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Carpet Shading and Sisal – A recent experience

Two issues that often come up in carpet cleaning are the issue of “carpet shading” also known as “pile reversal”, and cleaning sisal carpets (see image below).

Sisal Carpet - Aqua-dry carpet cleaners dublin

Sisal Textile

I had an interesting experience today when asked to clean some carpets in a lovely home in Rush, Co. Dublin. Although this lady is a long-time customer of ours, I had not been out to clean in her home before, it had always been another technician.

Her mother let me in, and told me to pull the door after me when finished. That kind of trust is very nice to have between customer and carpet cleaning company.


Carpet Shading

The carpets were a very good quality cream 80% 20% wool mix. Although all the carpets were the same quality, the only one that showed shading or pile reversal (see image) was the one in the landing. You will see from the picture a great example of what shading or pile reversal looks like:


Carpet Cleaning: this is what carpet shading looks like

Carpet shading also known as pile reversal

Some people get upset when this appears in their carpets because they think this is a flaw in their carpet. Actually it is a phenomenon which the carpet manufacturing industry cannot explain. If you check the labels in your carpet retailers you will read that this condition is not a manufacturing fault. Unfortunately, shading is not something that can be eliminated or reduced by cleaning the carpet.


Sisal carpeting – Can it be cleaned?

As I was finishing the carpet cleaning job, I noticed a couple of small mats, made of sisal at the bottom of the stairs and at the doorway. I have seen these carpets in many homes and even in large commercial properties.

Although this type of carpeting looks great when just installed, unfortunately it lets you down badly when it needs cleaning. Two major problems with sisal carpeting are:

a)     They watermark very badly

b)     They are very prone to shrinkage when wet

This makes them impossible to clean by hot water extraction. Our experience is that dry cleaning these types of carpet is a waste of time.

If you have any enquiries about carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning or rug cleaning in the home or commercial property email us at or call 01-8400799. We’ll be happy to assist.


Read more: Tom’s previous blog on how important customer service is to us as consumers as well as service providers: “If you’ve never been to Tullow, this might be a good reason to go”


How often should I get my carpets cleaned?

There are many factors at play in deciding how often to get carpets cleaned. For many people, it is a reactive thing; they get their carpets cleaned when they begin to appear soiled. Depending on the colour and pattern of your carpet and the lighting in the room, it may be several years between cleans. Others are more proactive, and schedule carpet cleaning at regular intervals.

We will take a look at why carpets need to be cleaned regularly and factors affecting how often it should be done. First of all, let’s look at why you should get your carpets cleaned.

Why should I get my carpets cleaned?

Bio-contaminants; volatile organic compounds, combustible products, asbestos, dust mites, chemical contamination, migrated outdoor pollutants, insoluble particulate soiling, grease and oil deposits, sand, soil, dirt, food particles, pesticides and allergens.

Big words, but what do they mean? Quite simply, your carpet acts like a sink; it filters and collects soil, bacteria, allergens and pollutants form the indoor environment. This collection and filtering process allows a carpet to trap contaminants within its construction.

But like any filter, it needs to be regularly cleaned out.

Dr Michael Berry, former Deputy Director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stated: “Based on what I have learned from researchers, I have reached the conclusion carpeting and fabrics not cleaned and properly maintained have the potential to cause a variety of health problems inside the building and home environment”.

The fact is, the best thing you can do for your carpets is have them regularly cleaned by a qualified professional carpet cleaning company. Not only is it a matter of hygiene, but it is also a matter of maintenance.

Carpets are expensive and you want them to look good for a long time. It is the build-up of dirt and soil which causes damaging wear to your carpet far more than the foot traffic that impacts on over its surface. What foot traffic does is it grind this soil against the carpet fibres, and this is what causes them to gradually dull and wear away.

What do the major carpet manufacturers recommend?

Major carpet manufacturers recommend you have your carpets cleaned every 6 to 12 months.

The exact frequency depends on things like smoking habits, number and ages of any children, soiling conditions, humidity, allergy conditions, and pets – to name just a few. It just makes good sense to have your carpets cleaned regularly – not just to maintain their look and feel, but also because deep cleaning removes bacteria, germs and the substances on which these organisms live.

If you have any questions about carpet cleaning in your home why not ask the professionals? Email Hannah or Tom at or call our office on 018400799.

Read more: Tom’s blog post on how to differentiate between trustworthy carpet cleaners and cowboys: “How do I know if I can trust a carpet cleaning company?”



12 years and 2 million patrons later, how does the Concert Hall Carpet look so good?

In my last post I went through a few of the important elements of a good carpet cleaning maintenance programme. There are of course many other considerations such as the location of the premises, office, etc., the type of carpeting (tiles or broadloom) and the purpose or use of the building.

