Regardless of the time of year, getting carpets cleaned can drain on your time, your energy and your money. So the last thing you need is a carpet cleaning service that shows up late, makes a mess and does a lousy job.
Checkbook.org's latest survey of local carpet and rug cleaning companies finds wide disparities in quality, price, knowledge and customer service -- with some companies charging twice as much for the exact same cleaning job.
Checkbook President Robert Krughoff and his researchers asked thousands of customers in the Puget Sound region to dish the dirt about common carpet cleaning complaints.
"Well, things can go real bad with a carpet cleaner," he said. "Small things are they just don't show up when they promise. A bigger thing is that the carpet isn't cleaned afterwards. In some cases they won't back it up and come back. Some will come back and do it again until you're satisfied."
The latest Checkbook survey finds the top local carpet cleaners from the customer standpoint- are not always the biggest or most well known. Customers who get the best results get referrals from friends and neighbors, and get clear information about the size of the room, the type of carpet, and the cleaning process before they agree to hire a contractor.
One preferred cleaning process is the use of hot water extraction, with truck mounted equipment for maximum power. Just remember, anyone can buy equipment, order signs and claim to be professionals. Some of the better companies report having to clean up after so-called professionals who use too much water and soak the carpets as well as the floor beneath the pad. That's why it's critical to check certification, licenses, insurance and references. Don't just go with the cheapest bid and don't just hire the first company you see on the internet.
And for those of you who like me, occasionally decide to go the do-it-yourself route- the pros warn don't over soak the carpet and go easy on the detergent. Detergent residue can actually act as a dirt magnet and make your carpet look even worse over time.
Checkbook.org ratings and reports are a subscriber-based service priced at $34 for a 2 year subscription of ratings, research and tips on a variety of consumer services. As a courtesy to KOMO viewers, the full Carpet Cleaners report, including customer ratings for dozens of local companies, will be available on this website until December 23, 2013.