All posts by Walter Polk

I worked with Grayson Smith all through the 70's as he started Grayson Smith Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning. I left Memphis to pursue opportunities and returned to Memphis in 2006 to join Grayson as his partner.

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

Why Vacuuming is So Important

When people ask me what is the best thing to do to take care of their carpets (or rugs), I tell them frequent vacuuming. Based on a Proctor and Gamble Company analysis of carpet soiling in the US, about 79% of dirt in a carpet is dry particulate. The composition of this dirt is about 55% from “Tracked-In” gritty particles (like sand and fine dirt), 12% from animal fiber from people, pets and fabrics and another 12% from fibers, indoor plants, and tracked in organic material.

Because most of this dirt is brought in from outside of the home, you should vacuum at least a minimum of 2 times per week.

To really understand the importance of vacuuming, watch this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNiMsB-4qtI&t=4s

For more information on taking care of your carpets and upholstery, visit my website at www.graysoncleans.com

Do It Yourself Spot Cleaning

You have an accident on your carpet and want to get it up. I do not recommend using something you buy from the store. These products tend to leave a residue that will attract dirt. Also, if it does not remove the spot, it could actually set the stain so a professional cannot get it out.

I recommend using white vinegar and water. Mix around 1/3 white vinegar to 2/3 water in a spritz bottle. then spritz the spot and blot it up with a white rag. Here is a link to a video that will show this process. Spot cleaning video

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

Fabric Protectors

Whenever you buy new furniture, carpets or rugs or you have just had them cleaned and they look great, you might want to consider putting fabric protection on them. Especially if there is a high probability of spills occurring. For example, if you have young children or teenagers, have grandchildren who visit regularly, have pets (especially new pets or very old pets) or you like to entertain, consider protecting your upholstery, rugs and carpets.

Protectant copyThe reason fabric protectors are beneficial is that for spills, the liquid will bead up on the material allowing you time to address the spill before it soaks into the material. This repellent characteristic also keeps dirt from sticking to the fibers which improves vacuuming. The end result is that it helps the upholstery, carpets or rugs last longer. Plus, if you are not able to get to the spill in time to remove it, removal is made easier for a professional to clean.

Fabric protectors have progressed to a point where they can protect against both oil and water based stains. But be careful, there are many different fabric protectors out there and some work very well and some do not work at all. Also, make sure you hire a company that knows what they are doing to apply the fabric protection. For example, applying scotchgard protection to a sisal rug is not advisable. Sisal rugs do not like water and Scotchgard uses water as the application medium. The result could be a discolored sisal rug. This is not to scare you away from using fabric protectors but to advise you to use a reputable company to protect your belongings.

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

Soil 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 wallSoil Filtration is caused by positive and negative pressure within a room. What happens is, when pressure change occurs within a room from either the effect of warm air rising or your air conditioner or heater pumping air into a room, air tries to flow either in or out of the room.  In the places with the dark lines, air is flowing in or out underneath the walls and the carpet along the wall edges serve as a filter. The carpet collects the dirt that is in the air and as a result the dark lines are created.

soil filtration doorHave you ever noticed a grayish or dark line underneath the door 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. The air in the room will want to leave the room through the easiest paths. With the door shut, the undercut of the door is generally the largest and easiest hole for the air to escape. Therefore, as the air passes between the door undercut and the carpeting, the carpet will act like an air filter and grab the dirt that is in the air. The result (like described above) is a dark line appearing just under the door. The best way to prevent doorway dirt filtration is to leave the door cracked so air escapes along the edges and not under the door.

Because soil filtration is a concentration of dirt particles that has occurred over time, cleaning it is extremely tough and will return after cleaning unless you can stop the air flow in these areas.

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

Cleaning Upholstery Dirt, Different than Carpet or Rug Dirt

Cleaner w-chairCleaning Upholstery takes a level of expertise way beyond the typical carpet cleaner. This is due to the type of dirt involved, the different shapes of furniture and the different fabrics used.

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.

Clean Furniture ChairsFurniture 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.

