Consumer's Guide to Carpet Cleaning

By DAVID COX  (IICRC Journeyman)  owner  of


01529 461602

Read this guide and you’ll discover:


  • How to avoid four carpet cleaning rip-offs!

  • 6 costly misconceptions about carpet cleaning

  • Crawling insects and bugs; a guide to the slime, grime and livestock that's sleeping, creeping and galloping through your carpet.

  • Which method cleans best?

  • 8 mistakes to avoid when choosing a carpet cleaner

  • The importance of value and price

  • Do you want a clean, healthy carpet?

  • 100% no-risk guarantee

  • 4 steps to a fresh, clean, healthy carpet


Dear Homeowner,

Choosing a carpet cleaner isn't easy.

Why? Because you're bombarded with misleading advertising, confusing claims and simply bad information.

From super-low prices and high-pressure sales -- to unqualified technicians and near-worthless methods -- how do you ever find a qualified, competent, professional carpet cleaner?

You start by reading this Consumer's Guide. In this fact-filled booklet, you'll discover how to avoid four carpet cleaning rip-offs, eight mistakes to avoid when choosing a carpet cleaner, and four steps to a fresh, clean, healthy carpet.

We wrote this guide to help you better understand carpet cleaning. Now, with this information, you can make an informed, intelligent decision.

And if you have any questions about carpet or upholstery cleaning, you're invited to call me on 01529 461602. 

I've dedicated my business to delivering outstanding service and an important element is information and education. I’ll be happy to help you in any way I can.

David Cox



To some degree, all of us are attracted by low price because we want to work within a budget. But some carpet cleaners use price as the bait for their false and misleading advertising. They offer a cheap price -- usually between £5.99 and £9.99 per room -- and then, once they're in your home, they pressure you into buying "add-ons". It's as if you were buying a car and found that a dealer was charging you extra for the tyres and steering wheel. Carpet cleaning is not as cheap as some unethical carpet cleaners would like you to believe.


Dual process carpet cleaning describes the process of preconditioning (vacuuming to remove dry soils and applying a pre-spray to emulsify the remaining oils and soils) followed by high-energy hot water extraction cleaning. Unfortunately, unethical carpet cleaners often prey on a customer’s lack of knowledge about carpet cleaning and use a bait and switch sales technique.

Here's how it's done: first, they "bait" you with a “basic room clean” (single process) at an unbelievably low price. Then, when you call, or after they have started, they try to "switch" you to what they call “more expensive multi-process cleaning”. They say things like  “It’s dirtier than you described on the phone” or “this carpet will need a professional vacuum before we start”. If you don't fall for their switch and choose their basic service, you'll likely receive poor workmanship using little or no professional cleaning solutions and they will not guarantee their work.


"THIS CLEANING METHOD IS THE BEST." You'll read this in almost every ad. You'll hear this from virtually every carpet cleaner. Remember this: The method that's best for you is the method that achieves your goal. If you want a method that dries quickly, then a method that takes a long time to dry is not for you. So before you choose a carpet cleaner, identify your objectives. Then select the method that best reaches those objectives.


"CLEANING DAMAGES YOUR CARPET." Years ago, many people believed this was true because their carpets were damaged by "technicians" who didn't know how to clean properly using an efficient hot water extraction equipment. But today, we know it's false. Cleaning methods, solutions and equipment are much more efficient and constantly improving.

Obviously, each carpet cleaner will be biased toward his own method, and each method has advantages. So I suggest you consider what carpet manufacturers say. Shaw Industries, the largest carpet manufacturer in the world,  advise that only trained technicians clean their carpets, on a regular basis, using hot water extraction cleaning with a truck-mounted unit. Soddart & Templeton (UK) recommend “expert cleaning”.  Axminster Carpets recommend “Professional carpet cleaners should be used where heavy soiling is involved”.


MISCONCEPTION no. 1:“You should wait as long as possible before cleaning your carpet”.

NO ! Dirt is an abrasive -- like sandpaper. Every time you step on your carpet, you grind dirt into the carpet fibres. This cuts your carpet, just as if you had used a knife. This cutting causes your carpet to wear out faster. A dirty carpet will not last as long as a clean carpet. While vacuuming helps, by itself, it's 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 no. 2:“The only reason to clean carpets is to remove the dirt.”

NO !  As you probably know, outdoor air contains pollens, fungus, bacteria, air pollution, cigarette smoke, car exhaust – in fact hundreds of other chemicals, pollutants and allergens. When you come into your home, you carry those pollens, bacteria and chemicals in your hair and on your skin, clothing and shoes. Not surprisingly, all those chemicals and toxins wind up in your carpet.

If you have allergies, asthma, emphysema, or other breathing problems-one major source of your problem could be the pollens, fungus, smoke and chemicals in your carpet.

