Monday, April 21, 2014

Carpet Cleaning Ethics Exposed

Hey let's get into the carpet cleaning business today!

Would you start up a auto mechanic shop with no experience?  Would you decide to be a plumber one day with no experience? How about a lawn care service with no experience?  So why does the carpet cleaning industry end up with all these upstarts that have zero experience?

Easy answer, they can get into scampooing carpets on the cheap.  A $2500 investment in a floor scrubber and a mini-van and they are off to the races.  These people don't care about manufacturers warranties, or certifications, or training.  They are in a hurry to make the almighty buck. How hard can it be they ask!

I watch a couple of the industry internet forums, and am appalled at the ethics of these "cleaners" the questions they pose are so ridiculously simple that most of the time I think they are joking.  My response to these questions is to go to work for a reputable carpet and upholstery cleaner for 2 to 3 years before you decide to tackle a customers 3rd or 4th largest investment.

Let me give a couple of examples;  Take the scampooer, he or she buys a big yellow floor scrubber and a gallon of magic juice and off they go.  They don't care that the encapsulation method of carpet "cleaning" is not approved for residential carpet by ANY carpet manufacturer and very well could void the warranty on your carpet.  They don't care, nor do they disclose this to the customer!  #Ethics

I didn't know...

Ignorance is only an excuse for so long, once they have been told, that the method they are using is not approved, you would think most would stop doing it.  Wrong, they don't care.  Then it becomes a question of ethics.  

Another example; pet spots and urine stains.  These same "Cleaners" dump a GALLON or two of wacky water on the pet spot, leave it sit for 15 to 30 minutes and suck it back out, poof the "spot" is "gone" right?

WRONG.  What they have done is soaked your subfloor, and padding with urine flavored wacky water.  This has accomplished absolutely nothing but dilute the urine, and ruin your pad and subfloor.
There is not a single padding manufacturer that I can find that thinks this is a good idea.  So why do "they" do it?  Because it's easy, and they don't care about your pad or subfloor. #Ethics

An approved method involves pulling the carpet and replacing the affected padding and sealing the subfloor, before re-installing the carpet.  So why don't they do it right?  Because they have no Idea how to pull the carpet up and absolutely no clue how to reinstall it.  These people don't know what a power stretcher is and sure don't have one in the minivan.

You should hear the excuses "they" use for this one:

1. The customer won't pay to have the carpet pulled up.
Did you ask the customer?  Of course they didn't ask because they don't know how to do it.
2. There is too much furniture to move.
Plan ahead and tell the customer what needs to be done, they will have the area ready.
3. I have been doing it this way for 20 years.
Does that make it OK to ruin someones padding?  Get many repeat customers? 
4.  And my personal favorite:  The carpet warranty is probably already voided anyway.
I can't find the words probably, sometimes or maybe anywhere in the warranty literature.

The fact is these "cleaners" don't even bother to check if the pad and or carpet is a pet protect or resistant product, which changes the approach to cleaning it dramatically.  How can they check if they don't know how to pull it up and put it back?  Most don't even know what fiber they are cleaning.

I had a online discussion just the other day with a "cleaner" who posted pictures and comments about his encapsulation cleaning of residential carpet when steam cleaning wasn't recommended, He back peddled pretty quickly when I informed him that his method was not approved on residential carpet. And another startup (Founded last July) tells me he "disagrees"  Ok now that was funny.  Unfortunately these are typical reactions.  

What it all boils down to is ethics.  These "cleaners" survive on the hopes that the consumer doesn't know anything about the correct methods and procedures and what their warranty allows.  When confronted by anyone, they tend to run and flock to the internet forums for reassurance that they had a "tough customer" and to move on. I suppose it's a safety in numbers thing.  Oh my! #Ethics

When I started in this business, there was virtually no one that jumped into cleaning carpets and especially upholstery without working in the business for a few years.  Training and certifications were the norm and ethics were really not a problem because the hacks were exposed pretty quickly and out of business even quicker, it was a lot smaller, tighter community.

