Should I DIY clean my carpets?
Should you hire a carpet cleaner from Woolworths or Bunnings?
The short answer is … maybe?
Let me expand…
There are a few situations where I would say “Sure, hire a carpet cleaner from Woolworths or Bunnings and go to town.”
But, I would have to be sure that you:
- Knew that the fibre was nylon.
- You have a good vacuum and understand that vacuuming is MANDATORY.
- Had a pump up sprayer to put the solution down instead of RIPPING IT THROUGH A PUMP like they recommend.
- Believed in DRY strokes, as that little vacuum ain’t picking up sh*t compared to a commercial.
- You haven’t laid down any internet/home based remedies (I’m looking at you dish soap, bicarb and vinegar).
- You can reasonably intuit how much moisture a carpet can actually take.
- I’m sure I’ll think of something later…
Why nylon? Should I hire a carpet cleaner?
Carpet fibres DO NOT have the same characteristics.
They DO NOT take one-size-fits-all approaches.
The DIY carpet cleaning machine manufacturers only sell ONE cleaning solution…yet professionals often have 10+ solutions and spotters in their vans. Why is that?
There are 4 main fibre types that carpet cleaners encounter in Australia: nylon, wool, polyester and polypropylene.
Nylon is like the laid back easy-going person in the group in that it cleans up VERY easily most of the time but only WITHIN a safe pH range.
This fibre let’s go of water and detergent soluble soils very easily (mostly) and also has a great ability to retain it’s shape.
It can pose some problems with certain stains however (artificial dies and turmeric).
And can require application of solvents like d-limonene before cleaning to remove soils like makeup.
Not sure? Call a carpet cleaner.
If it’s well looked after nylon with no stains then maybe you can hire a carpet cleaner from Woolworths.
Wool is very common in Australia, accounting for up to 30% of installed carpet.
Wool is a made up of amino acids (like food) and therefore is very vulnerable to strong detergents designed to break up food.
If you want to see wool completely dissolve, put it in some bleach!
Given that wool is so common in Australia and DIY carpet cleaning companies only offer one cleaning solution. Then that solution would have to be pretty safe on wool.
And it looks like they are, but there are reasons you should leave cleaning wool to the pros and I’ll get to that.
Unfortunately…detergents designed for wool are often terrible options when it comes to cleaning two of the most common synthetic fibres:
Polyester and Polypropylene
These two are both water-repelling and oil-loving with polypropylene being the most extreme.
What does that mean for their cleanability?
Any detergents that are put down should be MUCH wetter-than-water: Aggressive surfactants and oil-loving solvents to emulsify those oils right off the fibre are needed.
And often a much more alkaline detergent is used, kind of like cleaning your rangehood filters – but don’t use dish soap or degreaser on your carpet!!
Unfortunately the DIY cleaning chemicals just don’t suffice.
These fibres will make a DIY clean look like they didn’t clean them at all sometimes – because the chemistry is wrong!
You Should Not Hire A Carpet Cleaner From Woolworths
Here are my main reasons as to why you shouldn’t hire a carpet cleaner and DIY:
Imagine you have a very dirty frying pan. You would want it to soak right? Then you would scrub and rinse the food and detergent off.
Well, the DIY companies teach you to put the detergent solution in the tank. Firstly, the carpet doesn’t get to soak. And secondly, you are rinsing with detergent!
Would you rinse your frying pan with water AND detergent? NO! You wouldn’t want to cook with residue in there still. You rinse it with clean water like everyone else.
So the detergent remains in the carpet, which can make it get dirty faster.
The DIY machines only have one small vacuum vs commercial machines which have 2 or a large diesel or petrol blower.
This makes dry times sometimes quite bad. It only takes 8 hours or so for mould to develop in some circumstances.
Humidity is a concern for dry times too. If it is winter and you clean your carpets for an end-of-lease and then mistakenly open the windows. Your carpets might not dry at all.
A professional will not make that mistake.
Also real estate agents often require a receipt from a professional cleaning company for end of lease cleans.
And carpets can have extensive conditions attached to their warranties regarding HOW their carpets are cleaned.
There is a lot of risk when an untrained person uses a carpet cleaner. They can REALLY ruin a delicate wool carpet or soak the carpet down to the sub-floor and damage thousands of dollars worth of property.
Why You Should Hire A Pro
You should hire a pro like The Caffeinated Cleaners to clean your carpet because:
- We are insured and trained to clean to AS/ANZ 3733 standards
- Real estate agents will accept our professional invoices
- If you are not happy with our service we return free of charge
- Our chemicals are commercial grade we have a big selection
- We have commercial grade equipment meaning better dry times
We are based in Clayton and service much of the South-East.