The carpet cleaning industry is one of the few industries that is not regulated, and also has a very low barrier to entry in that anyone can call themselves a "professional" without any basis for that claim. Yet these are people who come into your home and use cleaning chemicals which can be dangerous if you do not have the knowledge of how to use them properly, and more importantly do not have the right equipment (not a rented shampooer) to remove them properly.
Everyone has heard nightmare stories about crimes committed, about overuse or improper use of chemicals, and exposès on Bait-and-Switch companies who use a low coupon offers to get their foot in the door and hard sell unsuspecting consumers into a bill they are compelled to pay. When you open the phone book you really can't tell who the great cleaners are, or the ones you would never EVER want to use. The "great" cleaners work hard to distinguish themselves apart from the fly-by-night companies who use unsafe cleaning practices, hard-sell tactics, and sometimes have very unsavory employees.
Your carpet and rugs act as a "filter" in your home for your indoor air. Their fibers "grab" particulates and contaminants and hold them. But like any filter, it needs to be cleaned because when it gets full it cannot grab anything else ... and every time you step on a "full" filter you release contaminants back into the air.
Cleaning your carpet is key to a healthy indoor environment, and the EPA's guidelines for cleaning vary from every four months to every eighteen depending on the number of people and pets in the home, as well as other concerns from allergic sensitivities to how dusty the air is in your neighborhood to whether anyone in the home smokes. A true carpet cleaning professional can evaluate your particular needs, and with the right equipment and cleaning solutions, can fulfill those needs for you and your family.
ABC News asked the certified expert they consulted for their carpet cleaning story, Joe Polish of EthicalServices.com, to put together this consumer guide to help you protect yourself from carpet - cleaning scams:
Here are eight mistakes consumers should avoid making when picking someone to clean their carpets: 8 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Carpet Cleaner
Knowing what questions to ask is essential in avoiding problems. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification is a nonprofit certification body that sets and promotes high standards and technical proficiency within the cleaning industry.Here’s what they say you should expect: <learn more>
Joe Polish assisted ABC-TVs 20/20 with an undercover sting operation, exposing fraudulent bait-n-switch sales tactics commonly used in the carpet cleaning industry, and appeared in 20/20s program featuring an actual sting recorded with hidden cameras. Following this, he was invited to be part of local news stories covering the topic. <watch video>
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