Scotch Guard is a common household name that conjures up images of severely abused home furnishings and carpets that remain stellar and beautiful despite the treacherous treatment. Of course, those who have never used it want to know, does Scotch Guard work?

Scotch Guard will naturally want you to believe their product works on just about everything. When you receive those little flyers in the mail offering ridiculously low prices for a carpet cleaning (the last one we received proudly announced they would clean your carpets for a mere $2.99 per room) take a moment to scan their professional Scotch Guard prices. This is the reason they are hoping their promotion gets them into your home. After all, that fresh new clean look needs to be protected, doesn’t it? Your $15 bill just turned into a $300 bill because they talked you into Scotch Guarding not only your carpets, but the main couch as well.

You can’t really hold the notion of free enterprise and crafty marketing against a company, thus let’s look at the real deal, the Scotch Guard. Scotch Guard is designed to eliminate odor, while preventing stains and dirt from penetrating its protective shield and still even promise not to leave behind any chemical residue that can be harmful to pets or small children.

I am more than just a little skeptical when it comes to claiming any chemically based product “safe” for animals and children. After all, we claim that soda is safe to drink but it will peel varnish right off its surface. Safe is a relative term. The greatest research publicly available states that when Scotch Guard is applied and allowed to thoroughly dry before exposure, there have been no reported cases of ill effects.

That’s great, but does Scotch Guard work? The consumer angle is that for the majority who have tried it on their furnishings, it seems to at least help resist staining even if it doesn’t provide the bullet proof shield it claims to. This is assuming that proper application procedures were followed. However, those who have used it on their carpets have returned some seriously mixed reviews.

Out of the 20 positive reviews, I discarded three based on the notion that people don’t like to pay for anything and then admit that they wasted their money. Perhaps that seems a little unscientific, but we will chalk it up to author’s discretion. Additionally, I out of the negative reviews, I discarded two as they read as though they were expecting a miracle. Scotch Guard has never promised that you can pour a gallon of grape juice on your carpet and expect it to prevent it from staining entirely. This left an even number of written reviews. Thus, it was time to do a bit of field research.

I started with my own home. We needed the carpets cleaned anyway. We own two dogs, and had recently had an additional canine visitor who ceremoniously left a stain on our carpet when we left him to run about the house unsupervised. Additionally, I discussed the results of four families in the neighborhood who have had their carpets Scotch Guarded in the last year or more.

We paid the bill and I immediately felt the urge to make a mud puddle outside and then come charging through the house. However, we simply sat back and continued our daily lives. Our daily lives are usually enough. Two days later it rained. Our big dog came in from using his outdoor toilet dragging with him a little muddy messiness on his paws. Despite the effort I made to wipe it off, he was scampering about with large footprints revealing his every step. I didn’t find that it came up off the carpet any easier than before.

My personal assessment of the experiment was pretty simple. I felt that having our stuffed furniture done was well worth the money. I felt that having our carpets done was a waste of time and money.

Those in the neighborhood tend to disagree with me. “What do you mean does Scotch Guard work?” I was asked, “Of course it does. Without it I would have to replace my carpeting by now.” Feeling a little scolded, I also realized that she was the mother of four boys ranging between the ages of two and eleven.

For the best results when using Scotch Guard, have it professionally applied. There is a difference between their ability to apply it and your ability to apply it. While many people will disagree with that statement, those who I spoke with that were satisfied with their Scotch Guard application had it applied professionally. Those who were dissatisfied had done it themselves.

One sweet elderly neighbor of mine gently pointed out, that even if you can’t always see the difference immediately, you also can’t see the damage that dirt does to a carpet because it happens deep in the fiber. Offering your furniture and your carpets protection is like having car insurance. You can’t always tell on a day to day basis why you pay the premium, but twenty years from now when you don’t have to replace your car on your own ticket, you’ll definitely see the evidence.


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