One of our major clients is the National Concert Hall, for whom we have been cleaning carpets and upholstery for over 12 years now. This year alone 350,000 people attended events at the Concert Hall. I’m not sure that the same number of people have attended every year in the past 12 years but a conservative estimate would be that 2 million people have walked on these carpets in that time.

Look at the results for yourself:

Commercial Carpet Cleaning Dublin

Carpet Cleaning Dublin - National Concert Hall

Best Carpet Cleaning Dublin - National Concert Hall Dublin

How is it possible that they still look so good?

There are a number of factors:

Good Quality Carpet in the Places that Matter

The better quality the carpet, the better the appearance if maintained properly. One mistake that companies often make is compromising on quality at the outset. It is usually a false economy. The quality does not have to be the same throughout the building. Where there is less traffic, a lesser quality carpet very often is sufficient. So a good way to put your best foot forward in an economical way is to put the best carpet you can afford in the areas of highest use.

Scotchgard Protector

The best time to apply a scotchgard protector is when the carpet is newly installed. Although not bullet proof, the protector works to help prevents spillages from becoming stains and to make daily maintenance easier.

In the example of the Concert Hall, we have reapplied the protector after every clean. This is a great help in maintaining the appearance of the carpet in between cleans.

Frequent Maintenance

Frequent maintenance means that spillages are not left so long that they become impossible to remove. Even with Scotchgard Protector, the carpets need regular attention.

The longer a stain is left, the more likely it is to become permanent. The number of visits required depends on the volume of traffic on the carpet and on other considerations such as whether or not food is being served or consumed in the area.

Regular Vacuuming

Regular vacuuming in between professional cleans helps greatly to maintain the carpet’s appearance. We recommend a beater bar vacuum cleaner which will do an excellent job of lifting soil and dust from the carpet. This will reduce damage to the carpet caused by friction of dust, grit, and general soiling. The Concert Hall’s own cleaning staff do a great job in this regard.

Contact Us With Any Questions Or To Book  A Job

If you have any questions about cleaning upholstery please contact us now – or call us on 01 - 8400799 or email

Why not ask for a reference from a carpet cleaning company?

Most people’s concern when hiring people to work in their home or business is whether or not the carpet cleaning company is trustworthy, reliable and gets good results.

It can be expensive to find out the hard way that a company’s carpet cleaning standards do not match their claims. One way to avoid this is to ask for and check a reference.

It happens all the time and in many industries that a reference is given but not checked. Why is it that we take people’s claims about their work at face value, when a quick phone call might save us the grief of getting substandard work done.

Ask for a reference when you are hiring a carpet and rug cleaning company to come into your home or business! You are entitled to know what to expect.

On every quote we send out, we include at least 3 references. We encourage people to call our references first for their own peace of mind.

Your carpets, upholstery and rugs represent a considerable investment so you are right to be as careful as possible when choosing who you let loose on them.

Won’t I know from their nice, shiny website?

Not necessarily. Not too many carpet cleaning companies publish their mistakes or shortcomings. Still, with careful reading you can get a much better idea of the quality of the cleaning company you are researching.

What should I look for on their website?

Almost all websites carry testimonials of their company’s work. It is helpful to note the dates attached to each testimonial.

The more testimonials given, the more current they are, the better. Also look out for carpet cleaning testimonials from commercial carpet cleaning clients. Companies will not usually allow their name to be used as a reference unless they are certain of the company being recommended.

(See what our customers have said here: commercial testimonials or domestic testimonials)

What other things indicate a trustworthy carpet cleaning company?

The after sales service offered by carpet and upholstery cleaning professionals is also something worth checking out. Are they insured against damage? (It can happen on occasion.) Do they give a 100% no quibbles money back guarantee? They should (see why we do offer this). Why not? If they are as good as they say, there should be no problem. Do they check in after the job has been done to ensure that everything was satisfactory?

You should also look out for the associations that a company has. For example, are they certified by a carpet cleaning certification body such as the NCCA (National Carpet Cleaners Association) or the IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification)?

The whole point is this, a little research and care before booking your carpet cleaning can go a long way to ensuring you get a trustworthy carpet cleaning company with proven results and a happy experience all round.

Check out what our customers have said about us: see commercial testimonials or domestic testimonials.

Contact Us With Any Questions Or To Book  A Job

If you have any questions about cleaning upholstery please contact us now – or call us on 01 - 8400799 or email

Read more: ‘Cheap vs Value for Money’ One of Tom’s customers gave him valuable insight into what she considers Value for Money

How dabbing might save your Christmas

What is the worst thing that can happen to your lovely new suite of furniture? Or your new carpets or rug over the Christmas period? Well there are many candidates for ruining your Christmas even for a short period of time. Among them are red wine, tea or coffee spillages; make-up stains; and yes, even someone getting sick. So what advice can we give you?

