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What every homeowner should know about carpeting (part 3 of 3)

“Professionals” and Do-It-Yourself Carpet Cleaning Machines That Could Jeopardize Your Warranty
(Part 3 of 3)

Many of our clients call us to tap into our knowledge about the details of their carpet manufacturer’s warranty.  Usually, they get an email reminder to have their carpets professionally cleaned in order to protect their warranty.

A few years ago, a homeowner could rent a machine at the local grocery store, grab a few bottles of cleaning solution, get a quick overview lesson and clean their carpets to extend their carpet warranty.Not the case today.  Now the carpet manufacturers (listed below) require a professional cleaning by a certified professional.

Today, Shaw specifically requires the company to be IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) certified.With this knowledge, I did a quick yellow pages search (online, of course) of professional carpet cleaning companies.  It revealed that in Milwaukee and Madison there are over 365 companies listed.  Of the 365 companies, only 36 are IICRC certified! That’s less than 10% of all carpet cleaning companies that are properly certified to clean carpet to the manufacturer’s specifications.
So, why are so few companies properly certified?

Simple.  It costs money and time.

Industry certification requires ongoing experience, continuing education credits, and a annual fee.  This two day certification instructs companies and individuals about carpeting and the best way to clean carpet.
Here are a few of the items covered in training:

  • Carpet fiber types and detection.  Lack of knowledge regarding fiber type can destroy the carpet
  • Different steps in the soil removal process.  Pre-vacuuming dramatically reduces the soil in the carpet and improves cleaning effectiveness
  • Different cleaning processes, equipment and methods
  • The cleaning fundamentals (see previous article that I wrote about the Cleaning Pie Chart)
  • Best pH cleaning solutions for soil, grease, and other common household spots.
  • Proper and most efficient spot treatment without damaging the carpet

These are just a few of the key topics covered in the carpet cleaning certification course–topics that every professional carpet cleaner should be aware of when cleaning.

At Bluegreen, our philosophy is to invest heavily in training, product knowledge, new industry technology and breakthroughs, and customer service training, so we do the job right and give our clients a safe and effective cleaning experience.  Not all companies take this training serious.

To find a carpet cleaning company that is certified, visit the IICRC website (

Carpet Cleaning DIY
Okay, enough about the professionals, how about the Do-it-Yourselfers?

In between professional cleanings, there are times that a homeowner may want to remove some spots and do a quick traffic lane clean.  There are many different ways to go about cleaning spots and spills and even more different types of equipment.  Most machines sold or rented, will not be CRI (Carpet and Rug Institute) approved and could cause damage to your carpet.  Even worse, the machine may damage the carpet and leave too much water in the carpet and pad causing mold and bacteria growth.

But, for the persistent homeowners, let me give you a few options.

Prior to beginning the cleaning, remember to look for the CRI logo on the equipment to fulfill the carpet manufacturer’s warranty guidelines.  There are many carpet cleaning machines that are not CRI approved.

The Carpet and Rug Institute Seal of Approval

There are two basic types of machines that can be purchased and rented.  The most popular type of machine uses water to clean and flush out the soil and the second type of machine uses a low-moisture spray or a dry polymer compound coated in a cleaning solution that is aggressively agitated into the carpet to scrub off the soil.If you are renting a machine that uses water as the cleaning method, there area few things to first consider:

  • Was the machine properly cleaned out after the last rental?  If not, filters could be clogged or pressure adjusted incorrectly.  Over-wetting may occur which may lead to ripples in the carpet, a longer drying period, or perhaps mold and bacteria growth.
  • How old is the machine?  If the machine is old, the vacuum could be weak.  This causes water to be applied to the carpet, but soil won’t be removed.  This dirty water then falls to the base of the fiber, making it more difficult for a professional to properly clean the carpet at a later date.
  • Are the brushes still firm?  Weak brushes ignore the agitation part of the Cleaning Pie Chart.
  • Do you pre-spray the carpet, or is the chemical mixed in with the water?  Mixing the water in with the cleaning water is the easiest, but the least effective and not in alignment with the IICRC cleaning procedures.

Two of the more popular machines to rent are the Rug DoctorTM and the Bissell Big GreenTM.

This machine is listed on the CRI website as approved, but the cleaning solution does not contain the CRI seal of approval.
The Bissell Big GreenTM can be rented at one of the big box stores.  I could not find the CRI seal of approval and it was not listed on the CRI website.
These are what I consider entry level type machines and are simple to use for the average homeowner.  There are more advanced machines that can be rented from janitorial supply companies, but would require more knowledge to use properly and clean effectively.As for the dry cleaning methods, there is really only one unit I have found that a homeowner can rent, called Host.  This machine features counter rotating brushes and their dry polymer “sponge” product.
This display found at the local hardware store does show that this machine is CRI approved.

A picture of the actual machine

The basic premise behind this system is that the sponges are agitated over the carpet which pulls off the soil and spots from the fibers.  After that process, the homeowner must vacuum the floor to remove the used sponges.  This process can be time consuming and more expensive, but the carpet is clean and nearly dry upon completion.Whatever method of interim cleaning a homeowner uses, please be sure to plan plenty of time to learn the process and follow the system’s procedures.If still uncertain, please email our office at info @ for FREE help.

If you would like to read the carpet manufacturers warranty documents, you can find the links below with the care and maintenance portions highlighted for your convenience.

For additional information about Bluegreen’s steps and processes for cleaning, please visit our website.

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