TLDR: Home carpet cleaning machines lack the ability to superheat water to truly remove dirt and grime, while also lacking the power of an industrial machine. This results in soggy flooring which is not only an inconvenience but also a health hazard. Home machines have smaller water reservoirs which means hours wasted on washing floors. While home cleaning may be cheaper, it’s generally less efficient. Professional cleaning can be affordable if you consider only cleansing high-traffic areas.
Look, nobody likes cleaning their carpets. It leaves your floor damp, and your socks wet, and makes your cozy home space an unlivable humid bog for hours of your day. However, as unenjoyable an endeavor as carpet cleaning is, it is an unfortunate necessity to maintain carpet longevity. The average homeowner may be tempted self clean their carpets, and adventure into a DIY endeavor with home cleaners or rentals.
It’s an enticing idea, seeing as how DIY has the potential to save you some hard-earned cash and eliminate having strangers in your house. However, there are some major drawbacks to DIY carpet cleaning that you should be aware of before choosing this course of carpet cleaning action.
Walk into any general home goods store and you’ll find rows and rows of home-use steam carpet cleaners. With the one-time cost of a couple of hundred bucks and the convenience of having the ability to clean at your fingertips, the offer is enticing. If you live in a home prone to disaster messes and carpet sabotaging spills, having one of these little portable cleaners on hand may actually benefit you!
What these home devices don’t advertise, however, is they are clunky and inefficient at tending to large surface areas and do not operate at the same specifications as an industrial, professional machine.
The home steam cleaner is severely lacking when it comes to cleaning efficiency. Your average DIY cleaner lacks the ability to heat water to the same high temperatures as an industrial machine.
Protip: This inability to reach super high water temps mean your little portable cleaner doesn’t stand a chance against that year’s worth of dirt and grime living rent-free in the fibers of your flooring.
Furthermore, portable machines lack power! DIY machines do not possess the same suction ability as the ones your friendly neighborhood professional carpet cleaners invest in.
The Big Idea: Improper water temperatures and a lack of power mean home cleaners don’t clean as well and leave more water to soak into your floor.
DIY’s lack of power leads to arguably the largest drawback of the home use machine: soggy rug. When treated by a professional with adequate equipment, your carpet is left only slightly damp and should dry within a reasonable time frame. Your typical home machine leaves the carpet WET.
Wet carpet, if left in its damp state for too long or too frequently, can actually be a health hazard. Moist environments are just invitations for mold to take up residence within your home.
Protip: If you go the DIY route and find your floor soaked, speed up the drying process by placing fans around the room. Also, never move furniture back onto a wet floor. Covering the area will almost guarantee it to never dry!
One of the lesser talked about drawbacks of home cleaning versus professional cleaning is the time sink. Grooming a large area with a DIY machine takes time, lots of it. Home machines have small water reservoirs that require constant dumping and filling. This means stopping, constantly, to mess around with the water in your machine.
Professionals usually have truck tanks, or just in general very large tanks that allow them to blow through rooms at a rapid pace. Your professional cleaner has the ability to run laps around a little DIY guy, who chugs along slowly and inefficiently.
Protip: If you’re still thinking about the DIY route, buy a home machine with the largest tank possible. You’ll thank me later.
We’ve talked about why DIY is risky. We’ve talked about why professional machines are better, more reliable, and, in certain situations, overall safer. We haven’t addressed the elephant in the room: cost. Most homeowners don’t opt for professional cleaning because it’s expensive. Which makes sense, in this economy who has the extra cash for carpet cleaning? This is where savvy shopping comes in handy.
Turns out, you can have your professional carpet cleaning cake and eat it too.
If cost is a concern, consider only grooming the areas that actually need it! Most professional cleaners are willing to strike a deal if you lower the amount of surface area they need to cover per room.
Professionally cleaning only the high-traffic areas of your home makes your visible carpet squeaky clean while saving you money. A high-traffic clean would look something like this: leave your big pieces of furniture in place and the professional simply cleans around them. The areas around your doorways, couches, and bed likely need cleaning the most anyway, so why not only pay for that area?
Ultimately, which route you decide to take for carpet cleaning is a personal decision that depends on a multitude of factors. As you venture out on your carpet cleaning journey, just keep these few key takeaways in mind
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