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FAQ's: Frequently Asked Questions

What is “healthy” and “organic” about Organic Choice's cleaning process?
Our process is health promoting and safe for kids, pets and those with allergies or environmental sensitivities. We use a "double cleaning" carpet cleaning system developed by founder David Skuse, which uses all-natural, organic solutions and rinses to balance the fabric’s pH. This system combines a low moisture approach with traditional "steam" cleaning, and improves indoor air quality by removing pollutants. Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a key factor in our health. As experienced, certified water damage restoration technicians, we leave carpets in a low moisture state. Our hot water extraction uses all-natural (mainly citrus and soy) products from Bi-O-Kleen Industries, Fiber Glow (carpet cleaning) and Bac-Out (enzyme treatment for cleaning/deodorizing bodily fluids). The extraction is followed by a bonnet (cotten pad) cleaning. No products are used that contain detergents, butyls, or phosphates.

What kind of equipment do you use?
We keep current with technology by using the best equipment and approaches available. (Be aware, however, that different carpet cleaners may strongly disagree on what is the "best" way to clean carpet.) We dry-vacuum/extract carpet to remove particulate soils, choosing equipment depending on the height of the pile. We do two wet carpet passes - first using a scrub wand for a prespray/extraction, then a follow-up pass to remove soils loosened during the prespray. For extra-soiled carpets, we may use our Rotovac 360 rotary extractor for the follow-up.

Is your service more expensive than conventional carpet cleaning? What are the current rates for carpet, stairs, upholstery, and area rugs?
There are many "budget" cleaners who are cheaper than Organic Choice, but the majority have sketchily trained technicians, use harsh chemicals, and provide poor customer service. The minumum charge for an on-site cleaning is $115.00, which can include a combination of services.

Residential Carpets: our rate is 30 cents per square foot for carpet.

Commercial Carpets (schools, office buildings etc.): our rate for commercial space is $100.00 for the first 500 square feet. After 500 square feet, the rate is 30 cents per square foot.

Stairs: Stairs are 3.50 @ -- the average 12 step staircase is $42.00.

Upholstery: Charges are by the linear foot -- a typical 5-6 foot couch with cushions costs $90.00.

Area rugs and Oriental carpets: When cleaned on-site, charges for on-site cleaning of area rugs typically range from $5.00 to $40.00 depending on the size of the rug.

What do you charge to take away area rugs and oriental carpets? What is the turnaround time? How does your method differ from cleaning plants and hand washing? Can I bring my rugs to you?
Including pick up and delivery, our rate is $1.25 per square foot to clean one side, $1.75 per square foot to clean both sides (for reversible carpets). Companies that use industrial machines and "hand washing" typically charge much more per square foot. They are sometimes worth the extra money for expensive carpets, but check with them on chemicals used. Organic Choice cleans using hot water extraction. Generally, rugs and carpets are returned within 48 hours. We schedule pick-ups and returns with you for your convenience. The minimum charge for carpets taken away is $50.00. We do not have a store location, so you cannot bring your rugs to us.

Do you offer discounts?
We offer a 10% discount on jobs over $150 for repeat customers, or for new referrals (please let us know who referred you). We offer a 20% discount for empty houses and apartments, which are usually for move-outs and move-ins.

Will the moisture used in cleaning damage my wood floors?
No, there will be no moisture under the carpets cleaned, and any overspray that may occur will be wiped up and cause no damage to any kind of hard surface, including laminates.

How far in advance do I need to book an appointment?
Our schedule is different every day, so your job may fit into tomorrow's schedule, or you may have to wait a while. Small jobs (under $200) can generally be fit in on short notice.

Do you move furniture to clean under it?
We will move some furniture (sofas, chairs, tables, etc.) and will place styrofoam pads under legs that might stain the carpet. We will not move some musical instruments, grandfather clocks, most beds, dressers, full china hutches, full bookshelves, entertainment centers, pool tables, etc. We reserve the right not to move any piece of furniture or household object that we do not feel comfortable with.

What can I do to prepare?
You should remove small objects and breakables from the areas to be cleaned. If you want objects like bookshelves moved, you should remove all contents before we arrive.

Will spots come back? If so, do you charge to come back?
Sometimes residue and even smells from deep spills will wick back to the surface as a result of moisture getting to them during a deep cleaning. Usually, a quick wipe with a damp cotton towel will remove the residue. If that doesn't work, we will come back free of charge to bonnet clean them and "cap" the residue. This dry approach keeps from reactivating the residue.

