Avoid these 5 Potential Pitfalls of Do-it-Yourself Carpet Cleaning

It is a common practice to clean the carpet of a newly purchased home. After all, you don’t really know how well the carpet has been maintained…or what spills or stains the carpet might have encountered. This is especially true if the prior owner had pets. Plus, it is a lot easier to clean the carpet of an empty home, before furniture and other belongings are set in place.

Many homeowners hope to save money by cleaning a dirty carpet themselves. Though carpet cleaning may appear to be an uncomplicated task, it actually requires a great deal of knowledge and experience to perform correctly. Inexperience might actually lead to permanent harm, which could render the carpet in need of repair or replacement.

Even if you consider yourself to be a jack-of-all-trades or jill-of-all-trades, it is important to be aware of the various drawbacks associated with do-it-yourself carpet cleaning. Below are five potential pitfalls…

1) Lack of Experience

Without the proper training, stains could become worse, the color could be altered, the carpet backer could delaminate, and so on. Since not all carpets are the same, carpet cleaning techniques are not all the same. What may work wonders on some fibers or colors, may ruin others. The cost to repair damage to the carpet could easily outweigh the cost of hiring a professional in the first place. Furthermore, a professional carpet cleaning is almost always backed by some form of guarantee or warranty.

2) Improper Stain Removal

In most cases, spots on the carpet require a pretreatment with a stain remover. Before applying any stain remover, it is recommended that you first test the cleaner on a discreet area, such as the carpet in the back of a closet. This will help ensure the remover is not going to bleach, discolor or otherwise harm the carpet. Also, do not scrub or wipe a stain as that could untwist the carpet fibers and lead to permanent and unsightly fraying. Scrubbing or wiping could also spread the stain or push it deeper into the carpet.

3) Inadequate Equipment

Most of the machines available for homeowners to rent or purchase are designed for portability rather than power. These machines may be easier to lift and more convenient to transport, but cannot compare to the function of a commercial carpet cleaner. A homeowner-grade machine just can’t generate the soil extraction power necessary to clean and sanitize as thoroughly as a professional-grade machine.

4) Excessive Cleaning Solution

Those new to carpet cleaning have a tendency to use a higher concentration of cleaning agent than is recommended, or to continually disperse the solution into the carpet in an attempt to remove additional soil. Using an exaggerated amount of solution does not improve its cleaning ability, it just makes the removal of the cleaner more difficult. The more soap left in the fibers of the carpet, the more sticky residue there will be to attract new dirt. This leads to rapid re-soiling.

5) Saturating the Carpet

Another concern is the use of too much water when attempting to rinse the shampoo or cleaning agent from the carpet. The carpet fibers can only hold so much moisture. Once the fibers become saturated, the remainder of the rinse passes through the carpet and into the pad below. Needless to say, soaking the carpet and pad will prolong its drying time. Without proper ventilation, the carpet could remain wet for days, which could foster the growth of mold, mildew and bacteria. Stains from the feet of furniture might also occur if they are placed directly on the carpet while it is still damp. In addition, moisture that has been allowed to penetrate through the carpet and into the pad can cause deep stains to wick upward as the carpet eventually dries.

Before attempting a do-it-yourself cleaning, get a few estimates from reputable carpet cleaning companies. You will likely find the quotes to be very affordable, especially when you take into account the safety and effectiveness of a professional cleaning.

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