MISCONCEPTION no. 3:  One method of carpet cleaning is as good as another.”

NO ! The old dry cleaning methods -- which are dry foam, dry chemicals, and dry compound -- do not rinse your carpet in any way. Instead, they leave a dirty residue. You might say they clean your carpet only halfway. The most effective cleaning method is high energy hot water extraction.

Hot water extraction means a water based cleaning solution is forced under high pressure into your carpet and then sucked out of your carpet. Shaw Industries, the world's largest carpet manufacturer, recommends this as the primary method of cleaning carpets.

MISCONCEPTION no. 4:“Having the right equipment is all a company needs to clean your carpets properly.”

NOT TRUE !  Many companies own hot-water cleaners   but very few companies teach their employees how to use them properly. This is why it's important that you choose your carpet cleaner carefully. The best cleaning companies are those that have been certified by the IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification  and are WOOLSAFE certified. Before you choose a carpet cleaner, ask about the company's IICRC certification and also the certification of the technician who is going to do the job! If they don't have them -- don't use them!

MISCONCEPTION no. 5:“The company that offers the lowest price is the company you should hire”.

NO !  I've seen so many problems arise from lowest-bid companies that I suggest you NEVER hire the company that quotes the cheapest price. The two most common problems are:

(1) the price may not be for the services you want performed. The company may be equipped to remove only the dirt from your carpet. But you may want bacteria, fungus, pollens, dust mites and tobacco residues removed as well.

(2) the price you see advertised may not be the price you pay. Many homeowners have learned that the low price they saw advertised lasted only until the carpet cleaner got into their home. Then they were pressured into paying a lot more for a variety of add-ons.

MISCONCEPTION no. 6:“Any honest carpet cleaning company should be able to give you an exact price quote over the telephone.”

I wish this were true, but it isn't.

Honest, reputable carpet cleaning companies almost never price carpet cleaning by the room. Instead, professional carpet cleaning is usually priced by the square foot / yard / metre. So if you'd like me to tell you the exact cost of cleaning your carpet, I need to know the exact size of the area that you want cleaned.

To give you an idea of how we estimate the cost of cleaning, here are the three things we consider:

First, the type of carpet. Certain types of carpet require specific specialist cleaning processes and solutions, and are harder to clean than other types.

Second, the amount of soiling. Carpet that hasn't been cleaned for 10 years will take longer to clean than a carpet that we cleaned within the last 6 months.

Third, the amount of furniture we have to move. If you move your furniture, you'll save money.


Asphalt. Bacteria. Car exhaust. Chemicals. Dirt. Dust. Dust mites. Earth. Food particles. Fungus. Germs. Gravel. Grease. Grime. Grit. Hair. Industrial waste. Juice. Lint. Mud. Pet stains. Pollens. Pollutants. Rock. Sand. Scum. Smoke. Soil. Soot. Tar. Tobacco smoke. Urine. Vomit.

Plus, don't forget living creatures, such as Dust Mites, Fleas and Insects that live, hide and breed in your carpet.

In the average UK home over 2 million dust mites feed on the protein from your dead skin scales.

It is not just the mite that is the problem, but also their harmful droppings, which are so small that when disturbed can stay airborne for over 10 minutes. Although it seems staggering it has been reported that up to 2 million mites could live in one mattress and a teaspoon would hold over 250,000 droppings because they are so miniscule! Ugh!

If Only I Could Eliminate Those Nasty Creatures From My Furnishings ……..  Well Now You Can !”

We can treat your furnishings with a unique product that is clinically tested and proven to create an allergy free home environment by safely removing the House Dust Mite from your mattress, carpets and upholster. Our system actually removes the mite, not just the food source, and also protects your furnishings from soil and stains.


Dry Foam:

The carpet cleaner applies shampoo to your carpet, allows it to dry, and then without rinsing, 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 leaves dirty reside in your carpet, which is one reason dry foam is not too effective.

Absorbent pad (bonnet cleaning):

This method is similar to dry foam, except that the company sets a large cotton bonnet on the carpet and with a floor polishing buffer machine "buffs" the carpet. The rotating motion causes the bonnet to absorb dirt from the carpet This method is called bonnet cleaning. Bonnet cleaning is like trying to use a large cotton towel or mop to rub the dirt out of your carpet. Not very effective.

Dry, absorbent powder:

The dry-compound method spreads a moist, absorbent powder through the carpet. The powder is allowed to dry and then sucked into a vacuum. This method leaves dry sponge particles at the base of the carpet yarn. And because the carpet is not rinsed, this method is not very effective.

Hot water extraction: This is a fancy way of saying that a hot water cleaning solution under high pressure is forced into your carpet and then sucked out of your carpet.

In a recent Technical Bulletin, Shaw Industries, the world's largest carpet manufacturer, "recommends the hot water extraction system, which research indicates provides the best capability for cleaning."

