Blog Archives

Carpet Cleaning Mistakes to Avoid

carpet stainsYou might panic when red wine spills on your brand new carpet or your new puppy has an accident on the berber rug, but make sure to avoid these carpet cleaning mistakes:

• Not taking immediate action

Liquid spills sink into the carpet quickly, so if you don’t act fast, the liquid can seep into the padding and even through to the floor, causing mold and damage. Make sure to act quickly to clean up liquid spills.

• Using the wrong cleaning product

There are many types of cleaning products you can use for carpet cleaning, but you must read the directions thoroughly. Avoid products that have soap, shampoos, and detergents in them, as they may be too harsh and can do more damage than the spot you are trying to remove.

• Not doing a test patch before using harsh products

If you care about your carpet, before cleaning the carpet it’s always advised to pre-test a spot in an inconspicuous location to make sure it won’t damage the carpet.

• Using a deodorizing powder to clean

All powders do not clean; they just help with smells in the carpet. Most vacuum cleaners are not strong enough to vacuum out the powder, so it stays behind and attracts dirt, ultimately making the smell worse.

• You clean you carpet every week

It’s important to keep your carpet looking good, but do not clean your carpet every week. Doing so can damage the yarn in the carpet, and you might be applying chemicals that are too harsh or that work their way into the carpet, attaching themselves and attracting even more dirt than before.

• Never hiring a professional to clean your carpets

A professional carpet cleaning company can do a thorough job of cleaning, sanitizing, and protecting carpets better than you can on your own, and often more safely if the company uses organic products.

How To Remove Glue from Carpet

carpetglue

When you spill glue you have to act quickly to remove it. Many glues are fast drying so it’s easier to clean up the glue if it’s still wet. Pre-test the carpet to make sure it doesn’t get damaged by trying to remove the glue.

  1. First start by dabbing the glue with a damp paper towel. You may need to repeat this process with multiple damp paper towels (don’t keep using the same paper towel if it’s covered in glue)
  2. If the glue is wet and is slow drying, you will probably be able to pick up most of the glue.
  3. Make sure you get down into the fibers after you have picked up the glue on the surface.
  4. If this isn’t working with water, dip the paper towel in white vinegar then try blotting.

If the above process doesn’t work, or if the glue has dried:

  1. Take a brown paper bag (grocery bag) or a thin cloth and put the brown paper or cloth on top of the glue.
  2. With an iron on a low setting, carefully iron on top of the bag or cloth, checking frequently to see if the glue has melted and transferred onto the cloth or paper.
  3. Check the spot in 10 seconds. If you need more heat, slowly increase the temperature setting on the iron and try it again.
  4. Keep checking every 10 seconds or so, and repeat the process until the glue has melted into the cloth or paper.
  5. Do not spray the glue with water or use steam on the iron.

How To Remove Pet Hair

pethair

The easiest way to remove hair from carpet, furniture, drapes, and even clothing, is with a lint roller. Just roll away the hair and dispose of the stickers once they are hairy and ineffective.

You can also use rubber or latex gloves, or a rubber sponge. Wipe over furniture and carpet edges with gloves or sponges and watch how the hair just pulls away. You can also moisten the gloves or the sponge with a little bit of water, which helps in eliminating static electricity and will help it cling better so you can ball it up easier.

If you are in a pinch, you can even rub a blown up balloon on the pet hair! The pet hair will cling to the balloon due to static electricity, and then you can wipe the hair from the balloon into the trash.

After using any of the methods above, vacuum the carpet and upholstery to remove any remaining pet hair. Make sure your vacuum cleaner is at the proper setting for your carpet. When you are vacuuming carpet, make sure to vacuum in different directions (“cross vacuuming”) to ensure you are vacuuming each side of the carpet yarn.

How to Get Urine Out of Carpet

petstainsUrine 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:

  1. Use paper towels to soak up as much as the urine as possible.
  2. Pile up a few layers and place them on stain, weighing them down with something heavy like a brick.
  3. Keep the paper towels pressed down for several minutes, and repeat as needed.
  4. When the area is barely damp, rinse it with cool water (not hot) and then blot up the remaining liquid.
  5. 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.
  6. 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:

  1. Rinse stain with room temperature water and a Shop Vac. Don’t over-wet, as this could push the urine into the backing.
  2. 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 Benefits of Scotchgarding (Fabric Protecting)

Scotchgarded

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.

Steps to a Healthy Carpet

Healthy CarpetThe 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.

Ask Questions

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.

