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Residential Carpet Cleaning Procedures


Before we can talk about procedures, let’s look at your image. Do you realize that before you even open your mouth, the customer has already determined if she likes you?


In his book Blink, Malcom Gladwell refers to this first impression moment as our “adaptive unconscious.” This part of our brain is similar to a giant computer that quickly and quietly processes a lot of data. Your customer quickly and quietly assesses you—the condition of your van, your uniform, and body language—and then decides if she will let you in.


This is “thin slicing,” which refers to the ability of our unconscious to find patterns in situations and behavior based on very narrow slices of experience. You are being compared to every other service person she has dealt with. If you look shabby, unkempt, and sloppy, your customer will already have an opinion of the type of service you provide.


The Do’s of Working with Residential Carpet Cleaning Customers:

  • Wear a clean uniform
  • Work on your grooming
  • Wear an ID badge
  • Smile
  • Look your customer in the eye


While having the technical expertise is critical, even more important is how the technician relates and communicates to the customer. The choice of one or two technicians is up to the company. The consumer, who is most likely female, would prefer two technicians for a couple of reasons:

  • She feels safer with two people.
  • She feels her furniture will be properly moved


Two technicians will not complete the job in half the time of one technician, but they will be much faster and more efficient. Two technicians usually are more cost effective. The second technician can be cleaning upholstery or other material in the home while the first technician is cleaning the carpet. This setup also allows for proper training of a second technician.


How to Greet the Customer:  

  • Knock on the door and step back
  • When the customer answers, smile and hand her your business card
  • After the customer has invited you in, place a bathmat on the floor and wipe your feet
  • Look at your clipboard and ask the customer to show you the areas to be cleaned. A good preinspection and communication of your findings will prevent complaints and instill confidence
  • As the customer gives you a tour, write down any and all comments on your invoice. Ask the customer the following pertinent questions:
    • How old is the carpet?
    • Are there any spots or areas of concern?
    • Are there any pets?
    • Are there any bad seams, ripples, or loose carpet?
    • Have there been any previous cleanings? If so, how long ago?
    • Are there any health concerns of occupants?
  • Perform a burn test and colorfastness test if needed
  • Review the areas of concern with the customer and explain what you will do to take care of these areas. Do not over promise. Set realistic expectations for the customer
  • Start in the furthest area of the home and work your way towards the exit unless the customer requests otherwise


Basic Carpet Cleaning Principles:

  • Pre-vacuum all edges and entryways. Give extra attention to traffic areas
  • Move furniture away from walls and clean perimeters first. Remember to tab and block all furniture to prevent staining. Once the perimeter is cleaned, the open areas of the room can be cleaned next. Move furniture back to the exact location where you found it
  • Precondition and agitate
  • Perform extraction. Note: Overwetting, which leads to browning, wicking, and longer dry times, is normally caused by technician error. Not enough extraction passes, improper technique, or faulty equipment can cause this
  • Apply post-treatment chemicals. Protectors are always applied last. Be sure to wipe up any overspray
  • Groom the carpet. This helps the carpet to dry and improves the overall appearance. Grooming also helps to spread post-treatments and allow for good penetration
  • Dry the carpet. Use air movers. Turn on ceiling fans with customer’s approval. Check ceiling fans for soil accumulation before activating. Best drying temperature is between 70-72°. Carpet should dry within 6-8 hours


When the job is done…

  • Review the job with the customer. Make sure everything has been done to her satisfaction. If she has any concerns, even if you think you have done everything possible, try it one more time. Make one final trip through the home to make sure you didn’t leave anything behind
  • Ask for the check number
  • Give her tips on maintaining her carpet. Explain the drying process and why it is best for people and pets to stay off the carpet till it is dry. Provide her with traffic lane paper or booties. Emphasize the importance of frequent vacuuming. It is a good idea to inspect her vacuum and point out any concerns, e.g., belts, bags, and brushes
  • Thank the customer for her business and leave business cards for her friends and neighbors


Leaving the job…

  • Be sure to walk around your van and close all the doors. Check for kids, bikes, and the family dog before you pull away
  • Pick up any balls of fuzz in the driveway that came from your vacuum hose
  • Back out carefully


Post Job Cleanup

  • Dump waste in a manner approved by local, state, and federal guidelines. The wastewater must go to a wastewater treatment facility. Dumping wastewater into retention ponds, lakes, rivers, storm sewers, streets, and driveways is illegal and very expensive if you are caught.
  • Clean and refill sprayers and containers
  • Wash the van
  • Organize the van for the following day


Training Opportunity:
Carpet Cleaning Technician (CCT) is a hands-on training course that covers the basics of carpet cleaning from proper chemistry to solutions to the ten most common and most difficult carpet cleaning challenges, making it ideal for those new to the industry or old pros looking to brush up on the latest carpet cleaning techniques. This course qualifies for IICRC certification and Continuing Education Credits.

