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Frequently Asked Questions


Rotovac® Cleaning

Common Carpet Care Issues

Use the links below to quickly get to your question, but please take the time to look over all of our FAQ.


Best Cleaning Method

Question 1 – Should I have my carpets “shampooed”, “dry” cleaned or “steam” cleaned?

Answer – Dan, Dan the Carpet Man utilizes the “hot water extraction method” (commonly referred to as “steam cleaning”) for deep cleaning and sanitizing your carpets. This is by far the best method for cleaning and maintaining carpets. In fact, most carpet manufacturers recommend the “hot water extraction method” and alternate carpet cleaning methods (including “dry” cleaning) may void the manufacturer’s warranty.

The “hot water extraction process” has become the preferred cleaning method for residential and commercial carpet. The high-heat and pre-spray agents combine to deep clean, disinfect, and deodorize your carpets. The constant vacuum pressure extracts suspended soils and contaminants – all of which are vented outside your home. Advanced “steam cleaning” sanitized your carpets and leaves less residue than any other cleaning process.

Question 2 – Does your cleaning process soak the backing of the carpet?

No, although our process rinses the carpet deep down, moisture does not penetrate the backing of the carpet. With our powerful vehicle-mounted equipment, your carpet is thoroughly rinsed, but left only damp to the touch.

Question 3 – How long does my carpet stay wet after “steam cleaning”?

Following our thorough “steam cleaning” your carpet’s surface may still seem damp to the touch, however because Dan, Dan the Carpet Man uses a low-moisture continuous extraction cleaning technique it will be fully dry within 4-hours to 24-hours (based on outside weather conditions and the proper cycling of your HVAC system – see question 11).

Our commercial-grade truck-mounted machinery pulls most of the moisture out of your carpet as we clean. To further ensure that our cleaning process leaves the minimum residual moisture, we train our technicians to use a proven low-moisture “wand technique” and allow them to take the appropriate time to extract excess moisture from your carpeting.

Tip: Damp carpet re-soils rapidly, creates potential for slip-fall problems, and can harbor the growth of bacteria with associated odor. Most low-cost carpet cleaners cannot afford to take the time necessary to extract enough excess water to have the result considered to be a “low-moisture” cleaning.

Service Fact: The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is the most recognized body of certification for carpet and upholstery cleaners. The IICRC S100 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Carpet Cleaning has drying specifications in section 7.5:

“When cleaning carpet, it is highly recommended that drying occur within six to eight hours or less: however, drying time must not exceed 24 hours. Failure of the professional to implement drying procedures could result in a variety of after-cleaning problems. Often, occupant cooperation is needed to expedite drying.

Carpet Cleaning Myths Exposed

Question 4 – I’ve heard it’s best to put off having my carpet cleaned as long as possible. Is this true?

Answer – No. In fact, many of the major carpet mills now recommend professional cleaning at least once a year. The build-up of soil in your carpet, in combination with foot traffic, creates abrasion that breaks down your carpet’s fibers. The higher the traffic in a given area, the more often the carpet will need cleaning. If there are pets and/or children in the home, then at least three cleanings per year are recommended.

Tip: Vacuum your carpet as often as possible (2-3 times per week is recommended). Avoid tracking dirt onto carpet (use a door mat and ask family members and guests to remove street shoes before entering). Address spills immediately (using recommended technique). Have your carpets professionally cleaned at recommended intervals (3-times per year is optimal). Apply carpet protector immediately after each professional cleaning (use a fluorochemical treatment to protect the entire fiber not just the carpet surface – see question 6).

Question 5 – Is it true that after my first professional cleaning, will my carpets re-soil faster?

Answer – No, a thorough cleaning with our hot-water extraction method (“steam cleaning”) followed by the re-application of a high-quality carpet-protectant will actually prevent rapid re-soiling. Because we utilize high-quality cleaning surfactants (our proprietary pre-spray blend of emulsifier, disinfectant, and deodorizer) and commercial-grade vehicle-mounted extraction equipment to rinse and remove soils and other contaminants from your carpet, there is little or no residue left to attract and hold on to soils.

Tip: Apply carpet protector immediately after each professional cleaning (use a fluorochemical treatment to protect the entire fiber not just the carpet surface – see question 6).

Question 6 – Is “carpet protector” really worth the extra cost?

Answer – Yes, provided that your carpet is properly cleaned and maintained (regularly vacuumed and professional cleaned on a regular basis), carpet protection is recommended. A properly-applied fluorochemical treatment (a new high-tech application that protects the entire carpet fiber not just the carpet surface) will extend the life of your carpet and preserve the “look” of your carpet (when compared to un-protected carpet). Carpet Protector slows the absorption of most spills, making it easier to completely remove common spots and stains particular during professional “steam cleaning.” It will also minimize soil’s adhesion to carpet fibers, enabling you to remove more abrasive soils with less effort with regular vacuuming.

