There are plenty of things that can go wrong when it comes to carpet cleaning, but perhaps one of the surest ways to get off on the wrong foot is making the assumption that carpet cleaning is a straightforward service anyone can deliver with little or no training. In fact, Bill Yeadon, training director of Jon-Don, a Roselle, Illinois-based distributor, describes this belief as “the most glaring problem” behind many carpet cleaning mistakes.

“Contract cleaning isn’t a difficult process, but it does require following simple principles and processes,” he says. “One method or one chemical doesn’t take care of all situations.”

A properly trained and educated professional will assess each floor, says Yeadon, selecting the right processes and chemistry based on the needs of that specific area.

In the past, it was common to deploy a more macro strategy, treating all the carpeted surfaces in a building as equal, therefore requiring the same soil removal/cleaning processes and frequency, says Bill Griffin, president of Cleaning Consultant Service, Inc., Seattle. But he says taking a micro perspective is more effective and cost-efficient, since each carpeted surface faces its own set of unique, use-based issues that should dictate the approach.

Inspecting the carpet before cleaning is an important first step. Look for spots, open seams, pulled yarns, stains, damage and severe texture change to the carpeting, says Griffin.

“These problem areas, conditions and issues should be documented in writing and communicated to the supervisor or client before cleaning begins,” he says. “Set the expectations in the customer’s mind about what you can and cannot do. If you inspect, document and communicate ahead of time, you can avoid 95 percent of the problems you might have with that supervisor or client.”

And then, says Griffin, building service contractors can figure out which cleaning process will deliver the best results with the least chance of a negative impact.