How long will it take the carpets to dry?
In sunny, warm weather with windows and drapes open, drying takes approximately 8-12 hours, but on foggy, rainy, cold, or overcast days, or in rooms that receive little light, the drying time can be anywhere from 8 - 24 hours. Turning on the heat and using fans speeds drying time. Staircases generally take an average of 4-8 hours longer to dry.

How long before I can walk on my carpet?
You can walk on your carpet immediately, but be careful walking off the carpet to a hard surface, because you could slip. We recommend wearing slippers, or other waterproof footware (not just socks) that will keep your feet from getting wet.

What areas do you serve?
We currently serve the East Bay from Crockett in the north to San Leandro in the south, from Oakland in the west to Lafayette in the east.

Should I vacuum before the cleaning?
It's not necessary since we do a dry vacuuming before spraying, but removing dry soil is always a good idea. Fabric is damaged by leaving soils unremoved, especially abrasives like sand.

How does your methods differ from those of ChemDry?
We can't comment on specific franchises that use a "dry" approach, but in general they do a "bonnet cleaning" that consists of vacuuming, spraying a cleaning solution and buffing with a cotton pad. Those who don't like this method say it just "pushes the dirt around", but with some industrial fabrics, like olefin, that tend to "wick back", it may be a good way to go. We will return at no charge to do bonnet cleaning if stains appear after our usual wet approach.

What can I do to keep my carpets clean?
• If wearing street shoes, use entry mats to remove most of the dirt upon entering the house
• Even better, remove shoes upon entering
• Get a good vacuum and use it at least once a week
• Treat spills and accidents (from pets or people) immediately.

How often should I get my carpets and upholstery cleaned?
Have carpet and upholstery steam cleaned 1-3 times a year, depending on soiling rate and health of residents.

Will your services help my allergies?
Yes, having your carpet and furniture cleaned removes pollutants and improves indoor air quality (IAQ).

Will you remove my stains?
We use several techniques to remove stains, however, some spots will not come out completely, like pet stains that were not treated quickly with an enzyme cleaner and long-standing rust and dye stains.

Does cleaning my carpet make it wear out faster?
No, actually dirt is full of sand which acts as an abrasive when trapped in your carpet or fabrics - it should be removed to reduce wear.

Does your process restore the original feel of my carpet?
Our process leaves your carpet fresh, clean, residue free and soft to the touch, but once fabric is gone, it will never come back, so that fluffy, new carpet feel tends to disappear in high traffic areas.

How does Organic Choice fit into the green cleaning movement?
To do green cleaning, Organic Choice uses products that: meet Unified Green Cleaning Alliance Standards, have MSDS Sheets prepared by third-party CHMM's, contain no Sara Title III, CA65, or EPA priority pollutants, cationic softeners, optical brighteners, harsh fumes, chlorine, ammonia, petroleum solvents, alcohol, butyl, glycol ether, SLS, SLES, DEA MEA, known carcinogens, mutagens, teratogens, or materials listed by the ACGIH as hazardous.

How are bodily fluids, like pet urine, treated for appearance and odor?
Enzyme cleaners are most effective in neutralized pet odors arising from urine, feces, vomit, etc. Approaches used include disinfecting baths and injections.

Is there an extra charge for spot and stain removal?
Spot and stain removal is never an add-on, as with other companies, but done as part of the basic cleaning. Generally, Organic Choice is able to remove all spots; however, stains caused by some paints, water damage, rust, and some pet accidents on white or off-white fabrics can be reduced but not completely removed.

Are there any guarantees that the work will be done well? Do disasters ever happen?
Organic Choice offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee or money is returned. If problems arise, we exhaust all remedies until our customers are completely satisfied.

Being on-time and reliable is important to customers. How does Organic Choice measure up?
We believe that ongoing carpet maintenance is foremost about building relationships. We are almost always available to answer to take your call. If we do not pick up, please leave us a message, and we will get back to you right away. We truly care about helping people enjoy living and working in a healthy indoor environment. Our customers have learned that in Organic Choice, they have a long-term home care consultant who always strives to provide good advice and quality service.

What are the pros and cons of using carpet protectant (like "Scotchgard")?

Cons -- not an organic, natural product

Pros -- forms an invisible shield, like a sealant, around each fiber
•Repels liquid spills
• Helps carpets last longer
•Protects your carpet investment
•Helps make carpets easier to care for
•Dries quickly and leaves no odor
•Is non-toxic, CFC- and solvent-free and is safe for family and pets