Urine is made up primarily make up of hydrochloric acid, urea acid and ammonia. There are many variables that will determine your success in completely removing the urine. It takes 5 years for urine to break down naturally. Following the procedure below can be a big help in removing urine stains and odors. With high acid content of urine you may some permanently yellowing or bleaching of the carpet.
If the urine is still wet:
- Use paper towels to soak up as much as the urine as possible.
- Pile up a few layers and place them on stain, weighing them down with something heavy like a brick.
- Keep the paper towels pressed down for several minutes, and repeat as needed.
- When the area is barely damp, rinse it with cool water (not hot) and then blot up the remaining liquid.
- Then you need to use a basic carpet cleaning solution, following the directions on the bottle. Try to use an organic and/or “green” eco-friendly cleaning solution to effectively clean the urine spot.
- Then use a high quality pet odor neutralizer to completely remove the odor (read next week’s blog on “How to Remove Carpet Odor”).
If the stain is dry:
- Rinse stain with room temperature water and a Shop Vac. Don’t over-wet, as this could push the urine into the backing.
- Then clean the urine spots as described above.
AVOID using the following:
- Cleaning chemicals that have strong chemical odors.
- Ammonia based products or vinegar (these products can make the odor worse and the high acid pH will combine with the acid from the urine and can permanently damage the carpet).
- Hot water or steam cleaners, which can attach the urine molecules to the carpet fibers rather than remove them.
The colored dyes in most sports drinks and Kool-Aid are usually acid food dyes. These dyes are very similar to the dye that is already present in your carpet, so they are difficult to remove without damaging the natural color of the carpet.
There are 4 basic ways to remove these dyes from carpet:
1. Ironing – This method takes some patience but is very effective.
- Wet a washcloth with water and lay it on the stain.
- With a warm iron on the lowest setting, iron the cloth. Do not press down on the iron or raise the temperature.
- Leave the iron on the cloth for 15 minutes.
- Once the stain is gone, blot the area and allow to dry.
2. Ice Water with Borax
- Spray the stain with ice water, then cover it with Borax.
- Moisten a towel with cold water then lay it on top of the Borax.
- Blot and repeat as necessary.
- Rinse with water to remove excess Borax and water.
- Leave a towel on to dry and apply a very heavy object over the towel for 8 hours.
- Leave it to air dry and vacuum once completely dried.
If the colored stain is still wet, pour a large amount of salt over the stain. Allow it to sit and soak up the stain, then vacuum up the salt. If the stain is still there, repeat as necessary until the stain is gone.
4. Vinegar and Dish Soap
- Combine 1/4 cup of white vinegar and 1 tablespoon of dish soap in a spray bottle and fill the rest with water.
- Spray the stain and allow it to soak for 10 minutes.
- Blot with a cloth until the stain is removed.
- Blot to dry.
Please note it is very important to take your time and blot stains when cleaning the carpet. Never rub or scrub. You should also work the stain from the outside toward the center. Also only attempt these procedures on synthetic type carpet, never on natural fibers such as wool, cotton, or silk.
Let’s think about this, if dirty water is removed from your carpet, but the carpet is left wet when the cleaning is done, isn’t the moisture left in the carpet just the same dirty water? Tests have proven that in order to remove all the dirty water to an acceptable level in a carpet with Hot Water Extraction (or “Steam Cleaning”); the carpets would have to be rinsed 16 times!
The two biggest complaints from consumers when getting their carpets cleaned are:
1. The carpet was left too wet and took long to dry.
2. The spots and stains resurfaced after the carpet had completely dried.
Many carpet cleaning companies are still trying to clean carpets “the old way”, utilizing old-fashioned Steam Cleaning (“Hot Water Extraction”). You’ve seen them with the big loud vans out front with hoses running across the yard into the house. This is a 40 year old process than can leave your carpets wet for many hours or days.
Steam Cleaning utilizes high water pressure, high pH (alkaline) detergents, and hot water to clean. This process forces chemicals, hot water and dirt to the backing and padding under the carpet. Only 60-80% of the water is sucked out; that is because the carpet and padding are soaked and may take a very long time to dry. This also can cause mold and mildew, odor problems, and fast re-soiling. Not to mention the inconvenience of it all!
A young chemical researcher who was hired in 1952 by 3M had the task to develop a new type of rubber that would resists deterioration from aircraft fuels. As it happens many times in the scientific area, she failed at this project but stumbled upon creating Scotchgard instead. In 1953 an assistant to Sherman’s lab accidentally dripped some of this new product on her tennis shoes and she was unable to remove the spots. She tried soaps, alcohol and other cleaning products but to no avail.
