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!