Frequently Asked Questions
Have Questions? We Have Answers!
Below you will find our most popular services. To see questions that we are frequently asked simply click on the service that you are interested in.
Carpet Cleaning FAQs
How often should I get my carpet cleaned?
Every home is different. Most carpet manufactures recommend your carpet to be professionally cleaned every 12-18 months with a hot water extraction process. This will vary however depending on the usage that your carpet gets. High traffic areas such as family rooms, stairs and hallways could require cleaning more often. Factors include the number of people, pets, outdoor environment and how well carpet is maintained between professional cleanings. Sometimes these things can contribute to a more frequent cleaning schedule of 6-8 months.
What method do you use and why?
We use what is professionally called Truck Mounted Hot Water Extraction, also known as Steam Cleaning. Steam cleaning is a little misleading as the carpet is really being rinsed with hot water, not actual steam. The cleaning temperature of the water is over 215 degrees, so it does appear to be steam. This method is the preferred choice by the largest carpet manufactures. We choose this method to comply with the requirements of your carpets warranty and we feel it is the superior choice in cleaning residential carpets. Hot Water Extraction DOES NOT soak the carpet and pad like some cleaning companies claim. 95% of the moisture is removed during the cleaning process leaving your carpets slightly damp.
How long will my carpets take to dry?
The weather plays a role in dry times. Days of higher humidity will cause longer dry times; whereas warmer dry weather will shorten the dry time. In most cases 6-8 hours. Ceiling fans, floor fans such as box fans can really speed the drying process. On a warm dry day open windows will help as well as turning your central heat fan “ON” from the “AUTO” setting. This will circulate air though out the house.
Should I turn my heat up to speed up the drying?
It is not necessary to turn your heat up unless the weather is extremely cold. The best temperature is usually between 60 & 70 degrees.
Is the carpet damp after the cleaning?
Yes, our hot water extraction cleaning process does leave some moisture in the carpet. Typical dry time is between 6 and 8 hours, depending on the airflow in the home, condition and carpet construction being cleaned.
Can I walk on the carpet after cleaning?
It is important to minimize use of the carpet until dry, but light use during the drying process is fine. It is completely safe to walk on the carpet as long as you’re feet or shoes are clean. Also for the first few hours of drying you need to take care walking from damp carpet onto hard surfaces to avoid slipping. Feel free to ask your service technician for a complimentary pair of shoe coverings.
What do I need to do prior to getting my carpets cleaned?
Remove all small things you can from the rooms you want cleaned, such as small rugs, magazines, kids toys, etc. breakables from the tops of any furniture you will be requesting us to move. If you have any large debris or trash in areas we will be cleaning, we kindly ask that you do a light vacuuming.
Do you move furniture?
We do ask that you remove as much of the smaller items as possible so that we can focus on the actual cleaning. We can move some large pieces of furniture that can’t be removed from the room. We only move the furniture far enough to clean under it. We then replace it, placing it on plastic tabs, or special styrofoam blocks to protect the furniture and carpet during the dry process. Some beds, pianos, entertainment centers, bookshelves, etc may not be safely moved, but can be cleaned around with no problems.
Is your cleaning process safe for kids and pets?
All of our team members have children and pets and our interests are to provide you with a cleaning process that is safe for all members of your family. In the cleaning process any products used will be extracted, leaving the carpets fresh, clean and safe. As for the product line that we use, we prefer to use all safe products that are of the highest quality. In some rare cases a solvent might be required for a ink stain, or similar spots. All these products are rinsed from your carpet.
Will you remove all my stains?
We do our best to remove all of the spots and stains but some stains are in fact permanent. This is especially true when dealing with pet stains. We keep our vans stocked with spotters for all types of stains. It is helpful to know the source of the stain, but not always required. It is impossible to offer 100% spot and stain removal and no reputable company would do so due to the many variables.
Can you guarantee odor removal?
It depends on the type of odor we are dealing with. General odors caused by dirt and dander are much easier to handle compared to odors caused by pet urine. In severe cases the source of the odor would have to be removed. For instance, if pet urine has reached down to the sub-flooring the only way to remove the odor issue would be to remove the source by replacing the padding and treating both the carpet and sub-flooring.
What is your company’s experience?
We have been professionally cleaning carpets since 1987. We keep up on the newest technologies and products to offer you the best cleaning possible. Education along with networking with other professionals in our industry helps us to continue to grow and be the very best at what we do.
How can I maintain my new carpet warranty?
Read the warranty information for your carpet. In most cases it will require professional cleaning every 12-18 months. Be sure to choose a method the manufacture suggests or requires. Vacuum frequently with a properly working vacuum. Blot up spills promptly.
I’ve heard that when new carpet is cleaned it gets dirty quicker. Is that true?
