Frequently Asked Questions
On Time Cleaning
Low Moisture Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning
Safe, effective, and affordable.
How often should I clean my carpets and upholstery?
That depends. If your main concern is appearance, you can wait until the carpets or furniture looks dirty. If you’re concerned about hygiene, or extending the life of your carpets and upholstery then regular cleanings are necessary. Here’s why:
Dirt is very abrasive, and most carpet fibers and upholstery fabrics can hold a lot of dirt before it becomes visible. This in-ground dirt wears away at the carpet and fabric fibers, wearing away at their surface. Once the fibers have been dulled through abrasion, they can still be cleaned but will not regain the former quality of appearance and wear. In addition, they may re-soil more rapidly due to scuffing. Surface treatments also abrade, so failing to do regular maintenance cleanings and re-apply carpet/fabric protectors may make your investment more susceptible to permanent stains.
Deep cleaning every 12-18 months, with regular maintenance cleanings in between is recommended by most carpet manufacturers. Using a good anti-resoil detergent and applying a proper after treatment can extend the life of carpets and upholstery by as much as two times.
What is the right way to clean my carpets and upholstery?
As with anything, cleaning involves removing surface dirt (typically dry particulate), as well as the various oils and grime which tend to soak into fabrics. The crucial elements in a thorough cleaning are to first, vacuum any surface dirt. For carpet, the cleaning process should include a pile lifting brush to clean the very base of the carpet fibers.
Secondly, it is important to pre-treat heavily trafficked areas or areas of visible soil or spotting. Finally, it is important to use a cleaning process which includes the appropriate detergent, agitation, and a rapid extraction process. More on this later.
What is the difference between a spot and a stain?
A spot can be removed by applying the appropriate solvent or cleaner. A stain has permanently altered the appearance of the fibers. While it is possible to reduce the visibility of many stains, the only way to fully remove a stain is by bleaching and re-dyeing the affected area. (Stains can also be removed by 'sectioning' - removing a piece of the carpet and replacing it with a section taken from a closet or other low use area.
Can’t I clean my carpets and upholstery myself?
Of course you can. The best thing you can do to maintain and clean your carpets and upholstery is to vacuum regularly (several times a week), and to promptly clean up spills by blotting the area (not rubbing).
Can a homeowner achieve professional results with a rented machine, or non-commercial home cleaning machine?
Probably not. Rental equipment is 'foolproof' but may lack the versatility and power to properly agitate and extract. There is also a significant difference in the cleaning solutions which are available to a homeowner vs those which are available to a cleaning professional.
Besides the difference in tools and detergents, without the proper training you may actually do more harm than good. Professional cleaners have invested thousands of dollars in training, and often thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in equipment. Professional cleaners understand how to match pre-treatments, detergents and agitation levels to the fiber composition of your carpet. A large percentage of homeowners wind up calling a professional to “fix” the job, after attempting to self clean. How much is your time worth?
I’ve heard that carpets get dirty faster once they have been cleaned?
This happens only if the cleaning solution used does not have good anti-resoil capabilities. ALL cleaning detergents leave some residue on the fabric. Detergents which are somewhat ‘sticky’ leave a residue which attracts dirt. Detergents which leave a dry brittle residue do not provide a base for dirt to adhere to , and actually last longer between cleanings.
I’m concerned about mold and mildew. Is this a risk?
Mold and mildew can occur when carpets are made overly wet, and the backing is soaked (or penetrated through). In addition, high temperatures and dark conditions contribute to the growth of bacteria. Hence it is very important not to overwet the carpets, and to promptly extract ALL excess moisture.
What about dust mites?
Dust mites survive by eating dead skin cells. Dust mites are present in greater quantities on mattresses and furniture than they are in carpets. Regular deep cleaning can help lessen the presence of dust mights. High temperatures can help kill the existing dust mite population, but poses additional risk to the carpet backing (if the temperature is not closely regulated). An alternative solution is to apply an after treatment such as Microban.
