FAQRoss Trittipo

Answers to Our Most Commonly Asked Questions

Click on each question to see the answer

How much do you charge?

We don’t know without seeing what you have. There are different types of carpet, different types of soil, easy to access jobs, hard to access jobs, and a whole host of other things that affect price. The fairest thing for everyone is to let us come out and see what you have, which is a FREE service. The info we gather gets plugged into our formula, and that determines the price.

There is no obligation at all. We get free advertising by being in your neighborhood and that’s good enough for us. In case you’re wondering, it doesn’t matter what side of the tracks you live on. We don’t adjust prices according to the prestige or infamy of your zip code. No one gets favoritism, no one gets penalized.

Why are you measuring wall to wall when half the carpet is covered with furniture?

Our prices aren’t based on the dimensions of the carpet we’re going to clean. We take room measurements and use a proprietary formula to arrive upon a fair price. The formula takes into account much more than just measurements, and we may even adjust the measurements down once we crunch some numbers. Trust us, we’ll treat you right. Our average job ticket is about $250 so you’re not going to have to mortgage the house or anything.

How long does it take to dry?

Great question! Drying should be considered part of the cleaning process. We aim for dry times in the four to six hour range. We’ve had dry times as fast as an hour or two, or as long as 24 hours. But four to six hours is average. Some of our competitors claim outrageous times of an hour or less. Um…no. Not happening. We’ll send someone out with a moisture probe to prove it if you’d like.

How long before we can walk on it?

You may walk on your carpet immediately. It won’t physically harm the carpet at all. However, you do run the risk of getting it dirty. One speck of dried mud on the bottom of your shoe can expand into a dime-sized spot if it’s tracked onto damp carpet. Just use caution and common sense. For instance, if you let your dog outside, wipe her paws when she comes back in. We will leave a pair of high quality shoe covers for each member of your family. Try to use them until the carpet is dry.

Do you roll out paper or something so we can walk on the carpet after it’s cleaned?

No, we do not. Doing so negatively affects the dry time. Also, paper, cardboard, towels, etc. will soak up the protector we apply on every job. We want the protector to stay in the carpet where it belongs.

What do we need to do before you come?

We want to do most of the work for you so we don’t ask our customers to do a whole lot. It is helpful to make sure pets are secured for our safety and theirs. It’s also great if you clear off any pieces of furniture you’d like for us to move. We’re happy to move your coffee table, but when it has 100 pounds of old TV Guides on the bottom shelf and a priceless Ming vase on the top shelf, things can get a little hairy.

The rest is pretty obvious. Have your teenagers pick up their dirty socks, have your husband put his golf clubs in the garage, and you put your feet up so we can do the rest.

Do we have to be home?

Not necessarily, although it’s a good idea. Mainly because we don’t want to accidentally miss something that was really important to you. One time we missed a tiny carpeted closet on the back side of a kitchen we didn’t even know existed. The homeowner wasn’t home to tell us someone dropped an open can of tomato sauce in there.

We did drive back that evening to take care of it (for free, of course), but it would have been nice to get everything done in one trip. If you have somewhere to be, that’s ok. All we really need is a detailed description of the work you want done and some way to get our grubby mitts on payment when we’re finished.

Can you leave an invoice?

For commercial work yes, that’s no problem. For residential work, payment is normally due at the time of service, but if you twist our arms we might cut you a break. We understand there are extenuating circumstances from time to time, and we’ll try to work with you when they arise.

Why should we use you?

I’ll give you 10 quick bullet points, but for a better explanation check out our About Us page by clicking here.

  • Ross, the owner, is on every job site
  • You get a six month warranty for free
  • We have insurance out the wazoo
  • We force dry your carpet
  • You get free encapsulant protector (good stuff!)
  • Our incredible attention to detail
  • Unrivaled stain removal skills
  • We protect your walls, corners, and floors with mats and special guards
  • We sanitize our tools and equipment between jobs
  • Free pet damage treatment

What method do you use?

The common term for our most regular process is steam cleaning, but it’s really called hot water extraction. Yes, steam is present, but it’s purely visual and doesn’t affect the cleaning process at all. Hot water is nature’s best cleaning agent. It just happens to put off steam. For a detailed description of what we do click here.

