If you're reading this guide you must be a carpet owner! And a pretty responsible one I may add!
Not a lot of people take care of their carpets very often. And it's extremely important!! The IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) is a non-profit institution that sets the cleaning standards for the nation. They test all the professional cleaning methods to see how often you have to clean your carpet to keep it in mint condition.
This is their recommendation:
If you want to know what light soil, medium soil, heavy soil or extreme soil mean, you can check our Carpet Traffic Calculator.
No matter whether your carpet has a low or a hight-traffic, a deep clean treatment is recommended (at least) every 18 months. And sometimes up to 2 months!
That's a lot of cleaning.
Because we know that cleaning your carpet so often can be very expensive, we want to help you with a couple of insider tips on how to save money.
Let's start saving money!
But before we start with the actual tips, we have to take a look at the average carpet cleaning prices in the US. You might be already getting a great deal and not even know.
Most carpet cleaners charge either by room or by square feet. Either way, the prices are usually the same. But for the sake of completeness, let's take a look at both scenarios separately.
These prices assume that the cleaning method used is the "Hot Water Extraction method" (a.k.a Steam Cleaning). It's the most common residential cleaning method by far and the only one that's restorative according to the IICRC (all the other methods are maintenance).
As you can see in the infographic below, the average price per room is $50. Although this can vary greatly depending on where you live. E.g. Living in NYC is a lot more expensive than living in Conway, AK.
It's also very hard to say what the average is because room sizes can be very different sizes. For example, a small town where there's mostly independent houses will have different prices compared to a city where most people live in apartments.
And the same applies here. On average it costs ¢25 per square feet, but it can go all the way to ¢36 or all the way down to ¢18.
If you'd like, we created a calculator not long ago to help our readers know how much carpet cleaning usually is.
Please note that this calculator isn't perfect and that it will only give you an estimated number. These prices and be significantly different depending on your carpet's and home's singularities.
How Big is your house/apartment?
That being said, it's time to get to the money-saving tips!
The first tip is so simple... yet so important!
Try not to get your carpet dirty in the first place. I know this can be quite difficult if you live with kids or own pets. But there are always things you can do that will help keep your carpet clean i.e. Take your shoes off when you enter your home, teach your pets how to go outside when they need to, etc.
The second tip is also very obvious. But not many people know why! Try to vacuum your carpets as often as possible. And if you can vacuum every day, that's even better.
The reason is that even the best commercial vacuums only clean the top 1/3 of the carpet's fibers. The bottom 2/3 can only be cleaned using a professional or commercial steam cleaner.
When dust or soil falls on top of your carpet, it always falls on the top 1/3 of the carpet, where it can be vacuumed. But thanks to our friend gravity and a little bit of air movement, the dust starts to fall to the bottom two-thirds of the carpet in just 36 hours.e
In other words, if you don't clean that dust before it falls to the bottom of the carpet only a professional or a good carpet steam cleaner will be able to remove it.
Don't just vacuum because your carpet "looks dirty", vacuum to prevent your carpet from needing a deep clean too often.
Why you need a good vacuum cleaner
Like it happens to most electronic devices, vacuums loose power. You might not notice it's happening, but after a few years, your vacuum won't be as powerful. Because this happens progressively, you might not even realize.
If you're on the market for a new vacuum cleaner, we have a couple of buying guides that will help you decide what the best option for you is:
Best Vacuum Cleaners 2021
Best HEPA Vacuum Cleaners 2021
Best Robot Vacuums 2021
Best Canister Vacuum Cleaners 2021
Best Upright Vacuum Cleaners 2021
We wrote a post not long ago explaining the different professional cleaning methods, with their pros and cons. Check it out if that's something you'd like to learn more about.
But long story short... there are 5 cleaning methods that are considered standard by the IICRC. Of those 5 methods, 4 are considered maintenance only (Dry Compound, Encapsulation & Dry Foam Absortion, Carpet Shampoo, and Bonnet Cleaning) and only 1 is considered a restorative method: Hot Water Extraction (a.k.a Steam Cleaning).
Hot water extraction is by far the most widely used method in residential carpets. If you've ever seen one of those cleaning trucks, you know which one the Hot Water Extraction method is!
And this is what Hot Water Extraction looks inside your home:
You might be tempted to hire a company that uses a different cleaning method because it's not as expensive as Steam Cleaning your carpet. But this would be a great mistake. Hot Water Extraction is the only restorative cleaning method. And, although it might cost a little bit more than other methods, the result will last longer. Way longer.
I think more and more people know about this, but it's always good to say it out loud so more people know about it. But carpet cleaning companies will charge you for moving your furniture around. And they charge $20/hour or more.
I think it's fair that they do because it's a lot of hard work. The problem is that they sometimes don't tell their clients until it's time to pay the bill. And that's what bothers me.
If you want to save money, ask your carpet cleaner if they'll charge you for much moving the furniture. And if so, how much. That way you can decide if you want to move it yourself or pay them to do it for you.
Many Professional Carpet Cleaning companies will charge you extra for removing stains from the carpet. And if your carpet has a lot of them, it can be very expensive.
Some of those stains aren't that tough to remove!
We created the Best Online Guide on How to Get out Stains in Carpet. We cleaned 28 types of stains (red wine, crayons, kool-aid, ketchup, gum, etc) and came up with 8 different methods that work great. And if you can't get them out by yourself, then the professional will take care of them.
