Carpet cleaning – hire a pro or DIY?

Get your spring clean started by sprucing up the carpets.

carpet cleaner in action

If you’re looking to spruce up your home, 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 the 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
Today, carpets can be made up of blends of fibres or individual fibres. Some will absorb cleaning solutions and some won't, some will even break down with particular products, so comprehensive knowledge is vital to carry out the best clean for your carpet. Here are the reasons to hire a professional 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?’

Different carpets need different cleaning techniques
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
Carpet cleaning specialists 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
Some 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.

If you're thinking of hiring a professional, keep these things in mind.

  • Unlike other countries, the carpet cleaning industry is unregulated in Australia. Only a small percentage of carpet cleaners receive formal training.
  • If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Some carpet cleaners are members of an association. National trade associations provide training for their members and have a code of practice. Finding one should give you some peace of mind; it also allows you to contact someone if you are unhappy with the service,
  • Do they have qualifications? Certificate II or III in Carpet Cleaning Operations train people in many areas including how to use the equipment correctly and effectively.

DIY cleaning
If you prefer the idea of cleaning your own carpets, though, should you hire or buy a carpet cleaner?

The first point to consider is, how often will you really be cleaning your carpet?

You can do it yourself with a Britex or Rug Doctor model hired from an outlet such as Woolworths, Coles, Mitre 10, IGA or Bunnings. These typically cost round $40 for 24 hours, or $50 for a weekend, excluding the cost of the cleaning solution and some accessories. Which is great if you're just looking for a one-off clean.

Some models can be tricky to use as they are heavy and cumbersome; some will only suck up water when they are being pulled back, so you'll need to keep moving the unit forward as you clean. Hiring a machine can give you an idea of whether you really need one on hand at all times or if they are too much of a hassle to use frequently.

Whether you decide to hire or buy, you're liable for any damages done to your home when DIY carpet cleaning, so take care. If you are having trouble working the machine, call the supplier to ask for help.

Should I buy a carpet cleaner?
Buying your own carpet cleaner can save you 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. Not only will your machine earn its keep, it’s on hand instantly to clear up accidents and always ready for a spring clean.

It’s cheaper than hiring a pro
The cost of buying or hiring a machine is a lot cheaper than acquiring professional carpet cleaning services.

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.

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.

Did you know that according to the Australian standard for carpet cleaning, it's recommended that you clean them once a year? How often do you clean your carpets? Do you DIY or hire a professional?

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    1st Sep 2020
    The professionals love it when you DIY, they get called in to clean up the mess
    2nd Sep 2020
    I have DIY'd for most of my life but also have one commercial in case my chosen DIY method fails. The bought ones sit in the cupboard for years however as when I use them they tend to fail to do any better. I do buy dish detergent (safest I can find) but dilute it heavily as it always makes too many unecessary suds - with no increase in cleaning power - which I then have to get rid of. But - I also use it for more than dishes - I add a few drops (no more) to vinegar for floor cleaning. I also use leftover or cheap hair shampoo or conditioner to clean my shower etc but also spray with vinegar and laundry soap plus scratchy for shining my sink. Vinegar, bicarb, lemon, salt or sugar for scrubbing are the basics and they work fine.
    5th Sep 2020
    in 2011 when getting my house ready for sale in Wodonga Vic.,I hired the local ELECTRODRY to clean one of our bedrooms with bad carpet stains .The carpet was less than 2 yrs old .When he finished I could see little improvement .He said he was running low on the required chemicals and would send one of his other employees a few days later.After this second try it was still no better and he said it was "carpet wear,we cant fix it".After selling the house at less than expected price (the soiled carpet did not help the house inspections) we visited the new owners to help them in any way we could .The new owner showed me said bedroom.It was PERFECT! I could not believe my eyes.How? I asked.He said simply "I hired a machine and did it myself"...was not happy.Lesson learnt.

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