Homes that have carpet as opposed to hard surfaces enjoy many benefits. Carpets reduce noise, are more comfortable and keep homes warmer. However, there is a downside- carpets need to be properly maintained and when they aren't, they can become a major source of odour and bacteria.
The basics of carpet cleaning services
The standard recommendation is to have carpets cleaned every 6 months. Depending on colour and how much traffic they see, some may need more or less. An absolutely white carpet will likely need to be cleaned every 3 months to maintain colour while darker, more durable carpets such as those found in apartment hallways or commercial spaces can go much longer.
Carpets that are not cleaned regularly can break down rather quickly. Deep stains can permanently discolour carpet if they're left to sit for years. High traffic areas will quickly discolour as well. The longer they go without cleaning also allows for dirt and bacteria to get pushed deeper and deeper into carpet fibres. This can cause serious odour issues and can get bad enough that the cost of truly cleaning the carpet is so much it makes more sense to trash it. Property owners beware- I've seen brand new carpets in rentals destroyed inside 18 months!
Carpets are cleaned using truck mounted or portable machines. Truck mounted machines are more powerful but cannot access buildings with higher floors (usually up to the 4th floor at most) or spaces in which a hose cannot be run outside for security or safety reasons. Despite being less powerful, a high quality portable machine run by a skilled technician with the right tools can be just as effective in most situations. I use a portable machine exclusively as a truck mounted machine would be unusable for the vast majority of my clients in Vancouver's West End and downtown core.
The chemicals used to clean carpets have come a long way in recent years. They can be expensive but today's cleaning solutions are highly effective while also being totally safe for use in homes with children, pets, or the elderly. For those who have extreme sensitivities or for certain materials there are all natural options available, while some commercial spaces such as restaurants usually require stronger chemicals with a higher PH balance to get clean.
The benefits of professional carpet cleaning
The visual aspect of clean carpets is the biggest benefit for most people. Nothing makes a home "feel" more dirty than the look of stained, dull carpets. Having regular professional cleanings will ensure that stains don't become a permanent part of the carpet and that it will maintain it's original colours.
The most overlooked benefit that people are surprised by is the smell. We all know that smell in old apartment hallways- a disturbing mixture of cooking smells, mold and god knows what else. Quite often, it's directly related to the carpets in the hallways only being vacuumed and never steam cleaned, sometimes for many years. This happens on a smaller scale inside your own home and can really sneak up on you. As time goes on, you don't notice the slow buildup of odour but your guests certainly do! Once the carpets are finally cleaned, people are amazed at how fresh it smells.
Another big plus for many is in the actual quality of air inside their home after it's done. All sorts of nasty bacteria and various grime will settle in carpets over time and eventually it becomes airborne again in a vicious cycle. A proper cleaning can reduce airborne pathogens and may help those with allergy issues or just if you have a constant "stuffed up" feeling at home.
It also greatly extends the lifespan of your carpet. For homeowners, it's a no brainer to keep up on maintenance of what can be a very expensive thing to have to replace. Well maintained carpets could last more than 20 years. Even for renters, it's a good idea to treat them well. You never know how long you might end up staying at one place, and most landlords are very unlikely to ever replace the carpets until a tenant leaves. I've certainly met some long term renters in Vancouver
who wish they had taken better care of their carpets when they first moved in!
The best time to get your carpets cleaned was 6 months ago
As a rule of thumb, if you've been thinking that your carpets might need to be cleaned, they're already way overdue. Even when I clean carpets that appear clean, people are always horrified at the 30-40 litres of dark brown water that comes out and amazed at how fresh everything smells after I'm done. Remember that carpets are a huge part of any living space- treat them well and they'll keep your home warm, quiet and comfortable for many years!