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, IICRC.org.

  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.

For more information, please visit our website at www.graysonclean.com

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.

For more information, visit my website at www.graysoncleans.com

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.

For more information, visit my website at www.graysoncleans.com

Berber Carpets, The Good and Bad

Berber carpets are an aesthetically appealing carpet that allows for unique designs and color schemes. However, berber carpets are not a style of carpet but a specific weave. It is a loop pile construction and can be made from many different materials and in many different qualities. The looped design does provide a cushiony feel under your feet and this is especially true with the wool and nylon varieties.

While berber carpets can be visually pleasing and comfortable, there are some aspects that need to be considered when either buying berbers or deciding in which parts of your home to install them. They can snag and unravel or run, similar to a run in ladies hose. Situations where this can be a real concern is with cats who use the carpet as a scratching post and dogs that like to dig on carpets. Also, this type of carpet is difficult to clean. Because of the loop weave and the twist of the loop being larger at the top than the bottom, It draws dirt to the bottom of the fibers and traps it there. This dirt, trapped at the bottom, is very difficult to extract with a vacuum cleaner. As a result, traffic patterns can develop prematurely. Finally, the less expensive berber carpets will also tend to show wear patterns quicker.

Therefore, you might want to reconsider berber carpets for high traffic rooms such as dens, stairs and halls. Especially if you are not able to vacuum them regularly. Also, if you have pets that like to scratch, you might reconsider the use of this type of carpet all together.

For more information visit my website at www.graysoncleans.com

Sculptured Carpets The Good and Bad

Sculptured carpet is a design of carpeting that is characterized by a mixture of high and low pile fibers arranged according to a specific pattern. The appeal of this type of carpet is in the visual presentation. Sculptured carpets can be an effective means of adding interest to a room by providing a layered effect to the floor covering. It is considered to be an excellent means of increasing the visual interest of the floor covering without the use of different colors to create a pattern.

However, a concern with sculpted carpets over non sculpted carpets is the wear tendency in high use areas of the home. Because of the high/low aspect of this carpet, wear patterns tend to become more prevalent in high use areas. This is due to the walking and dragging of feet on the carpet which impacts the less supported taller fibers. Therefore, avoiding the use of this type carpet in high traffic areas should be considered. Examples of high traffic areas are dens, TV or play rooms, stairs and halls. Also, once the carpet is installed, regular vacuuming and periodic professional cleaning are important. By doing this, you will increase the longevity and maintain the beauty of this type of carpet longer.

As mentioned earlier, sculpted carpets can be used to enhance the look of the flooring without using a lot of color that may clash with other furnishings in the room. However, it would be prudent to avoid them in high use areas. And once installed, vacuum regularly and periodically have them professionally cleaned.

For more information, visit my website at www.graysoncleans.com

Pet Accidents, What do you do?

Accidents do happen

You know your pet has had an accident on the carpet (or rug) because you can smell it. The quicker you can address the accident the better, so look for spots or discolorations. However, sometimes the accident is not visible, so what do you do then? A black light can be used. Darken the room, turn on the black light and scan it over the floor. You will be able to identify the urine because the urine salts become fluorescent in the ultraviolet light. However, the most available and practical method is to use your nose. Don’t be afraid to get down on your hands and knees to find it.

If the spot is still wet, blot, blot and blot some more to remove as much as possible. After blotting, you can sprinkle baking soda on the area. The baking soda will help absorb the urine and also neutralize the PH of the urine. (Note: baking soda may sometimes discolor fabrics, so you should test it on a non-conspicuous area of your carpet or rug). Let the baking soda dry on the spot then vacuum it up. If the spot is dried up, then mix 1/3 white vinegar with 2/3 water and spray it on the spot. let it sit a little bit than remove the vinegar/water solution by blotting.

If you would like more information, visit my website at http://www.graysoncleans.com

What Causes Wall-To-Wall Carpeting to Buckle or Ripple

Having wall-to-wall carpeting offers distinct benefits, but sometimes walking on it can become hazardous and its appearance can deteriorate due to buckling or rippling. The reasons for ripples across the floor can range from improper installation to excess humidity to long term wear.