What method is best?

By far the absolute hands-down winner for most carpet is hot water extraction, also known as steam cleaning. That isn’t just our opinion or bias (we regularly do various types of dry cleaning when necessary). It’s the truth. Shaw and Mohawk both recommend hot water extraction for the vast majority of their products. In fact they require it to maintain warranties. Don’t believe the nonsense about hot water extraction causing mold and being dangerous. It’s hogwash.

Do you pretreat first?

Absolutely. Pretreatment is one of the cornerstones of carpet cleaning.  Any reputable business will include this vital step in even their most basic service. And just so you know, our pretreatment is butyl and VOC free and we only use about an ounce and a half per room.

Are the chemicals safe for our kids and pets?

Absolutely. Our main cleaning agent is nearly edible, and that’s not a joke. The two big problems you need to worry about when it comes to cleaning chemicals are butyl and VOCs. The stuff we use contains neither, which is very rare. Even though it is 100% safe maybe this will make you feel even better: In the average size room—about 180 square feet—we use around an ounce and a half of cleaning agent concentrate. That’s only three tablespoons!

Do you move furniture?

Do we! We LOVE moving furniture. You can’t be as fanatical as we are and leave a nightstand in place when we know there’s a full pound of dust behind it. We will move all that we reasonably can. That includes tables, dining room chairs, recliners, most sofas and loveseats, coffee tables, end tables, night stands, office mats and chairs, lamps, etc. We try to avoid moving large items like dressers, beds, and entertainment cabinets. If you have your heart set on those things we’ll move them too, but a small fee may apply per item.

Why aren’t you blocking up all of the furniture?

It’s only necessary to block furniture that will be sitting on damp carpet. If we move your sofa out from the wall, clean under it, and move it back, it will get blocked. If we don’t move the sofa and just clean around it, it usually does not need to be blocked up. Some items simply never need blocks. For instance many floor lamps have plastic bases, most office chairs have plastic wheels, and some children’s play items are made up entirely of plastic. We can move those around and they won’t need blocked, even if they are sitting on damp carpet.

What are the black edges on my carpet along walls and under doorways?

That’s a common problem in modern buildings called soil filtration. Basically the carpet acts as a filter and traps tiny particles of dirt out of the air as it’s forced under walls and doors. We can fix it. Click here to find out more.

Will you remove all my stains?

Our regular cleaning service includes attempting to remove every single stain we encounter, no matter what it is. Some stains are permanent, but if there’s any chance they’ll come out, we’ll get them out. The only thing we’d ever charge extra for is bad pet urine damage because much more is involved than just stain removal. Other than that, we’ll take care of the rest for free.

Why do the same stains reappear over and over?

Stains reappear for a couple reasons. The most common culprit is sticky soap residue from past cleanings that was never rinsed out all the way. This usually happens when someone uses an over-the-counter product to clean up a spot or stain. It’s common for people to use way too much. Then, even if the spot comes out, a foamy mess is left behind. In time dirt sticks to it and creates a dark stain. Unless, that is, a person knows how to fix foamy messes. We know some people that fit that bill, hint, hint.

The second most common reason stains return is because of a phenomenon called capillary action. This happens when a foreign material (soda, coffee, blood, etc.) is in the carpet backing or padding. The stain disappears when it’s cleaned, but over time it climbs back up the carpet fibers and rears it’s ugly head again. Have you ever put a stalk of celery into a cup of colored water? After several hours the entire stalk will have turned the same color as the water, even though the top half is sticking up out of the cup. That’s capillary action. It’s treatable but depending on the carpet type it can be an ongoing problem. However, it can be controlled, and we know some people who know how, hint, hint.

Why should I have my carpet cleaned?

Shaw and Mohawk recommend it, your allergies will be better, tiny bits of soil that literally scratch your carpet like sand paper will be removed, your visitors will be jealous, you’ll feel better about your home, it will smell better, and it helps people like us put our kids through college.

How often should I have my carpet cleaned?

For the most part once a year is the norm. The industry recommendation is twice a year but not everyone has it done that often. Some of our customers call us every three or four years. Others call literally every month.

Does cleaning carpet make it wear out faster?

