction.  First, I’ll explain dry cleaning.  Many people believe that dry cleaning your carpet is like dry cleaning your clothing.  This is not true.  All carpet cleaning methods use water in one form or another.  Here are three methods of dry cleaning carpet.

1.      When a carpet cleaner uses dry foam, he applies shampoo to your carpet, allows it to dry, and then sucks the dried shampoo into a vacuum.  Can you imagine applying shampoo to your hair, allowing it to dry and then removing the shampoo from your head with a vacuum?  This method can leave a residue in your carpet, which is one reason dry foam is not very effective.

2.     The dry-chem method is similar to dry foam.  The major difference is that when dry-chem is used, the company sets a large cotton bonnet on your carpet.  Using a machine, the bonnet spins from side to side, absorbing the dirt that is in the carpet.  After the bonnet is saturated with dirt, another cotton bonnet is applied.  Bonnet cleaning is like trying to use a large towel to rub the dirt out of your carpet.  Like dry foam, it is not very effective.

3.     The dry-compound method spreads an absorbent mixture that looks like wet sawdust all over your carpeting.  Then the machine brushes the mixture into the carpet, which in theory causes dirt to absorb into the mixture.  When the mixture has dried, a vacuum cleaner sucks the material out of the carpeting.  Because the carpet is not rinsed in any way, this method is not very effective.

The second carpet cleaning method is called hot water extraction.  This is a fancy way of saying that a hot water cleaning solution under high pressure is forced into the carpet and then sucked out of the carpet.  This method is also referred to as steam cleaning even though steam is not always used.

Shaw Industries, the world’s largest carpet manufacturer, recommends hot water extraction, and you can choose from two different types:  Portable extraction, which is done with a small machine, or truck mount extraction which means the large cleaning machine is mounted in a truck or van.

Not surprisingly, the truck mount extraction cleans much better because it heats the water to a higher temperature and shoots the cleaning solution into the carpet at higher pressure, which breaks up the dirt, bacteria and pollens.  Then the machine uses high suction to draw the dirt out of the carpet.  This is the method my company, First Class Carpet Service uses.

No question, the most effective way to clean carpet is with a hot water unit mounted in a truck.

But, even truck mounted equipment varies in how well a job it does, as truck mounts cost from $5,000 to over $20,000.  The difference is in how hot the water gets, the volume of water moved through the carpet and the vacuum it produces.  These factors make a difference in how well they clean, kill germs, and how fast the carpets dry.

Some people believe that hot water damages your carpet, but this is not true.  By washing and then rinsing your carpet with hot water, we clean your carpet completely in the same way that the person who showers and then rinses off the dirt and soap will be much cleaner than the person who takes only a sponge bath.

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

No.  The best carpet cleaning companies are those that have been certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, known as the IICRC.  A carpet cleaning company cannot buy this certification.  The carpet cleaner must earn the certification through study, experience and the successful completion of formal, written examinations.  Cleaners who are certified by the IICRC have, in effect, earned a degree in carpet cleaning.

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

Maybe.  But not always.  Here are two important points to consider.

If not all the dirt, bacteria and pollens are removed, your carpet resoils faster.  What savings did you get with a lower cost?

The price you see advertised may not be the price you pay.

As a way of improving our profession, I have dedicated my business to educating the public.  The only way you can make an intelligent decision is to have all the facts you need.  This is why I have written this message.

Misconception #6       All carpet cleaning agents are the same.

No.  Most cleaning agents cause resoiling and shorten the life of your carpet and are not approved for carpets under warranty or made of wool.

Any company that uses the safest non-toxic, proper P.H. cleaning agent with the advanced unique blend that helps prevent resoiling that keeps the carpet or upholstery cleaner longer is proud to show you the literature sent with the cleaning agent.

Before having your carpets cleaned, ask:

What method of carpet cleaning do you recommend?

What type of equipment do you use to clean carpet?

How long have you been in business?

Are you a member of the Better Business Bureau?

Are your technicians and your company certified by the IICRC?

Once you are satisfied that you are working with an honest, competent professional, invite him into your home and ask for a specific quotation in writing.  A written quotation gives you the assurance that you know exactly what your job will cost – no surprises.

I would be happy to answer your questions, provide you with a cost estimate over the telephone, and give you a free written quotation before we start the cleaning, without obligation of any kind.  To reach me, call Seattle (206) 935-5222 FREE, S. King & N. Pierce (253) 520-6788 FREE, Eastside (425) 455-8534 FREE, Snohomish (425) 488-8888 FREE.

Here’s one last point.  I know that many consumers are skeptical about carpet cleaning companies.  Before I got into the business, I was skeptical too.  So, in addition to dedicating my business to consumer education, I do one more thing as well.  I guarantee my work.  That’s right.  I fully guarantee every carpet cleaning job we do.  If you aren’t happy with our work, we’ll clean the areas for free.  And if you still aren’t pleased, you pay nothing.  Not one cent.  What could be fairer?”

For our first time customers and senior citizens, be sure to ask for your discount.

I hope you found this consumer message helpful.  If you have questions or comments, please call me at the numbers listed above.  Thank you for your kind attention.