Spot and Stain Removal
Most carpet cleaners will tell you that the spotting agents sold in stores are not very good. In fact, we believe they do a fairly good job. We recommend that you remember the first rule of chemicals whether you are referring to your carpets, your lawn, or your flooring-you can always try again with a stronger solution if it does not work at first, but if you use too much the first time you can cause damage. Therefore, we recommend that you cut your spotter in half with water (this gives you twice as much spotter!). Apply the spotter very lightly on the stain and let it sit for a few minutes. Agitate gently with a soft nylon brush or even a spoon. Always work toward the center of the stain so as not to spread it. Finally, use a white terry-cloth towel (i.e. An old bath towel) to blot the stain. Repeat the process as necessary. Finally, rinse the affected area with cold water and blot dry with a white towel. Remember, you have retained the full strength solution as a last resort. But always bare in mind-use very little solution-less is more! There might be times when you have a stain to remove but don’t have any spotter available. Don’t worry! As a stopgap, you can follow the above-mentioned stain removal steps with water or (better yet) club soda. Please remember to never use bleach, hydrogen peroxide, or other oxidizing agents as they may cause permanent damage to the carpet fiber.
There might also be times when your carpets have a bad odor. If you are a pet owner we don’t have to explain this to you! However, homes with children, smokers, or that have frequent entertaining may also have this problem. One of the best odor removal products is also the least expensive-baking soda. Baking soda is one of the few products that does not act to “mask” an odor. It actually works to remove odors: Simply apply the product liberally to the affected areas, let sit for 24 hours, and vacuum up. You will notice a difference! Of course, test for color fastness first and never apply on a damp or wet spot.
STAINMASTER®'s website provides a very detailed guide for removing carpet stains. Feel free to call us with any questions even if you don’t need your carpets cleaned. We are always here to help.
As previously noted on this website, the most important reason to clean your carpets is environmental. Pollen, mold spores, and dust accumulate in your carpets. Therefore, regular cleaning of your carpets will vastly improve the air quality of your home. But there are also things that you can do to improve your air quality:
To put it simply, you cannot vacuum your carpets often enough. This is especially true for people with allergies, smokers, or those who have pets. There is absolutely no truth to the old canard that vacuuming too frequently wears out your carpets. You will increase the life of your carpet and improve the air quality of your home by increasing the frequency of your vacuuming.
We strongly believe in opening your windows to remove stale air and replenish it with clean air- even during the dead of winter. However, in the spring and fall, check the pollen and mold spore counts before opening any windows. Never do an air exchange when pollutant counts are high. Generally, the only time during the spring and fall when counts are acceptable is during and immediately after a heavy rain.
We are big fans of air cleaners and have been since they first came on the market. While getting a system attached to your furnace is certainly a good idea, we realize that this is costly and there are many times during the year that neither your heat nor A/C is on, thus rendering a system-based air cleaner ineffectual. Portable air cleaners have come a long way in a few short years. They have become significantly less expensive (a good one for about $100) and last longer. Also, most of them come with a permanent and cleanable air filter, thus keeping your operating expenses to a minimum. Most have built in timers that save energy. When using these cleaners, you must follow the manufacturer’s recommendations as to the square footage of your home that each machine can clean effectively. Most people will need multiple machines to keep the air in their homes clean. If you attempt to clean an area larger than the manufacturer recommends, the machine will not be effective.
There will always come a time when a carpet is no longer cleanable and must be replaced. We would like to offer you some suggestions on replacing your carpeting.
We urge you NOT to buy a “Berber” carpet. Contrary to popular belief, a Berber carpet will not last longer. A Berber is a looped weave carpet which leads to several problems. One is that as you walk on a berber, the loop weave is compressed. In time your traffic lanes tend to resemble a bowling alley “gutter”. A Berber, because of its loop-weave construction, is also harder to clean, no matter what method of cleaning is used. This is due to the fact that any cleaning method can only get to the “top” half of the loop. The inside part of the loop is more difficult to get at. While we believe our pro-dry method (because we use loop-weaved bonnets) reaches more of a berber loop than any other method, berbers in general are simply harder to clean. Finally, berbers are almost always made of polyester or olefin. As will be explained below, you should always try to stay away from polyester or olefin carpets.
It is not your imagination that carpets used to last a lot longer. This is due to a variety of reasons, the most important of which is that the majority of non-natural fiber carpets sold used to be made of nylon. Nylon carpets last longer, wear better, and clean better than any other carpet. However, a large portion of carpets produced today are polyester or olefin. This is simply a matter of economics. Polyester and olefin are less expensive to manufacture thereby leader to higher profits for the manufacturer and retailer. These fibers are “softer” than nylon which leads to traffic lanes becoming “dull” within a short amount of time. The carpet fiber (especially polyester) “scratches” leading to a condition called “uglying out” (yes, that’s the actual phrase). If you do not specifically ask for nylon, you probably will not get it. This does not mean that you have to spend a lot of money. A “medium” grade nylon is usually cost effective and sufficient for any needs. Always insist on the highest rated carpet padding. If the retailer attempts to charge a lot for the best padding-refuse! They pay very little for the padding so don’t let them make a huge profit on it.
Here is a simple test you can do yourself that will tell you what kind of carpet fiber you currently have or are thinking about buying:
- Olefin- This is the only fiber that floats. In a burn test it smells like tar and produces a hard, tan bead.
- Nylon- In a burn test it smells like celery and produces a hard gray/brown bead.
- Polyester- In a burn test it has a sweet/fruity smell and produces a hard black bead.
In closing, the best advice we can give you is to choose a low-pile, medium grade, non-Berber, nylon carpet. As for color-you should of course choose what you like. Be aware that peach, mauve, and blue carpets tend to show wear earlier than brown, tan, or darker beige carpets.