Here are 3 ways to clean cleaning can be done in your rental. With all the children, pets, and, let’s face it, messy adults living in our apartment units or rental properties today, knowing how and when to clean carpets is not only going to extend the life of your carpets, but it will also keep your residents happy.
Actually, though, it’s smart to clean your carpets regularly even if they don’t appear to be that dirty. The Environmental Protection Agency says to deep-clean carpets every 6-12 months, at a minimum to remove potential allergens like pet dander, dust mites, pollen and mold. Carpet manufactures recommend deep cleaning every 12 to 18 months to prevent permanent damage to your carpet.
Whether your are required to clean hundreds of carpets a year or you’re just doing it for the first time, here’s what you need to now to get great looking carpets.
There are many, many different cleaning methods and cleaning solutions to choose from today. Sometimes the most overwhelming part of cleaning the carpet is choosing what method to use. If you look online, you’ll see that there are several methods of cleaning offered. The truth is they all work well, though some are better for some carpet types, others for others. However, all the cleaning methods fall into three basic groups:
- Hot Water Extraction (also called Steam Cleaning): Very hot water and cleaning solution is sprayed into the carpet and then immediately vacuumed up with a high powered vacuum, along with the dirt.
- Cold Water Extraction: The as the above method, except the waster is cold or lukewarm.
- Dry extraction: the machine applies an absorbent powder or foam to the carpet, works it into the pile and them vacuums it up.
Whenever possible you should consult your warranty or ask your carpet provider to see which method is best for you. For all except wool carpets (which are rare) hot water extraction is usually the best. If you are in doubt, the safest thing to do is to hire a professional.
Now that you’ve made your decision on method there are three options on actually attacking the job. You can buy a machine, rent the equipment or hire a professional.
Buying a carpet cleaning machine:
You can buy a carpet cleaning machine for a little as $100 or as much as several thousand dollars. How often you will use it and how dirty your carpets get are just a couple of factors to consider when purchasing. If you have just an occasional light touch up, a smaller inexpensive model will work. However, if you are planning to clean 3-4 heavily soiled carpets a day, your best bet is a heavy-duty professional model. I have saved thousands of dollars over the years by purchasing carpet-cleaning equipment for my properties. I have several scattered site properties and one mobile home community. For me, a machine that was somewhat portable and yet very durable was the best option. I have the capability of cleaning when I need it without having to wait for a vendor. I also regularly clean resident’s carpets as part of my retention program.
Renting a carpet cleaning machine :
For around $25 a day you can rent a machine from your local hardware store or grocery store. Hot water and powder extraction are the most common types of machines available for rent. For only occasional use this may be your best bet as you can also buy these types of machines, but prices start around $600.
Rental machines can give you professional quality results and you can clean according to your own schedule. Renting is economical too. It is important to remember if you use a rental carpet cleaner to be sure to pre-clean spots and high traffic areas with a cleaning solution which is available where you rent the machine. The disadvantages of rental machines are that some older models are bulky, dirty and heavy. They have cumbersome hoses and are difficult to empty. The easiest place to empty these types of machines is in the bathtub. Newer machines are compact and much easier to use.
If your carpet has stains you can’t get out, don’t bother renting a machine. Call a professional to work on the stains and have them clean the carpet at the same time.
Hiring a carpet cleaning professional:
Because of the physical work and the time involved, you may decide that the best way to clean your carpets is to hire a professional. Typical costs for carpet cleaning and spot removal run from $.15 to $.25 per square foot. Obviously you pay more money for the convenience of having a professional do it and you often must fit your schedule to theirs. I am finding many great deals in the Val-Pak or similar coupon mailings that arrive in my mailbox weekly. With deals as good as what has been offered I haven’t used my own machine in quite awhile! Please take note of one very important tip. Many of the vendors in these coupon packs only give such a good price because they are hoping for an upsale. If you don’t want Scotchgarding don’t be talked into it. Be firm. Be prepared to stick to your guns and only purchase what you originally intended.
Stains and odors:
The first rule for stain prevention is to get it quickly, before it has a chance to soak in or dry. Scrape up solids with a spoon and vacuum up to the remainder. Blot – do not scrub -the remaining stain with a white cloth or white paper towels. I learned an expensive lesson using paper towels with cute designs. These bright designs were transferred to my gray carpet and were worse than the original stain to remove!
Always apply cleaning solution to a white cloth, not the stain itself and then blot the carpet with the cloth. Continue as long as the spill is coming up. When finished, rinse the carpet with cold water and blot dry repeating several times. Use a sprayer to prevent soaking the carpet. Keep in mind, even with modern stain resisting carpeting, the fact is some stains can’t be removed, even by professionals. This is a good time to use some of that security deposit for carpet repair.