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What you should know before you hire a carpet cleaning service

Customers in Checkbook.org's local survey give Morgan's Chem-Dry top ratings for quality and price (KOMO Photo)

Getting your carpets cleaned by a professional is typically better for your carpets than doing it yourself.

A good professional cleaner reduces damage from excessive water and detergents.

"But you do want to make sure you hire a company that knows what it's doing," advised Checkbook Executive Editor Kevin Brasler.

Checkbook's research team just rated carpet and rug cleaning companies in the Puget Sound region.

"There are really big differences in price," said Brasler. "And there's really no relationship between the prices companies charge and the quality of work they do."

Brasler and his secret shopping team got quotes from 44 local companies.

The price to clean the same 330 square feet- a living room, dining room and hallway- ranged from a low of $85 to a high of $215.

"The good news is, when it comes to carpet cleaning work, and rug cleaning also, you can get a price in advance. There's no reason a company can't quote you a very accurate price before they ever show up."

But, don't just ask about price. Also ask about the cleaning method. Some companies use no water, some use only hot water, still others use a combination of water and light detergents.

And Brasler says don't be misled by hype about so-called "green" carpet cleaning.

"A lot of these companies, it's more marketing hype than it is actual technique," said Brasler.

Before you make an appointment, also be sure to check customer reviews. Brasler says some companies get low marks when it comes to quality control. Anyone can get a business license and buy carpet cleaning equipment. Lack of quality and diligence can leave you with soaked carpets, damaged furniture, and carpet fibers that attract even more dirt.

Companies with the highest Checkbook ratings did the work properly on the first try- and offered good advice about cost options before they started the job. The complete Carpet and Rug Cleaning report lets you compare local prices and services, and learn what you should know abut the different cleaning methods- including so called "green" carpet cleaning.

Checkbook is a non-profit, subscriber-based consumer rating service. As a courtesy to KOMO viewers the Checkbook link can be accessed through this website until December 26th.

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