Carpet/Rug/Upholstery Cleaning

Carpet-Cleaning Chemical Market Study

February 1, 2012
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Welcome to ICS Cleaning Specialist’s 10th commissioned market study designed to gauge the opinions and preferences of floor care professionals with regard to carpet-cleaning chemicals and suppliers.



Welcome to ICS Cleaning Specialist’s 10th commissioned market study designed to gauge the opinions and preferences of floor care professionals with regard to carpet-cleaning chemicals and suppliers. The study looks to answer many of the questions concerning chemical use in the cleaning industry, including:

• What types of carpet cleaning chemicals and cleaning methods are most popular today?

• How environmentally conscious are today’s carpet cleaning and restoration specialists?

• Who are the key suppliers in the carpet cleaning chemical market?

• What factors are most important when selecting carpet cleaning chemicals?

The size and scope of the study dictates that only certain responses can be represented here; see the “ICS Market Study” box at the end of the feature for more information.

The target audience for the study consisted of 8,264 active, qualified ICS direct-request subscribers who have purchase authority for carpet cleaning chemicals and supplies, and whose primary business is professional carpet cleaner or smoke/water-damage restoration specialist. The study was conducted online; the sample was pulled on an Nth name basis from the domestic circulation.

Determining the makeup of the sample is critical with any study. Ninety-three percent of survey respondents are individuals involved in the purchase of carpet-cleaning chemicals. Ninety-one percent responded that they are the owner and/or president of their company. Forty-three percent of those responding claim annual expenditures of $5,000 or more on carpet-cleaning chemicals, with 18 percent spending upwards of $10,000, compared to 27 percent last year. The average annual revenue for responding companies is just over $331,000, or just about $44,000 less than last year.

The primary method used for cleaning carpet cited by 88 percent of respondents is hot-water extraction; 13 percent are running HWE portables, while 75 percent operate truck-mounted units. Bonnet/pad respondents were cut in half from last year, clocking in at 4 percent.

The meat of the study concerns the habits purchasers and users display when dealing with carpet-cleaning chemicals. Eighty-eight percent of those responding use a traffic-lane cleaner or pre-conditioner “always” or “often” according to the study, while 63 percent use a steam-extraction detergent on that same basis. Spot and stain removers are employed by 98 percent of respondents on some basis, while carpet and fabric protectors are used by 97 percent.



Quality/Reliability tops the list of factors cited by respondents when it comes to selecting carpet-cleaning chemicals (Chart 1). Ninety-three percent claim it is “very important,” while less than 1 percent dismiss it as “not important.” Product availability experience and past experience were ranked as important or very important by 96 percent and 95 percent, respectively.


Price was cited as very important by 39 percent of respondents.

Where companies make purchases can be just as important as why (Chart 2). Sixty-five percent of carpet-cleaning specialists purchase carpet cleaning chemicals from local distributors or suppliers; 46 percent purchase from three or more. Seventy-four percent of respondents indicate the number of suppliers they purchased carpet cleaning chemicals from in the past year has remained the same.

The Internet continues to make an impact in the carpet-cleaning chemical purchasing cycle. More than 50 percent of respondents indicate they make purchases online. Of those not currently purchasing carpet cleaning chemicals online, almost 40 percent plan to do so in the future.



Respondents are getting more predictable in their purchasing habits. Twenty-one percent cited scheduled purchasing as their method of choice this year, down from 24 percent last year (Chart 3). Those claiming they purchase carpet cleaning chemicals “as needed” bumped up a 5 points this year to 57 percent. The number who purchase “in small quantities when supply is gone” stayed just about constant at 16 percent. The percentage of those that “purchase when notified of a discounted price/sale” dipped from 5 percent to 4 percent.

To continue to strengthen and build on the relationships between chemical manufacturers and the end user, it is important for both sides to understand why, when and how companies make their carpet-cleaning chemical purchases.




ICS Market Study

The preceding is a snapshot of a comprehensive study examining the opinions, preferences and purchasing behavior of floor care professionals as they pertain to the use of carpet cleaning equipment and chemicals. The study was conducted by Clear Seas Research, a division of BNP Media.

The full and complete report is available from Clear Seas Research. For information about ordering or to find out more about Clear Seas Research services contact Beth Surowiec at surowiecb@clearseasresearch.com.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to i Cleaning Specialist Magazine.

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