Now you might think the more you pay, the better the service you get. But when it comes to carpet cleaners, that's not always the case.
John Perez runs North Bay Carpet Cleaning and serves much of Marin County. He's seen a lot through the years and pretty much knows where he'll find the tough spots.
"This is a popular spot in front of the couch," Perez said. "So there's a lot of food eaten there and dropped, so it's always pretty dirty in front of the couch."
John pre-treats each area before cleaning. That's something he recommends whether you hire someone or rent a machine and clean the carpet yourself.
"Basically you could take just a little bit of liquid laundry detergent, put it in a spray bottle, fill the rest up with water and pre-spray the carpet first," Perez said.
North Bay Carpet Cleaning is one of 64 Bay Area companies rated by Consumers' Checkbook. The carpet cleaner ranked high for both quality and price.
"One of the things Consumers' Checkbook finds very often is that there's no relationship between price and quality. And that is certainly true among carpet cleaning firms," Robert Krughoff from Consumers' Checkbook said.
Krughoff says before hiring a carpet cleaner by phone, tell them exactly the type of carpet you have and get a price by square foot, not the price by room.
"You will find that some firms think what you think is an 'L' shaped room is actually two rooms when they arrive in your house. And so you can end up being surprised," he said.
He also says be cautious of firms that want to sell you deodorizer and extra add-on soil protectors.
"We've found that they really don't work. I haven't seen any good that they do," Perez said.
He says for surface cleaning, carpet cleaners that you can rent do a fairly good job.
For tougher jobs, hire a professional. A condo is currently for sale and the realtor says bringing in a professional cleaner saved her client a lot of money.
"We were seriously considering taking out all the carpets and putting in new. And we did have John come over and look at it, and said 'let's give it a try.' It's certainly worth the savings and he really did a great job," Kathleen Daly from Coldwell Banker said.
Consumers' Checkbook is making available free of charge its ratings of Bay Area Carpet Cleaners for one week only.