Outdated Carpet Cleaning Methods

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.

outdatedcarpetShampooing 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.

Dry Compound and Encapsulation Carpet Cleaning Methods

drycompoundMany companies have developed different types of an absorbent dry cleaning compounds that get evenly spread onto the carpet, brushed and then scrubbed in, then vacuumed off. These dry chemicals are usually some type of surfactant or solvent. The theory is that these dry cleaning compounds, once worked into the carpet, attract the dirt which is then sucked, vacuumed or absorbed off. The main benefit when cleaning with dry compounds is that the carpet is not wet. The main drawback is that for moderately to heavily soiled carpets, this method does not clean thoroughly, and if you are not using an organic product you are sometimes left with chemicals in your carpet that later attract dirt.

Encapsulation was developed as an option for cleaning with no moisture, but a deeper more thorough cleaning job than the dry compound methods mentioned above. Encapsulation carpet cleaning uses polymers that literally encapsulate (crystallizing) dirt and soil particles into a dry residue that can be extracted or vacuumed off the carpet. The encapsulating solution is sprayed onto the carpet, brushed in, then vacuumed out immediately along with the dirty particles. Some cleaning machines do all this at one time while others have different machines to do each individual step. This method is very dry and you also avoid all the pitfalls of other wet cleaning methods. More and more companies are using this type of carpet cleaning technology as it is becoming more perfected.

Carpet Dry Cleaning

drycleanMany Carpet Cleaning Systems that utilize dry cleaning solutions usually rely on specialized machines. The advantage is that they all tend to be low moisture systems relying on dry compounds and/or chemical solvents to clean without over-wetting the carpet. The amount of carpet cleaners that use these methods have increased over the years due to the amount of dissatisfaction with traditional wet methods.

Dry Cleaning systems generally tend to be quicker to use in cleaning the carpet and less labor intensive than hot water (steam cleaning) systems. This allows the areas to be used very quickly after the cleaning, sometimes within 1-2 hours.

A drawback with dry cleaning, however, is that heavily soiled areas may need to be pre-spotted or pre-treated with pre-conditioners or traffic lane cleaners. These cleaning products tend to be surfactants that break down the heavily soiled areas, emulsify the dirt, and separate it from the fibers in a very short time.

There are different kinds of extraction methods associated with dry cleaning. Some methods suck or vacuum out the cleaning agents, some use synthetic extraction bonnet pads to absorb the dirt out of the carpet, and some use the “encapsulation” method. Many other cleaning methods use a combination or hybrid of extraction methods.

Encapsulation is a newer type of hybrid dry cleaning system that, once the carpets are cleaned, vacuumed, and completely dried, they need to be vacuumed again very thoroughly to get the rest of the dirt that is encapsulated on the tips of the yarn out of the carpet. Mechanical agitation is a key component to correctly and thoroughly cleaning the carpets with most dry cleaning systems.

One main drawback with most dry cleaning systems is that, like the shampooing method we mentioned in our last blog, most chemicals and solvents used with these methods are not biodegradable and are virtually impossible to get completely out of the carpet. They tend to leave residue behind that attracts dirt quickly, resulting in the carpet tending to re-soil rapidly and needing to be cleaned more frequently.

Carpet Shampooing

shampooOne of the oldest and most common methods of carpet cleaning is shampooing. Usually brushes work the shampoo into the carpet, and after a few minutes the excess moisture and dirt are absorbed or suctioned away. After the carpet has dried it may need to be vacuumed again. Drying may take several hours to 1-2 days.

Although there are different variations of the type of extraction method involved, they all use the same type of cleaning agents in the shampoo called surfactants. Surfactants work well because they attract dirt and are inexpensive to mass produce.

Carpet shampooing, however, has many disadvantages compared to other types of carpet cleaning. It is very easy to over wet the carpet and padding and it takes longer to dry. When the carpet stays wet for too long, it can create mold and also damage the flooring underneath. Also, it is very difficult to remove the shampoo out of the carpet completely. This means that the carpet may attract dirt and stains faster (which will adhere to the leftover shampoo), requiring the carpets to be cleaned more frequently.

Carpet cleaning companies using the shampooing method usually have a very high re-clean rate (over 20-30%) and often have a higher dissatisfaction rate with clients because the shampoo left in the carpet attracts more dirt quickly after the fabric is cleaned. Many companies that use the shampoo method are low end companies competing on price and volume, and are not concerned with utilizing newer technologies such as green and organic cleaning methods primarily because these better methods are more expensive.

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