This is false. It might have been true at one time when carpets were shampooed only and the chemicals were left in the carpet. Over the years professional cleaners have adopted cleaning standards that rinse all residues from the carpet. These residues can cause re-soiling, so it is important to hire a trained professional to maintain your carpet. Here at Brighter Image we ensure no soapy residue is left behind by using an all fiber rinse.
Do you have a guarantee? What does it cover?
Absolutely! The technicians can usually recognize before the cleaning which spots may reappear and will let you know about the possibility of that happening. It is not uncommon for a spot to wick back depending on what type of stain we are dealing with especially when it comes to dog urine that has reached the padding. If you are unsatisfied with any aspect of your cleaning PLEASE give us a call within 14 days of your cleaning and we will work diligently to fix any problem or concern you may have. If you’re still unsatisfied after we have attempted to correct any issues we will provide a full refund at that time.
Can a protector be applied to the carpet?
Yes, it can. Your service technician will discuss the condition of the carpet on-site and will let you know what the benefits of reapplying a fiber protector can do for your carpet.
What does carpet protector do?
As carpet wears the fibers get damaged or scratched. You won’t actually see the scratches but will notice this effect in the major traffic areas like hallways, stairs and in front of popular pieces of furniture. Carpet protectors like Scotchgard or DuPont Teflon help to fill minute scratches in the carpet fibers so that dirt and staining materials do not stick to them. New carpet comes with these protectors on them from the mill but they wear off with time. It is best to have the protector re-applied every couple of years to help maintain the beauty of your new carpet.
What areas do you service?
We serve Fayetteville, Hope Mills, Eastover, Raeford, Spring Lake and Fort Bragg. Often times we can travel outside of our service area depending on the size of the job. If it is a large job we can make arrangements but if it is a small job it would be more cost effective to find someone local.
Do I have to be home for the cleaning?
While we prefer you are home during your appointment, it is not required. There are many homes that we clean where no one is home. We prefer to collect payment onsite after the cleaning so if you are not going to be home, please be sure the customer service representative is notified at time of scheduling so we can arrange payment.
What methods of payment do you accept?
For your convenience we offer many forms of payment. Personal checks, cash, debit and most credit cards.
What are the black lines around the baseboards and under doorways?
This soiling is called filtration soiling because it comes from air passing through the carpet as it is attempting to get through the space between the carpet and the baseboard or closed door. This occurs over a significant period of time and is not noticed until a build-up has occurred.
This type of soiling is difficult to remove because the soil particles are so fine that they penetrate deep into the carpet pile and often into the backing of the carpet. With special effort, reasonable results can sometimes be achieved. If this service is requested it is an additional charge due to the detailed work involved.
To help prevent filtration soiling, vacuum and sweep the edges of the carpet with a broom on a regular basis.
Upholstery Cleaning FAQs
Will the fabric protection be removed by cleaning?
Yes. Cleaning will substantially diminish the repellent properties of a topically applied fabric protector. We suggest that you have it reapplied. Our specialist can reapply fabric protection immediately after cleaning adding no additional dry time or inconvenience to your schedule.
Will you move furniture so you can clean the whole piece?
We move all readily moveable furniture, lamps and objects. We do not move semi-permanent or permanent furniture, or items exceptionally large, heavy, fragile or valuable. This is standard procedure as dictated to us by our industry’s insurance carriers.
What if a spot comes back?
The term for this occurrence is wicking. A spot that initially appeared to have been completely removed during cleaning but reappears upon drying or over a several day/week period of time is caused when the spotting substance is residing in the padding or backing and subsequently wicks out to the surface as it dries. Our team will be happy to come back one time to re-clean the spot at no additional charge.
Do you dry clean?
No. Generally, dry cleaning is the use of powder or carbonated foam that is placed on the furniture and then vacuumed out. There is great debate as to whether dry cleaning is as effective as hot-water extraction. After testing both methods we have determined that hot water extraction yields the best and most dependable results for our clients.
How often should I fully clean my upholstery?
Ideally, upholstery cleaning should be kept to a minimum but a light overall cleaning every year or so for less commonly used pieces goes a long way to preventing premature replacement. For more regularly used upholstery, you should plan on cleaning it at least annually to maintain the aesthetic well being of your furniture investment.
What is the difference between spot cleaning and full cleaning?
Spot cleaning is localized for a specific incident. For example, a pet accident, a spilled glass of wine, or muddy foot prints (if they are contained within a few feet). Full cleaning is the complete cleaning of a piece of furniture. Sometimes there are so many spots that there is no choice but to clean an entire piece of upholstery. Occasionally when called to spot clean a specific incident, we are forced to do full general cleaning rather than leave behind an obvious ‘clean spot’. This scenario is an undeniable indicator that the carpet or furniture is overdue for cleaning. When this occurs, regular cleaning rates apply.