But she was fascinated by the resistance and the resiliency of the Scotchgard solution. This brand new product was a development of a fluorochemical polymer that could actually repel oil and water from fabrics.
In 1956 the joint research team of Sherman and Smith launched the Scotchgard name into the marketplace, and a broad line of Scotchgard products were on their way to the public.
Scotchgard brand has remained the world market leader ever since its discovery. Fittingly, it was Smith’s son, a researcher at 3M, who enhanced the environmental performance of the newer Scotchgard products.
Quite literally, Scotchgard was found by accident, and many products designed by 3M were stemmed from accidental discoveries. The company was always in motion, creating and trying new things for decades.
As for Sherman, her continuing career with 3M was one of constant innovation. She eventually became the Manager of Technical Development, and retired in 1992.
Scotchgarding is a process that is used on fabric, carpets, and upholstered furniture to protect it from staining. It also helps keep grime and dirt from attaching to the fibers by acting like a protective seal, and is often used after furniture or carpet cleaning to prolong the benefits of these services. Fabric has tiny “dye sites” that hold the coloring of the fabric, and the Scotchgard or Teflon protectant fill those open dye sites and put a small microscopic protective seal on the top of fabric.
Scotchgarding is very beneficial for several reasons:
- It protects the carpet and furniture.
- It protects the life of your carpet and furniture.
- It saves you money (you need to have the fabric cleaned less frequency as compared to fabric that is not protected).
- It makes your job easier when you are spot cleaning the fabric.
- It prolongs the “freshly cleaned” look after carpet and upholstery cleaning.
Scotchgard was discovered by accident by a lab technician who was working on a project and spilled a drop of Scotchgard on her tennis sneakers. After some time she noticed a clean spot on her now dirty shoes, thus the invention of Scotchgard.
Although most companies don’t use actual Scotchgard and Teflon protectants, they are considered generic terms like “Kleenex” or “Coke”. Many protectants are safer and greener than the original kind developed in the 1950’s. There are solvent based and water based protectants. The solvent based ones are a type of “fluorochemical polymers” and the water based ones are just water based protectants. There are benefits and drawbacks to both kinds.
Come back next week to read our blog about the History of Scotchgard.
Choosing a Carpet Cleaner Based on Price
With the high costs of running a business, be wary of low-priced carpet cleaners. Most companies can’t charge low pricing and stay in business for long without cutting corners somewhere. Often corners are cut on job quality, ensurance, and taxes. That low-priced carpet cleaning company may not be in business in a few months when you call him to because the cheap cleaning method he used originally damaged your carpets.
Choosing a Carpet Cleaner Based on a Single Phone Conversation
A company dedicated to personalized customer service will come out and meet you in person to evaluate the work to be done and give you a free quote with an exact price before the job is scheduled. This gives you an opportunity to meet and talk to them so you can get a feel about the company.
Choosing a Carpet Cleaner that Does Not Offer an Unconditional Money Back Guarantee
This is a big Red Flag! If a company does not offer an unconditional money back guarantee there may be a reason, and that reason can’t be a good one. A good company will come to your home, evaluate the job, and let you know exactly what to expect.
Choosing a Carpet Cleaner Based on Equipment Alone
Many companies talk about their equipment or products, but it doesn’t mean much if the person cleaning your carpets is not a qualified cleaning technician with years of experience and training on how to use that equipment.
Choosing a Carpet Cleaner Without Checking Client References and Independent Testimonials
Let’s hear what the company’s clients think about the company. Check the company’s ratings on Better Business Bureau and reviews on Angie’s List. Look for companies that have a good, long consistent track record.
- Fabric Testing
Your fabric should be tested for dye stability (colorfastness) and for fiber type.
- Area prep
The upholstery to be cleaned should be prepared to protect the surrounding areas.
Dry soil should be removed before cleaning.
Depending upon the type of fabric, a pretreatment should be applied to suspend bonded and hard to remove soil.
Some potentially difficult spots may be pre-treated with special solutions to increase the chance of removal.
The fabric should be gently groomed by hand to loosen soil.
- Soil Extraction
The soil should be gently extracted with a quality organic cleaning solution and a pH conditioner to ensure pH balance, resulting in a soft fresh feel.
Any remaining spots should be treated with a special stain removal process.
The area should be cleaned up and left like it was before cleaning.
- Post Cleaning Inspection
The cleaning results should be inspected to ensure that your expectations have been met or exceeded.
As you can see, upholstery cleaning is a long, detailed process. If the carpet and upholstery cleaning company you hire skips any of these steps, then you’re not getting your money’s worth, the job was not completely finished, and you may not be happy with the work.