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  1. Prospector® PE500 Carpet Extractor with Heat, 500 PSI, Dual 2‑Stage
    Prospector® PE500 Carpet Extractor with Heat, 500 PSI, Dual 2‑Stage
    The Prospector PE500 is designed to handle more aggressive cleaning tasks, such as heavily soiled carpet and minor hard surface cleaning. With an adjustable 50–500 PSI pump and 1,750 watt inline heater, you get plenty of power and heat for blasting away tough dirt and grime.
    • 50–500 PSI pump
    • 145 inches of water lift
    • 107 CFM
    • Dual 2-Stage Motors
    • 15-gallon solution and recovery tanks
    • 1,750 watt inline heater
    • Wand and hoses sold separately
  2. Professional Carpet Spotting Kit
    Matrix® Professional Spotting Kit

    Easily remove 98% of the spots typically encountered by professional cleaners or in-house cleaning staffs with no prior training required! This kit includes all the professional spotters you need plus a spotting brush, eye droppers, pH paper, and a handy color-coded chart in both English and Spanish!

    • Remove even mystery stains with ease
    • No experience or training needed
    • Everything you need in one convenient package
    • Color-coded spotting chart included
    • Instructions in English and Spanish
  3. Matrix® Grand Slam SC® TLC / Pre‑Spray
    Matrix® Grand Slam SC® TLC / Pre‑Spray

    Matrix Grand Slam TLC is an incredible pre-spray that will help you get a better clean in less time. Plus, due to its unique chemistry, it won't clog up your jets, and it even improves dry times all for less than a penny per square foot! One concentrated gallon makes 33 RTU!

    • Three times more cleaning power than other pre-sprays
    • Great pre-spray for commercial and residential carpet
    • pH: 9.5–9.8
    • Safe for stain-resistant carpets
    • Dilute 4 ounces per gallon of water

    Starting at $49.21

  4. Matrix® Confidence Premium Extraction Detergent
    Matrix® Confidence Premium Extraction Detergent

    A special blend of professional-strength ingredients gives Confidence the maximum cleaning power available in a liquid detergent. Even grungy, greasy commercial or restaurant carpet will be left clean and feeling incredibly soft.

    • Liquid with the cleaning power of a powder
    • Contains citrus solvents; breaks down grease
    • pH: 10.0 in RTU solution
    • Safe for stain-resistant carpet
    • Variable dilutions

    Starting at $26.72

  5. Matrix® Finish First Carpet Extraction Detergent Powder
    Matrix® Finish First Carpet Extraction Detergent Powder

    Choose Finish First to attack the biggest challenges customers throw your way. Special additives allow this formula to penetrate and flush away grease, oil, or water-based grime even on tough, stain-resistant carpeting.

    • Tough enough for your worst jobs
    • Commercial and residential use
    • pH: 10.0–11.0
    • Safe for stain-resistant carpet
    • Variable dilutions

    Starting at $38.99

  6. Matrix® Complete Rinse
    Matrix® Complete Rinse

    Just as the name implies, Matrix Complete Rinse is a product you can use with complete confidence on ALL carpets and wet-cleanable upholstery, including commercial, residential, and yes, even wool! It eliminates dirt and cleaning solution residues, leaving carpet and upholstery looking its best.

    • Eliminates dirt and cleaning solution residue
    • Leaves carpet bright and soft
    • pH: 5.2–5.8
    • Safe for stain-resistant carpet and wool
    • Variable dilutions

    Starting at $47.67

  7. 3M Scotchgard Carpet and Upholstery Protector Concentrate
    3M™ Scotchgard™ Carpet and Upholstery Protector

    Protect carpet and upholstery from spots and spills with America's most well-known brand: 3M Scotchgard! Each bottle offers classic 1:4 dilution strength and hooks right into a PowerForce, Hydro-Force, or other sprayer. Each RTU gallon covers 200 sq ft. 

    • 78% consumer brand awareness
    • Dual action protection makes clean-up easier
    • Blocks stains so they don’t set in
    • Use for all-over protection or after spot cleaning
    • Dilute 32 ounces per gallon of water

    Starting at $53.28

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