Pet Odors! — That do you do?

Pets have accidents and it is good to address them as soon as

Accidents do happen

possible. Urine is probably the biggest issue because it soaks into the fabrics. Urine is also a rather sophisticated problem with respect to removal. When it is wet it is acidic and needs to be approached one way. When it dries, it turns into urine salts, an alkaline, and should be addressed differently then when wet. Also, when it is dry, the uric acid crystals absorb moisture from humidity in the air giving off the foul odor. That is why on humid days, a house can smell worse.

Dealing with Urine while it is wet — Blot, blot, blot because removal is the first approach. Find a dry white towel and apply to the wet spot (colored or patterned towels run the risk of bleeding onto the carpet, rug or upholstery). Keep moving dry parts of the towel over the wet spot to remove as much as possible. After blotting, sprinkle baking soda on the urinated area. Baking soda will help absorb and neutralize the urine ph. After the baking soda has dried, vacuum it up thoroughly. (note: baking soda may sometimes discolor fabrics, so you should test it on a non-conspicuous area of your rug, carpet or upholstery).

Dealing with dried urine — first identify the spots. Look for visible evidence like spots or discolorations. Also, a black light can be used to find the source. In a darkened room, the urine salts become fluorescent in the presence of ultraviolet light. However, the most available and practical method of locating urine problems is your nose. Don’t be afraid to get down on your hands and knees to find it. Once the spots have been identified, using 1/3 white vinegar with 2/3 water, spray it on the spot. You want to apply enough to get to the contamination in order to liquefy the urines salts. However, do not over wet the carpet especially with wood sub-floors. After applying the vinegar/water solution, remove as much of the moisture as possible by blotting as described above.

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Tips on Rug Care

During these crazy times and the Corona virus situation, it is a good time to take care of things in the house. So, whether you have expensive oriental rugs or just good everyday rugs, here are some tips to take care of them and make them last longer.

  1. Vacuum rugs at least once a week.
  2. Turn or rotate the ends of a rug. This should be done once a year. However, it is a must to turn them at least every two years. Turning prevents more wear in one area than in another. It also helps to prevent “traffic patterns” from occurring as in carpeted rooms.
  3. Moth considerations for wool and oriental rugs. Rugs regularly vacuumed or located in well used rooms are less likely to have moth damage. Moths work in secluded, undisturbed areas such as under beds, skirted sofas, or heavy furniture. Move furniture occasionally when vacuuming and clean under it. Also, homes not well ventilated or rooms closed for long periods of time are more likely to have moth problems, so once again vacuum rugs regularly.
  4. Sunlight considerations. Direct, sunlight will gradually fade a rug. To avoid this, cover windows with drapes, curtains or shutters and use them to block strong morning and afternoon sunlight. Also, consider window glass treatments and rug treatments for UV light protection.

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Dark lines at carpet and wall – Dirt Filtration

Have you ever noticed a grayish or dark line along the walls on your carpets? You probably do not want to know this, but it is not a defect in your carpet. It is called soil filtration and is a concentration of dirt that has collected on the carpet fibers

Soil Filtration is caused by positive and negative pressure within a home. What happens is, when pressure change occurs within a room from either the effect of warm air rising or from pressure created by your heater and air conditioner, air tries to flow either in or out of the room. The carpet along the wall edges serve as a filter as the air exits or enters under pressure.

Also, have you ever noticed a grayish or dark line at the doorway of a room? Once again, soil filtration. It is quite common for dirt and dust to accumulate under doors when they are shut. The supply air vent blowing air into the room creates positive pressure in the closed room. This air will seek areas of lower pressure (the return air vents) through the largest available holes. With the door shut, the undercut of the door is generally the largest available hole. Therefore, as the air passes between the door undercut and the carpeting, the carpet acts like a filter taking out dirt and dust particles from the air. Over a period of time, the carpet will darken as the dirt accumulates.

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Upholstery Cleaning, Completely Different than Carpet Cleaning

Cleaning Upholstery takes a level of expertise way beyond the typical carpet cleaner. This is due to the different fabrics used for upholstery, the type of dirt involved and the different shapes of furniture.

Upholstery uses many different types of fabrics than carpet or rugs ranging from natural materials like silk and wool, synthetics like nylon and blends. If the upholstery cleaner doesn’t really understand materials, real problems can occur. For example, if silk is not cleaned properly, the potential for splotching or streaking can occur. Also, if not properly cleaned, white furniture, especially cottons and wools, can turn brown.

Upholstery dirt is primarily people and pet issues. People shed dead skin cells, hair and hair dander along with sweat and body oils through exposed skin. Cosmetics, hair sprays and other beauty items get on upholstery. Plus, children and parties increase the likelihood of spills. If you have animals, their hair, body oils and dander are probably getting on your furniture. Over time, all these tend to accumulate into the fabric.