You can choose from two different types:  High Pressure / High Suction, which is carried out using powerful Truck-mounted equipment, a self-contained unit mounted in a van, (and companies like ourselves typically invest around £40,000 in such a set-up). Or Low Pressure / Low suction portable extraction, which is done with a small, hand-held unit.

On which type to choose, Shaw's Technical Bulletin states: "[cleaning] can be done from a unit outside the facility with only the hose and wand brought inside, or where a truck mounted unit cannot reach, by a portable, self-contained system brought into the facility."

As you can see, Shaw recommends the truck mounted unit first. And this isn't surprising. You see, external equipment cleans much better owing to it’s power, shooting the rinse water into the carpet at higher pressures. This breaks up the dirt, bacteria, chemicals and pollens in the carpet. Then the machine produces powerful suction to draw the dirt and chemicals out of your carpet.

Some people believe that hot water damages your carpet, but his isn't 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.


I use High Energy Rinse Extraction

Having used Other systems and still have most of the equipment including Dry Fusion, I believe that the high energy, rinse extraction system to be most effective cleaning processes because it will give a really deep clean, removing oils, grease, pollens, fungus and other pollutants and they do not leave dirt attracting residues. The other systems may be cheaper, quicker and require less operator skill, but High-Energy Water Extraction will give far better results and help extend the life of the carpets.


MISTAKE no.1: Choosing a carpet cleaner based on equipment alone.

No question, your carpet cleaner needs first-rate equipment. But he also needs something else. He needs employees who are skilled at operating that equipment. Many companies own High-energy-hot-water extractors, but very few companies 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 no.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 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 cheap equipment, which will not effectively clean your carpet.

MISTAKE no.3: Choosing a carpet cleaner based on a single telephone call.

Instead, invite the person to your home and ask for a specific written quotation. Then you'll know exactly what the carpet cleaner recommends -- and you won't be the victim of high pressure tactics when the technician steps into your living room. We offer clients a Free Healthy Home Audit where they can ask questions, we’ll answer any concerns they have, and provide a definite quotation.

MISTAKE no.4: Choosing a carpet cleaner who doesn't offer a money-back guarantee.

In my view, every carpet cleaning company should be fully accountable for its work. And if you aren't pleased with the job in every way, you shouldn't have to pay for it. Period. Not all carpet cleaners offer a guarantee. Or, if they do, the guarantee may be "limited". Ask the carpet cleaner if he offers a money-back guarantee and then make sure the carpet cleaner includes his guarantee on his written quotation.

MISTAKE no.5: Choosing a carpet cleaner without getting comments from his other clients.

Any carpet cleaner can say anything about his past jobs. And, sadly, some of what he says may not be true. Make sure you ask for references or read comments from current customers so you can depend on the carpet cleaner and his work.

MISTAKE no.6: 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 well. 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 formal, written examinations. In effect, cleaners who are certified by the IICRC have earned a “degree” in carpet cleaning.

MISTAKE no.7: Choosing a carpet cleaner who is not recognised by the Woolsafe Organisation

Woolsafe work in conjunction with the British Wool Marketing Board in creating cleaning solutions and standards for the cleaning of wool carpets. Carpet cleaners must be specially trained operators  to achieve the Woolsafe certification, and maintain such levels of cleaning. You should only entrust your valuable wool carpet with a Woolsafe certified operator 

MISTAKE no.8: Choosing a carpet cleaner who doesn't use Dry Fusion or Truck Mounted, Hot Water Extraction Systems.

You might expect this from me, since I use these type of systems. But there are several good reasons. Small portable hot water systems are good, but they aren't as good as the larger, powerful truck-mount systems, which use higher pressure and stronger suction. We always offer the option of the application of a Protector to complete the process which protects against permanent staining.

So all the way around, if you choose our company, we guarantee your carpets and upholstery will be left cleaner, fresher, fluffier and healthier. No two ways about it.


Price is what you pay, Value is what you get.

When we invest wisely, the truth is that we get what we pay for.

Call the cheapest company you can find and I’ll bet that you get a big sales pitch with little cleaning. It only makes sense that the cheapest company has to cut costs by using cheap cleaning equipment, cheap cleaning agents, and cheap personnel, spending as little time as possible cleaning your carpet.

Will they have the tools, qualifications and experience to recognise the fibre construction and the fitting? To ensure that the right cleaning can take place, without causing irreparable damage to your furnishings? Will they get out all the oils, soils, pollens, bacteria, dust mites, molds, and other pollutants?

Will you get an informed prescription of all the cleaning related issues with relevant advice on maintenance?

Will they be prepared to return should stains re-appear – as they can even with the most expert cleaner correctly using the most powerful equipment and materials?

