Frequently Asked Questions
We have Answers for your Questions.
We try to anticipate common questions you might have about our services and provide the answers in a direct and honest way. The following information is not meant to be a complete list of questions and answers or a heavily detailed explanation of all carpet cleaning techniques or processes. This is a compilation of frequently asked questions, along with straight forwards answers.
This page can also be used to filter out cleaning companies that may not be up to satisfactory carpet cleaning standards. If you need additional information, please don’t hesitate to send us an e-mail, even if it’s to evaluate another company that is outside of San Diego. We’re here to help and answer any further questions you may have beyond this FAQ page.
There are four main methods of carpet cleaning that most carpets cleaning companies are aware of:
Hot Water Extraction, Shampoo, Bonnet and Dry Chemical.
Hot Water Extraction (commonly called “steam cleaning”)
Hot, soft water, along with cleaning solution, are injected deep into carpet fibers in the process of hot water extraction. This process of embedding the mixture of hot water and cleaning solution into the carpet fibers greatly helps to loosen and lift ground-in dirt and soil. The powerful suction extracts deep down, and works well with the cleaning solution. During this process, 95% of the moisture will be taken care of by the powerful suction of a truck mounted, high-tech machine for faster drying time. The hot water extraction process leaves no soapy residue, helps remove dust, mites, allergens and other pollutants that collect in your carpet. After the process is done, the atmosphere of your living space will be cleaner than before.
The powerful, but safe, cleaning solution is brushed into the carpet and then properly vacuumed. The brushing action abrades carpet fibers and doesn’t provide the deepest cleaning that is possible. The extraction method used in this process are not powerful enough to remove all shampoo residue, which may result in necessary, and very tedious, re-cleaning. The re-cleaning must also be done quite frequently with this extraction method.
The cleaning solution is sprayed onto carpet and then buffed with shag bonnets to lift the soil. During the buffing phase of the soil extraction, the bonnet (pad) attracts or absorbs surface soils. However, there is absolutely no extraction of deep down dirt, and that dirt will still be buried within the carpet, causing further problems in the future. This method is not very effective for corners or stairs, and may untwist fibers in plush carpets, ruining them.
Dry Chemical Method
This method is very similar to hot water extraction; however, the main difference is that the chemicals that are used speed up the evaporation of moisture in the carpeting. This method leaves chemical residue after extraction, leading to more potential problems in the future. The main problem is that the remaining residue may cause carpet to soil faster, and the method will have to be done again. That means more money, and more time wasted in the long run.
Wear areas, which are heavy traffic areas where you walk the most, will remain more visible and will turn out as clean as less used areas in your living space. No matter what kind of equipment or talent a carpet cleaning company possesses, wear areas will never look completely brand new. The only solution to completely get rid of the wear areas is to get new carpet.
Most companies will move furniture, if necessary, to do a good job, but will not usually move large pieces such as dressers, entertainment centers, bookcases, pianos, etc. These large items hold a significant liability; however, you are free to move them as you wish, in order for the cleaning to be thorough. Smaller pieces such as coffee and end tables, lamps, etc. will be moved.
Red stains (caused by red dyes) may, or may not come out. Red dye removers are used by many carpet cleaners and may remove some of the stain, but there are chances that it will not remove all of the stain. Everything that is possible will be done, as long as it doesn’t ruin your carpet, to rid of the red stains as much as humanly possible.
Pet stains (urine), if yellow, usually do not come out. In the particular case where the pet stain is a dark shade, it will usually come out. Some carpet cleaning spotters will reduce the amount of yellow staining, but in most instances, the stain cannot be completely removed.
Do you guarantee complete stain removal?
If the answer is simply ‘yes”, drop your consideration for the company and quickly look for another cleaner. Reputable, professional carpet cleaners will be able to get most of your stains out, but won’t guarantee that all stains will come out because there are certain stains that will not completely come out no matter what you do to them, unless you get new carpeting. A professional carpet cleaner will do everything to get out any stains, but a guarantee to do so is a just a ploy to get the job, and get your hard-earned money!
Will your company be completing the work or do you hire subcontractors?
Many carpet cleaning companies, especially those who offer a suspiciously “low price,” do not have technicians who are their employees. This means they can’t guarantee any type of service because they do not do the work themselves and are not monitoring the workers that do. In this case, any guarantees that are promised may not be honored in any form whatsoever. Look for companies whose technicians arrive in clean, presentable uniforms, with trucks that have company emblems or logos that advertise their business proudly.
Is your company an IICRC Certified Firm?
Yes, SoCal Steam Clean is certified by an organization called the IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification). This organization provides certification courses and exams for the carpet cleaning industry, guaranteeing that they have the knowledge and capability to perform at an outstanding level. By attending these courses, carpet cleaners are rigorously taught about fiber identification, carpet construction, cleaning chemistry, cleaning methods, and professionalism.
These valuable concepts equip carpet cleaners to choose the proper procedures for cleaning your carpet. The certified firm is on the cutting edge of technology and change in our industry, assuring that their students are always in-the-know about the latest carpet cleaning methods. A certified firm knows the right way to apply cleaning procedures and chemistry. A certified firm works together with other certified firms to raise the standard of carpet cleaning in general, therefore providing you with a higher quality product.
If the advertised price seems too good to be true… 10 times out of 10 IT IS! Any reputable company that has made a substantial investment in personnel and equipment must charge a reasonable price to do a good job. Be careful of very low prices, and start looking at them as danger signs to stay away. If the advertisement indicates that pre-vacuum, preconditioning or heavy traffic areas are not included, CALL SOMEONE ELSE as you are about to do business with someone only interested in your money. The extra charge will be substantial. Honest companies include pre-conditioning, heavy traffic areas, and spot removal as part of the complete price.
Bait and switch techniques are often used when you receive a quote over the phone. Sneaky businesses will say whatever they can to hook you into their foul play. If the price changes substantially after the cleaner arrives to your home, kindly ask them to leave.
It is imperative that you keep pets, children and regular traffic off of the carpet for a period of 3 hours. The homeowner may lightly use the carpet immediately after cleaning by wearing white socks. Wait 24 hours before removing Styrofoam blocks and foil tabs that are put in place to protect the furniture and carpet. Some carpets may still feel slightly damp for up to 18 hours depending on carpet and soiling conditions. This is normal and will not cause any problems.
Don’t be in a hurry. The worst thing you can do is rush into doing business with a company that you don’t know much about, simply because you immediately put your trust in them based on something as irrelevant as an advertisement or a “low price” that’s offered. You’ll get the best and most reliable price when the company you choose gives you an estimate at the location to be cleaned.
If you are not satisfied with the outcome, call the company and complain. If they take pride in their work, they will usually come back and try again. Good companies want to do a good job for you and keep you as a customer. They also rely on your positive word-of-mouth, in order for their business to spread to their families and friends.
Don’t expect miracles. Traffic wears your carpet out, and there’s nothing anybody can do to make your carpet completely brand new. If it has been a while since the past cleaning expect that your carpet will look cleaner, even much cleaner than before, but not 100% brand new. However, apparent soil in traffic areas, damage, wear and fading cannot be removed completely by any method or product. In addition, physical damage that makes the carpet look dirty or “different” cannot be cleaned.