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.

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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

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

Carpet & Premature Wear

Sulpted Wear Pattern verbageEver wondered why your carpet looks dull and extra dirty at the entrance to doors and why dull looking paths appear on your carpet. The answer is that the carpet is actually wearing away and is called a wear pattern. What creates this? People tend to drag their feet when they walk which creates wear. Especially at doorways where carpet and a hard surface meet. This is because the carpet is typically higher than the hard surface. Not only do we drag our feet a little more here but the carpet is also cleaning the dirt from our feet that accumulated on the hard surface.

The reason wear patterns appear through rooms is that we tend to go the same way through a room. The walking and the dragging of our feet create the resulting wear. This becomes very apparent in rooms with lots Grit in Carpetof activities such as dens. Another factor that contributes to premature wear is dirt in your carpet. When we walk, the dirt grinds against the sides of the carpet fibers like sand paper and weakens the fibers. The result, at these high use areas, is that the carpet fibers get physically worn away and create a dull appearance. Also, because the fibers are frayed, they will absorb dirt, spills and such easier than the non-worn fibers.

We live in our homes and carpet wear is natural. However, there are things that can be done to help reduce the affect. The biggest and best thing you can do is vacuum regularly. More than 70% of dirt in your carpet is dry particulate which vacuuming can remove. You can also look at buying higher grades of carpet which have a higher fiber count (more material per square inch just like “thread count” in linen). This can actually be a cost savings in the long run if you properly maintain the carpets. They will maintain their appearance and last longer than a lesser grade carpet. Also, avoid textured carpets in high use areas. Sculptured CarpetWhile they look beautiful new, the textured carpets have high and low spots. The high spots will wear away quicker because there is less material to support them. The result is that traffic patterns stand out sooner. Finally, non-slip walk off mats at entrances to carpets help by capturing dirt before it hits the carpet. This will help reduce the doorway wear described above.

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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,

Removing Furniture Dents in Carpet

Are you planning on rearranging your room but worried about furniture dents in the carpet. Here are a few things you can try. Fill a Carpet dentspray bottle with water and sprits it over the dents. Then use a blow-dryer, on a hot setting, to blow air over the moistened areas. (The heat helps wool and nylon carpet rebound.) Then, fluff up the fibers with your fingers or spoon. Another option is to steam away dents: Place a clean, damp cloth over them and hold an iron, on medium heat, several inches above the cloth for about 30 to 60 seconds. Don’t let the iron touch the carpet — it could burn! Brush up fibers with a dull object like a coin or a spoon. One more technique is to put an ice cube in each indentation, and let cubes slowly melt. Wait 12 hours, blot up wet spots and then use the edge of a spoon to lift carpet fibers back up.

For more information on carpet care, visit my website at

Vacuum Cleaner Selection Tips

In past articles, I have stressed how important it is to vacuum your carpets and rugs regularly. Since that is something we harp on, I am consistently asked “What is the best vacuum to get?” I do not have a specific brand to recommend but here are some tips on what to look for or consider when buying a vacuum.

Beater Bar Brush

For carpets and rugs, this is important. The beater bar brush is needed to loosen up the dirt during vacuuming.

vacuum cleanerUpright vacuum or a canister vacuum

Upright vacuums do a better overall job on carpets, though canister vacuums are easier to maneuver, especially on stairs. Also, top of the line canisters typically have a motor-driven Vacuum Cannisterhead for better carpet cleaning.

Bagless vacuums verses bagged vacuums

Bagless vacuums save you the cost of bags, but like bagged models they still require filters. Emptying a bagless vacuum is also a dustier process, a concern if you have asthma or allergies.

Other features to consider.

vacuum draperies, lady Edge-cleaning tools help at corners and baseboards. If you will use your vacuum to vacuum draperies, make sure it has a suction control feature in order to protect the drapes. If you will use your vacuum for both bare floors and carpets, get one with a brush on/off switch. This will help safeguard from scratching bare floors and prevents scattered dust and debris.

Most Important, give it a spin before buying.

vacuuming ladyEven if you order your vacuum online, visit a store first. Push, pull, turn and lift any models you’re considering. The bottom line is, you may have the most expensive, fanciest vacuum, but if it is heavy, awkward to use or move around and you do not use it, it is a horrible vacuum. The reality is that the best model for you (whether cheap or very expensive) is the one you will use.

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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.

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When should you clean your carpets?

This is a frequently asked question which deserves attention in a newsletter. There are two sources of advice, that from the industry and that based on our experience in the “real world”.

 Institutional Advice

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration’s (IICRC) IICRCstandard reference guide for professional carpet cleaning, recommends cleaning for normal soiling in a home every 6-12 months for high use areas and annually for the remainder of carpet. Most carpet mills require carpet cleaning from 18 months to 2 years to maintain the CRIcarpet warranty. The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) recommends deep cleaning either quarterly, every 6 months or annually depending upon traffic levels.

As you can see, they are all over the place but they all agree that;

  • Proper professional cleaning will extend the useful life of the carpet
  • If the carpet looks dirty, it is already past the time it should have been cleaned
  • Cleaning for health has a bigger impact on people’s lives than merely cleaning for appearance.
  • The carpet in most homes would benefit from cleaning more often than it is being cleaned now.

Our “Real World” Advice

Now for our advice, there are two primary factors to consider,

  1. Vacuuming frequency
  2. The environment within the home.

If you vacuum at least once a week, consider cleaning every 12 to 18 months. If you vacuum less, maybe clean every 9 to 12 months. However, if any of the following home environment conditions exist, consider professional cleaning more frequently. Home environment considerations would be smokers, pets, heavy use of kitchens and the family.

  • For smokers, tobacco smoke lingers and poses a health issue for children.
  • For pets, pet stains and their odors get worse with neglect.
  • For heavy cooking, especially with oil, the oil gets into the air and settles at entrances to the kitchen.
  • And, last but not least, a messy family or family member can MessyKid-240x360impact the cleanliness of the carpet.

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Upholstery Spot Cleaning

When there is a spill on your upholstery,Panic Face
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.

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