Tip: Carpet protector should only be applied to professionally-cleaned carpets that have been effectively restored to near-original condition. Treatment is not recommended on poorly maintained carpeting particularly if the fiber is already heavily stained, spotted, or worn (more frequent steam cleanings with the Rotovac® Power Head would be a better value – see Equipment on the Carpet Cleaning page of this website).

Best Practices

Question 7 – How are you different from other carpet cleaners?

Answer – Dan, Dan the Carpet Man gives you a price-per-sq-ft and we include EVERYTHING needed to get the job done right! NO TRICKERY, NO BAIT AND SWITCH, JUST HONEST, UP FRONT PRICING FOR A JOB WELL DONE!

  • You select the level of carpet cleaning service that is best for you. We have three (3) progressively more comprehensive carpet cleaning services starting with our award-wining 5-step service that’s comparable in price to our competitors, but with even better cleaning results. At our 2nd and 3rd levels we use more advanced equipment and spend much more time on the job adding up to 10 additional steps.
  • We provide an “over-the-phone” estimate, based on the information you provide.
  • We confirm our estimate with a written quote and send along our “published price list” (both in one email) so you can verify how we calculated the quoted price (you only pay for what you want to have cleaned).

Question 8 – Are you insured?

Answer – Yes, you should only trust your home and carpets to an insured professional.

Question 9 – What are the qualifications of the people that will be cleaning in my home?

Answer- Our entire team is very well trained, professional, kind, and trustworthy. Our cleaning crew arrives at your home on-time, dressed in uniform, and driving a well-marked service van or a vehicle pulling a company trailer.

Although we do occasionally bring on new staff, we will never send a “rookie” to do your work! Every new employee must meet our strict hiring guidelines and undergo a rigorous training program. New crew members are supervised by a “Lead Technician” and they are enrolled in the “IICRC Certification Program” immediately after successfully completing on-the-job training.

Our Lead Technicians are “IRCRC Certified” Carpet Cleaners who have been with the company for more than six years Dan trusts these long-time staff members explicitly — he gives them total access to his personal home and office, even in his absence.

You’ll be comfortable welcoming any of our team members into your home. Many of our customers make a special request for a specific technician to return for their next professional carpet cleaning service.


Table up on “blocks” to prevent moisture damage

Prepare for the best cleaning possible!

Question 10 – What should I do to prepare for carpet cleaning?

Answer – Actually, very little is required of our customers before we arrive. But, keep in mind that we will be spraying a cleaning solution, using very hot water, and employing steel headed vacuum tools during the cleaning process. So, even though we take reasonable care to prevent any damage to your furnishings and decor, accidents can occur when (i.) moving or elevating furniture, (ii.) while hoses are being deployed or retracted, or (iii.) as cleaning wands or power heads are in motion. To get the best possible results (and avoid additional service fees) we recommend that you take the following precautions:

  1. Pre-vacuum. The most important thing is to thoroughly vacuum your carpet before we arrive. If there is a lot of dirt or hair, we recommend vacuuming two or three separate times. This allows our technician to focus on what your vacuum won’t remove.
  2. Move Furniture. We can’t clean carpeted areas covered by your furniture and we don’t want to damage any of your electronic equipment or décor so you may want to move some furniture and secure breakable items before we arrive. Don’t worry about your dining table or a few light chairs – we can work around or elevate most legged furniture onto disposable plastic blocks and clean underneath.
  • Remove Large Furniture. Typically we clean around large furniture like beds, dressers, cabinets, sofas, recliners, credenzas, heavy chests; but if you want us to clean the area under these large pieces you must relocate them to another room (not in the workspace).
  • Store Breakables. If you have treasured nick-nacks, collectables, and/or breakables (including table and floor lamps) please remove these items from the workspace and store them in a safe place.
  • Relocate Small Furniture. Dining room chairs, occasional chairs, desk chairs, end tables, coffee tables, student desks, chests, and other small furniture must be relocated out of the workspace.
  • Secure Cords and Wires. If you have electrical cords, television or computer cables, surge protectors, multi-plugs, or other exposed wiring that could interfere with the carpet cleaning process; take the time to organize them, remove them, or otherwise secure them well above floor level so that we can better access the areas to be cleaned.
  • Protect Electronic Equipment. Portable electronic equipment (i.e., televisions, appliances, computers, monitors, printers, tablets, phones, etc.) should be turned-off and securely placed on a shelf or desktop that will not be relocated (moved) during the cleaning process. The equipment should not be on the carpet while we are cleaning or placed on the damp carpet immediately after we clean.
  • Re-arrange Closets. If we are to clean carpets inside any closet (we charge separately for bedroom, walk-in, and hall closets), please remove any items on the closet floor (shoes, boxes, toys, etc.) or near the floor (long jackets, gowns, full-length coats) so that we can thoroughly clean the carpeting and avoid wetting fabrics or items.
  • Tie-back Bedding and Window Coverings. To facilitate better cleaning around your bed(s) and under low hanging draperies (or other window coverings) while preventing damage to delicate fabrics or panels, it’s best to remove or tie-back any bed skirts (or bedding materials) and window coverings that hang at or near floor level.

