I own several carpet cleaning companies and often times I am asked what the best methods are for cleaning carpets. I get asked “Can’t I do it myself?” and “Why should I hire someone like you, a professional, to clean my carpets?”.

It is essential to clean your carpets periodically even if you are meticulous about vacuuming them. Having them cleaned removes allergens, dirt build-up, pet hair and dander, dust mites, etc.  Carpet manufacturers typically suggest getting your carpets cleaned every 12 to 18 months. If you have pets or children you may want to have them clean more often. You want to make sure sticky stuff and stains are cleaned right away.  I usually recommend a spot cleaner for things like that and for in between professional cleanings.


1. Rent a carpet cleaning machine – These machines do a reasonable job, but they are expensive if you are cleaning your carpets as frequently as you should.  Carpet cleaners that you rent or buy use suction and brushes that make contact with the carpet along with hot water and cleaning solution.

These carpet cleaning machines are usually a  professional grade in comparison to those you can buy. However they can be heavy and awkward.   The cost for renting a machine can add up if you clean your carpets every couple of months.  They are about $20 a day. It leads people to consider buying one.

When renting a machine, you need to make sure that it is in good working condition.  If not, it could put too much water or solution into your carpets and make things worse.  Also, use the detergent recommended for the machine and nothing else.  Do not use more than what is recommended.  It will not clean better – you will just end up with carpet that gets dirty quicker because it will be sticky from the extra solution.

Before you decide to DIY, make sure that you have good fans available.  It is important that your carpets are dry within 24 hours. If it takes longer than 24 you there is a good chance you will get mildew growth.  Realistically, you want your carpets dry within 4 or 5 hours.

Typically with DIY cleanings, the fibers don’t be as clean as they once were. A good professionally will do a better job.

2. Buy a machine – You could definitely buy one and come out ahead, but these machines can leave your carpets and often times the pads wet.  They may work ok for a bit, but they stop sucking up the water after a period of time and need to be cleaned out.  It is a pain and can cost extra $$ to get it working like new again.

Hoover and Bissell seem to be the leading companies in at home deep cleaning carpet machines. They both have models that run around $250.

You can rent a machine 10 times for the price of a pro to clean your carpets. Or you could buy a machine to clean whenever you feel like it for close to the same price.  You need to determine if you cleaning your carpets more frequently with a good machine you rent or buy keeps your carpets cleaner than having them professionally cleaned.

3. Hire a pro– Professionals are typically the way to go.  Firstly, because they clean carpets every day and they feed their families working their profession.  They are good at what they do.  They aren’t going to make mistakes like using too much solution or too much water. Not rinsing enough is also a common problem when you clean your own carpets.

Professional carpet cleaners have trucks that provide very hot water to help the detergent do it’s job.  When you use your own machine or rent one the water cools off well before you are finished with an area.  Professionals also have a powerful vacuum systems. They remove more water and are able to get the water to flow through your carpet fibers ensuring that your carpets are clean.  They leave your carpets nearly dry when they are finished, so there is not a risk for mildew and so you can get back to ‘living’ in your home more quickly.

Most professional carpet cleaning companies pre-treat the carpets with a mist solution.  Then they run only clean water their their machine. This helps with build up and won’t leave your carpet fibers sticky when they are gone.

Stain Removal Tips

I get a lot of questions and frustrated calls about stains – How to get stains out and why they are coming back. Most times when stains “come back” is from dirt is stuck onto carpet fibers from something sugary / oily / sticky that was spilled because something sticky spilled and wasn’t cleaned up. A deep cleaning with detergent and water should get this out.

When there is a spill or major soiling of any kind it is important that they are dealt with quickly.  You can find many DIY options to clean up stains on Google.  White vinegar and water cleans many stains as well as a mixture of carpet cleaning solution and water (check the cleaning solution label for portions). You can use something like Goo Gone to clean gum, grease, oil and tar.

Click on this link for more information about how to keep your carpets looking like new longer.