Furniture designs and styles contribute different degrees of difficulty to clean. An easy working surface is a flat one. However, furniture has many corners and edges which make the application of cleaning solutions and the removal of the associated dirt very difficult. Skill and experience are required to effectively clean these areas.

So, make sure to hire an upholstery cleaner that knows what they are doing. For information, visit my website at

Removing Candle Wax from Carpets & Upholstery

You’ve set up a relaxing evening at home. You have the lights dimmed, soft music playing and scented candles burning. You drift off to sleep in the peaceful setting. The dream is over when you wake up. Your wax candles have melted all over your carpet! OR –  your teenage kid burns candles in their room and never pays attention to the wax spilling onto the carpet. Don’t panic, your carpet isn’t ruined.

To get the candle wax out, here is all that you will need. Seriously, a paper bag and an Iron.

First try and break up the wax and chip as much off as you can. Use a dull knife or other hard flat edge object. You can also put ice in a waterproof bag and lay it on the wax. By allowing the wax to freeze, it will chip away easier. However, make sure the bag does not leak or condensation puts water on the spot. The water could make the color in the wax set.

Second, tear large pieces of the paper bag so that they are single layers. (if you do not have a paper bag, clean terry cloth can work). Spread the paper piece over the wax stain. And make sure there is no print from the bag against the carpet.

Third, heat your iron to a very low setting like around 3. It only needs to be hot enough to melt the wax and not the fibers of your carpet.

Finally, run the iron over the paper on top of the wax, but DO NOT let the iron touch the actual carpet fibers. You will notice that the wax will transfer to the paper. When you do it, don’t hold your iron in one spot for too long. Little pushes and moves of the iron around the wax should work really well. Keep moving the paper over the wax until it is all removed.

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The Biggest Vacuuming Goofs

Vacuuming carpets and rugs is very important to prolong their life and beauty. Therefore, it is wise to make sure the vacuum is working at its peak performance. Here are some situations you should avoid to take care of your vacuum cleaner

  1. Not changing the bags. When your bag or bin (for bagless vacuums) is 1/2 full, suction power is reduced by at least 50%. This means you need more strokes over an area to clean it and it is making the motor work harder. It is best to change the bag or empty the bin when 1/3 to 1/2 full.
  2. Using the brush on bare floors. A powered brush is critical for deep-cleaning carpets. But the revolving bristles can scatter debris while scratching the finish on hardwood and the plastic wear layer on laminate floors. Most of the newer vacuums let you switch off the brush when needed. If your vacuum cleaner is not able to switch off the beater bar, it would be good to get a vacuum for bare floors that does not have a beater bar.
  3. Vacuuming hard, sharp objects. Nails, screws, coins and even paper clips can rip bags and damage the machine. Either pick them up or sweep them up with a broom before vacuuming.
  4. Sucking up water or wet messes. Had a flood? Avoid the risk of electrocution by leaving your upright or canister in the closet. Use a wet-dry vacuum with a ground-fault interrupter for standing water or even damp debris.
  5. Tossing it when it loses suction. Full bags aren’t the only reason a vacuum’s suction can suffer. Check the hose to see if it is clogged. If the hose is clear, check the filters found on bagged and bagless vacs. Also, if the brush roll barely turns, check it and the drive belt for tangled string or hair.
  6. Assuming the motor has blown. Many models have a thermal switch that cuts current to the motor if it begins to overheat. If your vacuum shuts off during use, check for a full bag or bin or a dirty filter. The switch should reset itself, though some models have a reset button for that purpose.

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5 Steps to Create a Cleaner Allergen-Free Home

If you have asthma or allergies, this article is for you. Asthma impacts more than 34 million people, and one of the main asthma triggers is an allergen found in dust mite droppings which can also induce allergic reactions in some individuals.

So, what are dust mites? They are microscopic creatures that thrive in the indoor environment provided by homes, specifically in bedrooms and kitchens. They survive well in mattresses, carpets, furniture and bedding. Dust mites shed skin and feces which become a major part of house dust. For most people, this type of dust is not harmful, but it does affect asthma sufferers and people with certain allergies.

The following are good tips provided by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification,

  1. Vacuum with a hepa-filter bag on a regular basis and frequently remove dirt from vacuum bags: One of the best ways to remove dust mites is to empty vacuum bags more frequently. It is best to empty the bags when dirt levels are 1/3rd to 1/2 full. Besides getting the dust mites out of your house, frequent vacuum bag emptying will make your vacuum function more efficiently
  2. Dust and dust mop regularly: Microfiber dust cloths have been found to be very effective at attracting and removing dust.
  3. Increase carpet cleaning frequency: Have carpets deep cleaned at least once a year and more often in high-traffic areas.
  4. Limit mold growth: Increased cleaning frequencies will also help limit mold growth. Mold produces the same allergens that impacts asthma sufferers.
  5. Focus on overlooked areas where people spend time: For example, home offices and chairs. These can become a breeding ground for dust mites.