Service Fact: Furniture moving is not included in our Basic Service (Level 1). For your convenience, furniture moving is included in our Advanced Service (Level 2) and Ultimate Service (Level 3), however some restrictions still apply. Our technician will move any non-electronic small furniture (see above definition) in the work area as long as one person can easily do so. We will clean under the pieces, return them to their original location, and then elevate them on disposable plastic blocks (protects the carpet and the furniture by preventing surface contact until dry). Bedroom furniture will remain in place with the exception of night stands which will be moved upon request. If items are moved by customer prior to cleaning, then 24 hours should pass before said items are returned so thorough drying can occur.

Furniture Moving is only included with 15 step (level 3) Ultra Care Service. It can be added a- la-carte to our 7 and 10 step processes for an additional fee.

Question 11 – What should I do after you finish cleaning my carpets?

Answer – If you take the following three (3) steps after we leave, you’ll have a better carpet cleaning experience.

  1. Limit Access. While the carpet is drying, try to avoid using the room or walking on the carpet with bare feet. If it is necessary to walk on the carpet, wear clean shoes or white stockings. Keep children and pets off the carpet. Use a door mat.
  2. Delay Moving Furniture. Avoid moving furniture onto wet carpet. Wait until the carpet is fully dry. Our technicians may have used disposable styrofoam blocks under the furniture legs. If so, leave them in place until your carpet is dry to the touch. This will avoid color transfer or damage to your carpet.
  3. Accelerate Drying Time. Although our vehicle-mounted machinery pulls most of the moisture out of your carpet, it may still seem damp to the touch (refer to question 3). The use of fans will speed up drying time, but the most effective way to accelerate carpet drying time is the proper cycling of air conditioning and heat. Your home’s HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system is the most important tool for drying carpet. If the temperature outside your home is above 70 degrees, set the air conditioning to 70 degrees for 6 hours and your carpets will be dry or well on their way. If the outside temperature is below 52 degrees, then the heat should be set at 75 degrees for a few hours. Very important – If outside temperature is between 55 and 70 degrees then the heat should be set at 80 degrees for one hour and the air conditioning at 70 degrees for one hour. Cycle between heat and air conditioning modes for 6 to 8 hours and you will have very dry carpet. The inside temperature is not important, only that the heat or air conditioning is constantly on for 6 to 8 hours. Fans are also useful in accelerating carpet drying time.

Service Fact: Our Ultimate 15-step process includes the use of “Air Movers” (commercial floor fans) to make your carpet dry faster.
All 3 packages include the deployment of fast-dry fans (air movers)while we are on the jobsite to help speed up the carpet drying process. For a small additional fee, the air movers can remain on the job for up to 24-hours (we will pick-up the equipment on the following business day).


Tip: Contact Us for any additional information you need. We’ve been doing this for a long time and can provide a solution (or definitive answer) to all of your carpet cleaning and care questions.

Spot Removal





Question 12 – Can you get those ugly “spots” out of my carpets?

Answer – Yes, our regular “steam cleaning” process removes most “spots” from your carpeting. Regardless of the level of carpet cleaning you select, we include 2-steps to specifically deal with any spots on your carpet. Our “Pre-treat Step” is where we apply our proprietary blend of three (3) high-quality surfactants (cleaning agents) that emulsify and suspend the soils and contaminants in your carpet that caused surface spotting to occur. At our “Pre-spot Step” we locate and identify potentially difficult-to-remove spots, then apply a more concentrated pre-spray solution before steam cleaning.

In our “Advanced” (Level 2) and “Ultimate” (level 3) cleaning packages we add an additional “Post-spot Step” taking the time to address the more stubborn spots immediately using alternate “spotting agents” and re-cleaning. If any spots are not removed during the re-cleaning process, specialty spotting techniques are employed.

Regular “steam cleaning” cannot remove permanent “stains” (see question 16).

