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Mas limpio que limpio

By Dr. Steven Spivak, November 1999

I was recently asked to comment by one of the television stations in the Washington metro area about "What is the best carpet cleaning method?" A consumer had inquired of their consumer reporter on this very common question. Simple as it sounds, the answer is that there isn't necessarily one or a best carpet cleaning method. Although there are five or six basically different methods of cleaning carpets, and oriental or area rugs, each method has both strengths and specialities. And you need a cleaning professional who is smart enough to match the type of carpet or rug, its condition, frequency of cleaning, and level of overall care and use (or abuse) with the cleaning method best suited to those conditions. Let me explain.

1. Do you have a carpet or rug that requires special care, maybe it has been neglected or not regularly vacuumed? Or are there pets and urine contamination or pet odors in the carpet? Might it be a specialty carpet or rug, or oriental rug, that requires particular attention and expertise in cleaning, or in-plant rug cleaning, for example? Can the carpet be adequately cleaned by one of several safe and effective methods?" Should the carpet be cleaned with limited moisture or wetness, or do you want it to be dry very quickly so that it can be used again soon? Or is it a typical carpet that can likely be cleaned effectively by any one of several acceptable, professional carpet cleaning techniques?

2. Avoid advertisements or coupons with "low ball" pricing that may turn out to be a "come on," or deceptive practices such as "bait and switch." As the old adage goes, you get what you pay for.

3. It is at least as important, if not more so, to focus on the quality of the cleaning firm rather than their particular or preferred method of cleaning. Does the carpet, rug and/or upholstery cleaning company have any outstanding, unresolved complaints with your local or county Better Business Bureau? Do they belong to a recognized professional trade association such as the Association of Specialists in Cleaning and Restoration (ASCR International) headquartered in Millersville, MD? How long has the company been in business and will they be in business next year to stand behind their service work"? Are their service personnel or technicians certified or have they achieved special recognition by the major professional organizations such as ASCR or IICRC?

4. Ultimately the answer to the question "Tell me, what's the best carpet cleaning method" comes down to the fact that the quality of the company and their employees is the crucial issue. You should choose a truly experienced and professional cleaning and restoration firm, with highly trained and experienced technicians, and a commitment to top quality cleaning services. This answer is more important than is the particular cleaning method the firm happens to employ.


Dr. Steve Spivak is a university engineering Professor and also technical advisor for textiles and furnishings to the Association of Specialists in Cleaning and Restoration (ASCR International). For more information on carpet, rug and upholstery cleaning, as well as fire and disaster restoration services, visit the ASCR web site and its Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Division (CUCI) at


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Last updated on March, 1999

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