The Problems with Commercial Carpet Cleaning Companies

With over 16,000 companies classified as carpet and upholstery cleaners in the United States, how do you avoid the wrong ones?

Choosing a Commercial Carpet Cleaning Company

You definitely have options when looking for someone to clean your commercial carpets. You’ll probably want to ask some questions to help narrow it down.

Some questions are pretty straightforward.

  • How much will it cost?
  • How do they bill?
  • Do they service your area?

But getting answers to some other questions isn’t so simple.

  • Will they show up on time?
  • Are their workers courteous and professional?
  • Are they really the experts they claim to be?

Sure, you can always ask them, but you’ll probably get the answers you want to hear, whether they’re truthful or not. Either way, you need to figure it out somehow if you’re going to move on to the next step.

Once you find a few companies that tell you what you want to hear, you need to schedule a time for an estimate. Hopefully, you choose at least one company that shows up and walks the premises with you, asking relevant questions and taking measurements along the way.

If that goes well, what you’re hoping for next is more than one professionally prepared bid that isn’t padded with stuff you weren’t expecting. And you want it at the price you were expecting, sent within a few days of their visit.

Hopefully, you’ll get more than one, but that’s not guaranteed. A lot of times, depending on how many companies you called, you might wind up with only one company submitting a quote.

And once you pick one, that’s just the beginning. A whole new set of problems occur once they start cleaning.

The Problems with Commercial Carpet Cleaning Companies Today

Sure, problems like poor scheduling, unscrupulous salesmen, and untrained workers are older than the vacuum cleaner itself and have been happening in all service industries for a long time.

But other problems, like the known hazards of specific carpet cleaning chemicals, using the wrong cleaning system for your carpet type, and keeping up with all the regulations and industry best practices, are more modern and specific to the carpet cleaning industry.

Doesn’t really matter. Problems are problems, and to help you avoid them, here are some things you need to know.

Commercial carpet cleaning companies will waste your time.

Everyone knows the saying, time is money, but it really hits home when you’re running a business.

Carpet cleaning companies show up late, take longer than they promise, and sometimes don’t show up at all.

From no-showing an estimate to rescheduling appointments to leaving you wet carpets that take too long to dry, they make it hard to run an efficient business.

And when work to-do lists are never-ending, any waste of your time has a ripple effect on your schedule.

Commercial carpet cleaning companies will waste your money.

While wasted time has an indirect effect on your budget, hiring the wrong carpet cleaning contractor wastes the money that directly impacts your profits.

Carpet cleaning companies will

  • Sell you things you don’t need
  • Sell you the things you need more often than you need them
  • Fail to perform the tasks they bill you for
  • Create new problems that require more money to fix

And if you’re really unlucky, the worst-run companies will take your deposit and disappear.

Even honest cleaners will cost you more money than you expect when they run into problems they’re seeing for the first time and handle them wrong.

Commercial carpet cleaners will damage your carpet.

Carpet damage is a risk you take with any carpet cleaning company. The less experienced they are, the more likely they will run into a situation they haven’t seen before and make a mistake in handling it.

Something as simple as knowing to check the pH level of your cleaning agents matches the pH recommended by the carpet manufacturer prevents a simple, routine cleaning from becoming a bigger problem for your company.

And it’s not just the chemicals they use that you need to worry about. In the hands of an inexperienced worker, even plain water can significantly damage a commercial carpet.

Common Sense vs. Experience

Anyone with some common sense knows the more wet a carpet is, the more time a carpet will need to dry. And while that’s obviously true, experience teaches you that drying a carpet is more complicated than that. 

After a certain point, you can’t simply leave a carpet to dry. In fact, carpets left wet in humid conditions may never dry.

Long dry times create an ideal environment for bacteria and mold to take hold and grow.

Damp carpet fibers attract dirt. This is why walking on a carpet before it’s dry quickly leads to dirtier carpets and stains.

Too much water left on a carpet for too long compromises carpet glue. Compromised carpet glue leads to shrinkage, rippling, and buckling. (Guess who the carpet installer will blame when that happens.)

These are all things an inexperienced worker won’t know if they haven’t already experienced them and weren’t properly trained by someone who has.

Don’t underestimate the value of experience.

Carpet cleaners will void your commercial carpet warranty.

The lifespan of a commercial carpet depends on proper maintenance. Often, so does its warranty.

“Out of every 100 complaints carpet mills receive, about 90 of them are tied to lapses in carpet care rather than issues with the carpet’s construction,” according to one industry expert.

Speaking directly to carpet mills, you’ll discover one of the main culprits of customer complaints is using “bonnet” or rotary-style cleaners in the cleaning process. This has become such a problem that many manufacturer warranties won’t cover the issues that rotary cleaners create.

With leading manufacturers like Shaw, Milliken, Interface, and Mohawk all recommending against these machines, you’d think it would be common knowledge in the industry not to use them. But all it takes is a quick search on popular carpet cleaning forums to see this isn’t the case.

And while it may not be legally possible to completely void your warranty, manufacturers have stated they will “deny a specific claim on the warranty because of neglect, poor maintenance, or a bonnet or rotary machine being used.”

Commercial carpet cleaners are harmful to your employee’s health.

Don’t underestimate how an improperly maintained carpet can affect your employee’s health.

A clean environment is sanitary. When a sanitary condition exists, an adverse health effect is unlikely. Manufacturers’ recommendations for cleaning provide adequate guidelines, calling for frequent vacuuming and periodic professional restorative cleaning that emphasizes removal of foreign substances and minimizing residue. In the long run, these measures protect the carpet and promote environmental health – Dr. Michael Berry

Berry, M. A. Protecting the Built Environment: Cleaning for Health. United States: Tricomm 21st Press.

It’s been 20 years since researchers first called carpets toxic sponges. Now it’s considered a selling point that carpets improve indoor air quality by trapping allergens and dust. Unfortunately, you can easily send all that trapped material back into the air while cleaning when you don’t know what you’re doing or use the wrong equipment.

And it’s not just allergens and dust getting trapped. Carpets can trap just about anything people walking on it track in on the bottoms of their shoes.

Even worse are the toxic cleaning chemicals that aren’t fully extracted. Especially the ones that shouldn’t have been used at all.

Many carpet cleaning chemicals are proven toxic only after years of exposure. Some even turn out to be carcinogenic. When toxic cancer-causing compounds are found in a cleaning product, companies replace them with new chemicals whose dangers might not be known yet, only finding out years later they are harmful, too.

Currently, most lawsuits involving carpet cleaners are focused on the manufacturers. But there’s no reason not to think these lawsuits will eventually trickle down to companies who didn’t do enough to protect their employees from exposure to harmful chemicals while at work.

Fortunately, there are more safety ratings of the chemicals available today, so knowledgeable carpet cleaning companies can limit the use of any potentially harmful ones. When these chemicals are required, following proper extraction protocols ensures chemicals are removed from the carpet and disposed of off-premise.

The Solution

As you can see, working with commercial carpet cleaning companies can be problematic for many reasons. Experience matters.

Work with a team of experienced professionals.

Working with a team of experienced professionals is the key to avoiding all these problems. They have the expertise, equipment, and training to do the job right the first time.

When you work with experienced professionals, you enjoy the benefits of a clean, fresh, and healthy workplace without worrying about all the potential problems.

If you want to work with a company whose executive team has decades of industry experience, give us a call. We’re happy to help.