Can carpet cleaning damage my carpets?
An appropriate cleaning process conducted under the guidance of a skilled technician should not cause damage to the carpet. However, there are certain types of cleaning systems which pose greater risk if not used properly. Cleaning methods which involve the use of hot water extraction pose a risk from both excess temperature and excess moisture. Excess temperature can cause degradation of the adhesives and cause the carpet backing to delaminate. Excess moisture can contribute to the growth of mold, mildew and other bacteria. A properly trained technician who is experienced in the use of his/her equipment can minimize the risk and provide a thorough cleaning no matter which method of cleaning is used. Unfortunately, many carpet technicians are hired and put on a truck with little or no training. Do you want to take that risk?
Is there a better way?
Yes. The Von Schrader “low-moisture” extraction system uses a low moisture foam cleaning agent which has been specifically designed to be both hypoallergenic and anti-resoiling. Von Schrader pioneered on location carpet cleaning in the mid 1930’s (prior to this, rugs were rolled up and sent “out” for cleaning, or were simply beaten to remove dirt). Extreme temperatures are avoided, so there is no risk to the adhesives in the carpet backing. Very little moisture remains in your carpet, as the system recovers 85% of the water used to make the detergent. Carpet is typically dry in about 2-4 hours, with slightly longer drying times for upholstery and natural fiber fabrics. And best of all, the Von Schrader system deep cleans as well or better than many of the other systems on the market today.
At On Time Cleaning, we use a slightly modified Von Schrader process, based upon years of prior research in the field. For synthetic fiber carpets (most carpeting), we pre-heat the cleaning solution to approximately 160 degrees. Hot enough to obtain maximum cleaning efficiency WITHOUT risk to your backings. We call this "Hot Foam" Extraction. For natural fiber carpets or for upholstery, we use a cleaning solution at much lower temperature (equivalent to hot tap water), because these fabrics are more susceptible to damage. The right tools and the right method for each job. This is where training and experience make the difference, and help protect your valuable investment.
I'd like to see your system in action. How do I request a demo?
Commercial accounts can request a free demo of our services. We'll be glad to schedule a visit during the week to clean a small area of one of your carpets (8-10 sq. ft) at no charge. Just call ____________ and ask for a demo.
Residential customers may schedule a demo 'party' with a few friends and neighbors. There must be a minimum of 5 adults from different households in attendance. As a host/hostess, you will receive a free cleaning of 1 room, and/or 1 large armchair.
How do I request a quote?
Call (859)351-9910 to request a quote. Leave a detailed message with your name and phone number, and a good time to reach you by telephone. Someone will call you back within 24 hours.
How can I save even more money?
1) With our 'refer-a-friend' program, you receive a referral coupon at cleaning worth 10%. Write your name and address on the back and give it to a friend or neighbor. When they schedule and complete a cleaning, they can present the coupon and I'll validate the coupon for 10% off your next cleaning. Collect 10 and receive your next cleaning totally FREE. It's my way of saying thank you for the referral.
2) Another way to save is by combining home and business services. If you own a business and keep it under service contract with On Time Cleaning, we will offer you an additional discount on your residential cleaning needs.
3) A third way to save is by purchasing a service contract for your home or business. Residential service contracts combine spring and fall cleanings at a reduced rate, and may also include upholstery services and emergency spot cleaning at a substantial discount. Commercial contracts combine area wide cleanings with periodic maintenance cleanings of high traffic areas, as well as furniture and other office cleaning needs. We will never force you into a contract that doesn't meet your needs. We will tailor a program designed for your home or business.
How does the low moisture system clean my carpets? I’ve always been told that hot water was the best method?
The key components of any cleaning system are an appropriate agitation of the detergent, adequate dwell time, a thorough emulsification process (the dirt particles become suspended and “trapped”: in the detergent), and extraction (removal of the dirt and excess detergent). Hot water systems frequently lack consistent and thorough agitation, because the amount of agitation usually depends upon the effort put forth by the operator when scrubbing with the “wand”. In addition, less skilled technicians using this method may run the temperature too high, or fail to make adequate dry passes (leaving your carpet too wet for too long). If you choose HWE, remember to identify a firm who can certify that their technicians are properly schooled, and who guarantees their work.
