Have you noticed that some soils stick to your carpet?
It seems to be held there through a magnetic force so strong that vacuuming won't even pull it up! This phenomena is called Van der Waals force. It is the same force that enables insects to walk on your walls and ceilings.
At USA Carpet we clean with formulas that are designed to break this soil-to-fiber bond. These are synthetic detergents developed for this purpose, so soils will simply slide off carpet fibers. These are not soaps nor degreasers, but complex phosphoric agents that are bio-degradable, free-rinsing, and impressive for their cleaning power.
Let us demonstrate this and other fun cleaning miracles at your home!
Blue Dawn Dish Washing Detergent is famous!
(only the normal-strength blue formula- not the variants)
Here are a few things you should know about it.
It is a soap- Always rinse thoroughly with water. A white vinegar and water mixture to remove soapy residues is even better.
It is a de-greaser- One of the ingredients is a petroleum product that functions to attach itself to grease
and oils so they can be rinsed away.
I have heard of Blue Dawn being effective when used to clean carpets, though, except for spots, I would avoid it. It creates lots of suds so rinsing can be laborious, and as well the suds can create problems in wet vacuuming equipment. Soaps are notorious for causing souring on fabrics over time and for leaving a soap residue. (These issues are the reason that professional Carpet Cleaners use synthetic detergents, developed specifically for carpet, that avoid suds and souring and are able to be free-rinsed easily.)
Besides washing dishes, there are other documented and famous uses.
-Mixed with white vinegar- for cleaning showers and tubs, windows, and as an all purpose cleaner.
- Insect control. When mixed with water, Blue Dawn can be used to repel insects (ants, aphids, fleas, ticks), around home and even on plants.
-An occasional bath for pets. It removes fleas from dogs and has even been used to wash foul after oil spills!
-As a degreaser it removes grease from hands and tools. It can remove hair product build up (occasional use), can be used as a pre-treatment for oily spots on laundry, a driveway cleaner, window cleaner, even to clean up oil based paint from fabrics!
-Also to: unclog toilets, make a refreezable ice pack, as lube for door hinges, as a sidewalk deicer.
The particular uses and their formula dilutions should be researched before using. I have avoided giving this info. because I am not prescribing Blue Dawn for anything in particular, but with the buzz this soap is receiving it is apparent there are many creative uses for it!
We do not believe in tearing down our competitors in our advertising.
We do believe in the integrity of our company and product.
It doesn’t make sense to make others small to make ourselves look large. That’s not our game.
“It is not by the humbleness of the surroundings that the king is exalted; it is the sense of honor expressed by his surroundings that makes a king a true king”.
Ideally, each competitor makes the other better...
Yes, I am going to tell you how to clean your own carpet! Well, there are some disqualifiers that take into account the limitations of popular rental cleaning equipment, but I'll give you the Pro's view.
1. Vacuum thoroughly.
2. Spray detergent onto carpet. Lightly brush spotters and de-greasers into problem areas.
3. Rinse with mild acidic rinse.
4. Dry ASAP
The Rug-Doctor style of rental cleaning equipment does a reasonable job of washing the surface of carpet fibers. The important things to remember are:
1. That they are meant to be only surface deep machines, no matter what claims they make. Trying to deep clean, a person will add enough detergent to soak a carpet. .
So the key here is to use minimal moisture.
2. The do-it-yourself cleaner is at the mercy of of the detergent manufacturers formulas. The concoctions made for home use differ from professional formulas in several ways. The homeowner formulas are soap based and designed for disposal in home sewage systems whereas the pro formulas are synthetic and offer superior cleaning abilities but also have strict disposal guidelines with heavy fines attached for non-compliance.
3. The mild acidic rinse is designed to thin and rinse out all soapy residue. This is important not only for children and pets but also for your carpet. Residues attract dirt.
Though deep cleaning is what we specialize in, and how we approach carpet maintenance, there are times when people must clean their own carpets and it is my hope these pointers help answer some questions. Please feel free to call USA Carpet at 720-488-1683 if you are in this situation and have concerns or questions regarding the best use of rental equipment.
If only cleaning carpet could be as easy as putting it in the washing machine!
Professional Steam Cleaning is the equivalent technique without fully immersing carpet into a washing machine.
