How to avoid carpet cleaning scams

It’s hard to miss those commercials for low, low prices on carpet cleaning, but many of them are too low to be true. Angie Hicks of Angie’s List report, has got the dirt on how to keep your carpet looking good longer without getting taken to the cleaners.


A professional cleaning will help rid your home of hidden dust and allergens that regular vacuuming can miss. Just as important, it will help preserve carpet fibers and keep colors brighter. But getting this work done sometimes comes at too high a price because of disreputable companies who dangle get-in-the-door prices that don’t generally hold up once you let the company inside your home. The two most common tactics:

  • Bait and Switch – This is the offer to get your carpets cleaned for 5 to 10 dollars a room. Usually, the homeowner is told their carpet is in really bad shape and the offer didn’t include pre-spray, deep cleaning and sometimes even using hot water – all essential to a proper carpet cleaning.
  • High-pressure sales – This tactic preys on the homeowner’s desire to get the job done right. Homeowners are told there are some spots that need additional cleaning because of how dirty they are, and that without the extra attention, those areas of the floor will stand out and make the floor look bad.

Angie’s List tips to avoid getting scammed:

  • Insist on a written estimate that details all charges – and read the fine print.
  • Don’t guess if you don’t understand anything on the estimate. Do they charge by the hour or square feet of the room? Are they going to charge you for the square feet where your master bed is that you just want cleaned around? Do you need to move your furniture or will they charge you to do that? Are all pre-sprays, and other tasks included or add-ons?
  • Your carpet cleaner should be certified by the IICRC (Institution of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification.) You can check at
  • Is there a guarantee? A good company will return to clean spots that reappear within a short period of time.
  • Watch out for those companies who come in and out in a hurry. It takes time to go through the process from start to finish.
  • Does the company use hot water from its truck? Or will they be using your water?
  • Do they have liability and insurance? If they break something in your home will they pay to fix it or leave you with the cost?
  • Ask how much experience they have with cleaning carpets.
  • Make sure they use the right type of solution on your carpet.