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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

What is upholstery cleaning?

From your carpets to your drapes to your furniture, all fabrics need to be cleaned. Cleaning upholstery, or the fabric on your furniture, removes the dirt and oils that are transferred to couches and chairs through regular use. Because furniture upholstery can be delicate and colors can fade easily, it’s often a good idea to let professional sofa cleaners handle the job. They’ll determine the type of fabric — usually cotton, linen, wool, suede or microfiber — and the appropriate method for cleaning it, either steam-cleaning or applying a dry-cleaning solvent. In general, cleaning an entire piece of furniture includes a pretreatment, cleaning, and neutralizing rinse to the body, plus removing and cleaning all cushions and cleaning all crevices.

An upholstery cleaner may clean the entire piece of furniture, on a regular schedule or by request, or do spot treatments to remove pet, food, drink, or oil and grease stains. Furniture can also be deodorized to remove the smell of pets or tobacco smoke. Furniture that’s used often, like that in your family room, should be cleaned once a year to keep it fresh and extend its life. Sofa cleaners often also offer repair services to mend tears in fabric or patch holes in leather.

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.

Who cleans area rugs?

Like your carpets, area rugs should ideally be cleaned at least once a year to remove dust and dirt and help them last longer. In general, carpet cleaning professionals also clean area rugs. Some rug cleaners bring their cleaning equipment to your home, while others remove your area rugs and clean them at their facilities. Either way, the rug should be cleaned with the solution most appropriate to its specific fabric and construction. It should also be completely dry before you return it to the floor.

How do professionals clean tile and grout?

If you need tile and grout cleaning and don’t have the time or mobility for scrubbing your entire house on your hands and knees, it’s time to turn to the pros. Tile and grout cleaning professionals have industrial-grade machines designed for the sole task of cleaning the porous materials of grout and tile.

Typically, a cleaning pro will come out to assess the job and provide you with a quote. Often they charge per square foot (for example, 75 cents per square foot), with higher prices or an hourly rate for areas that will need hand cleaning. The national average cost for tile and grout cleaning ranges from $190 to $250.

Once onsite, the pros thoroughly clean the area by wiping or sweeping down and then vacuuming up any dry dirt. Next a chemical tile cleaner is sprayed over the surface, causing dirt to loosen and adhere to the spray; the industry term for this is “suspension.” The pros then clean the floor with professional-strength machines, which often use a combination of steam, brushes and vacuum to loosen, agitate and lift entrenched dirt. Your floor is then rinsed, removing all the spray.

Usually a small room can be cleaned in under an hour. Applying a sealant afterward is recommend and will also affect cost.

How can I get my grout clean?

Dirt, mildew and grime can make your grout lines look downright tragic. If you have the ability, DIY tile and grout cleaning is definitely doable. Your main obstacles are time, project size, availability of the right materials and effort. Your first step in tile and grout cleaning is making sure the surface area is cleaned of basic dirt and buildup and wiped down. Be sure not to use a bleach-based cleaning agent, which could react dangerously with the vinegar used in later steps.

Depending on the delicacy of your tile and grout, it may be wise to start with water and friction before proceeding to a cleaning solution. In the shower you can spray the area while brushing gently, or use a spray bottle filled with warm water on countertops or floors. If water won’t do the trick, try a solution of equal parts warm water and white vinegar, and repeat the gentle brushing motion. This combination should begin to lift dirt and grime from the grout. For additional tile and grout cleaning power, baking soda applied directly to grout lines and sprayed with your water vinegar solution can help suds off sticky grime. If your DIY cleaning solutions aren’t doing the trick, store-bought sprays and pastes may have more cleansing power. Rinse thoroughly after cleaning and enjoy your sparkling clean grout.

Tile and grout cleaning supplies include:

  • Old standard or electric toothbrush
  • Stiff bristle brush
  • Spray bottle
  • White vinegar
  • Commercial grout cleaner

How much does it cost to clean tile and grout?

The national average cost for tile and grout cleaning ranges from $190 to $250. Pros may charge a flat fee or by the square foot. Rates can vary depending on the type of tile and grout you have (more delicate tiles may mean specialized products or careful handwashing), how dirty your tile and grout are, and what part of the country you are in (regional labor rates and costs to do business affect costs). For example, one floor cleaning company charges 75 cents per square foot for tile and grout cleaning for projects that permit cleaning by machine. Another company may charge $30-$50 per hour for hand-cleaning of tiles. Companies often charge a minimum fee for services to ensure their business expenses are met when they accept a job, no matter how small. In addition, a tile and flooring cleaning professional may charge added fees, such as $25 or more, to move heavy furniture or appliances.

What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with a house cleaner during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The best way to set up a consultation with a house cleaner during the COVID-19 pandemic is by using virtual, online tools. Start by performing an online search for local house cleaners. Message them to set up either a phone call or video call to perform a consultation. During this call, they can give you recommendations and may be able to estimate the cost of their services. Be sure to discuss whether they accept virtual payments and any precautions they can take to perform the job safely.

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.

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. 

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