High temperature water and detergents are injected into the carpet fibers and free rinsed to remove all residues.
In my experience, the first concerns a home dweller has are:
To avoid making the problem worse by using the wrong cleaner or process
To not cause damage to the carpet or floor inadvertently
To clean rinse the carpet
DO NOT EVER use household bleach, strong cleaners (like Krud-Kutter, Oxi-Clean etc.), or apply heat to your carpet. There is a chemical match-up for every problem. The answer is not to use stronger cleaners, it is often to just match the stain chemistry.
USA Carpet Cleaning is always available for advice regarding your cleaning concerns in those situations.
A Few Basic Concepts Of Carpet Cleaning Chemistry
Common soils and oils are acid in nature. To dissolve away and clean an acid we need to apply an alkaline cleaner.
When that cleaner has washed away a soil it is best to then rinse it out with a clean acidic solution.
Household acids: Vinegar, lemon juice, soda pop
Household Alkalies: Soaps, detergents, baking soda
Most home dwellers already use these products. In the cleaning world here are a few familiar examples of how they are commonly used.
White Vinegar is used in your clothes and dish washers to rinse away soap scum, to clean soap scum from shower walls and also as a fabric softener..
Baking Soda is effective on your stove top for removing cooking oils. Detergents and soaps are used to wash soils.
For common spots. Grease, dirt, oil:
Apply detergent- (as little as needed).
Apply some agitation- ie: tamping or gentle brushing
Apply a vinegar/water solution and soak up what you can with a towel or wet-dry vacuum.
(approx. 1 oz white vinegar to 3 oz water)
Repeat the vinegar/water rinse until the detergent is removed
There are more complex problems than simple soils. There are food dyes, organic pet stains, wines, etc.. The best course of action for a home dweller is to rinse the spill with clean tepid water and call us at USA Carpet. Nearly all spots can be removed if cleaning solutions, acids or heat are not applied at the wrong time.
Cleaning Chemistry is an everyday topic of interest to us at USA Carpet Cleaning. It can be complicated and take lots of experience to master it's application.We study not only the alkaline/acid relationships but also the solvents, protein, dyes, all synthetic and natural substances and their reactions with different fiber types and then factor in the effects of dwell times, applications of heat, and the settings in which these occur. We are trained in the use of enzymes and color safe bleaches. Sometimes we apply heat from an iron to activate a stain removal solution and sometimes we can even color in a damaged spot. USA Carpet Cleaning has the experience, knowledge, equipment, and training to address most situations on many different fiber types.
Often when a spot has been removed it leaves a clean area where the spot had been, and here we recommend a yearly cleaning of carpet to blend in all areas.
Carpet Cleaning- Shmarpet Cleaning!
That's what I want to say when I read the discount ad's by some of my competitors.
During those times that I hang out at the Professional Supply and Educational Centers for my industry I get the inside scoop and stories on many companies.
There are companies who are excellent and who offer dedication, expertise, and forthright honesty to their customers. I have met many of these wonderful people.
There are stories about the tricksters in our industry as well. As in any business, there are those who seem to have no higher calling in life than trying to separate people from their hard-earned cash- and doing so with as little expended effort as possible.
How are these people recognized? It's easy.
Have you ever ordered food at a very cheap restaurant? Was the thrill of the cheap price worth the humiliation of actually eating what food you got?
Have you ever walked into the cheapest motel room in town and wished you could walk back out again?
It's no different with Carpet And Upholstery Cleaning Companies- only you might not spot the differences as easily.
What does the cheapest job really cost? Here are some of the actual ad's I've seen:
$150.00 for whole house cleaning up to 2500 square feet.
$45.00 for whole house cleaning
$9.95 per room
What must be the primary thought processes for these companies?
#1- LOWER THE CLEANING COST- by cutting time and material
#2- RAISE THE INVOICE- by adding on service charges
Cheap cleaners need to hurry, so they've been shown how to get away with the least they can do. I've had someone show me how he lifted his carpet cleaning wand and walked around the room spraying water on the carpet. He then proceeded to lower the wand and quickly vacuum up the water. He left wand marks. and also nearly all the dirt as well- but he was quick and cheap and made the carpet appear to have been cleaned.
He spent less than 10 minutes in a room that would have taken me 30.
