Category Archives: Cleaning Tips

Cleaning tips for carpets, rugs and upholstery

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

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

 

Do It Yourself Cleaning

Concerns with Home Cleaning Equipment

do It Yourself Cleaner    If you have ever purchased or rented a residential carpet cleaning machine, this article is for you. This equipment can be of a benefit for interim spot cleaning between professional cleanings. However, if you are not careful, the Do-It-Yourself machines can do more harm to your carpets than good.

If the machine’s directions have you adding a shampoo to your water tank, we suggest not using it. The shampoo residue left on your carpets acts as a big magnet pulling dirt from the bottom of your shoes. The result is you will have clean shoes and even dirtier carpets. Straight water is a good cleaning agent and should be used without any shampoo. However, if you feel you need the shampoo, after shampooing, fill your machine up with water and try and rinse the shampoo out. Also, be aware that the suction on these machines are not very strong and will probably not get all the shampoo out of the carpet.

cleaner    Over wetting of carpets is another potential problem. Therefore, go sparingly with the water and use the vacuum portion multiple times to remove as much of the liquid as possible. The problems resulting from over wetting the carpet can be subfloor damage (especially if it is hardwood). Also, carpet pads can prematurely fail due to getting wet and the carpet itself can be damaged and fail prematurely due to over wetting. The impact of over wetting does not show up immediately. It becomes apparent at a later time by reducing the life of the carpets or seeing the damage to the sub floor when you replace the carpets. Also, if it takes more than 24 hours for the carpet to dry, then the possibility for mold and/or mildew to begin greatly increases.

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

Pet Accidents, What do you do!

Accidents do happen
Accidents do happen

Pets have accidents and it is good to address them as soon as 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 in a different method than 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.

blottingDealing with Urine while it is wet — Blot, blot, and 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 may want to test it on a non-conspicuous area of your rug, carpet or upholstery).

Spritz Bottle
Spritzing area

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.

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

Upholstery Spot Cleaning

When there is a spill on your upholstery,Panic Face
DON’t PANIC.
However, act promptly before it spreads or dries.

For liquid spills:     Blot lightly with a dry towel to start. Increase pressure and use a fresh towel until no more liquid is absorbed. DO NOT RUB! Do Not Add Liquid to a Liquid Spill

If residue remains, see the stain removal guide below.

For solid or semi-solid spills (such as foods):     Gently lift the substance from the upholstery with a spoon or dull knife, scraping carefully toward the center of the spill. Treat any wet residue as a liquid spill.

If residue remains, see the stain removal guide below.

For dry spills (such as ashes or dry cosmetics):     Adding any liquid to a normally dry substance, such as ashes, may cause a permanent stain. Vacuum, beat the area with a ruler or similar implement, vacuum again, then use the adhesive side of masking tape to remove any residue.

If residue remains, see the stain removal guide below.

For wax or bubble gum:     Freeze it by placing ice in a plastic bag and setting it over the area until the wax or bubble gum becomes hard (Avoid letting the bag perspire and get water on the stain). Use the back of a knife or other flat dull edge to gently remove the stain.

If residue remains, see the stain removal guide below.

Stain Removal guide
The key is knowing which type of cleaner or stain remover to use, which depends on (1) the type of upholstery and (2) the type of stain.

Type of Upholstery:     To know what types of upholstery cleaner can be used on your upholstery look at the upholstery cleaning tag code.

  • If your code says “W” you can use a water based cleaner on the upholstery, and if it says a “S” you can use a water-free product, such as a dry cleaning solvent.
  • If it says “WS” you can use either a water based cleaner or a dry cleaning solvent — whichever is more appropriate for the type of stain you are trying to remove from the upholstery.
  • Hint: If your code says “X” do NOT use any of the cleaners below, because it means only a professional should clean your upholstery.

Type of Stain     Once you figure out what types of upholstery cleaners you can use on your upholstery, next you need to know the type of stain you have on your upholstery. Each group of stain is treated slightly differently:
Remember: First follow the type of upholstery code. If it is coded “S” (water-free cleaner) do not use one of the water cleaning solutions mentioned below.

  • Most food and beverage stains – use a solution of 1 teaspoon of detergent to 1 cup of luke warm water. (Non-alkaline detergent not containing bleach, such as used for washing delicate fabrics). Spritz the cleaner on the stain and blot with a dry white towel. You should see the stain transferring to the white rag.
  • Berry and fruit stains – use a solution of 1/3 white vinegar to 2/3 water. Spritz the cleaner onto the stain and blot with a dry white towel. You should see the stain transferring to the white rag.
  • Greasy and oily stains – Use dry cleaning solvent by putting it onto a white rag and then dabbing the stain. You should see the stain transferring to the white rag.

For more good tips, visit my website at www.graysoncleans.com

 

Removing Candle Wax from Carpets, Rugs or Upholstery

candlewax Candles can provide an ambience and pleasant odor. But, what to do when Candle wax drips onto the carpet, rug or upholstery?

First, wait for the wax to cool, then try to scrape off as much of the hardened drips as you can, using a dull knife. Next place a clean white rag over the remaining wax and run a wcandlewax1arm iron over the area. Once again, use the iron on warm setting. If it is too hot, you could damage or melt the fibers. You should see the wax transferring to the white towel. Repeat the process by putting a fresh part of the clean towel over the wax each time, until all the wax is gone. If wax residue remains, apply a small bit of dry-cleaning solvent and blot.