Not surprisingly, having your carpet thoroughly cleaned by a fully trained professional craftsman will cost you more than using one of the fly-by-night cowboy cleaners or more than hiring a low powered machine at a DIY store.

If you bought the cheapest carpeting you could find, then renting a small DIY machine might be all you need. No question, it will get out some of the dirt -- but the key word here is "some." It will not get out may of the pollens, chemicals, bacteria and dust mite residues. Also you will most likely leave dirt-attracting residues in the carpet.

On the other hand -- if you want your carpet to look good and give you years of dependable service -- then you need to take extra good care of it.

This means you need to have it cleaned by a skilled qualified technician a 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 and disinfected, as only Truck-Mounted High-Energy Hot Water Extraction System can.


Which is more important to you: a clean carpet -- or a clean and healthy carpet? Yes, I assure you, there is a big difference.

Each carpet cleaning method has advantages and disadvantages. Some methods will get out only the dirt. Other methods will get out dirt and grease. Still others will get out virtually everything. And, to be sure, some are more expensive than others.

If all you want is a cheap, brush-the-dirt-off-the-top cleaning which you might find for around £9.99 per room -- then I respectfully ask that you call another company.

But if you want to protect your health -- if you want to protect your investment in carpeting -- if you want to protect your family from the countless bacteria, fungus, pollens and dust mites that reside in your carpet, then you're invited to call me.

The cleaning equipment and materials that we use are some of  the most effective cleaning systems available today. Likewise they are also some of the most expensive available. But we bought this equipment for a good reason: More and more families want the good-health benefits that come from having a fresh, clean carpet.

Have you ever seen how dirty a little boy's trousers get when he plays outside? If you have, then you know you can brush off his trousers and make him think they're clean. The same is true for carpeting – you can hire someone for £9.99 who (if you’re lucky!) will remove the top surface dirt and make you think it’s clean. Or, if you want the job done right, I'll clean your carpets using my state of the art cleaning equipment and solutions, and you'll KNOW they're clean.

So if you want a thoroughly clean carpet -- if you're willing to invest in your family's good health -- you're invited to call us on 01529 461602.  You can request a Free Healthy Home Audit, and if you accept our Quotation, you're further protected with our...


We want you to be super-pleased -- in fact, absolutely delighted - with every carpet and upholstery job we do. So every job comes with our iron-clad, risk free, guarantee.

What does this mean?

Simply this: If you aren't happy with our work, we'll re-clean the area free. And if you still aren't pleased, you pay nothing. Not one penny. Many companies don't guarantee their work -- but we feel nothing is more important than your complete and total satisfaction.

We stand behind every job 100%.

If you ever have any questions or concerns about our work, please call us right away: Call 01529 461602


If you're thinking about having your carpets cleaned, we encourage you to follow these four steps:

STEP no. 1: Make a commitment to yourself to get your carpets cleaned. The longer they remain dirty, the sooner they'll wear out. Plus the longer you have to breathe all the pollens, fungus and chemicals that hide in your carpet.

STEP no. 2:List your objectives. Do you want only the dirt removed, something you could do with a rented machine. Or do you want all the bacteria, fungus, chemicals and dust mites removed, which will require a hot water truck-mounted cleaner, as we use. Do you want to work with an honest, reputable company -- or are you willing to risk working with the company that offers you the lowest price -- knowing that the company might not be in business tomorrow.

STEP no. 3:Ask questions. The way you learn about a company is to ask specific questions and listen carefully to the answers. Here are eight tough questions to ask a carpet cleaner before he begins to clean your carpet:

  1. What method of carpet cleaning do you recommend?

  2. What type of equipment do you use to clean carpets?

  3. What will your equipment remove from my carpet?

  4. How often should I get my carpets cleaned?

  5. What training have you had in cleaning carpets?

  6.  Are you certified by the IICRC?
  7. Do you offer a Money-Back Guarantee on your work?

STEP no. 4: Once you're satisfied that you're 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.

By following these four steps, you'll gain all the information you need to make an informed, intelligent decision. If you want a quick, cheap carpet cleaning job, many companies in the phone book can help you. Or you can rent a shampooer from the DIY Hire Shop and do the job yourself.

But if you want your carpeting to be completely and healthfully cleaned -- removing the bacteria, fungus, chemicals, pollens and pet and tobacco residues:- then we invite you to call us on 01529 461602

We'll be happy to answer your questions -- provide you a cost estimate over the telephone -- or come into your home and give you a free written quotation -- without obligation of any kind.

Thanks Again!

... for reading my new Consumer's Guide to Carpet Cleaning. I hope you found this information helpful.

If you have any questions or comments -- or if you'd like us to give you an exact written quotation to clean your carpet or upholstery or hard floors -- please call us on 01529 461602

We've dedicated our business to consumer education and service. We'll be pleased to help you in every way. We look forward to your call.


David Cox  IICRC Journeyman