After my upholstery is clean, how do I keep it that way?
Make sure your protective treatment is current; use your upholstery brush regularly; vacuum at least twice weekly; have a spot cleaning plan and supplies on hand, and finally stick to your cleaning cycle so that the upholstery never looks unclean.
Can pet stains be removed?
Often yes, but time is of the essence. The longer a stain resides on upholstery the less likely the chance for 100% removal.
What method do you use for upholstery cleaning?
Hot Water extraction is our primary cleaning method. This is commonly referred to as “steam cleaning.” It is by far the most common method used for cleaning carpet and upholstery. The up side of using water is that it does the best job. The down side is that using water presents risks such as discoloration and shrinkage. This is where experience, training and equipment come in to play. However, there are alternative methods that use dry chemical or foam instead of water. These methods decrease the risks that come with water extraction; but it is our opinion that without the rinsing action of water, it is impossible to truly clean an item. Imagine washing your clothes or hair with a foam cleanser — without any rinsing action (water), would they truly be clean? With our process we use a low Ph alkaline cleaner to emulsify soil. We then gently agitate with a soft brush and use an all fiber rinse to ensure no soapy residue is left behind.
How long does it take upholstery to dry after cleaning?
Depending on the type of fabric being cleaned, dry times can range between 2 – 4 hours.
Tile & Grout Cleaning FAQs
Why should I have my tile and grout cleaned?
Just like carpet, dirt, oils, & soil build up over time dulling your tile’s appearance and discoloring your grout. A thorough, professional tile & grout cleaning is the only way to remove the deep-down dirt and grime.
How do you clean my tile and grout?
We use a high pressure rotary tool with dual rotating jets. This is combined with the same truck-mounted steam/pressure cleaning we use to deep clean your carpet. We use tile and grout specific cleaners that strip away any waxy build-up and remove the dirt embedded in the grout lines.
How often should I have my tile and grout cleaned?
As with carpet, many factors must be considered when determining the frequency of cleaning. Foot traffic, children, pets, and routine floor maintenance will affect how often you need to have your tile & grout cleaned. If you notice your grout is dark and no longer looks like it once did when new, it may be time to have your tile and grout professionally cleaned.
How long will it take to have my tile and grout cleaned?
The standard time for an average size room (up to 300 square feet), typically takes between 1 -1/2 to 2 hours. This can vary based on a number of factors including the size of the tile, amount of soil in the grout lines, and room configuration along with any furnishings that will need to be moved.
Why should I have my grout lines sealed?
Grout is a porous material that absorbs soil and spills, just like carpet. Having a sealant applied will help create a protective barrier, giving you more time to clean up dirt and liquid spills before they soak into the grout. The type of sealant we use will give you a much greater degree of stain resistance.
How long does the sealer last?
With proper maintenance our sealer has a life expectancy of 2 – 3 years or longer depending on the amount of traffic an area has.
How do I maintain my tile floors after a professional cleaning?
We recommend that you use a neutral ph cleaner on your floor. Rinsing after mopping will also help keep your floors looking their best. Do not use vinegar, lemon juice or other cleaners containing acids on marble, limestone, travertine, or onyx surfaces. In addition please avoid using any cleaner that contains harsh abrasives.
Pet Stain & Odor Removal FAQs
Do you guarantee 100% pet stain and odor removal?
No, because 100% of the odor source must be treated which can be a difficult task because of the multiple layers and surfaces that may be the cause of the odor. We have had great success with our topical treatments and subsurface extraction but the only way to guarantee 100% removal would be replacement of up to everything down to the subfloor ultimately depending on severity. In less severe cases we can achieve fantastic results.
How do you treat spots from my cat/dog?
It depends on your main concern. Is it a visible stain, a urine odor, a ‘dog’ smell or a combination? Our cleaning process is very different for each and will depend on the severity of what we are dealing with. To learn more about our process check out our pet stain & odor treatment page by clicking –> Here.
Can’t you just spray some deodorizer on the carpet and clean it to remove the odor?
To properly remove the odor (not mask) it requires more than just a carpet cleaning or lightly spraying a deodorizer on the surface that has a pleasant fragrance. A good example is after a hard workout at the gym you are sweaty and stinky. You could mist some cologne or perfume on yourself to mask or cover up the bad odor. Or you could take a shower and remove the source of the odor so that you are clean and fresh.
How do I prepare my home for a pet stain and odor treatment?
For best results when using a black light to inspect for pet urine the room needs to be as dark as possible. Please close all blinds and shades to block out sunlight. If you don’t have blinds, you can put a sheet or a blanket over the window. However, with today’s technology the rooms do not have to be as dark as they once did. In fact the light we use to detect urine can work even if the room is not pitch black.
Why does urine odor return?