No! Regular cleaning keeps your carpet from wearing out. Not cleaning it allows tiny bits of jagged soil to build up, and they literally scratch your carpet like sandpaper. A thorough professional cleaning will remove those little bits. And since we rock, we always reapply carpet protector. The protector soaks into each individual fiber, filling the nooks and crannies caused by scratching soil. It makes the carpet look soft, full, and fluffy again.

Does cleaning carpet make it get dirty faster?

At one time this was true. In the old days carpets were almost always cleaned with products made from coconut oil, which is where the term “shampooing” came from. The stuff looked and smelled just like shampoo. It would make carpet look pretty good for a while, but the sticky soap residue that got left behind attracted dirt, so a month or two later things looked dirty again.

Folks, that was 40 years ago. Nowadays, if a carpet re-soils in a short period of time then something went wrong. A properly cleaned carpet should never—and we mean never—get dirty faster. That’s why we take our time. Doing so eliminates mistakes and the problems they cause.

Does your process restore the original feel of my carpet?

Many customers have mentioned to us they want the carpet to feel soft and fluffy like when it was new. A proper cleaning with soft water, no residue, and rapid dry time will leave carpet feeling that way. In the event it feels “crunchy” after being cleaned, running the vacuum will often soften it right up. Remember, carpet is a textile, and much like a towel that has dried outside on a clothes line (as opposed to inside a drying machine), it might feel a little stiff until you use it.

Can you get rid of cat pee odor?

Many times we can, but not always how you’d expect. We’ve tried everything available from a cleaning standpoint and have found cat pee odor pretty much impossible to remove. However, taking steps that are more involved than cleaning alone can often remedy the situation. Replacing pad, sealing the subfloor, and aggressively (but safely) treating the carpet offers the best chance. Every case is different, but we’re always willing to give it a shot.

I found urine spots with my black light. Will they still glow after you treat them?

Probably. Urine contains a protein that stains carpet with an invisible dye that can only be seen under ultraviolet (UV) light. We can completely flush out all the yucky stuff but that particular protein almost always remains. However, it is no longer urine in any way, shape or form. It is merely an element that at one time was joined with many other elements to form urine. It is as harmless as the invisible ink (the stuff that glows under a black light) used to stamp hands at amusement parks and nightclubs.

Thankfully you don’t have to take our word for it. We can show you our electronic probes that detect urine. They easily find it before treatment, but afterwards they will not show any readings at all, even if the area in question continues to glow under UV light.

How often should I have my furniture cleaned?

Once a year or until it starts to gross you out. That could be every three or four months or every three or four years. One thing to think about, though: You’d be horrified if you could see all the dust mites that are living the high life in your upholstered furniture. Our cleaning water is hot enough to kill them!dust mites

Should I have fabric protector applied after having my upholstery cleaned?

It certainly helps, especially if you allow pets and/or eating on your furniture. Much like wax on a car, fabric protector provides an invisible shield against dirt. It helps block food and drink spills, body oils from pets and humans, and even regular old air-borne dust. We’ve been known to spray fabric protector on our ski pants in the winter, and it repels melted snow like a duck’s back. If it can stand up to a weekend of face plants and yard sales on the slopes, it can definitely protect your furniture.

We include encapsulant protector for free (good enough for most customers), but if you’d like Scotchgard we can apply it for a small fee. Click here to read more.

Will your services help my allergies?

Yes, temporarily. However, the contaminants that cause allergies will always find their way back into your home. After we’ve cleaned your carpet with super-heated water, you’ll enjoy noticeable relief. Upon request we even have an anti-allergen treatment that can be used on carpet and upholstery.

Which is better for allergies: hardwood, or carpet?

People tell us all the time they’re going to replace their carpet with hardwood floors because their allergies are so bad. In reality carpet is much better for allergy sufferers because particles in the air settle into it like a big filter. On hard floors those particles fly all over the place because nothing is there to stop them.

As long as you have your carpet cleaned regularly you should be able to keep allergies well under control. You’re probably thinking “Yeah, right. Of course they’ll say that. They make money cleaning carpet”. But we also clean wood, tile, and laminate floors, etc. So we don’t have any bias. If you can walk on it we can clean it. According to the EPA, as long as it’s regularly cleaned, carpet is much better at controlling allergies than hard floors.

