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Consumer Alert


Indoor Air Quality  (IAQ) Testing Program
Carpet cleanliness can affect indoor air quality.
Dust Mites?
Misconceptions About Carpet Cleaning
How To Avoid Four Carpet Cleaning Rip-Offs


Carpet and Rug Institute's Vacuum Cleaner Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Testing Program

DALTON, GA. When it's time to vacuum, nothing is more discouraging than realizing dirt is simply being moved around or thrown back into the air rather than removed. Vacuum cleaner manufacturers are doing their part to make cleaning easier and more effective by joining The Carpet and Rug Institute's Vacuum Cleaner Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Testing Program.

Under the voluntary testing program, vacuum cleaners can be approved by The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) as models that have efficient soil removal, keep dust in the machine and out of the air, and keep carpet looking good. Vacuum cleaners, both residential and commercial, are included in the program because they are extremely important for maintaining the indoor environment and carpet.

Consumers and professional cleaners should look for the bright green IAQ program labels on the vacuum cleaner packaging and merchandise displays when selecting a model.

To ensure the carpet industry standard, vacuum cleaners are tested following a procedure developed by industry manufacturers and peer-reviewed by scientists with expertise in maintenance and indoor air quality. Vacuum cleaners earn the Green Label designation after passing the CRI test criteria for soil removal, dust containment, and carpet appearance retention. These vacuum cleaners are graded by:

  • Soil Removal - must remove a satisfactory quantity of soil in four passes.

  • Dust Containment - evaluation of the amount of dust particles released into the air by the action of the brush rolls, through the filtration bag, and any air leaks from the cleaner system.

  • Carpet Appearance Retention - should keep the carpet looking good.

The CRI strives to assist consumers and professionals with vacuum cleaner buying decisions and help keep the indoor environment - surfaces and the indoor air - cleaner.

For a full listing of approved vacuum cleaners, visit  www.carpet-rug.com or call (800) 882-8846.

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Here's to Your (Carpet's) Health

The biggest enemy of carpet is dirt. Soiled carpets wear out faster because foot traffic grinds dirt into fibers, causing them to fray. Then fibers unwind and mat together like dirty hair on a stray dog. The most effective defense against this kind of carpet wear is frequent cleaning. Carpets should be professionally cleaned at least once, preferably twice, a year.

Carpet cleanliness can affect indoor air quality.

Indoor air quality, a growing governmental and consumer concern, is forcing carpet cleaning company's to focus on health as well as appearance.

When properly maintained, carpet can improve indoor air quality, acting as a filter to hold soil, debris and other contaminants, and preventing them from becoming airborne.

Routine carpet maintenance includes controlling the spread of dirt with entry mats, vacuuming with proper filtration and micro filter bags, and immediate spot removal.

Regular vacuuming helps keep indoor air cleaner and extends carpet life. Vacuums have improved via stronger and better suction and use of filters that trap dirt down to 0.3 micron (a micron is one-millionth of a meter). It is equally important to regularly clean or replace vacuum filters to ensure efficiency.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also recognizes the effect of regular carpet cleaning on indoor air. Cleaning includes regularly scheduled wet cleaning or extraction for total soil removal. Extraction cleaning is the most effective way to remove soil.

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DUST MITES?

Dust mites are far too small to be seen with the human eye. Dust mites and their feces are the single most common allergen that people inhale in there home. As microscopic animals, they are found in dust which produce a common allergen.


Dust mites, although much smaller, belong to the same family as spiders and ticks. Over 22 million Americans are allergic to mite residue that is small enough to be airborne. When disturbed such as vacuuming with a standard vacuum, they and their fecal dust may remain airborne for up to 10 minutes in your home's interior air. Even walking across your carpet will disturb their fecal pellets. The membrane that covers the outside of these pellets-doesn't break down quickly - which means that the pellets may keep their allergy causing potential for months.  

Dust mites are most commonly found in textured upholstery, mattresses and long or loose pile carpeting. Their population increases and decreases with seasonal changed due to the rising and falling of both temperature and humidity. There are over 50,000 species of dust mites and most species greatly increase their reproduction rate and thrive during periods of high (over70%) humidity.

 
To control dust mites it is highly recommended that humidity be controlled in your home. Rid your carpets in your home of dust mites, dust mite fecal matter and residue, settled airborne pollution contaminants, microorganisms and other harmful allergens with a thorough carpet cleaning.

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Misconceptions About Carpet Cleaning

Misconception #1

You should wait as long as possible before getting your carpets cleaned. 