There are even companies that pay for industry certification who still engage in similar practices.
You deserve honest work for the fees you pay.
I recognize the sacrifices people make when they decide to hire a carpet cleaner. I see it when a Mom is wanting a safer and healthier environment for her children. I see when a renter wants a quick and cheap exit and when a landlord wants to protect an investment. I recognize that people might clean for their own health, or even for guests and parties. Among my arsenal of techniques there are special tweaks I can make to favor the outcome in nearly all situations (and this comes from knowledge and proper cleaning procedures).
BUT- an even bigger impact comes from my desire to help you achieve your goals. I will spend the time it takes and be powered by your intentions to give you a job both of us can be proud of. Very rarely do I charge more for extra spot removal, there is no extra charge for my consideration and dedication on your behalf.
There is no way these advertized specials that I mentioned will give you this service.-
when you hire USA Carpet you will become NUMBER 1 for us. You can follow us around to see what we do. You can even make special requests.
It's larger that Carpet Cleaning. It's more like a PARTNERSHIP.
A few short years ago, before I had any formal training in the cleaning arts, I approached this subject as most people do. My advice came from Mama, here-say, advertisements, sales clerks, or anyone on the street.
Of course I still couldn't get stove tops or ovens clean, . I couldn't remove soap scum from my shower, dinge from my couch, nor blood and wine. I wondered if I just needed a stronger cleaner or another new product. I expected that there would always be lots of scrubbing and effort for difficult cleaning tasks, and that I would be using caustic and harmful chemicals.
Well- For My Special Clients- I have some JOY for you!
There is a SECRET! and that is EDUCATION.
USA Carpet does not enter your homes with caustic and harmful chemicals- but we do come armed with knowledge of Cleaning Chemistry.
Here is a very basic and quick primer to help home owners gain some control over their cleaning challenges.
1st. Identify the grime. Then Identify whether that grime is acid or alkaline.
Most household dirt is acid. Same for oils and food.
Pet urine though is acid for about 2 days then it becomes alkaline. Soap scum is alkaline.
2nd. Neutralize the grime. This means that you apply a solution with an opposite ph characteristic.
To clean an acid grime use an alkaline cleaner. To clean an alkaline grime use an acid cleaner.
The idea is to neutralize the grime so it can be rinsed away.
ACID grime- such as on your your stove top or in your microwave is best cleaned with alkaline solutions- but since basic cleaners can be caustic you need to find something safe around food. Baking Soda is a wonderful cleaner for these situations. In rare cases you might need extra help and use Barkeepers Friend and a scouring pad but that is not often. Soda will weaken the grime so much often little or no effort is required beyond a wipe-up.
ALKALINE grime- that would be Pet Urine, or soap scum in your dish washer, bath tub, clothes washer. Here a White Vinegar works wonders. White Vinegar cuts through soaps suds and it a very good fabric softener simply because it allows any soap residue to be rinsed from your washed fabrics. Thinned down 4oz to a cup of water and applied to your carpet will allow you to pull up urine with a towel or wet-dry vacuum.
One major no-no here is do NOT use vinegar or any acid to clean natural stone like marble or travertine. (It will etch the finish and re-honing would be required to repair it)
Running your washer or dishwasher with a cup of vinegar will rinse soap scum and keep the washing chambers clean. By the way- vinegar will neutralize the cleaning action of soap- so combining the two does not enhance either.
The answer is not always to use a stronger cleaner. With the correct application of PH based cleaners, Enzymes, Anti-Allergen solutions, Oxydizers, Reducing Bleaches, protectants and more USA Carpet can address your home cleaning needs safely.
We hope this article has spread some enlightenment on some relevant issues for our wonderful customers!
_A Rug’s Value can vary from a cheap $100 Pottery Barn rug to a one worth millions of dollars. Cleaning them is a complex subject so I wanted to pass on to my clients some of the industry knowledge and precepts about them.
First of all- there is "surface cleaning" and there is "washing". Surface cleaning is what a cleaner can do in your home. Washing is done in a "Rug Plant" where rugs can be shook, dusted, bathed, and quick dried.
Most people want surface cleaning - usually, and every few years will go for a full wash. The price difference is drastic, maybe 4 to 8 times.
