Residential Carpet Cleaning

How to Clean Residential Carpet

Residential Carpet Cleaning


On Arrival

Make a Good First Impression:

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” ~ Will Rogers

  • Have a clean, well-lettered vehicle with your company logo on it.
  • Wear a clean and pressed uniform.
  • Make sure you are well groomed.
  • Wear an ID badge.
  • Smile while looking your customer in the eye.

“A good first impression can work wonders” ~ J. K. Rowling

Remember: You will be compared to every other service person the consumer has dealt with. If you look shabby, unkempt, etc., an opinion of the type of service you provide will already be negative in their mind’s eye.

On the other hand, if you arrive in a great-looking vehicle, are well-groomed, wear a clean, pressed uniform, etc., the consumer will probably already “like” you. They will begin to relax and feel they will get their money’s worth from your service.

If possible, have two technicians. The customer will likely be female, which will go a long way in making them “feel safe.” They will also be more confident that furniture moving can be accomplished without fear of damage.

No, two technicians will not complete the job in half the time, but they will be much faster and more efficient. The second technician can clean upholstery or help the first in various ways. Having a second technician is a great way to train a new one.

Greeting the Customer:

  • Place a clean bath mat at the entrance.
  • Knock on the door and step back.
  • When the customer answers, smile and hand them your business card.
  • After the customer has invited you in, wipe your feet on the bath mat as the customer watches. This will go a long way as a first impression.
  • Step inside and put on booties before traipsing through the home. Keep the booties on until you are finished with the job. (This will leave a very positive impression on the homeowner.)

The Pre-inspection:

With your clipboard in hand, ask the customer to show you the areas to be cleaned. Do a good pre-inspection and communicate your findings (this will help prevent complaints and instill confidence.

  • As the customer gives you a tour, write down all their comments on your invoice.
  • Ask the customer the following:
    1. How old is the carpet?
    2. Are there areas of concern, such as spots or areas that have had spills?
    3. Are there pets that occupy the home?
    4. Are there any damaged areas on the carpet?
    5. How long ago was the last cleaning?
    6. Ask about any health concerns of the occupants.
  • When in doubt, perform a burn and/or colorfastness test.
  • Review the areas of concern with the customer and explain what you will do to take care of these areas. Never over-promise. Set realistic expectations.
  • Unless the customer requests otherwise, start in the farthest area of the home and work your way toward the exit.

Basic Carpet Cleaning Principles:

(these principles will vary with different cleaning methods, adjust accordingly)

  • Pre-vacuum all edges and entryways. Give extra attention to traffic areas. When using a VLM method, be sure to thoroughly pre-vacuum the entire carpeted areas.
  • Move furniture away from walls and clean those areas first. Tab and block all furniture to prevent staining. Move furniture back to the exact location where you found it. Clean the open areas last.
  • For the HWE method, precondition and agitate.
  • For the HWE method, be careful not to overwet the carpet when extracting. Over-wetting can lead to browning, wicking, and long dry times. Be sure to make enough extraction passes using proper techniques.
  • Apply post-treatment chemicals. Protectors are always applied last. Be sure to wipe up any overspray.
  • Groom the carpet. This will help the carpet to dry faster, and it will improve the overall appearance. Grooming also helps to spread post-treatments with good penetration.
  • For HWE. It is best to dry the carpet using air movers. Turn on ceiling fans with the customer’s approval. For HWE, the carpet should dry within 6-8 hours. For VLM, the carpet should dry within 30 minutes to 2 hours.

After Completion of the Job:

  • Go back over all areas with the customer. Make sure everything has been done to their satisfaction. If they have any concerns, even if you think you have done everything possible, try again.
  • Get paid.
  • Give the customer tips on maintaining their carpet. Explain the drying process and why it is best for people and pets to stay off the carpet until it is dry. Emphasize the importance of frequent vacuuming.
  • Give them a bottle of spotter with your company name and logo. See our Custom Spotter Program.
  • Thank the customer for their business and leave business cards for their friends and neighbors.

Leaving the Job Site:

  • Check for kids, bikes, and family pets before pulling away.
  • Back out carefully.

Post-Job Procedures:

  • If you use Hot Water Extraction, dump your waste in a manner approved by local, state, and federal guidelines. The wastewater must go to a wastewater treatment facility. It is illegal to dump wastewater into ponds, lakes, rivers, streets, storm sewers, and driveways. It can also be very expensive if you are caught!
  • Prepare for the next cleaning day. Replenish all cleaning supplies.
  • If dirty, wash your vehicle.
  • Organize your vehicle for the next working day.

Happy Residential Carpet Cleaning!

Steve Smith Founder of VacAway
Steve Smith, VacAway Founder

Learn more about Encapsulation Carpet Cleaning