For more good tips, visit my website at www.graysoncleans.com

Do-It-Yourself Spot Cleaning

Children, pets, parties and such can tend to create accidents on your carpets and rugs. It is wise to clean them and remove any spots as quickly as possible to prevent stains. We have found that many people will use products purchased from the store to try and remove these accidents. As cleaning professionals, we do not recommend that approach for the following reasons. Consumers assume that if a little bit of something works well, than a whole lot of it should work even better. This philosophy is bad in the spot cleaning world. The reason is that store bought cleaners will leave a

Suds from store bought cleaner residue

residue. The amount of residue left is based on how much cleaning product was applied to the spot and how good of a job the consumer did trying to remove the cleaner after application. The problem is that the residue left on the carpet will then attract dirt. Also, some of the store bought cleaning products can utilize harsh products to address spot removal. If these type cleaners do not remove the spot, they tend to make it a permanent stain.

blottingSo what do you do? First, removal of the initial insult is top of the list. For liquid spills, use a dry clean white cloth or towel. Put it on the spill and apply pressure. The liquid will migrate from the carpet/rug onto the towel. Keep moving the towel so a dry area is over the spill and keep this up until no more liquid is transferred to the towel. For any solid particles, scrap them off with a spoon or dull object.

If a spot is still visible, we recommend starting with clean water. If the water does not work, try either 1 teaspoon of a neutral detergent with ½ pint of lukewarm water (a non-alkaline detergent that does not contain bleach such as used for washing delicate fabrics) or 1/3 cup white vinegar to 2/3 cup of water. Using a spray bottle, sprits the spot with the cleaner but do not over wet the spot. Then blot it up as described above. You can also click this link to see a video on thicleaning up a spot

For more information you can also visit my website www.graysoncleans.com

Dry Cleaning Upholstery

I have a fabric that has a label stating “Dry-Clean Only.”
The fact is that very few fabrics actually require dry cleaning.

Walter B&A The goal of voluntary care labeling by manufacturers of furniture is laudable, however very few tags that recommend “dry cleaning only” reflect a true need for that type of cleaning. Contrary to the manufacturer’s label guidelines, most fabrics clean easily and safely with water-based cleaning solutions performed by qualified professional upholstery cleaners. My suspicion is that by putting “Dry Clean Only” on the furniture, the manufacturer removes the chance of a homeowner trying to clean it themselves, creating problems and then blaming the manufacturer for the problem.

The reasons that fabrics may require dry cleaning are: Colorfastness, texture change, dimensional stability, or finish damage. However, a qualified professional upholstery cleaner should be able to identify when dry cleaning is necessary.

The reality is dry cleaning with solvents will never clean a fabric as well as water-based methods of cleaning. The reason is that water-based solutions are most effective when removing water-based spills, but dry cleaning solvents are only effective on oily soils and spots. Most furniture, when subjected to “normal use”, is exposed to more water-based soils and spills than ones that are oily in nature. Also, oils from skin, hair and animals are removed more efficiently with a water based cleaning utilizing the appropriate preconditioning agents.

PPEIf dry cleaning is required: The use of dry cleaning solvents present both health and fire hazards. Therefore, organic vapor respirators, solvent-resistant gloves and aprons, and protective eyewear are required to do the work. The work area must have adequate ventilation to remove the fumes, and under no circumstances should building occupants or pets be anywhere in or around the rooms where this cleaning is being done.

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

Cleaning up Animal Accidents

Accidents do happen
Accidents do happen

We have recently received a rash of calls about cleaning up pet urine. So, I thought it would be good to make that the topic of this blog. As funny as this sounds, urine is a rather sophisticated problem. As a result, it requires slightly different approaches depending on whether it is fresh or had time to dry.

Blotting spill
Keep moving to dry parts of towel until spill quits transferring.

When Urine is fresh or still wet, the first step is to remove as much as possible by blotting with a dry towel or rag. Once you have removed as much as possible by blotting, consider applying baking soda to the damp spot. Fresh urine’s PH is on the acidic side and baking soda will help neutralize it. The baking soda will also act as an absorbent to pull more of the urine out of the carpet (or rug). Leave the baking soda on the spot until it is dry. (However, before using baking soda on your carpet or rug, test it on a non-conspicuous area to make sure it does not affect the color.) To remove the baking soda from the carpet, you will probably need to vacuum it many times.

If your pet did not tell you they had an accident and you come across the spot after it has dried, white vinegar and water is your best approach. When urine has dried, the PH of the urine salts is on the alkaline side. Therefore, white vinegar is the best thing to use to neutralize and to remove the urine from the carpet or rug. To address the spot, mix 1/3 white vinegar with 2/3 water in a spray bottle. Spray the dried urine with the mixture, let it sit a few minutes and then remove it by blotting with a dry towel. This process will probably need to be repeated multiple times. Finally, the best way to determine if you have gotten the urine out is to actually smell the area.

Last but not least, if all else fails, feel free to contact us, www.graysoncleans.com.