Here are the steps involved in Rug Cleaning. Once the fibers have been identified:
1. Dry Soil Removal. "Dusting"
Rugs – ESPECIALLY wool rugs – have a capacity to hold a large amount of soil in them. This is because wool under the microscope looks kind of like fish scales, so lots of layers, with MANY places to hide dirt and grit. It’s these many “little pockets” that hold soil, and why a wool rug can have POUNDS of soil in it and still not look especially dirty. The dirt is hiding. And not just dirt and soil, but a whole host of other contaminants. A Rug Plant has vibration machines that literally shake the soils loose. In a home this step is done with a vacuum.
2. Testing of dyes
Each color could be an unstable dye. Sometimes these are food dyes added as a last finishing step by the rug maker to brighten areas. Testing these dyes involves applying hot water and high ph cleaning solutions in small areas and checking the results. Most times there are no running colors and cleaning can proceed with no problem. Sometimes colors can transfer or move- and in these cases the cleaner must know how to clean so these dyes do not run or spread.
3. Cleaning and Rinse Method
In a Rug Plant the cleaning method is to bathe the rug. There is a thorough wash and rinse.
In-Home cleaning involves usually Hot-Water Extraction (similar technique to carpet cleaning) or "Encapsulation" - where soils are set up by a polymer solution to be carried away by regular vacuuming.
This is done as quickly as possible. In a Rug Plant the rugs are hung and blown dry in sophisticated wind environments. That is because those “tiny pockets” that hold soil, also can hold a lot of water molecules too. Wool rugs get HEAVY when wet, and the inside fibers are absorbent cotton warps and wefts that swell with water, so you need to have the equipment capable of removing that level of moisture so that the rug can be properly and thoroughly dried quickly.
In a home the situation is less drastic because the rugs have not been soaked. Often a high volume air mover is used- other times the sun works fine- while the rug is hopefully suspended above the floor to speed up the drying process.
The cleaner must be familiar with all the complexities of Rug Cleaning to safely execute it in the home or in a Rug Plant.
USA Carpet can achieve wonderful surface-cleaning results and also is affiliated with Robert Mann Galleries of Denver for specialty cleaning.
Water Damage Restoration
USA Carpet is growing into more sophisticated areas. We are actively pursuing certification and expertise in the field of Water Damage Restoration.
The Carpet Cleaning Industry shares equipment and expertise with several other disciplines- namely Upholstery, Mattress, Rugs, and Tile and Grout cleaning. Water Damage Restoration is also a closely related field.
In the event of a water pipe break of flooding situation what should the home owner do?
First of all- stop the source of the water and take immediate steps to dry all affected wet areas.
Your timing is very important !
Each day that this condition exists makes the issues, dangers, and expense much greater. For instance:
An clean water overflow from a bathtub is an easy dry-and-fix if it is attended to within the first 72 hours of occurrence.
It is called a Category 1/ clean water intrusion. At this point all materials may be dried and reused.
After 72 hours this same situation escalates to a Category 2/ gray water condition. Now the water contains a significant degree of chemical, biological, and physical contamination with the potential of causing discomfort or sickness in humans. At this point carpet padding must be removed and replaced. The same implications apply to your belongings and other affected materials.
After 48 more hours this situation escalates to a Category 3/ black water condition. The water now is considered pathogenic, and personal protection is required on anyone working in its proximity. All porous and semi-porous materials affected must be removed. All carpet must be discarded.
The equipment and efforts needed grow considerably more complex, involved, and expensive as conditions escalate.
This summary is a very abbreviated synopsis of the efforts to restore a flooded area. There are special tools for restorers beyond the standard "suck-and-dry" equipment that professional Carpet Cleaners own. These include Air-Scrubbers, Moisture Sensors and Meters, De-humidifiers, and other measuring and drying accessories. The body of knowledge needed to effectively use this equipment is also quite extensive.
If you ever find a flooding situation too much to handle at home you can call USA Carpet to dry out flooded areas for you. We can pull up carpet and dry under and over the sub-floor, and in most cases we can also re-install it too.
Remember- Your timing is very important!