The Von Schrader Low Moisture Extraction system provides a thorough agitation of specially formulated encapsulation detergents which 'trap' the soil. The agitation is accomplished by a powered cylindrical brush (carpet system), or a pair of counter rotating brushes (upholstery system). Full agitation is accomplished independent of the operator skill or fatigue, and different bristle brushes are selected for more delicate carpets and fabrics. Following agitation and emulsification, a thorough extraction of the soil is accomplished by a powerful built-in vacuum motor.
Please note that while an unskilled operator may be less likely to cause damage using low moisture systems, the ability to provide thorough deep cleaning still depends upon operator training. ALL technicians from On Time Cleaning have attended factory training and graduated from the Von Schrader Training School, located in Racine, Wi.
Do you offer a guarantee?
We're not looking for cleaning jobs, we're seeking lifetime customers. People who are so satisfied with our service that they will rave about it and tell all their friends and neighbors. In accordance with that philosophy, we will make every effort to exceed your expectations. We'll show up as scheduled, conduct ourselves in a professional manner, and deliver what we promised - a thorough and professional deep cleaning, with attention to detail and respect for your home or business. If you are ever dissatisfied we want to make it right. We'll reclean an affected area at your request, or make an extra effort to accomodate your specific and unique cleaning needs.
Is On Time Cleaning insured?
On Time Cleaning is fully insured, with a comprehensive business liabilty policy. Commercial accounts may request to be listed as an additional insured and retain a copy of our insurance certificate for their records.
How do I prepare for my cleaning appointment?
Residential customers should prepare by pre-vacuuming the areas to be cleaned. Any loose items, toys, electronics (tv, etc) should be picked up off of the floor and moved in advance of the scheduled appointment. While we will gladly move a standard sofa, armchair, or table out of the way for cleaning, we are unable to move fragile items, electronics, or large items of furniture such as attached sectional sofas, china cabinets, beds, dressers, or bookcases. In most cases, it is better to clean around these items because it is not avisable to replace heavy items on a damp or wet carpet. Additional preparation for homeowners is to make sure someone is home to verify the pre-inspection, allow access to the site, and to ensure all pets are securely contained.
Commercial customers are frequently not on-site at the time of the cleaning. We provide a form whereby a business owner can note any areas requiring special attention, and we ask that this form be left in an accessible location so that we do not overlook any special needs. We also ask that access to the site be pre-arranged to prevent a need for repeat calls.
Do you accept credit cards?
We accept most major credit cards, cash or personal check. Business customers with approved credit may receive terms of net 30 days.
What is the 'refer-a-friend' program?
With our 'refer-a-friend' program, you receive a referral coupon at cleaning worth 10% savings on your next cleaning. Write your name and address on the back and give it to a friend or neighbor. When they schedule and complete a cleaning, they can present the coupon and I'll validate the coupon. Collect 10 referrals and receive your next cleaning totally FREE! It's my way of saying thank you for the referral
Should I use carpet/fabric protector?
Carpet/fabric protector is a great way to prevent spots and spills from turning into permanent stains. However, even with carpet/fabric protectors it is important to immediately BLOT as much of the spill as possible as soon as it occurs.
Most people don't realize that many carpet/fabric protectors need to be re-applied at each cleaning. Because the application of these post treatments is expensive, you should evaluate the utility of these products based on the current condition of your carpets/furniture, and how long you want to keep them in service.
After my last carpet cleaning, some spots and stains remained. Why?
There is a difference between a spot and a stain. A true stain cannot be removed by cleaning. A stain must be removed by bleaching, then re-dyeing the affected area. On Time Cleaning does not offer a bleaching/dyeing service at this time.