When you call a professional carpet cleaner, you're mainly worried about your carpet (naturally).
But most professional carpet cleaners will tell you that cleaning your couches is also recommended. And they're right! It's good to have both cleaned at the same time because otherwise, one gets the other dirty.
Most people will say yes.
However! Nobody compares prices. And you might think that you've hired the least expensive carpet cleaner in town, but at the end of the day, it's as expensive as other carpet cleaners because of how much they charge for upholstery cleaning.
So... if you want to save money, ask for upholstery cleaning prices before deciding who to hire.
A very similar thing happens with stairs.
I get that cleaning stairs are an extra, but since not a lot of people ask about how much cleaning stairs costs, you might be making an uninformed buying decision.
Most companies will charge between $2 and $5 per stair. But don't forget to ask for the price!
Only people who've suffered this problem know what I'm talking about.
You call a professional carpet cleaner, they come in and clean your carpet, you're satisfied because your carpets look amazing and pay them happily. And then... out of nowhere... brown stains start to appear all over the place.
That's carpet browning:
We wrote a huge post that explains everything there is to know about Carpet Browning. You can check it out here.
But long story short... Carpet Browning is caused by a process called Wicking. And it happens because the carpet cleaner that you hired used too much cleaning solution. Because of that, there's a lot of moisture inside the carpet. That moisture will soak up dirt and soil. While the moisture it's evaporating, the soil and dirt will climb up with it and stay there once the carpet is completely dry.
This typically happens on older carpets, or carpets that haven't been deep cleaned very often.
And avoiding this from happening is very important because otherwise, you'll have to pay a second carpet cleaner to come again and clean the other cleaner's mess.
What should you do about this?
Every carpet cleaner knows that this is a potential issue. And they know that this happens because when you use more product that you're supposed to. So, if they're careful, this should happen. But it can happen if they're trying to finish the job quickly and leave asap.
If you want to avoid Carpet cleaning I would advise you to talk to your cleaner before he/she starts cleaning and tell them that you're worried that this might happen to you. They'll tell you not to worry about it, because they have it under control. And it's probably true... but that way you'll make sure that they actually pay attention to how much product they're using.
You may have heard about a Teflon treatment. It's a water-resistant cotaing that's added to the carpet to help stains from soaking the carpet's fibers.
It's actually super useful because you'll be able to clean almost any stain just blotting your carpet. But you have to be fast and clean the stain in under 15 minutes! The teflon treatment buys you a couple of minutes, but won't make your carpet completely water-resistant.
The reason why you should ask about Teflon Treatment before you hire a professional cleaner is that some companies add this coating for free, while other companies will charge you extra.
Ask! That way you'll be able to compare prices.
And if you don't like the prices that were given to you, you can always protect your carpet yourself.
I always recommend the same product because of how well it works). And you can use it on your couch, shoes, or basically anything you want. Check it out here:
We mentioned at the beginning of the post that deep cleaning your carpet regularly is very important to keep it in mint condition. And it's true!
You can do it yourself or hire a professional. But you won't have to replace your carpet as often if you clean it regularly. You can increase its lifespan by over 50%!
But increasing your carpet's lifespan isn't the only financial benefit that cleaning your carpet often provides. Many Carpet Cleaning Companies often discounts for regularity. Most of them have a 6 month, or even a 3-month discount.
That is something you should consider if you want to carpet to always be professionally cleaned.
Last but not least, consider deep cleaning your carpet yourself.
I know it may sound hard, but it's really not as hard as it sounds. And if you want to save money AND keep your carpet perfectly clean, it's the number one solution.
You will have to spend a little bit of time every couple of months to clean your carpets. But I found that it's deeply satisfying and I have the freedom of chosing when the "carpet-cleaning time" has arrived.
Does it work as well as professional cleaning?
No. Professional steam cleaners have tools that are way more powerful than the commercial option. That's why I always recommend hiring a professional if you haven't cleaned your carpet in a long time.
But if your carpet is in good condition, then a commercial steam cleaner can do such a good job that you might not have to call a professional for years. But you have to commit and clean your carpets regularly if you want to get professional-looking results.
That being said...
- If you want to hire a professional, I would strongly advise you to visit our section: Best Professionals Near Me. We independently analyze and review the best Carpet Cleaning Companies in many US cities to bring you the very best (and honest) professionals in your town. And if we haven't analyzed your town yet, let us know through our Ask an Expert section and we'll look into it.
- If you want to Deep Clean your carpets yourself, I wrote a post with the Best Carpet Steam Cleaners of 2021. Some of these machines are expensive, but they're super helpful and are always worth it in the long run. As a matter of fact, I always say that owning a Carpet Steam Cleaner is the wisest investment a Carpet Owner can make.
Or check out this wonderful machine! You can't go wrong with this carpet steam cleaner:
And that's it! Thank you very much for reading such a long post. We're honored that you did! We want to be as helpful as possible to our readers. That's why we continuously publish posts that are related to the questions that you ask us through our Ask an Expert section. If there's anything you'd like to ask us, please don't hesitate to contact us!
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I'm Tony and I consider myself a carpet cleaning expert! I've tried the 5 most common professional cleaning methods myself, and I've reviewed thousands of carpet cleaning & installation companies. I'm currently exploring the DIY Cleaning and Installation world. It's not that hard and it's a lot of fun!