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Ever noticed a dark line along the walls on your carpets?

You probably do not want to know this, but it is not a defect in your carpet. It is called soil filtration which is a term used to describe dark, gray (sometimes black) lines that appear on carpet. Soil filtration occurs because the carpet acts as a filter to dust and other airborne particles resulting from a concentrated flow of air over the carpet. It is most commonly found around baseboards, under doors and along the edges of stairs.

The primary reason for this concentrated flow of air is pressure changes within a room. Pressure changes occur within a room from either the effect of warmer air rising or from your heater or air conditioner blowing air into a room without a return vent. Because of the pressure change, air tries to flow either in or out of the room. For walls that are not sealed to the floor, air moves in and out of the room at these areas and that is why you will see it along walls and stairs. For these situations, unless the air leakage areas are addressed, the soil filtration will continue to occur.

Also, have you ever noticed a grayish or dark line at the doorway of a room? Especially a closet or a room that is rarely used and the door is always shut. Once again, soil filtration. It is quite common for dirt and dust to accumulate under doors when they are shut. Due to pressure differences between rooms (as described above), air will flow from the high pressure room to the lower pressure through the largest available holes. With the door shut, the undercut of the door is generally the largest available hole. Therefore, as the air passes between the door undercut and the carpeting, the carpet acts like a filter taking out dirt and dust particles from the air. For these situations, you might consider leaving the door cracked so air can move through the doorway and not under the door.

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Removing Red Wine Stains

A red wine glass spills onto the carpet. Yikes! The sooner you act the better. Attacking the red wine stain before it fully sets into the carpet gives you a better shot at getting rid of it.

The following are good stain removal remedies, but remember, to ensure color fastness, I always suggest you test any removal method on a discreet spot of carpet before treating the stain.

 First, BLOT. Time is of the essence, so grab a clean white cloth (towels and paper towels work just fine) and press the cloth to the stain. Soak up as much of the red wine stain as you can by moving dry parts on the liquid. Be careful not to rub, rubbing can push the stain deeper into the carpet’s fibers. After you finish blotting, you can pour a bit of cold water directly onto the wine stain (Be sure not to pour too much at a time). This helps dilute what remains, making blotting a bit easier. Continue blotting until no more of the stain will come out.

Two, If You Can’t Treat It, Salt It. Don’t have time to treat while playing host to your guests? After you’ve finished blotting, pour salt onto the affected area. The salt helps absorb the stain and can be quickly removed with a vacuum when you’re ready to treat the stain. Don’t have salt? Baking Soda can also be used.

Three, Treat It (presented are two different options)

  • Home Remedy #1 – Plain Club Soda is a good home remedy because of it’s carbonation and sodium components. Apply club soda to the red wine stain and blot. (Be sure not to pour too much on at a time).
  • Home Remedy #2 –Mix 1/3 of a cup white vinegar with 2/3 of a cup water. Saturate red wine stain with the vinegar solution and blot with a clean towel. (Be sure not to pour too much on at a time).

Four, Attacking what is left. After blotting either the soda or white vinegar mix, combine 1/4 teaspoon liquid dish detergent (Dawn® is a good choice) with 4 cups of luke-warm water. (Note: Make sure your dish soap is free from bleach and lanolin). Spray or gently pour a small amount of the dish soap solution on the stain. Using a gentle blotting motion, work the detergent into the stain and continue as needed until stain is gone. Then remove the soap by spraying the treated area with water and blotting.

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Preserve Your Carpets

Replacing carpets can be expensive so here are some tips on making them last. Believe it or not, carpet appearance deterioration comes from the sticky stuff in your life. Dirt can have a sticky component. So can people, air systems, food and drink, smoking, foreign matter (including smog), pets and residue from “do-it-yourself” cleaning products. The answer; preventative maintenance and periodic commercial cleaning.

Preventative maintenance is the least costly and the most effective means of maintaining a carpet’s appearance. There are two goals of maintenance. One is to limit the amount of soil that comes into contact with the carpet through the use of walk-off mats. The other is to limit its accumulation through routine vacuum cleaning.

Walk-off mats should be placed at all entrances to reduce the soil that comes into the home. It is best to have an outside mat and an inside mat at each entrance. Outside mats should be capable of scraping debris off of shoes. Inside mats are needed to remove the smaller particles of dirt as well as oils and other liquids that can be tracked inside.

Routine vacuuming is necessary to reduce the amount of soil that can accumulate. There are many types of vacuums available but the best one is the one that you will actually use. Make sure it has a beater brush to get the soil to release. It is also important to empty your bag when it is ¼ to ½ full. Once the bag gets over 50% full, its efficiency diminishes dramatically.

The final aspect is periodic professional cleaning. The commercial grade equipment and expertise associated with reputable companies provides removal of the deep down dirt and removal of spills and spots. In fact, most major carpet manufacturers require professional cleaning every 12 to 18 months to maintain the carpet’s warranty.

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