Keep your carpets looking better, for longer, for less

7 Ways to Save on Carpet Cleaning

by Steve Gillman

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You might want to save money by renting a machine to clean your carpet yourself. That's on the list below. But be aware that many carpet warranties are voided if you do not have a hot water extraction cleaning by a trained professional at least once every 18 months. Yes, they are that specific in their requirements. Hot water extraction refers to what most people call "steam cleaning," and this usually has to be done with a "truck mount" unit that typically comes in a van, which rules out doing it yourself with a more portable machine. Fortunately, there are other ways to save money on your carpet cleaning, whether or not you still have warranty rules to follow. Our list starts with several ways to extend the time between cleanings and ends with a more radical suggestion.

1. Vacuum More Often

Dirt works like little blades, cutting into the fibers of your carpet each time you step on them. This shortens the life of your carpet, but damaged carpet is also stained more easily. If you keep it clean with frequent vacuuming, you can extend the time between professional cleanings right out to the 18-month maximum required by your warranty or perhaps even longer if you are no longer under warranty coverage.

2. Use Mats and Runners

Place a mat just outside and inside any entrances to your home and you'll catch a lot of dirt before it can get to the carpeted areas. Runners in high-traffic areas can also help prevent damage. This too will allow you to extend the time between cleanings.

3. Have a No-Shoes Policy

Shoes bring in a lot of dirt and debris, of course, but they also damage fibers in carpet more than walking in socks does. You'll need less-frequent cleaning if you leave shoes at the door, and you'll need less-frequent replacement of carpeting as well.

4. Do It Yourself

Renting a portable cleaning unit is the most common way that people try to save on their carpet cleaning costs. Even small towns usually have several places where you can rent a machine. You'll probably pay around $30 per day for the rental, and another $10 to $20 for cleaning solvents. If the carpet isn't very dirty, go light on the solvents, since they may not get rinsed completely out of the fibers, and any residue left behind can attract dirt.

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A do-it-yourself unit will never clean as deeply as a professional cleaning company cleans, using a high-suction hot water extraction machine. Also, it may not be sufficient for complying with your warranty terms (check with the manufacturer). If it doesn't void the warranty, and the carpet isn't too dirty, you can save hundreds of dollars.

5. Watch for Specials

The best carpet cleaning deals tend to be seasonal, so plan accordingly. Here in Florida, cleaners are busier in the winter and offer deals in the summer. It is the opposite in cold climates. Watch the newspaper ads or mailers and set aside coupons, so you can choose the best. If you hire a reputable company with a good machine, you should get the same job as when you pay full price.

6. Pay for Traffic Areas Only

Some professional carpet cleaners are open to cleaning just "traffic areas" for a reduced price. These are the areas where people actually walk, and cleaning them may be sufficient. It doesn't get all that dirt behind the bookcase or couch. The cleaner won't have to move any furniture and will not clean under anything that is not fairly open. That makes the job much easier and faster. Vacuum beforehand under furniture to get the dust, and ask the cleaners you call how much they will charge if you just have traffic areas done.

7. Get Rid of Your Carpet

One way to save on carpet cleaning is to eliminate the expense altogether. It might not make sense right now, but when the time comes to replace that carpet, you might want to consider installing tile, hardwood, or laminate flooring instead. They all can cost about the same as carpet if you shop well, and you'll never have to hire a carpet cleaner again.

Reviewed May 2017

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