The longer your carpets remain dirty, the sooner they’ll wear out… and the longer you and your family will be breathing in any dirt, dust mites, allergens, mold spores, chemicals, and pet oil and dander hidden in your carpet! What are some steps you can take to make your carpet clean and healthy?
List Your Objectives
If you just want the surface dirt removed, you can rent a cleaner from your local Shop Rite! But if you want all the bacteria, fungus, dust mists, and chemicals removed, you’ll want to hire a professional carpet cleaning company that uses a safe, non-toxic, organic, “green” cleaning system.
You can learn a lot from a carpet cleaning company by asking these questions:
1. What method of cleaning do you use?
2. Are your cleaning solutions pH balanced, green, organic, and biodegradable?
3. Does the owner do the cleaning, or is it the cleaning at least supervised by the owner of the company?
4. What type of equipment do you use to clean the carpet?
5. What type of practical and technical training do you and your cleaning technicians have?
6. How often should I get my carpets cleaned?
7. What will be removed out of the carpet when they are cleaned?
Ask for an Onsite Written Quote
Once you have picked out which company you feel you are comfortable with, have them come out to your home or business to give you a written quote. This will ensure there won’t be any miscommunication with the job scope or the price.
It’s very common for a consumer to be quoted a price on the phone for carpet cleaning, not realizing the company may have a “dual-process” cleaning method. This means they may charge one price for a one-step cleaning process, and a higher price for the better “dual process”. When the cleaning technician comes to the home to start the job, they may try to upsell you on the higher priced cleaning which is often 2 to 3 times more expensive than the one step cleaning process they quoted you on the phone.
Unbelievably Low Price
Many carpet cleaning companies (particularly some of the larger franchises) bait you with an unbelievably low price like 2 rooms for $69, or the whole house cleaning for $149, only to “forget” to mention about all the extra “hidden charges” that may be tacked on, such as “travel fees”, extra charges for dirty carpets, and charges for moving furniture. It’s like buying a home and then finding out that the builder charges extra for windows, walls and a roof!
Many companies claim to be the “best” and have high ratings and reviews. But do your homework and research the carpet cleaning company you’re considering hiring. Don’t just go by reviews on a company website, as they may not always be legitimate. Look at all ratings and reviews on the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, and other reputable websites.
Many companies rely on old-fashioned, outdated cleaning methods and products. This is sometimes because the company or franchise they purchased used those methods, and that may be all they know. Other times it’s because the outdated methods are often easier and cheaper, but they are also much less effective.
There used to be only three main types of Carpet Cleaning methods: Hot Water (Steam Cleaning, also called “Hot Water Extraction”), Dry Cleaning, and Shampooing. These methods are still used today, and are very common. Most of these systems may clean sufficiently, but most have drawbacks, and in some cases can actually damage the fabric being cleaned.
Steam Cleaning utilizes soap or shampoo added to hot water. This mixture is injected heavily onto the carpet, then immediately extracted out with a suction unit. There are various complaints with this method. The carpets tend to feel stiff or crunchy after it’s dried. This is because the hot temperatures used can remove the natural oils from the carpet. Also, dirt and spots may reappear more rapidly after the carpet has been cleaned. This is because not all of the soap, shampoo, and detergents can be removed, and the chemical residue left behind attracts dirt.
Shampooing generally uses many different types of cleaning equipment, but the same result is the same. Shampoo cannot be completely removed from the carpet, causing the same problem with residue that attracts dirt more quickly.
Dry Cleaning is the least popular and is not used as often these days. However, the many different types of archaic cleaning equipment all use a type of dry cleaning solvents in the cleaning process, similar to those used to dry clean clothes. This system is not very thorough and may leave residue behind that attracts dirt.
The best carpet cleaning system is one that is both safe (for you, your family and pets, and of course, your carpet!) and effective. The safest cleaning solutions are organic, pH balanced, biodegradable, and environmentally and eco-friendly (“green”). The most effective cleaning solutions do not use any type of soap, shampoo, detergents, or surfactants, as these types of cleaning compounds are difficult to remove from the carpet and actually attract dirt more quickly. Also using a low moisture cleaning system will ensure that the carpets dry within a few hours. This is much better than archaic methods where copious amounts of water are flooded into the carpet, which can take days to dry and can cause mold, odors, and water damage to your floors.
Delaware Valley Carpet Cleaning at http://www.delawarevalleycarpetcleaning.com utilizes up-to-date, safe, organic, pH balanced, environmentally friendly carpet and upholstery cleaning methods.