Carpet Cleaning

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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

How much does it cost to get your carpet cleaned professionally?

The cost of carpet cleaning is generally determined by the type of carpets, stains, square footage and number of rooms that you need cleaned. On average, a professional will charge $94 to clean one room. Two rooms cost an average of $120, and three rooms cost approximately $146. 

To find out how much it will cost to clean your carpets, contact the top-rated professional carpet cleaners near you and ask for free cost estimates.

How much does carpet cleaning cost per square foot?

In some cases, a quote from a carpet cleaning company will depend on the square footage of the room. The lower end of these prices will be between $0.15 and $0.20 per square foot, and they may rise as high as $0.40-$0.50 per square foot. Factors raising the price include the carpet’s condition (are there stains?) and whether they have to clean carpeted stairs, which take longer.

To find out how much it will cost clean your carpets, request cost estimates from pros near you.

Which is better: steam cleaning or shampooing carpet?

Both steam cleaning and shampooing are tried-and-true methods for getting dirt and stains out of your carpets. The methods are different, however.

Steam cleaning will remove dirt from your carpets via hot water extraction, while shampooing requires scrubbing. If you’re in a time crunch, or if you just have one or two small spots that need to be removed, shampooing may be a better option, as it allows you to spot-clean small areas. Both steam cleaning and shampooing make your carpets wet, so you will need to allow for time for the carpets to dry. 

Contact carpet cleaning pros near you, and discuss the best options for your carpets.

How do I find and hire a professional carpet cleaner?

First, take your search online to find the best carpet cleaners near you. Look at their ratings, photos of their past work and customer reviews. Having too many negative reviews can certainly be a bad sign, but you should also pay close attention to how they handle those reviews. 

Before you make your final decision on who to hire, ask yourself these questions:

  • What method of carpet cleaning do you prefer? Steam cleaning is an increasingly popular method because it’s thorough and safe, and dries quickly enough for you to return to your home the same day the carpets are cleaned.
  • Are the pros reputable? It's always a good idea to check their reviews and references. Look for references from people in your neighborhood with homes similar to yours.
  • What’s included in the base price? What other services does the carpet cleaning company offer? Some companies will move furniture for you, while others charge a fee for it. Some include stairs in the cost of the home’s cleaning, while others charge per step.

Ask a few carpet cleaners to provide you with an estimate for your home, and compare their quotes to decide on the best one for you. You should also check to make sure that the contractor holds the proper insurance and licenses. 

Is it worth getting carpets professionally cleaned?

Purchasing a steam cleaner yourself may help to remove stubborn stains, but it simply won’t match the deep clean and efficiency that comes from hiring a professional carpet cleaner. Pros have powerful tools that can quickly remove even the most stubborn stains. 

If you’re selling your home, clean carpets can make your home more appealing to prospective buyers. And the expense is offset when you consider that you only need to get your carpets cleaned about once a year. Plus, professional carpet cleaning can extend the life of your carpets, saving you money in the long run.

How long does it take for carpet to dry after cleaning?

After a cleaning, you can expect your carpet to remain slightly damp for between six and 12 hours. You can expect the lower end of this figure if the air is dry, there’s plenty of air circulation or the temperature isn’t too low in your house. However, for humid environments or lower temperatures, your carpet could stay damp for longer.

What is dry carpet cleaning?

Dry carpet cleaning uses very little moisture to clean carpets. Instead, this method uses compound cleaning agents to loosen dirt that might be trapped in the carpet’s fibers. It’s an effective way to remove stains from soiled carpets. 

To learn more about how to maintain your carpets, read our guide.

How long does carpet cleaning take?

Given the way it can transform the carpet, cleaning happens remarkably quickly. You can expect an average size room to require about 20 minutes to thoroughly clean.

The job could take longer for several reasons. If the stains are widespread or particularly deep, the professional cleaner might need to spend more time removing them. They may also need to take time to move furniture out of the way.

Does a professional carpet cleaner or steam cleaner need to enter my home?

Because the majority of carpet cleaning and steam cleaning jobs take place in someone’s home, it’s likely that a professional carpet cleaner would need to enter your home.

When you contact carpet cleaners near you, ask if they will do a video call in place of a standard consultation. Send photos and other materials digitally. Practice safe social distancing at all times, and follow both local and CDC guidelines.

How can I find out if a professional carpet cleaner is considered an essential COVID-19 service provider?

Local and federal governments are currently in the process of defining essential services guidelines, and it’s best to read them to see whether professional carpet cleaning or steam cleaning is considered essential. A good place to start is with your city or state’s government website.

The CISA's Identifying Critical Infrastructure During COVID-19 webpage identifies 16 critical infrastructure sectors on a federal level. Some, but not all, jurisdictions follow CISA’s definitions of critical infrastructure.

What you need to know about professional carpet cleaning services.

No matter how clean you keep your home, your carpet withstands wear and tear from dirt, dust and debris. If you have pets or kids, you’ll probably have to take care of additional stains and smells. Nothing beats the convenience of hiring a professional carpet cleaning service. Even if you’re willing to handle it on your own, you'll have difficulty getting the same results as professional cleaners. 

Common carpet cleaning services.