To understand why ripples happen, it is good to understand how carpets are fabricated. Most residential carpet is manufactured by inserting yarn into a backing material to form the face material. The yarn/face material and primary backing is then back coated with a synthetic latex adhesive to lock the fibers in place. Finally, a secondary backing is applied to provide dimensional stability. (See diagram).

Improper installation methods almost always guarantee carpet rippling and can range from the installer not using a power stretcher or only power stretching in one direction. Also, padding with improper thickness or density for the carpet can also cause rippling. Therefore, make sure to purchase the proper carpet pad for your carpet and to use a qualified carpet layer for installation.

Excessive water from humidity or improper steam cleaning can break down the latex adhesive and cause premature rippling. Stretching the carpet can help the appearance but the carpet has probably been damaged and buckling will more than likely return. Replacement might be your best option.

Finally, buckling occurs overtime because the carpet stretches due to regular foot traffic and wear. Every carpet reaches an age when it must be replaced because the secondary backing and latex start to breakdown. Stretching the carpet can remove the ripples for a period of time but these areas will still be prone to buckling over time.

For more information, visit my website at www.graysoncleans.com

The Good & Bad of Wool Carpet

Wool carpets remain a favorite for their warmth, luxurious feel and durability. A good quality wool carpet is typically more expensive than other fibers. However, if maintained properly, the wool carpet, due to its durability, can save you money over its lifetime. However, if not maintained properly or if staining concerns is a part of your life, wool may not be the best choice.

For homeowner’s who either vacuum their carpets regularly or have them vacuumed regularly, wool will last longer than other fibers and would be a good investment. The reason that vacuuming is so important is that through normal home living, grit gets into the carpet fibers. If this grit is not removed by regular vacuuming, it will act like sand paper on the carpet fibers, damage them and create premature wear patterns. Therefore, if regular vacuuming of your carpets may be difficult to achieve, it might be prudent to invest in a less expensive type of carpet.

If spills and staining are not a big concern, wool once again is an excellent choice. Wool has natural oils inherent in it which have a tendency to repel liquids. Therefore, if you can get to spills quickly, the wool provides good stain resistant qualities. However, if a spill is left unattended, it seeps past the natural oils in the wool, absorbs into the fibers and has a high probability of becoming a permanent stain. If staining is a concern (from kids, pets and parties), then synthetic carpets would most likely serve you better. They come in all “levels” of stain-resistance, from very basic synthetic fibers, to those treated with Teflon and other solutions.

So, if you have good maintenance of your carpets and have the ability to address spills quickly, then wool, over its life, is your most cost effective choice. However, it either of the above concerns is an issue, then your money might be better spent on a synthetic carpet.

For more information, visit my website at www.graysoncleans.com

The benefits of carpet padding

You’ve paid hundreds or even thousands for that new carpeting or rug–and now the “experts” are recommending that you spend even more to buy a pad to put underneath it. Believe them and get a good pad. It will save you money in the long run.

For both carpets and rugs, a good pad not only increases the comfort but it extends the life of your carpet or rug. It reduces wear and tear plus pile crushing by absorbing the pressure exerted on the carpet or rug. It also allows for deeper vacuuming because it raises the rug or carpet off of the floor. This allows the air to flow through it more easily, making it possible to remove more dirt from the rug or carpet.

There are also other benefits associated with rugs. Pads can be a safety issue. No matter where the rug is placed (on carpet or hardwood or etc), a pad can keep the rug in place to prevent slips and pulls. It provides protection – Very important! A pad prevents dye transfer, marring, staining, and scratching to the floor or carpeting beneath.

Note: Rug pads are specific to the type of flooring underneath – if you have carpeting under your rug, make sure you purchase a rug pad made specifically for carpeting. The same goes for hard floorings. Don’t use a carpet pad for a hardwood floor – they are not made the same and will not give the comfort and protection your floor needs.

What kind of pads to get.
The most popular type is rebond pads which are made from scraps of high density foam. Pads come in different weights. The Carpet Cushion Council recommends a pad of 6 pounds at a minimum. However this is a minimum recommendation and a pad of 8 pounds will provide longer wear. There are also pads that have a scrim on top to prevent liquids from soaking into the pad. These pads also have anti-microbial aspects that inhibit the breeding of bacteria and associated smells. This type of padding is very good for homes with pets and small children.

For more information, visit my website at www.graysoncleans.com