Portland, OR
(503) 317-6413
Vancouver, WA
(360) 910-3100

Checkmate Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning: Carpet Cleaning Tips

Home Carpet Cleaning Tips


Checkmate is referred exclusively by the most seasoned Carpet Retailers, Interior Designers and Real Estate Agents. Our company is one of the most respected professional carpet cleaning firms in the Portland/Vancouver metro area. We have serviced the Street of Dreams for several years. Our references are available upon request.


Checkmate has over 13 years of experience in caring for the finest carpets, rugs and upholstery. We have handled many specialty items and have seen many unusual situations. Whether you have a natural or synthetic piece and regardless of soiling conditions, you will receive a level of expertise second to none.


Checkmate is certified by the IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification), the world’s most recognized certification organization for carpet and upholstery cleaners. Attending educational courses, reading trade journals and being heavily involved in our industry allows us to stay abreast of all the latest techniques and procedures. Leading carpet manufacturers recommend only firms certified by the IICRC.


Checkmate uses the most advanced systems on the market today. We insist on the best equipment and products. The procedures we use do not leave excess moisture in the carpet or leave a sticky residue behind to attract soil. You can expect maximum soil and spot removal. It is routine for our firm to remove spots that others were unable to remove. Checkmate is also committed to first class customer care. Our courteous, uniformed technicians will arrive in clean, lettered company trucks. You receive the most outstanding service experience ever!


Far too often service companies are not willing to stand behind their work. Our guarantee to you is that if you are not completely thrilled with the cleaning experience you receive from us, we will rush back to your location at no charge to make things right. If you are still unimpressed, we will offer a 100% refund.


There is a right way and a wrong way to cleanup accidental spills on your carpet. What you should not do is just as important as what you should do. Today’s new carpets resist spots much better than those manufactured even a few years ago. However, they are still susceptible to spots and should be treated quickly to avoid a permanent stain.


STEP 1: Blot up as much of the spill as you can. Make sure you blot- don’t scrub. Scrubbing will only work the spill deeper into the fiber and may leave a wear mark. Use a white paper or white cotton towel to blot. Fold the towel and press it into the spill. Rotate the towel often so a clean surface is always against the carpet. Continue to blot until no more of the spill transfers to the towel. Remove any solid material with a rounded spoon or the edge of a dull knife.


STEP 2: Cover the blotted area with a fresh white towel. Weight the towel with something that will not transfer color to the carpet or towel. Leave this in place for 15-20 minutes to remove any remaining spill. Should the carpet remain stained, go to step 3.


STEP 3: Spotting the remaining stain in your carpet requires care and patience. You cannot apply most household cleaners to the stain without further damaging the carpet. Many common cleaners contain dyes that will discolor the carpet or chemicals that will permanently set the stain. If you can locate the literature you received when you bought the carpet it should contain the spotting procedures for you to follow. If not, you can attempt to remove most common household spills with the following procedure. Mix a teaspoonful of colorless, mild detergent in a cup of lukewarm water. To test the safety of the solution, apply several drops to an inconspicuous area (closet, under a sofa) and rub gently with a clean white towel. Do not proceed if the carpet color transfers to the towel or if the carpet color changes. Try an alternate cleaner or call a professional. If the test is successful, spot the stain by alternately applying a few drops of cleaner followed by blotting. Always blot, never scrub. Work from the outer edge of the stain to the center. Continue this process until the stain is gone or no more color transfers to the white towel. The final step is to gently rinse the area with clear water, then absorb all the remaining moisture with absorbent towels.


Should a stain persist, contact Checkmate for assistance. We may be able to offer further advice by phone, or if necessary, we’ll dispatch a technician with a complete spotting kit to remove the stain.


“Two Room Cleaned FREE”

“$5.95 Per Room Normal Cleaning”

“Free Carpet Protector”


Such carpet cleaning ads are seen everyday by consumers, but is anything really free? And what is normal cleaning? Too often unsuspecting consumers who are lured by specials find themselves victims of bait-and-switch advertising. They realize, often too late, that these advertised specials have conditions, either written in small print or not stated at all. They are often told that “preconditioning” costs extra or that the carpet is too soiled for normal cleaning at the advertised low price.


Bait-and-switch operators are prevalent in many industries, and the carpet cleaning industry is no exception. This does not mean though, that all carpet cleaners are rip-off artists. But how do you know who is, and who is not? The professional carpet cleaning industry has cited these scam activities as a major industry concern, and is taking action to help eliminate unprofessional workmanship and unethical tactics. A leader in the campaign is the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), which certifies cleaners who meet prescribed levels of technical proficiency and pledge to operate by a “Code of Ethics”. To help educate consumers so they will not become victims of fraudulent practices within the cleaning industry, the IICRC has released a list of guidelines to consider when selecting a carpet cleaner.


If an advertised price sounds too good to be true, it often is! Carpet cleaners advertise a low price to get their foot in the door. Use common sense; low price usually equates to low quality for any product or service. Legitimate business people have legitimate expenses they must cover, including license, taxes, insurance, employee wages and benefits and quality tools of the trade. A professional carpet cleaner who must cover these business expenses and make a reasonable profit to stay in business cannot afford to drive to your house for $5.95, much less clean a room of carpet when there. QUALITY — Never should th e price of cleaning services be the sole criterion for selecting a carpet cleaner. A price that sounds high may not be a signal of a rip-off. In all professions, quality work deserves a quality price.


Read the fine print in advertised specials to find out exactly what the price includes and request a firm price before the work begins.


Professional cleaning firms require employees to engage in formal training in a variety of cleaning disciplines and these educational efforts will be ongoing. Ask about the training background of the technicians who will be cleaning your carpet.


