Ideally, carpets should be deep cleaned every 6-18 months depending on the carpet soiling conditions in your home, to keep them looking brand new, and to remove the deep-down dirt, grime, bacteria, and debris from the carpets. A well-done cleaning will extend the life of your carpet and keep your home healthy and free from allergens, dust, smells, and stains.
Sometimes people question whether they should tackle the job themselves with a rental machine from the grocery store, or whether they should hire a professional carpet cleaner.
I’m sure my professional opinion won’t be much of a surprise.
You’ve probably guessed that I don’t have a very high opinion of the results that you can achieve with a rental machine. The only plus side is that it’s cheaper. But you really get what you pay for in carpet cleaning. I appreciate you taking the time to make the right decision for you and your home, and I’d like to help you with some information.
Below are all the things you should have in mind if you’re on the fence whether to rent a machine or hire a professional.
The Equipment Itself
No matter how you look at it, a professional uses better and more powerful truck-mounted equipment to get your carpets as clean as possible. Rental machines just don't have the vacuum extraction power to recover the dirty water and cleaning solutions. Use of a weaker rental machine leads to over-wetting, incomplete soil removal, shampoo residues, and longer drying times (often a whole day or two).
These factors lead to rapid re-soiling, mold and mildew problems, wicking*, and yellowing from solution still left behind in the carpet. I can often tell when a rental machine has been used, because I’ll notice quite a bit of foam in my system which was left behind by a rental machine.
*Wicking is when soil that remains deep in the carpet comes back to the surface during the drying process. A rental machine will make the surface look clean immediately after cleaning, but any deeply embedded soils will return or “wick back” to the surface as the carpet is drying. Flushing out deeply embedded stains and soil will prevent wicking.
My truck-mounted cleaning unit has vacuum strength powered by a 33 hp engine. This unit has such powerful suction (over 13 inches of lift — that’s a lot) that carpets are typically dry in under 2 hrs, and deeply embedded soils that would have lead to wicking are removed. Furthermore, I use wand glides attached to the cleaning wand, which are designed to help the carpets dry quicker. In addition, I usually set up quick dry air movers which can get carpets dry in about 1 hour.
High Water Temperature
Very hot water has a cleaning effect which is key to optimum carpet cleaning. Carpet is manufactured to be best cleaned with very hot water — around the boiling point.
I currently use a unit that produces its own heat — up to 240 degrees! And my unit keeps that super high temperature consistent over every inch of your carpet.
These super high temperatures which are above boiling (using pressure like in a pressure cooker) instantly sanitizes the carpet, kills any dust mites, and effectively removes sticky oily dirt and residues that vacuum cleaners and rental machines cannot effectively remove. And again, at super high water temperatures, the drying time is much faster due to increased evaporation.
Rental machines don’t produce their own heat. You have to add hot tap water to the tank, which instantly begins to cool. The hottest tap water is typically about 120 degrees to begin with. By the time you’re done with a single pass, the temperature has dropped below 100. Therefore, you’re going to get highly variable mediocre results due to lack of consistent high-temperature water.
Professional cleaners can clean all the way to the edges of the carpet and in tight spaces.
Professional cleaners will restore matted down high-traffic lanes. Matted traffic lanes would still look the same after cleaning with a rental.
Professional equipment lifts out tiny, sharp debris from deep in your carpet. This debris can slowly cause damage to your carpet fibers over time. Removing these particles will extend the life of your carpet.
The exhaust that comes out of rental machines can disperse allergens and other particles into the air, which then settles back onto your carpets and other surfaces in your home. My unit blows all exhaust through the hoses back outside.
If you are sensitive to allergies or you have other respiratory issues, I strongly suggest that you not use any kind of portable do-it-yourself cleaning machines. My techniques and equipment will not only effectively remove allergens from your carpet, it will leave your air clean too.
Rental machines don’t come with a highly-trained and experienced professional
When you hire a trained and experienced professional to clean your carpets, they know how to achieve perfect results - soft, healthy, thoroughly cleaned carpets. With proper training and experience, a professional knows exactly what they’re doing to deep clean your carpet, remove stains and spots, restore the soft fluffiness, remove allergens and debris, and get your carpet deeply cleaned without leaving residues — leaving your carpet in the best possible shape.
When you rent a machine and do it yourself, you have to read and follow the general instructions in the manual that comes with the machine. If you don’t understand the proper cleaning techniques for your style of carpet, you also run the risk of over-wetting your carpets, leaving behind residues, and not properly drying your carpets.
You know how hard the water is in our area of Texas. Cleaning with hard water can leave your carpets feeling a little stiff to the touch.
I’ve invested in a water softener for my cleaning unit which really helps the cleaning solutions work better, and leaves your carpets much softer. A water softener makes a real difference.
A professional shows up on time, and can do a thorough job very quickly. And again, with the additional equipment I use, drying time is usually less than 2 hours!
Do-it-yourself carpet cleaning is a lot of time-consuming work. You’ll have to go to the store, wait in line, decide which bottles of shampoo, anti-foam, deodorizer, “deep pet cleaner”, and whatever other solutions to buy, transport the machine to your house in your vehicle, unload it, start reading the instructions and filling the machine with hot tap water, and figure out which cleaning solutions to use, and how much.
Then as you clean, you have to empty out the dirty water tank in your sink and re-fill it with clean water over and over. Once you’re done, you’ll have to clean the machine yourself, load it back in your car, and wait in line at the store to return it and get your deposit back. And then, because of the weak suction power of the machine and the relatively cool water, your carpets will be wet dirt-magnets for a day or two.
As a professional, I’m committed to the delicate craft and science of carpet cleaning. My process goes much further than just using the most powerful equipment. For example, I use a full-featured professional process which includes pre-inspecting for problem areas, pre-treating spots and stains, using techniques that restore matted down high-traffic areas, treating pet spots and odors, and much more. It’s very satisfying to me to give you the best results, and to leave your carpets looking, feeling, and smelling fresh, clean, and healthy!
If you have any questions about this article, or anything related to cleaning carpet, upholstery, tile and grout, and maintaining a healthy home, please feel free to give me a call, and let's talk!
My Pro Cleaner