Carpet cleaning: Should you hire a professional or do it yourself?

If you’re looking to spruce up your home in 2019, don’t forget the carpets – getting rid of stains and grime on the floor can make a huge difference to how clean your house looks.

But cleaning carpets is more of a challenge than just picking up polish and a duster, as you would with the rest of the house.

You’ll need a carpet cleaning machine for starters – but do you buy one, hire one, or employ a professional carpet cleaner to do the job for you?

The pros and cons of hiring a professional carpet cleaner:

Paul Pearce, technical director of the National Carpet Cleaners Association (NCCA), says today’s carpets can be made of blends of fibres or individual fibres, some will absorb cleaning solutions and some won’t, and some will even break down with particular products.

“A comprehensive knowledge is therefore vital to carry out the best clean for your carpet to make it last and wear well,” he says.

Here’s why Pearce believes employing a professional cleaner is the best way to spruce up carpets…

You get what you pay for

While professional carpet cleaning comes at a cost – it’s certainly cheaper to hire a machine and do it yourself – DIY carpet cleaning comes with a risk.

Cost should never be a concern when looking for a professional carpet cleaner, it should be, ‘Do they have the knowledge and equipment to safely and effectively clean my soft furnishings?’

They have rigorous training

NCCA professional carpet cleaners go through a rigorous training program and pass a test before they’re considered for membership. Once approved, they’re monitored for a year and have to carry out further training such as spot and stain removal techniques before they can become full members.

Different carpets need different cleaning techniques

(Thinkstock/PA)

Not all carpets can be cleaned the same way, and a professional carpet cleaner will be able to determine the correct process. Some carpets, for example, can’t be cleaned using water-based methods, so specialist knowledge is vital.

Professionals carry a variety of cleaners

NCCA members will usually carry at least three different cleaning systems and combinations to enable them to clean virtually any floor covering.

You get specialist stain cleaning

Soils or stains need specialist cleaning solutions and techniques to remove them safely from the carpet, and professional carpet cleaners are trained in doing so.

There’s minimal moisture

A professionally-trained carpet cleaner will minimise the amount of moisture needed to clean a carpet, which not only safeguards the carpet but allows for quick, comfortable access and use.

They’re fully insured

NCCA professional carpet cleaners are fully insured for the unlikely possibility that there’s a problem with the cleaning.

If you prefer the idea of cleaning your own carpets though, read on…

The pros and cons of doing your own carpet cleaning:

(VAX/PA)

Buying your own carpet cleaner will save money in the long-run, especially if you invest in a model that not only cleans carpets but can be used to refresh upholstery and clean wet spills from carpets and dry floors, says Graham Curtis, head of product management at VAX UK.  “Not only will your machine earn its keep, it’s on hand instantly to clear up accidents and ready when you are to spring clean,” he points out.

Plus…

It’s cheaper than hiring a pro

Compared to professional carpet cleaning services, Curtis says the cost of buying a carpet cleaner can be recouped within one use, depending upon how many rooms and items of furniture need cleaning.

It’s also cheaper in the long run than hiring a machine

Most carpet cleaning machines cost between about £100-£250 to buy, and hiring one costs around £23 a day, with extra charges for tools and cleaning solution. So after just four uses, it’s usually cheaper to buy a machine than hire one.

You can do spot cleaning

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Owning a cleaner means spot cleaning can be dealt with for smaller stains, rather than hiring a professional cleaner for a costly whole carpet clean.

It’s convenient

If you own a carpet cleaner, no pre-booking is necessary, and you don’t have to drive to pick up and drop off the cleaner.

They’re light and easy-to-use

Modern carpet cleaners come with a manual, and once you know how much solution to use, the machine does the rest, automatically mixing the solution with the water as it’s used. An upright cleaner will feel lighter and glide easily over carpets, rather than dragging a cylinder unit behind you.

You get multi-surface cleaning

Most houses have a mix of floor surfaces, so buying a cleaner that can deal with carpet, hard floors and upholstery means it’s not just carpets that can be cleaned. Plus, if your cleaner has the right tools, you’ll be able to clean car upholstery and carpets with it too.

(Thinkstock/PA)

It’s arguably more hygienic than a hired machine

Rental machines may not be the cleanest when you receive them, having been used in multiple homes. Using your own carpet cleaner ensures you’re only exposed to your own household grime and the easy-to-clean units mean you can be sure it’s clean every time you use it.

- Press Association

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