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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 often should carpets be steam cleaned?

Dirty carpets can be unhealthy for the people living in the home, particularly those who have allergies, so it’s important to have them cleaned regularly; simply vacuuming once or twice a week isn’t enough. Carpet cleaning should be done by a professional carpet cleaning service at least once a year to remove grime and help extend the life of your carpet. Most carpet manufacturers recommend professional steam cleaning, which penetrates deep into the carpet fibers and lifts out both dirt and the pollutants that get tracked inside. Steam cleaning also removes most of the moisture, so carpets dry quickly enough for homeowners to resume using them the same day. Between professional carpet cleanings, your carpet may need an emergency spot cleaning. Pet accidents, food or drink spills, and more can often be effectively cleaned with some water and a drop of white vinegar, although many cleaners will also make house calls for smaller spills and hard-to-clean spots like wine or grease stains.

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

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.

What are the different types of house cleaning services I can get?

There are several services offered by professional house cleaning companies, each suited for a different purpose. These services include:

  • Standard cleaning, which is a basic cleaning typically done on a weekly or monthly basis;
  • Deep cleaning, which is a detailed cleaning with more intensive work than a standard clean;
  • Move-in and move-out cleaning, which is a detailed service preparing a home for residents moving in or out;
  • Green house cleaning, which is a service that uses eco-friendly cleaning supplies and products. 

Aside from the type of cleaning services available, homeowners may also choose daily, weekly, monthly or one-time services.

How do I choose the best house cleaning service in Phoenix?

To find the best cleaning service in Phoenix, read house cleaning reviews from past customers and look for information about the house cleaner’s professionalism, punctuality and quality of work. If customers provided before-and-after photos of their house cleaner's work, take the time to review them. 

Due to the dry climate in the Phoenix area, cleaners should have experience cleaning and removing dust and dirt from hard and soft surfaces. Look for both basic and deep cleaning services, as well as the services that cost extra (windows with screens, etc.). 

How much is a house cleaning?

The national average cost for house cleaning ranges between $25 and $50 per hour, per cleaner. However, the cost of house cleaning services near you might be different.

House cleaning prices vary based on how many square feet your home is, how dirty your house gets and how often the cleaning service comes. And, prices can be lower in areas with a lower cost of living, higher in big cities or affluent regions.

Some companies charge a set amount — such as 5 cents — per square foot, with a minimum amount, such as $100. You may save money by increasing the frequency of your house cleaning visits. Often a company will charge you less per cleaning when you schedule more cleanings per month. The cost advantage rewards your loyalty, and also reflects the fact that more frequent cleanings make it easier to maintain a high level of cleanliness in your home. A housecleaning service may charge more for the first visit or for one-time services than for recurring cleanings.

To learn more about the cost of house cleaning, visit our House Cleaning Cost Guide.

Who cleans couches?

Even if your furniture doesn’t appear dirty or stained, your couches are collecting just as much dust, pollen, germs, pet hair and dander, and even food crumbs as your carpets. In general, the same professionals who clean your carpets and drapes can also clean your couches. Carpet cleaners usually offer upholstery cleaning services as well, and may offer a discount if you have your carpets cleaned at the same time. Alternatively, you can choose from a range of professional upholstery cleaners in your area who specialize in cleaning different types of upholstery fabrics, including delicate antique fabrics and other hard-to-clean materials such as suede. In addition to deep-cleaning the entire piece of furniture, sofa cleaners can spot-treat food, pet, and oil and grease stains. Most professionals also offer services to sanitize and deodorize your furniture and apply protectants to prevent future stains. As with carpets, experts recommend that you have your upholstered furniture cleaned once every year or two, depending on how much use it gets and whether you have children and pets.

How much does upholstery cleaning cost?

The cost to have your upholstered furniture cleaned depends mostly on two factors: the size of the furniture and the type of fabric. The national average cost of upholstery cleaning ranges from $120 to $150. Most people have multiple pieces cleaned at once, but sofa cleaners will come to your home for just one heavily soiled couch or to spot-treat stains. The smaller the furniture, the lower the cost: A lounge chair may cost an average of $50 to clean, while a couch costs an average of $135 and an L-shaped sectional costs an average of $190. Delicate materials such as antique fabrics or suede upholstery are more expensive to clean than sturdier ones. Having the sofa cleaner do repairs will also add to the cost. Repairs such as mending a tear in fabric or patching a hole in leather may be charged by the task or by the hour; in general, repairs cost an average of $15 each. Special or delicate fabrics may cost additional fees, too.

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