No!  Dirt is an abrasive -- like sandpaper. Every time you step on your carpet, you grind dirt into the carpet fibers. This cuts your carpet, just as if you had used a knife. This cutting action causes your carpet to wear out faster. A dirty carpet will not last as long as a clean carpet. And while vacuuming helps -- by itself, it's simply not enough. The longer you wait to have your carpet cleaned, the more damage you do to your carpet and the faster it wears out.


Misconception #2

The only reason to clean carpets is to removed the dirt. 

NO!  As you probably know, outdoor air contains pollens, fungus, bacteria, air pollution, cigarette smoke, car exhaust -- and hundreds of other chemicals. When you come into your home you carry those pollens, bacteria, and chemicals in your hair on your skin, clothing and shoes. Not surprisingly, all those chemicals and toxins wind up in your carpet. If you have allergies, asthma, emphysema, or other breathing problems -- one major source of your problem could be the pollens, fungus, smoke and chemicals in your carpet.

Misconception #3:

One method of carpet cleaning is as good as another. 

NO. The dry cleaning methods -- which are dry foam, Chem-Dry and dry compound -- do not rinse your carpet in any way. Instead, they leave a residue. You might say they clean your carpet only halfway. The most effective cleaning method is hot water extraction. Hot water extraction means a hot water cleaning solution under high pressure, is forced into your carpet and then sucked out of your carpet. Shaw Industries, the world's largest carpet manufacturer, recommends hot water extraction as the primary method of cleaning carpets.


Misconception #4:

The company that offers the lowest price is the company you should hire. 

NO! I've seen so many problems arise from the lowest-bid companies that I suggest you NEVER hire the company that quotes the cheapest price. The two most common problems are: 1) The price may not be for the services you want performed. The company may be equipped to remove only the dirt from your carpet. But you may want bacteria, fungus, pollens and tobacco residues removed as well. 3) The price you see advertised may not be the price you pay. Many homeowners have learned that the low price they saw advertised lasted only until the carpet cleaner got into their home. Then they were pressured into paying a lot more for a variety of add-ons.


Misconception #5

Any honest carpet cleaning company should be able to give you an exact price quote over the telephone. 

I wish that were true, but it's difficult to be exact.   Most reputable companies charge by the "Square Foot".   Giving an estimate over the phone without  knowing your exact square footage  would be a disservice too you.  However, it is very easy to give a guest-i-mate over the phone and then, if the price sounds within your budget, we will measure the square footage and put the price in writing before we start cleaning.  The companies that you want to watch out for are the ones that charge a flat rate per room and then in the small print put the conditions for additional charges (heavily soiled areas, spot removal, pre-conditioning). These are the "bate and switch" companies. 

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RIP-OFFS

How To Avoid Four Carpet Cleaning Rip-Offs

RIP-OFF #1

UNBELIEVABLY LOW PRICE. 

To some degree, all of us are attracted by low price because we want to work within a budget. But some carpet cleaners use price as the bait for their false and misleading advertising. They offer a cheap price -- usually between $9.95 and $12.95 per room -- and then, once they're in your home, they pressure you into buying "add-ons".   It's as if you were buying a car and found that the dealer was charging you extra for the tires and steering wheel. Carpet cleaning is not as cheap as some unethical carpet cleaners would like you to believe.

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RIP-OFF#2: 

BAIT AND SWITCH. 

As with a lot of "coupon" company's,  they will entice you with a low per room charge and the tack on charges for heavily soiled areas, furniture moving, basic spot removal (spots that would otherwise be removed with the simple act of cleaning).  These companies can be avoided by simply asking if they will come out and give a free written estimate.  Once an estimate is signed by you, the price is set and cannot be altered.

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RIP-OFF #3: 

UNSUPPORTED CLAIMS. 

"This Cleaning Method Is The Best." You'll read this in almost every ad. You'll hear this from virtually every carpet cleaner. Remember this. The method that's best for you is the method that achieves your goal. If you want a method that dries quickly, then a method that takes a long time to dry isn't the best for you. So before you choose a carpet cleaner, identify your objectives. Then select the method that best reaches those objectives.

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RIP-OFF#4: 

OUTDATED BELIEFS. 

"HOT WATER DAMAGES YOUR CARPET." Years ago, many people believed this was true because their carpets were damaged by "technicians who didn't know how to properly clean using hot water. But today, we know it's false. By washing and then rinsing your carpet with hot water, your carpet is thoroughly cleaned -- in the same way that the person who showers and then rinses off the dirt and soap will be much cleaner than the person who takes only a sponge bath. Obviously, each carpet cleaner will be biased toward his own method. And each method does have advantages. So I suggest you look to what your carpet manufactures say. Shaw Industries, the largest carpet manufacturer in the world, recommends hot water extraction.

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