Tip: Cleaning your carpet with our Rotovac® equipment is sure to remove more “spots” due to the “mechanical advantage” in the process (i.e., rotary movement of the power head, increased agitation of cleaning agents, additional hot-water jets, and additional surface contact during the same cleaning time). Ask us about the effectiveness of this system!

Question 13 – A few spots returned after professional “steam” cleaning. What can be done about that?

Answer – When soil and other contaminants are absorbed deeper into your carper, particularly if they reach the carpet backing or padding, the possibility of “wicking” (reappearance of spots due to the migration of contaminants back up to the carpet surface) occurs after professional cleaning.

As part of the Dan, Dan the Carpet Man “re-clean guarantee” we will return to your home to re-clean any spots that we were able to remove but have returned within 3-weeks of our first cleaning. If “re-cleaning” is still not effective, more aggressive treatments like “sub-surface extraction” or chemical “stain-removal” may be needed (these services quoted separately).

Our re-clean guarantee does not cover spots that could not be removed during the initial cleaning.

Tip: Sometimes what is referred to as a “spot” is really carpet wear (particularly in high-traffic areas) or carpet dinge, a condition in which faded or non-resilient carpet fiber reflects light differently than the surrounding carpet fiber (makes it look dirty and dis-colored). Chemical treatment for “dingy carpet” is available at an additional cost, but this is usually used for rental properties that need to make a good “first impression” on prospective tenants (so the carpets don’t have to be replaced immediately). This treatment is not recommended for resident homeowners.

We do not offer our re-clean guarantee on Berber Carpets as this type of fiber and weave is more susceptible to “wicking” (see definition above).

Question 14 – What should I use as a carpet spot-cleaner?

Dan, Dan’s Pro Spotter

Dan, Dan’s Pro Spotter

Answer – In between professional cleaning you can remove anything organic (urine, blood, vomit, red wine, natural juices) with hydrogen peroxide in the brown bottle from the drug store. Simply (i.) dump it on the spot, (ii.) place a clean white towel on the spot, (iii.) step on the towel, then (iv.) remove the towel and let the area dry (repeat if need).

Tip: We also recommend using our proprietary “spotter”. A bottle is yours for FREE every time Dan, Dan the Carpet Man professionally cleans your carpet. If you are not yet a customer, we still want you to try our “spot cleaner” so request a FREE carpet cleaning quote and we will send you a complementary bottle

If you must use a store-bought carpet spotter, apply to damp cloth – NOT directly to the carpet.

Question 15 – What can I do about bleach spots on my carpet?

Answer – Depending on the concentration, chlorine bleach spills can remove color from and may damage the polymer dye receptors in nylon carpet and can dissolve or significantly damage the fiber in wool carpets. Diluted bleach spills can be neutralized and re-dyed. Trained technicians can match the exact hue and shade of the carpet color making spots virtually disappear.

Tip: New color blending technologies have be recently introduced to the professional carpet care industry in hands on training sessions. Carpet coloring to eliminate bleach spots is available at an additional cost.

Stain Treatment

*Question 16 – How to you define a carpet “stain”?

Answer – Dan, Dan the Carpet Man defines a “stain” as “a specific area of discoloration in your carpet that was caused by an identifiable agent (other than regular soil or dirt) that cannot be easily removed by our standard “steam cleaning” process.

There are three (3) primary stain categories:

  • Category 1. Synthetic-based stains. Stains containing man-made dye – Examples: Kool-aid®, fruit punch, colored candy, cough syrup.
  • Category 2. Organic-based stains. Stains from a plant or animal source – Examples: wood, furniture, mustard, coffee, mold, urine, blood, vomit, etc.
  • Category 3. Petroleum-based stains. Petroleum derivative. Examples: gum, grease, tar, ink, adhesive

Tip: You can prevent most “spills” from becoming “spots” or more permanent “stains” by immediately cleaning up the area using proper techniques and cleaning agents. To protect the entire fiber not just the carpet surface from spills, apply a fluorochemical treatment (carpet protector) immediately after each professional cleaning (see question 6).

Contact Us for your FREE bottle of “spotter” (see question 14) and ask for our FREE report on “Carpet Care” that includes information about cleaning up spills.

*The information for question 16 was sourced from the “Pro’s Choice Technicians Guide to stain removal.”

Question 17 – Can you get that “stain” out of my carpet?

Answer – Regardless of category (see question 16), most stains can be removed. The solution (chemical solvent) and procedure (removal method) varies, but we are well-prepared and trained to handle most stains immediately. We can also order specialized products that can remove any type of stain.