What Professional Carpet Cleaners Need To Know:
I was talking to a Dishwasher Repairman the other day and some of his remarks got me thinking. He stated that phosphate cleaning agents have become illegal for home use in some states. Since Professional Carpet Cleaning Agents contain mostly Phosphates I was interested in our applied science and the law. Why do we clean with Phosphates? (These cleaning agents were developed because there were problems with soap and how soap acted in hard water)
Well it IS legal to clean with Phosphates but there are strict laws that must be abided by to do it. These Phosphate compounds form our "synthetic detergents" and they are specifically designed to clean carpets and furniture textiles and fibers.
Detergents and Soaps
The EPA states,
"The word 'detergent' refers to household cleaning products which are based on non-soap, synthetic surfactants and which are primarily used for laundering and dish washing."
Detergents and Soaps in Carpet Cleaning:
Surfactants. also called surface active agents, are the chemicals necessary to reduce the surface tension of water. This property of tension with water causes it to bead-up on surfaces like fabric (you know, like a drop of water on a counter . . . it does not spread-out, but beads up instead) and will slow the wetting of that surface - which inhibits the whole cleaning process. . In order for the water to spread and wet/soak into a surface (like carpet, laundry) - you need surfactants, chemicals that effectively cut the surface tension and are said to "make water wetter."
So, the first commonality between soaps and detergents, even though they are not exactly the same thing, is that they are both surfactants.
Both soaps and detergents perform the same task. - As far as removing dirt, the difference between soaps and detergents are in their composition.
Soap is produced from natural products. They are FATTY ACID SALTS made by a reaction of fats (an animal fat or a vegetable oil) with LYE (sodium hydroxide). Soaps are salts of carboxylic acids
Detergents (synthetic surfactants ) are produced entirely in a chemical factory. Detergents are sulfate or sulfonate salts, and can be designed to perform specialized cleaning tasks.
The development of the first detergents was an effort to overcome the reaction of soaps with hard water.
Detergents react less to minerals in water and do not leave residue.
Disadvantages With Soap;
Due to their gelling properties, soaps have a tendency to clog sewerage reticulation systems, it deteriorates with storage, lacks cleaning power when compared with the modern synthetic surfactants, and very importantly from a domestic laundry point of view, soap does not rinse out; it tends to leave a residue behind in the fabric that is being washed. A residue gradually builds up and causes bad odor and deterioration of the fabric.
HARD WATER (water containing the dissolved salts of calcium, magnesium and/or iron) causes a problem: the dissolved salts combine with soap molecules to produce a water-insoluble scum (“ring-around-the-tub”).
That build-up would detract from the fabric's maximum absorption capabilities. Soaps form a scum in hard water and this scum will not rinse away easily and is known to turn laundry a grayish hue. The insoluble film it leaves can leave a residue on your laundry much like you would see in a shower stall where hard water is present.
Our modern technological solution (since the 1940s) to the soap scum problem is to use SYNTHETIC DETERGENTS which don’t precipitate the mineral salts found in hard water. Some of these synthetic detergents are chemically related to soaps, as they are derived from the same fatty acids used to make soaps.
Detergents react less to minerals in water and do not leave residue.
Detergents and Soaps in Carpet Cleaning:
Professional Carpet Cleaners have access to cleaning compounds that are not available to the general public. Cleaning technologies refined since the 1940's have addressed the interactive issues between material and chemicals.
First of all- as Professional Cleaners we are privy to a wide range of Phosphate Cleaners.
We are bound by law that directs us to dispose of our used solution water somewhere other than public sewers and drains. Usually this means we must empty water on lawns or fields- and since Phosphates are fertilizer for plants this is considered a good thing.
Phosphates are naturally occurring in the environment as a result of rock weathering and organic decomposition. Phosphates in the water only become a problem when they reach “unnaturally” high levels and are taken up by phytoplankton and other aquatic plants. When this occurs these high levels can result in algal blooms. By sending detergents used for washing clothes, dishes, cars etc down the drain and into our waterways we cause ecological imbalances. Effectively as the algae grows it uses up the oxygen in streams which then endangers fish and aquatic life.
Professional Carpet Cleaners, like everyone else, have a responsibility to understand their impact on the environment. By being aware we are able to use the right chemicals (what's best for people and fabric) and apply used water and agents into the environment in a manner that actually enhances life and health.
That is a VERY GOOD THING!