What is the best way to care for my carpet and upholstery?


Over thirty seven years ago, when I became a fulltime on location carpet and upholstery cleaning technician, I would tell my customers they should wait for their carpet to look dirty before they would need to call me to clean them. At the time, this seemed to make good sense. Many of my customers had either heard horror stories or experienced firsthand how much more quickly the carpet would get dirty much more quickly after that initial cleaning.

Why does my carpet seem to get dirty quicker since I had it cleaned?

This is what we term premature  “re-soiling” ( Premature re-soiling is caused by soap or chemical residue left on the fiber that then picks up new soil. The cleaning  product is designed to clean things, and if not thoroughly removed, it will continue to clean anything with which it comes into contact, like foot traffic or even the air passing over or through it). Back then, this was still a legitimate concern as there were so many uneducated cleaners out there using the wrong cleaning agents and equipment. The industry was still unregulated and prone to many “fly by night” operators.

Is there a difference between carpet cleaning companies?

Wanting to be the best that I could be in my field, I became involved with several trade organizations whose intended purpose was to educate and promote self-regulation of the industry.  Among others, I joined the Southwest Carpet Cleaners Association and the International Society of Cleaning Technicians.  We trained our members on proper cleaning procedures and promoted the use of high-quality cleaning products and equipment. We demanded high ethical standards from our members with regards to their business practices.  Not wanting the government to get involved in the regulation of our industry, we promoted self-regulation. Our efforts towards self-regulation led us to create a training and certification program–The International Institute Of Carpet And Upholstery Cleaning And Restoration  Certification.  To become certified, one must take multiple courses and pass certification tests. We developed curriculum for certification in various areas; carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, rug cleaning, odor control, carpet repair and installation, carpet and rug dyeing and color repair, deflooding and water damage restoration, fire and smoke damage restoration, biohazard cleanup, etc. We have Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master Technician classifications . I was one of the very first to achieve the Certified  Master Textile Cleaner classification, and have maintained my continuing education credits ever since.  Since that time, tens of thousands of technicians have obtained their certifications.

Can premature re-soiling of my carpet be avoided?

As the carpet and upholstery industry has matured, the cleaning chemistry employed has dramatically improved. No longer is there any excuse for carpet or upholstery fabrics, after proper cleaning, to experience premature “resoiling.” Cleaning chemical manufacturers have changed their products to meet the demand for “Greener” and more “bio-friendly” chemistry. I, personally, have gone so far as to have my own cleaning agents custom manufactured to meet the “Greenest” standards possible.

Why do some people still have problems with carpets that are immediately soiled right after cleaning?

Despite all this, there are still some uneducated and unscrupulous carpet cleaners. I continue to see the shoddy workmanship when a new client is referred to me because they are unhappy with the results they experienced from their prior cleaning. However, for the most part, the “resoiling’ issues that I see is the result of improper spot cleaning by the client or their housekeeping staff. Proper spot cleaning is imperative for the satisfactory maintenance of the installation.

How should I care for my carpet, rugs, and upholstery?

Installed carpet, rugs  and upholstery fabrics should be thoroughly vacuumed regularly; at least once per week in the average home. Upholstery fabrics are seldom vacuumed in most homes. It doesn’t occur to people that it needs to be done. I often find that my client’s vacuum cleaner is not working correctly, i.e., clogged hoses, overfull bags, broken belts, etc. A good working vacuum cleaner that is used regularly is absolutely necessary for proper carpet and rug maintenance.

I’m frequently asked which brand of vacuum cleaner is the best one to purchase. Although I have a couple of models I prefer, I find ones that are light and easy to use will likely get used a lot more. After a thorough vacuuming , spots and spills should be removed with mild neutral spotting agents. Most of the products sold over the counter for spot cleaning of carpets and rugs are not suitable and should not be used. In the best case scenario, they cause “resoiling.” In the worst case, they can cause permanent damage to the carpet or upholstery fibers integrity and color. I discourage my clientele from spot cleaning their furnishings, as it usually causes more problems than it solves. Self spot cleaning often leads to unsatisfactory results. Then, I will get a call to spot clean the area correctly. Frequently, I will find they have unwittingly caused irreversible damage to the fibers or permanently set the stain. If they call me first, I can almost always totally remove the spot.

How do I spot clean something spilled on my carpet?

If you insist on doing some of your own spot cleanings, start with absorbent dry white cotton or paper towel and blot up the spill, do not rub or scrub as this will cause’ fuzzing’ and damage to the fiber. You can make a spotting solution of 24 ounces water to 8 ounces isopropyl alcohol and 2 drops of hand washing dish soap such as Dawn. Mix these ingredients in a quart bottle and spray the spot with the solution and work it in with your fingers. Next, blot it out with your dry white towels until thoroughly removed. This solution will be safe to use on synthetic carpet, rugs, and fabrics. If, however, you’re trying to clean natural fibers such as wool, silk, viscose, sisal, seagrass, cotton, rayon, luxelle, linen, faux silk, mohair, jute ,hemp, bamboo, etc., its always  better to call the professional. The worst stains to attempt cleaning yourself are red wine, coffee, tea, or bodily fluids: urine, vomit, or blood.  These must be professionally cleaned as they require specialized techniques and solutions. Attempting to clean these spots yourself runs the risk of permanently setting the stain and/or causing permanent damage to the fabric.


Proper care of carpets, rugs, and upholstery includes regular vacuuming and regular professional cleanings to keep them in top shape. As do-it-yourself spot cleaning can cause permanent damage, it’s best to hire the pro. For the best in care for all your fine carpet, rug, and upholstery textiles, you need a Master Certified Textile Cleaner like Glenn. Call me today to enjoy your beautiful furnishings for many years to come.