Most professional carpet cleaning services provide the following services:

  • Wet, steam or chemical cleaning method
  • Stain removal including water damage, fabric damage, food stains and pet stains
  • UV light stain identification
  • Odor removal
  • Stair cleaning
  • Upholstery and area rug cleaning 
  • Furniture moving

How professional carpet cleaning works.

When you hire a professional carpet cleaning service, they'll look closely at the carpets in your home to identify the type of carpet, stains and areas that may need special treatment (like embedded dirt). Professional carpet cleaners often use separate tanks for cleaning solutions and hot water to speed up the cleaning process. 

After the room is cleared, they'll begin by applying a spot treatment. Then, they’ll use industrial-grade equipment to get deep into the fibers of your carpet. They’ll also apply stain and soil protectants to help keep things fresh for a long time. 

What kind of carpet cleaning is best?

There are three main carpet cleaning methods you should be aware of when you hire professional carpet cleaning services. These include carpet shampooing, steam cleaning and dry carpet cleaning.

Carpet shampooing is a very common treatment. You can hire a pro or rent a carpet shampooing machine from your local home improvement store. It’s quick and easy, but excess use with a poor machine can result in moisture issues in your carpet padding.

Steam cleaning is a popular deep cleaning method that removes dirt, bacteria stains, mold, allergens and grime from the floor. It’s also known to leave your carpeting feeling softer. Keep in mind it usually costs more than carpet shampooing and can also result in issues from moisture left by the steaming process. 

Dry carpet cleaning is a very low-moisture (VLM) method that uses a powder and motorized brush to clean carpet fibers. It’s often recommended to clean high-traffic areas like hallways. This method reduces drying time and is often cheaper than steam cleaning. The best option for you will depend on how deep of a clean you’re looking for and how much time you can spare for the cleaning (and drying) process. 

Is it worth having your carpets cleaned?

Dirt, debris, dust and allergens can invade your carpets. From time to time, a professional deep clean is required. 

There are many benefits to professional carpet cleaning services that make it worth the cost. For example, professional carpet cleaning:

  1. Removes dirt and bacteria
  2. Removes carpet stains
  3. Removes funky smells
  4. Leaves little to no residue
  5. Can help extend your carpet’s lifespan

Will professional carpet cleaning remove pet odors?

Professional carpet cleaning has many benefits and is often able to remove pet odors. The biggest problem is that the bacteria creating bad odors can seep down into the carpet padding. 

Surface-level cleaning like vacuuming and cheap professional services just won’t do the trick and can sometimes make the smell worse. The Carpet and Rug Institute recommends having your carpet professionally cleaned every 12 – 18 months to help resist pet stains and odors. For best results, make sure you let the professional know that you’re hiring them to help remove those pesky pet odors. 

How much does it cost to clean one carpet?

The average cost to clean the carpet typically ranges between $145 – $178. The pricing for carpet cleaning services will vary from company to company and the type of treatment you require. Some companies charge by room and others charge area (per square foot). Companies may charge extra for tough stains or stairs — or they may have a minimum fee. 

Contact several carpet cleaning services near you for quotes.

How do you clean residential carpet?

Professional carpet cleaning companies offer different methods for cleaning residential carpet. The method (shampooing, dry carpet cleaning or steam cleaning) used will depend on your home’s carpet material. 

The most common carpet cleaning methods use a rotating brush and shampoo or detergent to clean the carpet. The machine pushes water or steam into the carpet to loosen debris and then the shampoo, water and dirt are extracted from the carpeting. Machines used by professionals often do a better job of extracting moisture from the carpet. 

How can I clean my carpet without a machine?

If you aren’t ready to hire a pro and don’t have access to a cleaning machine, you can use alternative methods to clean your residential carpeting. For example, you can use a vacuum and a stiff-bristled broom to remove loose dirt, dust and hairs from the carpet. You can also disinfect your carpet with a cleaning solution and brush.

Benefits of hiring a carpet cleaning service.

Even if you vacuum frequently, it may be impossible to get your carpet looking new without help from a carpet cleaning service. And if you buy an industrial steam cleaner, keep in mind these high-end steam cleaners require careful maintenance between uses.

When you hire local carpet cleaners, your rug will be cleaned using meticulously maintained equipment. 

Questions to ask carpet cleaning companies.

If you've never hired a carpet cleaning service, it can be tough to know what questions to ask. Here are some questions that local carpet cleaners should be able to answer for you:

  • Are you licensed, bonded and insured?
  • Could you provide me with local references from past jobs?
  • What other services do you offer? (air duct cleaning, tile cleaning, upholstery cleaning, etc.)
  • What method do you use to clean carpets like mine?
  • Do you use a soil and stain protectant as part of the cleaning process?
  • How do you treat stains?
  • Are your cleaners safe for pets and small children?
  • What guarantee do you provide?
  • Does your company conduct background checks to screen employees? 

How to choose the best carpet cleaners near you.

Even after your carpets have been restored, it's crucial to have them professionally cleaned at least a year. When you choose a carpet cleaning company, remember that you'll likely need their services again in the future, so take your time deciding who to hire. Look at their online profiles and read the customer reviews and ratings. And get cost estimates from a few local cleaners to ensure you get the best price.

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