Most spots can be removed, or signifcantly lessened, through repeated cleanings and the application of the approprate solvents. Routine professional area wide cleaning may or not remove these spots, even with the application of pre-sprays and spot removers. Frequently, the homeowner no longer recollects the specific nature of the spill, which can make it time consuming to idenfity the substance and also to remove it.
How long will it take for my carpets and furniture to dry completely?
There are many factors which affect drying time. Using the low moisture Von Schrader system, carpets are typically dry in 2-3 hours, furniture may take a few hours longer. We don't recommend using furniture until completely dry, or replacing heavy items (bookcases, dressers) on wet or damp carpet. In the winter, things generally dry faster due to the dry air.
Can you clean specialty fabrics such as Haitan Cotton, leathers, and fine oriental carpets?
Yes, VonSchrader systems are safe for all fine fabrics. We have specialty cleaners for Haitan Cotton and finished leathers. Our agitation system uses gentle brushes which assure thorough cleaning, but which will not harm even delicate fabrics.
We test for color fastness. Especially for patterned items, or upholstery, we will not attempt a cleaning if the item does not pass the test for color fastness (no bleed).
Do you offer carpet repair services or carpet dyeing?
On Time Cleaning does not directly provide carpet repair (seams, stretching, patches) or carpet dyeing, but we can help you identify someone in your local area who can complete these tasks as required.
I'm interested in purchasing equipment for my commercal facility. Who should I call to arrange a demo?
Call (859)351-9910 and indicate you are interested in purchasing equipment. We can demo the LMX Carpet Machine and the Espirit Upholstery System at your site, and help you arrange training for your employees.
What is the best thing I can do for my carpets and upholstery, to extend their beauty and their longevity?
Actually there are three things. By careful attention to all three areas, you can probably DOUBLE the life of your carpet.
The first and most important thing you can do is work towards soil prevention. This is done by allowing walk off areas where people enter your home, either non carpeted areas or floor mats. Most soil comes in on our shoes, so preventing the soil from ever contacting the carpet is the first stage in extending the life of your carpets.
The next thing, is to remove soil promptly. Remember, carpets can hide a lot of soil. If you wait for them to look dirty, you have waited too long. Dirt is very abrasive. Once you wear the carpet fibers, cleaning will not restore their luster. Vacuum, vacuum, vaccum. You cannot over vacuum your carpets. For spills, remove all solid materials gently. Then blot, don't rub, as much of the liquid as possible. This should be done immediately. You should also rinse the affected area and again blot out the excess liquid.
The final thing is to have your carpets professionally cleaned at least every 12 months, more frequently if you have children, pets, or high traffic areas. Professional cleaning helps remove the oily dirt that vacuums cannot pick up, and penetrates to the base of the carpet fibers. Consider applying carpet/fabric protector to traffic areas or areas with a high risk of spills.
Can anyone really clean my carpets for $7.95 per room? I see these ads all the time....
We've all seen the ads. Some promise $4.95 per room, some promise $12.95 per room. The truth is , you will get what you are willing to pay for and not much more.
A true professional cleaner has overhead which includes vehicle expense, equipment expense, advertising, business telephone lines, and cleaning chemicals. On Time Cleaning has over $10,000 invested in professional equipment and is fully insured. It would cost us more than the above rates to show up and clean your home or business, much less pay salaries and make a profit.
Don't be deceived by bait and switch operators who promise the world but are unable to deliver. Many times they employ transients who are not trained in the proper operation of the equipment, and many times they are only interested in cleaning as quickly as possible to get to the next job. Often, as soon as they arrive, they wil present you with a list of costly 'add-on's', which are included at no charge in a true professionals estimate. Things like pre-vacuuming, pre sprays, extra attention to traffic areas, etc. It costs more to do the job right, the first time. Our customers deserve and receive a quality cleaning.
What do I do if I'm ever not satisfied?
Give me a call and we'll talk about it. My goal is your complete satisfaction, and I'll make every effort to make things right.