Upholstery and Carpet Cleaning: Please don’t panic!

Stay calm would be our first piece of advice. Your carpets, upholstery or rugs won’t benefit from a frenzied attempt at cleaning up. Ask yourself the following question:

Is it liquid or solid or a combination?

A really good idea and one we always share with our customers is to keep a white absorbent towel where you can easily locate it when an accident happens. One tip is to leave a towel underneath a cushion of your sofa so that you can act quickly in the event of an accident.

This will help you to quickly deal with the spillage and help stop it becoming a permanent stain. Use your towel to dab up the liquid. Do not rub as this can distort the fibres of your suite or carpets. Stay calm and be patient. With careful dabbing you will remove almost all of the spillage.

If there is a solid to be dealt with e.g. vomit, use a knife or a spatula to remove the solids and then proceed with the blotting process.

Work from the outside of the spillage inwards, and please DO NOT rub or scrub the spillage.

Having done the best you can, if you still have a residue of the spillage that you cannot remove, please stop.


By going under your sink and using products not designed or removing the spillage, you may make removal of the stain impossible. Even if you have to leave the spillage over a few days at Christmas, it is possible that a professional carpet cleaning company will be able to remove it if all you have done is carry out these simple instructions.

In brief

Don’t panic, be prepared (towel where you can find it), dab, dab, dab, do not rub, don’t use any products not designed for the job and of course…have a great Christmas!!


Contact Us With Any Questions Or To Book  A Job

If you have any questions about cleaning upholstery please contact us now – or call us on 01 - 8400799 or email


Carpet Cleaning Gift Voucher

Carpet Cleaning Gift Voucher

Carpet Cleaning Gift Vouchers

We’re well into our bookings for Christmas. It’s always a busy time of year in the carpet cleaning business. For many years now we’ve thought of doing gift vouchers for our customers, something like €100 vouchers for carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning and rug cleaning, carpet, rug and upholstery protection.

Up to now we have always resisted the temptation of doing gift vouchers. The primary reason is that we know that not all vouchers will be redeemed. You know how it happens, you get a voucher for Christmas and then put it in the drawer or in your wallet where it never sees the light of day again. This could result in a situation, for example, where we could sell €5000 in vouchers, but as much as €1500 may go unredeemed.

That does not sit right with us. Some might say, well, it’s not your problem, but still, taking €1500 for doing nothing seems, to us at least, to be cheating.

So how could we resolve this situation to everyone’s satisfaction?

If The Gift Voucher is Not Redeemed we will return the Money

What we are proposing to do is this: we will do vouchers for carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, rug cleaning and protector application. A month in advance of the expiry date, all recipients of the vouchers will be informed if the voucher has not been used. This gives them the opportunity to remind the recipient to book in the work. If after the expiry date, the voucher has still not been redeemed, we will return the amount to the purchaser, less a small administrative fee.

If the purchaser chooses not to have the money returned, we will choose a charity to send it to.

We don’t really want to benefit from doing nothing; we would rather be paid for carrying out the work. We are quite happy for someone else to benefit from the intended gift so they can help others.

By the way, people are already starting to book for Christmas cleaning. Book early so as not to be disappointed.


Contact Us With Any Questions Or To Book  A Job

If you have any questions about cleaning upholstery please contact us now – or call us on 01 - 8400799 or email


Carpet Cleaning: Cheap versus Value for Money

I had a very interesting and pleasant experience on a carpet cleaning job in Dublin this week.

My customer was an elderly lady, with a lovely welcoming smile. She showed me the job, which was to clean the carpets in large living room and a hall. Just before I started, she told me how a neighbour of hers (a young lad as she described him) had told her she was mad to pay €115 for the job. He assured her that he could have someone clean it for less.

She then told me that she had been on the point of calling us to cancel the job. However, she began to think about it…this was the third apartment that the lady had lived in and she had used Aqua-Dry to clean carpets in all three locations.

Trust in the Home

"I realised I’ve been very happy with all the work your company has carried out over the years, so I decided not to cancel. It is so reassuring to have someone I can trust in my home”, she said.

What is Value for Money?

Now I have no doubt that people are carrying out work more cheaply than we are. It has always been more important to us that we provide value for money. Value for money is composed of a lot more than just price.

The components that we would deem important are the following:

Anyway, needless to say, the job went very well but I’ll leave the last word to my customer.