Professional firms require certification of technicians through such certification organizations as the IICRC or independent training and testing organizations.


The years of experience, combined with formal training programs, contribute significantly to the proficiency of its employees.


Professional firms employ and train technicians who can answer basic questions regarding carpet performance and maintenance, as well as spotting and cleaning.


Consumers should ask for references from previous customers.


Professional cleaning firms are members of trade associations that promote high ethical standards and continuing education. Look for trade logos in advertising.


It is important to ask if the cleaner is operating according to IICRC Cleaning Standards.


Ask the cleaner which method of cleaning will be used and the advantages and disadvantages of this method compared to other methods.


Technicians must be courteous and willing to take the time to thoroughly explain the cleaning process and answer all questions. You should never feel pressured.


There is no single criterion for selecting a carpet cleaning service. Several combined factors must be considered in the selection decision.


If you have a light colored carpet, you may have experienced dark lines around the baseboards, under doors and especially near the HVAC return. This soiling comes from air passing through the carpet as the air is attempting to go through the edge of the carpet pile, microscopic particles of soil are deposited there (hence the term air filtration soiling). This occurs over a significant period of time and is not noticed until a build up has occurred.


This type of soiling is difficult to remove because the soil particles are so fine that they penetrate deep into the carpet pile, sometimes into the backing of the carpet. Can it be removed? Sometimes. With special products, time and effort, reasonable results can be achieved, although not in all cases.


To help prevent air filtration soiling in the future, vacuum the edges of the carpeting on a regular basis, then wipe with a damp, white terry towel. Be careful around the tack strip under the edge of the carpeting, you could nick your fingers.


Pet urine can cause permanent damage to your floors and fabrics. It can also create an unhealthy indoor environment. When urine is first deposited onto a floor or fabric, it is in an almost neutral state; which means it’s easier to remove when fresh. Once it dries, it turns alkaline and becomes more difficult to remove. If left for days or weeks, depending on the fabric or floor type, it will permanently change the dye structure, therefore causing permanent staining. Even if the soluble deposits are removed, the damage to the dye structure may already be done.


To prevent permanent staining in the future, clean urine spots immediately by blotting with a white terry towel cloth or plain white paper towels until no moisture is transferred. To clean the spot, mix 1 part white vinegar to 2 parts water and massage (don’t scrub) into the spot with a white terry cloth. Once you have flushed as much of the urine out as possible, blot with dry cloths until dry to the touch. If you have a small extraction machine, flush with fresh water until spot is removed.


Note: Cleaning existing urine spots will not remove any associated odor. In fact, cleaning could increase the odor in the air space for a temporary period of time. Professional Pet Odor Removal Services are available.


When it comes to maintaining your carpet, one of the most critical areas of focus are the traffic areas. If ground in soil is not removed on a regular basis, the traffic areas will begin to wear excessively. The dirt is extremely abrasive against the fibers of the carpet as you walk back and forth on it.


By not maintaining your carpeting properly, you could experience one or more of the following:


1. Warranty voided; 2. Rapid re-soiling; 3. Damage to fibers in traffic areas; 4. Unremovable spots; 5. Short life of carpet.



Copies of specific warranties on your carpet purchase are available for you upon request. Stain resist warranties can vary from 5 to 20 years. ALL STAIN RESIST WARRANTIES REQUIRE REGULAR CLEANING AND IMMEDIATE SPOT REMOVAL.

Entrance Mats

Using entrance mats inside and outside of doorways will reduce the amount of soil brought onto your carpet. As much as 75% of the dirt and grime in your carpet is tracked-in soil.


Vacuum your carpet often. Once or twice a week at least. Vacuuming removes the sharp soil that can cut and slice the fiber causing premature wear. Much of this soil is not visible to the eye. Vacuum before the carpet looks soiled. Remove any loose particles such as loose food, leaves, pieces of crayon, bugs, etc. as these items can cause a spot on the carpet.


Professional cleaning as a general rule, professional cleaning by a professional, certified firm, should take place about once per year.MANY STAIN RESIST WARRANTIES REQUIRE PROFESSIONAL CLEANING EVERY 6 to 24 MONTHS. (Depending on your traffic level.) Have your carpeting cleaned by a professional at least every 12 months. If you have extremely heavy traffic areas, clean more often. Rule of thumb: If there is any visible soil whatsoever on the carpet, it is time to be cleaned. For extremely heavy traffic areas, cleaning may be required more often. Proper professional cleaning will not leave a sticky residue behind and can be done as many times per year as needed.


Professional cleaning removes the damaging soil from the traffic areas that vacuuming has not been able to remove.WARNING: UNINFORMED CARPET CLEANERS MAY VOID THE WARRANTY, BE VERY SELECTIVE WHICH COMPANY YOU HIRE. Most manufacturers recommend hot water extraction applied with a truck mounted cleaning machine, by a trained professional.


Quote from Dupont Stainmaster “We recommend that carpet be professionally cleaned at least every 12 months” “To maintain texture retention warranties, we recommend carpet be professionally cleaned with hot water extraction every 18 to 24 months”

Protective Coatings

Residential carpets are treated with stain resist properties and soil resistors. The soil resistor part is known as Dupont Teflon or 3M Scotchguard. After a period of 2 to 3 years, much of the soil-resistor wears off, depending on traffic. At that point you should consider having a professional carpet cleaner re-apply the treatment after professional cleaning. The soil resistor will help the soil slide off of the carpet easier when vacuuming, spots will be easier to remove, and professional cleaning will be more effective the next time it is cleaned.

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