Apparently, over time, "For Professional Use Only" has changed to "whoever wants to buy it"  Salespeople pose as mentors for these startup's, they "train" and sell these guys the chemicals and gizmos regardless of the intended use, and resell it when they go broke, why not they have no liability. #Ethics

I doubt very seriously this is what the founders of the certification process envisioned. This is the fox guarding the hen house.  Most are not motivated by ethics, but the almighty buck.  This is exactly why I no longer pay for my certification dues.

What can you as a consumer do? 

1. First check with The Carpet And Rug Institute for Approved Service Providers in your area.
2. Next check what information the Better Business Bureau has on that cleaner.
3. Next check Google reviews of the cleaner. Google watches these closely and penalizes cheaters. 
4. Read your residential carpet warranty, It will say "Hot Water Extraction" Or "Steam Cleaning" Only.
5. Ask for referrals from the cleaner for the specific service you are inquiring about.

If you as a consumer do three of the five, you will weed out the scampooer's and hacks very quickly.

I hope this has been informative for you and as always,

Thank you for your time.

A-1 Carpet Service
Sioux FallsSD
(605) 359-1098

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Carpet Cleaning Tips & Tricks Yeah Right!

With these tips and tricks...who's tricking who??

I see a lot of articles written about how to remove spots and spills (and my favorite) odors, from carpet and upholstery.

Most of these articles are not written by anyone remotely related to the carpet and upholstery cleaning industry and are generally not worth the ink to print them.

I have listed a few of the main ingredients I find in these articles to help me to explain what they do to your carpet and upholstery.

1.  Baking Soda

Sodium Bicarbonate Under a Microscope

I do not have a single ounce of Baking Soda in my Truck.  Adding a powdered anything to your carpet is a huge mistake.  Not only does it turn to a paste with humidity but actually keeps the odors in the carpet where you don't want them.  

Baking Soda has fine particles that can and will scratch and dull your carpet (see photo above).  I can not find a single carpet manufacturer that recommends using baking soda on your carpet or upholstery.

2. Dishwashing Liquid

Again I don't carry any of this in the truck either.  I will argue that any amount of this stuff will leave a residue almost worse than a Scampooer would leave in your carpet. 

Any detergent or cleaning product that foams up or gets sudsy will leave a residue in your carpet.  This includes the "cleaners" you purchase with the rental carpet cleaning machine and those other "leading" spot removers.  (notice these "cleaners" rarely come in a clear bottle that's so you don't see the suds)

Remember the makers of these detergents are in the business of selling chemicals not cleaning carpets.  If these products did such a good job, they would have cleaned themselves out of business.

3.  Vinegar 

Ok I don't have any of this in the truck either!  But at least the idea behind using vinegar has some merit.  Vinegar is on the acid side of the PH scale, and can help neutralize alkaline based deposits in your carpet.  Pet urine is alkaline.  

The problem with Vinegar is mixing it with anything but water.  The creative DIY'er will mix vinegar AND dishwashing liquid!  Now you have a nice vinegar smelling residue to collect soil.  

Ok so what should you do??

These famous words on the shampoo bottle in your bathroom tell the story:  wash, rinse and repeat.

This poorly made video is me attempting to explain that rinsing the spot from the carpet is best.  

Feel Free to Heckle the Actor in this video

I have always said that I could clean a carpet with a squirt bottle and a shop vac, which is true, but very time consuming.  I have a powerful truck mounted super steam cleaner which makes it easy for me.

For you at home, have a plan of attack.  Equipped with a shop vac setup for wet vacuuming, and a squirt bottle you are set to tackle even the worst spots.

When you are prepared to RINSE or FLUSH the spot from the carpet then almost anything that will clean nylon will work MUCH better, even dishwashing detergent, because you won't be leaving it in the carpet.  Same thing I do, except a lot smaller scale.

This works especially great for pet spots, as mentioned in the video. (More Here about pet spots)

I hope this helps with some of the confusion about what to use for spot removal.  Bottom line, as long as you can rinse it out of the carpet you can use almost anything.

Free Lifetime Replacement

This is a free product we give to our customers, it dries to a powder and the residue is easily vacuumed away.

If you can think of other "products" or solutions you would like me to address, feel free to email or comment below. I hope this has been informative for you and as always Thank you for your time.

A-1 Carpet Service
Sioux FallsSD
(605) 359-1098