MISTAKE #1: Choosing a carpet cleaner based on equipment alone.

No question, your carpet cleaner needs first-rate equipment. But he also needs employees who are skilled at operating that equipment. Many companies own hot-water extractors, but very few teach their employees how to use them properly. The best way to know that the carpet cleaner’s employees have been properly trained is to make sure the cleaner has been certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC).

MISTAKE #2: Choosing a carpet cleaner based on low price.

Low price could be a problem in three ways:

  1. Low price can be the bait that attracts your phone call. But once the cleaner gets into your home, he pressures you into a much more expensive job.
  2. Low price can be for a single-process cleaning. Rarely does the consumer know what this means and when told asks for dual-process cleaning instead which costs much more.
  3. Low price means the carpet cleaner has inferior equipment, which will not effectively clean your carpet.

MISTAKE #3: Choosing a carpet cleaner who doesn’t offer a guarantee.
Every carpet cleaning company should be fully accountable for its work. If you aren’t pleased with the job, the company should be happy to re-clean for you at no charge. Not all carpet cleaners offer a guarantee. Ask the carpet cleaner if he does and what that guarantee includes.

MISTAKE #4: Choosing a carpet cleaner who isn’t certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). If your carpet cleaner isn’t a close friend, you may not know whether he has the knowledge or experience to clean your carpet. If you want to be sure you’re hiring a competent professional, make sure he is IICRC certified. The carpet cleaner must earn that certification through study, experience and successful completion of a written examination. In effect, cleaners who are certified by the IICRC have earned a college degree in carpet cleaning.

MISTAKE #5: Choosing a carpet cleaner who doesn’t use a truck mounted, hot water extraction system.
Truck mount systems are the best the industry has to offer. Portable hot water systems are good, but they aren’t as good as truck-mount systems. Compared with portable hot water systems, truck-mount systems use hotter water, higher pressure and stronger suction. You get a better job in every aspect.


Price is what you pay. Value is what you get. When you select a carpet cleaner you’ll choose from a wide variety of cleaning methods and prices. Shaw Industries, the world’s largest carpet manufacturer recommends hot water extraction from a truck-mounted unit, using a portable unit only in areas where the truck-mounted unit won’t reach.

Here’s why:

A truck-mounted unit cleans much better than a portable unit for three reasons:

  1. It heats the water to a higher temperature. For every 18 degree increase in temperature above 118 degrees F, you double the water’s cleaning ability. So if the water temperature is 136 degrees F it will clean twice as well as water that it 118 degrees F. 154 degree water will clean four times as well as 118 degree water. and so on until you reach a water temperature of 250 degrees F.
  2. It shoots the cleaning solution into your carpet at higher pressures which breaks up the dirt, chemicals and pollens. 400 to 500 pounds per square inch is the optimum pressure for truck-mounted hot water extraction.
  3. The machine uses stronger suction to draw the dirt, chemicals, pollens and tobacco smoke residue out of your carpet. Not surprisingly, having your carpet thoroughly cleaned with truck-mounted hot water extraction costs more than renting a shampooer at the corner grocery store. No question, it will get out some of the dirt but the key word here is “some.” It will not get out many of the pollens, chemicals and dust mite residues. On the other hand, if you want your carpet to look good and give you years of dependable service, you need to take good care of it. This means you need to have it cleaned by a skilled, qualified technician at least every six months to one year, depending on the amount of soiling and foot traffic it receives. And you need to have it cleaned thoroughly, as only a truck-mount hot water extractor can do.

The most important thing is that you are extremely happy once the job is complete. In order for that to happen, you need to know the