Last Word to the Customer

"How many stars can I give? It was an absolutely wonderful job! Tom is an absolute gentleman, he was very obliging, moving some things out of the way that I was unable to move myself. He paid such attention to detail and the standard of care was amazing. It was a thoroughly good job, what more can I say? Just amazing!”
Frances Delaney, Carpet Cleaning Dublin 3, 12/10/2016

Contact Us With Any Questions

If you have any questions about cleaning upholstery please contact us now – or call us on 01 - 8400799 or email

Read more: Our expert Tom's previous blog post "How long does Carpet Cleaning take to dry?"

How long does Carpet Cleaning take to dry?

Carpet Cleaning Drying Time Variables

Drying times for carpet cleaning depends on a number of different variables.

Among the different variables are carpet type, cleaning method chosen, assisted drying, ventilation, the weather, and heating systems.

With the hot water extraction method of cleaning the normal drying time for carpets will be about 4-6 hours with good ventilation and perhaps with some help from the heating or good weather. If a protector is applied after cleaning, this will be extended to approx. 6-8 hours. Again, this is assuming the area is well ventilated.

Air movement is key to faster drying. For example, when clothes are out on the line on a dry, windy day, they dry very quickly. It is similar with carpet cleaning.

This is a video of a wedding carpet that we had to clean and have ready the very next day.
Thanks to some quick thinking and a couple of air movers, we had everything ready in time.

In certain commercial work, (e.g. cinemas or hotels), where a quick turnaround can be essential to the running of the business, air movers can be used which can speed up the drying process dramatically.

Cleaning Carpets and Degree of Soiling

The degree of soiling also has a big bearing on the drying times. A lightly soiled carpet may not need a pre-spray. It may also only need one to two passes of the cleaning head. Heavily soiled carpets e.g. cinemas, restaurants, entertainment venues) almost always need a pre-spray and full extraction clean. The more moisture introduced in the cleaning job, the longer the drying time.

Equipment is an important component of the cleaning effort. Having the best carpet cleaning equipment, whether truck-mounted or mobile can remove 90-95% of the moisture. Obviously, the more moisture removed, the quicker the drying time.

The conclusions on drying cleaning carpet times are these:

In domestic jobs, 4-6 hours should be sufficient with good ventilation, unless a protective treatment, or sanitisation treatment has been applied.

In commercial work, drying times are not always critical, sometimes the office can be left to dry overnight or over a weekend. However, as mentioned above, for some commercial cleaning jobs, time is of the essence. A drying time of 2 hours is possible with the use of air movers on the job.

Read more: previous blog: Why do some stains recur after carpet cleaning?


Carpet Cleaning poor quality will last longer than sweetness of cheap prices

Value for Money – Carpet Cleaning

When it comes to carpet cleaning, what constitutes value for money?

While many may have different definitions of what constitutes value for money in carpet cleaning, our definition is this:
"The cleanest clean you can get, with a results that lasts the longest"
If these two are delivered by pleasant staff who are courteous and respectful in your home, that’s even better.

You also want to know that the company really cares about their customers’ satisfaction. After every carpet cleaning job, we contact our customers to ensure that they were satisfied with the job. See our testimonials page to find out what they have said.

Value for money comes with carpet cleaning expertise

How do we achieve the cleanest clean? The carpet cleaning technician must be able to recognise what sort of soil he is looking at. We would take into account things like the location of the carpet, i.e. is it in the kitchen area, the living room, a busy reception area etc.

Also, the type of carpet is important to recognise. Why? Because carpet tiles should be cleaned in a different way to wool-rich carpets. Natural fibre carpets will respond best to products specifically designed to clean natural fibres. There are other products which are best used on synthetic carpets. The qualified technician should know which products are best practice for the carpet in question.

Best carpet cleaning equipment

Once we know what soiling we are looking at and the type of surface we are endeavouring to remove it from, the next important thing to consider is: which type of equipment will get the best results?

For wool rich carpet, the hot water extraction system is best. We operate truck-mounted machines which powerfully penetrate to the base of the carpet to remove soil.

For synthetic carpets e.g. Nylon, Hot Water Extraction is not always best. A combination of shampooing, bonnet cleaning or encapsulation cleaning usually works best.

It stand to reason that a carpet cleaning job that lasts say 6 months longer, reduces the cost of cleaning and the need to replace carpets prematurely.

So to summarize, a properly trained technician who knows what type of carpet and soiling he is dealing with, and who has the best equipment to remove that soiling will give the best value for money in the long-term.

Next: Read about a company who went for a cheaper quote than Aqua-Dry and it ended up costing them in the long run in Tom's blog post on Quality versus Price.



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