Perhaps you had a spot that smelled so you cleaned it and you assumed the problem was solved. Then one day the odor mysteriously comes back. Why? Urine is made up of three different parts. Many cleaning products remove the first component – the sticky liquid content. Some can even remove the second component – the stain-causing pigmentation. But nothing removes the third component – the uric acid crystals or “urine salts” that cause odor. You could clean this spot all day long, even our professional carpet cleaning will not remove the odor. You must use a specialized deodorizer to remove the odor.When you clean or treat the spot, it may seem like the urine is gone because the stain and odor disappear. But the urine salts are still there. If 100% dry, urine salts have no odor. But when humidity levels change, or conditions are damp or humid, the urine salts attract moisture and reactivate causing the terrible odor to return, sometimes the odor smells like ammonia.
Humidity levels can change for a number of reasons but here are two major reasons:
- Change in Seasons. In the winter the air is very dry, but in spring and summer there is naturally more humidity. So even though nothing about the spot has changed, the change in seasonal humidity levels may cause you to not notice urine odor during the winter but in the spring and summer the odor comes back.
- Carpet Cleaning. Cleaning the carpet will change the humidity level in the house, especially if the areas affected by pet urine are cleaned only and not treated for odor. Odor from pet accidents may become more noticeable for a period of time after the cleaning because of the elevated moisture content. Generally it will return to the same pre-cleaning condition after it has dried completely. We cannot be held responsible for such odor producing deposits unless we are able to identify, treat and neutralize such odors.
What is Urine composed of?
Urine leaves the body (man or animal) in an acid state, with a pH of about 5 to 6. It is rather pure and generally contains no harmful bacteria, pathogens or microorganisms. However, it becomes the perfect breeding ground for those things as soon as it leaves the body. The main ingredient in urine is uric acid. It also contains yellow pigment, urea, cholesterol, enzymes, and small amounts of other chemicals. The uric acid begins to change immediately upon leaving the body. The warm acid state of the urine offers a friendly environment for bacteria, which begin to flourish almost immediately. In this original acid state, the urine begins to oxidize and react with the carpet to create a color change, which may become permanent if the urine is not removed from the carpet. As urine begins to dry, it changes its hydrogen content and forms crystalline salts, which take on an alkaline pH. Then The Smell Begins! When dried urine is remoistened, it gives off an ammonia gas.
Odors associated with urine come from two sources:
- The first source is bacteria that grow abundantly in dark warm places with a never ending food source (the dog feeds the bacteria daily!). This bacteria growth and breakdown of the urine creates amino acids. These complex organic compounds work deep into carpet fivers until they’re nearly part of the fiber. This can present a challenging situation. The waste materials and gases from the decomposing urine create an unpleasant odor.
- The second source of odor is chemical odor that remains even when the bacteria have been killed. This explains the reason more than disinfecting is necessary to neutralize odors from urine. Urine also presents additional odor problems when the relative humidity is high. The salts and crystals that are formed are hydrophilic and draw water to them. As the salts are reactivated by moisture, they give off a greater proportion of odorous gases.
Carpet & Fabric Protection FAQs
How often should I have carpet & fabric protector applied?
Carpet and fabric protection is recommended after each professional cleaning for maximum protection.
What can be protected?
Any wet cleanable carpet/fabric fiber can be protected.
Can I protect part of a room?
Yes since carpet protector does not change the look or feel of carpet, you can protect just the open areas where you walk or just a high traffic pathway through a room.
Is it safe for use around kids and pets?
It is safe for your family, pets and the environment. After application it is recommended to avoid using the area until it is dry. As a precaution kids, pets or those with extreme chemical sensitivities should not contact the freshly cleaned / protected carpet/fabric until dry.
Does applying carpet protector make your carpet stiff, sticky or crunchy?
Occasionally slight over-application of product or accelerated drying from with fans or heat may cause treated articles to stiffen. Simply, vacuum the affected areas and the carpet will feel normal again.
Does it have a foul odor?
No, there is no offensive odor during or after the application.
Can you apply carpet/fabric protector to new furniture and area rugs?
Absolutely! We recommend it.
Will my carpet be stain proof after applying carpet protector?
No, your carpet will not be ‘bullet proof’, stain proof and stains will not levitate above the carpet. However, having carpet protector applied greatly improves the chances of you or a professional being able to remove a stain with cleaning instead of it being permanent.
If I spill something will it bead up on the carpet?
Possibly. It really depends on the style of your carpet and the density. On some carpets the liquid may not bead up on top of the carpet, but the protector will help prevent it from soaking into the individual carpet fibers.
My carpet was protected when I bought it new, why do I need to have carpet protector applied again?
Over time traffic causes abrasion of the carpet fibers and the protector can be worn off. Reapplying carpet protector revitalizes the protector applied at the mill to provide your carpet with the best stain and soil resistance possible.