Before you worry about any particular stain, remember that our deep cleaning process normally removes what our clients typically call “spots and stains”. So, let us employ our regular “pre-treat” and “deep cleaning” process to see if any “stains” remain behind before any specific treatment is recommended.

Regular “steam cleaning” cannot remove permanent “stains”

Tip: Depending on the technique used, the stain removal process can be time consuming and the chemicals are expensive. Stain removal can be costly, but it’s really worthwhile if one (or a few) stains are highly visible (in main traffic areas) and seriously detract from the beauty of your home that otherwise has well-maintained high-quality carpets and hard flooring.

Everything Else

Question 18- Is there anything I can do to remove furniture indentations in my carpet?

Answer – If you have ever re-arranged your furniture, you probably wondered what to do with the indentations that remained in the carpet. In some cases, when the carpet backings and pile get re-acclimated, the situation can correct itself. However, for those without patience, some light brushing and vacuuming may help resurrect the crushed fiber. Alternatively, the indent may be eliminated using heat (cover with a damp towel and apply steam from an iron, then brushing while still warm).

Tip: Nylon carpet pile (about 70% of residential carpet) responds particularly well to proper procedures for removing furniture indentations from carpet.

Service Fact: We have found that the mechanical action of a Rotovac® cleaning (uses motor-propelled rotary motion) is more effective at reducing or eliminating furniture indentations in carpet than a standard “wand” cleaning (uses 1-axis manual back-and-forth motion). Select our Level 2 or Level 3 service where Rotovac® cleaning is included.

Question 19 – What are those ugly black lines around the base-boards and under doorways?

Answer – If you have light colored carpet, you may have experienced dark lines that appear at the carpet’s edge. This phenomenon called “filtration soiling” is created when forced air (primarily from “unbalanced” HVAC systems) passes through the gap between the carpet and the baseboard (or under a closed door). As the air passes through the edge of the carpet pile, microscopic soiling is deposited (hence the term filtration soiling). This occurs over a long time period and generally not noticed until a significant 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.

Tip: “Filtration Soiling” can often be removed using a specifically-designed cleaning solution (a proprietary product available by order) and a special wand attachment. It takes a lot of time and effort, but a reasonable result can be achieved with some attention to detail. To help prevent the build-up of filtration soiling, vacuum the edges of the carpeting and wipe the baseboard on a regular basis. Be careful around the trackstrip on the edge of the carpeting as sharp edges could nick your fingers!

Question 20 – Can you get the pet odor out of my carpet?

Answer – Pet odor is a very common problem. And, the problem with pet odor is that it can be much deeper than it first appears. Pet urine can easily soak through the backing of the carpet into the padding underneath. In more severe cases the urine can penetrate into the sub-floor beneath the padding. This creates a problem that is multi-layered. The urine also provides for the growth of bacteria. This, in turn, contributes to a worsening of the odor problem and can contribute to permanent color loss of the carpet fiber.

To eliminate this problem the urine must be removed or neutralized from each of the layers effected. If the contamination is limited to only the face yarn of the carpet then the cleaning itself may effectively remove the odor. In more severe cases a urine neutralizer may be applied.

In the most severe cases, replacement of the carpet padding, treatment of the under-side of the carpet and the sub-floor may be required. Even replacement of the carpet, however, cannot guarantee complete removal of odor. Left untreated over a period of time pet odor can become absorbed into many of the porous materials in your home. Draperies, sheet rock, upholstered furniture, base-boards, even the concrete foundation are just a few of the materials that can absorb these odors.

Service Fact: Without specialized chemicals and hot water extraction equipment that professionals use, consumers are relegated to treating pet issues in their carpet using “off-the-shelf” products that can only provide temporary relief. Professionals have access to powerful chemical solutions that act directly on the source of the urine order (enzymes, deodorants, oxidizers, etc.) encapsulating, digesting, or destroying the odor-causing protein and/or bacteria. Post-treatment, professionals can use commercial-grade extraction equipment to rinse and remove suspended materials or dissolved residues from the carpet.

Tip: Dan, Dan the Carpet Man can help you deal with your pet challenges. Chemical technology for eliminating pet odor in carpeting has dramatically improved over the last few years. From minor problems to major headaches, we can find the solution that works best for you.

Question 21 – Do I need to get my carpets cleaned after water damage?

Yes! After you have experienced any sort of water damage, getting your carpets cleaned and disinfected is crucial. Not only do you want to ensure you are preventing mold from developing, depending on how long the water was in your carpet, you may have bacterial growth. In order to keep your family healthy, cleaning your carpets after experiencing water damage is crucial. In addition, even after water has been removed, odors and stains can show up days or even weeks later if your carpets were not cleaned afterwards.

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