Carpet cleaning advice from a Tampa expert
Gary Hanson’s father, Grover Hanson, founded G.L. Hanson Rug Cleaning in 1945. Gary worked with him for years and took over the family business in 1978.
He changed the name to G.L. Hanson Carpet Cleaning to reflect changing times, and has been serving the Tampa Bay area ever since.
How often should I have my carpets cleaned, and what will happen if I don't?
I send letters to my customers once a year, reminding them to get them cleaned. You'll notice more wear and tear in the high-traffic areas.
People need to be aware that carpets are the largest filter in the house. Everything in the air eventually goes into the carpet.
In the first 10 or 12 feet from the entrance, the carpet will pick up a lot of sand or outside soil. That's what does the most damage. Even if you don't see it, it's in there. You should vacuum at least once a week to remove that.
If it's not vacuumed regularly, the carpet tips will wear out and cause more issues. Textured carpet will eventually mat out.
Many carpet warranties require that the carpet be cleaned by someone certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration, a non-profit organization. If you use a carpet-cleaning machine yourself, you might void your warranty, particularly if you use a harsh detergent or the equipment doesn't extract the cleaner properly.
Various pet and food stains require different treatments. Chemistry has made some amazing advances. It's a completely different business than when I started out.
We can remove things today that I couldn't have removed in 1978. With Kool-Aid, for instance, I'll use heat transfer to neutralize the dye, and it comes right out.
An alkaline detergent is good for removing food or soft drink stains, while an acid-based tannin is best for coffee, tea or pet urine. And if those don't work, I have a urine spot remover that should take care of a spot within three to eight hours.
My primary cleaning method is a truck-mounted cleaner and alkaline detergent, and if the carpet's still not looking good, I use a low-moisture method of encapsulation cleaning. We release a dry chemical that draws out dirt into a white powder. Then we vacuum it and the carpet is dry.
I charge by the area - 25 cents per square foot. I usually end up cleaning more than I measure, because I'll see something behind a couch or somewhere that I think needs to be cleaned, but I don't change the price once I set it.
I'll move whatever furniture is needed, except for china cabinets and electronics.
The best thing people can do for their carpets is regular maintenance. If you vacuum every week and I clean once a year, it'll look better, but it's still clearly the same carpet.
I've had some houses where they barely vacuumed for a year, and the difference was like night and day once I was through. When you're removing spots yourself, don't use a brush or anything abrasive on the carpet. Apply the cleaning agent to a towel and blot the stain. Let the chemistry do the work.
A carpet that's maintained properly will last longer.