What do you do with the dirty water?

We are so glad you asked! The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) requires us to dispose of waste water into a sanitary sewer, which is any sewer that leads to a water treatment facility. In addition, we must have permission from the water treatment company. Middle Key is the only carpet cleaning business we know of that is obeying that law. Click here to see our permission slip! It refers to Accuclean, LLC which is our parent corporation.

Is it noisy?

Most of the noise is outside at the truck where the industrial cleaning machine is located. Inside, the noise is comparable to a hair dryer running on the highest setting. It’s not obnoxiously loud, but at the same time, you won’t be disappointed when we finish and shut the machine off.

On commercial jobs, we have dry cleaning machines designed for commercial carpet that hardly make any noise at all.

My carpet is really old. Should I replace it?

Over the years we’ve saved thousands of trashed carpets that would have otherwise been replaced. We can do some amazing things so don’t count your carpet out just yet. Have us come by and look at it. We’ll give you an honest opinion for free. We don’t hesitate to recommend replacement if that’s truly the best option. And just so you know, if you have a rental property that has been destroyed by tenants and the carpet is not savable, we can give you a written report on company letterhead that says so. If you end up in court with your tenant you’ll be glad to have it. That’s a free service, by the way.

What can I use to spot clean?

First of all, every Middle Key customer gets 180 days of free ongoing support in the form of our OOPS! Program. If you have a spot or stain you can’t get out yourself we’ll come by and take care of it for you at no charge. So if you play your cards right you may never have to do your own spot cleaning ever again. Just in case, we’ve provided some pointers below.

You can clean out almost any spot with a Shop-Vac, a trigger sprayer, and one of two homemade cleaning solutions. We’ll give you the recipes first, then we’ll describe how to use them. The first solution is the most useful and is made by mixing about a teaspoon of Dawn dish soap into a cup of water (for greasy or oily spots you can add a teaspoon or two of rubbing alcohol.) It’s best for adhesive residue, chalk, crayon, dirt, feces, most foods, glue, grass, grease, gum, joint compound, makeup, paint and mystery stains.

The second is equal parts white vinegar and water. This works best for coffee, brown water stains, ice-melt salt, milk, old urine, and cola. Both solutions are used the same way. First, use a Shop-Vac to suck up as much excess material as possible. Don’t use a regular vacuum because they can’t handle moisture. Next, make up a batch of the appropriate cleaning solution and put it in a trigger sprayer, which you can buy at Lowe’s or Home Depot, or you can use an old Windex bottle as long as it’s been rinsed out. Lightly mist the spot and then tap on it with a spoon or any hard flat object that has a little weight to it. This works the cleaning solution into the spot without driving it deeper into the carpet. Don’t scrub with a brush or towel. That will fray the carpet fibers.

After it seems like the spot is loosening up a bit, turn on your Shop-Vac and suck it out (if the spot is small you can forgo the Shop-Vac and try to blot it up with a clean white towel—as long as you promise not to scrub!). If necessary, repeat those steps until the spot is gone. If you get to the point where you’ve removed as much as possible but the spot is still there, resist the urge to use more soap or to scrub with a towel or brush. You run the risk of damaging the carpet, and at this point a professional can still work his magic. If you fray the carpet or burn it with chemicals a professional’s hands are tied. Finally, we strongly recommend that you never attempt to remove blood, ink, or rust on your own. Those require special treatment that only a seasoned professional should handle.

Other companies talk about being certified. Why doesn’t Middle Key?

Other companies talk about being certified. Why doesn’t Middle Key? There is one major institution that offers certifications in this industry. Courses are usually one to three days long. As long as registrants pass a written test on the last day, they are certified. Many of them have never cleaned a stitch of carpet. Children as young as ten years of age have passed these tests, which are sometimes even “open book”.

The certifications are not acknowledged or required by any state or federal agency. To keep them up to date registrants are required to pay yearly dues. While the education in these courses can be valuable, the certifications themselves are, in our opinion, unnecessary. They are too easy to obtain (we can’t be proud of having the same certification a ten year old can get) and the yearly dues are inappropriate. On the other hand, we do have tremendous respect for several of the instructors, many of whom are invaluable members of this industry.

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