Carpet cleaning advice from a Charlotte expert
Dale White, owner
Fiberclean Carpet Care
Dale White gained a wealth of knowledge about fibers, dyeing and stains working for a hosiery company for 22 years.
“I learned a lot about yarns, fabrics and especially chemical reactions with various fibers,” White says.
He decided to transfer that knowledge to the carpet cleaning business 12 years ago and has been cleaning carpets in the Charlotte area ever since.
Assuming regular wear and tear, how often should I have my carpet cleaned?
The biggest factor in determining how often you need to have your carpet cleaned is the amount of traffic. The more traffic going in and out of the house, the more frequently your carpets need cleaning.
On average, I would say every six months, but the length of time between cleanings should be determined on a case-by-case basis.
People with a lot of traffic due to pets or kids may need to have their carpet cleaned every three months, whereas someone who lives by themselves can wait for two years before needing another cleaning.
If you don't have your carpet cleaned, the dirt will actually break down the fibers. Walking on dirty carpet grinds dirt into the fibers and causes cuts and abrasions, which are what end up ruining your carpet. It's like rubbing sandpaper across your carpet.
If you see a high traffic area turning dark, you've waited too long. There's no way to get all the dirt completely out because it has done too much damage to the fiber and that's what is causing the dark spots.
Most carpet cleaners charge by the room and a three- or four-room minimum is very standard. Most carpet cleaners price their rooms with furniture in them. It takes longer to clean a furnished room because you have to be cautious and navigate around furniture.
"Oversaturating and using the wrong type of cleaner are the two biggest problems with removing stains," White says.
Most companies that will move your furniture already have the cost added into their rate, but won't move things unless you specifically ask them to.
Carpet underneath furniture doesn't get dirty since there's no traffic on it. It just gets a layer of dust built up, and since the dust is just lying on top and hasn't been ground into the carpet, you can easily vacuum it off.
For spot treating stains, the best thing for a homeowner to use is a teaspoon of white vinegar and a teaspoon of Dreft laundry detergent mixed into a quart of water. Put that in a spray bottle and you've got a cleaner that's as good as or better than anything you can buy off the shelf.
If you have a really tough stain, like coffee, ink or wine, you need to call a professional because we know how to handle stains to not make them worse.
Carpets stain by a process called wicking, the stain happens from the bottom and is drawn up the wick of the fiber. When you clean a spot yourself, you notice an immediate difference because the cleaner and method you've used has forced the stain into the bottom the carpet.
As the stain remover dries, the stain is pulled up to the top of the fiber and that's why you notice the stain again a day or two later. Once a stain has permeated into the base or padding of the carpet, it can be impossible to get out. Oversaturating and using the wrong type of cleaner are the two biggest problems with removing stains.
It really is a science and even professional carpet cleaners can make mistakes if they don't know enough about the fiber or stain they're working with.