Upholstery cleanedUpholstery also uses many different types of fabrics than carpet or rugs ranging from natural materials like silk to synthetics like nylon. Having a cleaner who knows what they are doing is extremely important. For example, many companies will not clean silk because of the potential for splotching or streaking to occur. Also, if not properly cleaned, white furniture, especially cottons and wools, can turn brown.

Typically, people clean their furniture to look better. However, if it is something you plan on keeping, periodic cleaning to remove the impacted dirt is advised. It is like your clothes, even though they may not look dirty, you wash them to remove the dirt and soil from use.

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

 

Carpet Buying Considerations

Pilling carpet pic     A carpet purchase is a substantial investment and I am sure you would like to get the best return on that investment. Based on my experience in the carpet care business, unless you have rental properties, I would not recommend getting cheap carpet. My advice for a homeowner would be a decision between a good mid-grade carpet and a high quality carpet. However, to make the proper decision, it is good to look at and evaluate your life situation.

There are two big considerations with the first being the ability to vacuuming ladyvacuum regularly and frequently. Vacuuming is very important to remove the dry particulate dirt. This dirt, if not removed through vacuuming, can act like sand paper on the carpet fibers and degrade the carpet. The result, a high grade carpet will ugly out before its time if you are not able to vacuum regularly and frequently. This also means that you will have to replace the carpet sooner than later. If this is the case, a more cost effective solution might be a mid-grade carpet. However, if you are able to maintain the carpet through regular vacuuming, a high grade carpet with a high fiber content could save you money because it will last much longer.

Accidents do happen
Accidents do happen

The other consideration is the chance for accidents from both pets and people. If there are small children, young pets that are not house trained or old pets who are prone to accidents, you might want to consider a mid-grade carpet until the children grow up. There is nothing worse than buying a nice high quality carpet and having a permanent stain occur.

In conclusion, if you are able to regularly vacuum and respond to any accidents quickly, a high quality carpet with a high fiber content should be a good investment. It will last longer than a mid-grade carpet and in most cases be a cost savings over a lesser grade carpet. However, if your life style does not allow the conditions above, you might consider a mid-grade carpet.

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

The biggest Vacuuming Goofs

vacuuming ladyVacuuming your carpets and or rugs is extremely important but to do it effectively, you need need to take care of your vacuum. So, to help out, here are some of the biggest vacuum cleaning goofs.

  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. Vacuum filterTossing 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.

Hope this helps and happy vacuuming. To learn more, visit my website at www.graysoncleans.com

The Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner Difference

The requirements for excellent cleaning in the cleaning industry are Cleaner w-chairas follows. The company needs to spend the time required to do the job correctly and they need to use top quality products and equipment. Their technicians must have the knowledge to identify types of carpet or upholstery material and should have the knowledge to know the limitations and requirements to clean each type correctly. And, the technicians should have the experience needed to insure the carpet or upholstery does not get damaged during cleaning.

With that said, not all cleaning companies follow those guidelines. Remember – All businesses are “For Profit”! So, when companies use low prices to get your business, realize that they are going to cut corners to make a profit. As a result, they will reduce the quality of proper cleaning through one or all of the following.

1) They allocate less time for the job, which forces the cleaning crew to rush and not properly clean your fabrics.

2) They use inexpensive cleaning chemicals to reduce the cost which prevents optimum cleaning results.

3) They use inexperienced, under paid labor who may not know how to properly deal with fabrics or challenges. This inexperience becomes a real problem when there are stains or the fabrics are non-traditional. If they are not addressed correctly, the stains will remain and might become permanent. Also, if the technicians do not understand the type of carpet or upholstery encountered, actual damage can occur.

The morale of the story is “The cheaper the price, the more a company reduces the cost to perform the job”, which affects the quality of cleaning. The Grayson Smith Company always allows enough time to do the job right. We use the safest and best products. Plus, the owners actually do the work, experts with a vested interest in making sure the best possible cleaning is provided.

For more information on the company, visit our website at www.graysoncleans.com