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.
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.
Many clients have black lines on the carpet around their baseboards, doorways and air vents. These lines are called pollution filtration or air filtration lines. Many professionals believe these lines come from the heater system in your home, but actually they do not. Forced air HVAC systems just blow the pollutants around until they settle on the floor and are filtered out of the air by the carpet.
The reason why this occurs is that there are tiny pollutants from your HVAC system smaller than a micron in size. Because they are that tiny they usually go through any type of filtration system that you may have on your HVAC system.
There is much debate why some parts of the US have this problem worse than other parts. The generally prevailing theory is that these pollutants are usually produced in densely populated areas and in areas of the country where there are older power plants spewing these pollutants into the air. The weather pattern also may have to do with it. Since many power plants are in the Midwest, that weather pattern brings the pollutants west to east to the mid-Atlantic states.
The lines generally can only be seen on lighter carpets, especially white carpets. Many carpet cleaning companies over the years have come up with products that say they can remove these lines, but generally they cannot be 100% successfully removed safely from any carpets
And on a side note, burning candles in your home can also add to these lines.
Many 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.
Many 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.
One 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.
DVCC (Delaware Valley Carpet Cleaning) began in 1987 as a family owned business in the heart of South Jersey. After expanding the company with many employees and multiple trucks on the road, I realized it was difficult to stay with original mission of:
- Personalized customer service
- Hassle-free cleaning services
- Competitive prices
- Organic and green cleaning products
- “Cleaning your carpets more effectively, utilizing safer greener technology with personal service”
In the early 1990’s I decided to downsize the company so every client could have the benefit of personalized service with the owner of the company. So since 1994, I, Joe Stark (the owner) have done all the cleaning myself, and have not outsourced any cleaning to subcontractors or employees since then.
My goal is to utilize my 20+ years of cleaning and practical knowledge with newer updated state-of-the-art technology to bring to the customer the most informed carpet cleaning company and to ensure clear and precise communication with the client.
With all clients I perform a free no-charge carpet evaluation and an estimate. This is done to ensure that there is clear communication between the customer and me to provide the optimum personalized attention to detail and complete satisfaction for the customer.
All the work I perform is completely 100% guaranteed for the client’s satisfaction.
Once a client uses my company I consider them a client for life, making myself available to all my clients for free advice on cleaning and fabric care for the future.
You can always contact me by phone or text at 609-458-1973, through our website at http://www.delawarevalleycarpetcleaning.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/DelawareValleyCarpetCleaning (please be sure to like our page), or by email.
Most carpets today have been treated with some type of fabric protectant or sealant, but that does not mean your carpet is completely dirt or spill proof. You will have better results removing the stain if you attempt to remove it when it happens, rather than waiting. The longer you wait, the higher the possibility that the stain will become permanent.
- Always pre-test the fabric you are cleaning to ensure that it is colorfast. Pre-testing can be done simply by applying the cleaning agent to a part of the carpet where you can’t see it, and blot for 30 seconds. Make sure there is no damage to the yarn, loss of color, or color transfer.
- You should always use a dry white terry cloth towel or plain white paper towel to remove stains (never use a colored towel or printed paper towels as the color from the towel can seep into the carpet).
- Start by blotting up the wet stain carefully until almost dry. If it is a dry spill or if the liquid spill has some solids to it, gently scrape off the carpet and vacuum any amount you can with a Shop-Vac or a dry/wet vac.
- Don’t be aggressive and never scrub the carpet, as you risk distorting the yarn permanently which will create a wear mark where you are cleaning.
- Put some of the cleaning agent on the white towel and work it in onto the stain.
- Repeat continuously but gently until the stain has been removed. You need to be patient, as it could take several minutes or longer to remove the stain.
- Once the stain has been removed, lightly rinse the spot with cold water to remove as much as the cleaning agent as possible.
- Please note that although many cleaning chemicals may be safe for carpets, if they are not completely removed they will attract dirt very quickly to the spot.