Hey folks! thanks for stopping by our jobs post, here I will post pictures and videos of jobs we have done around Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania and King George Virginia.
To seal or not to seal?
Should I use a grout sealer? Should I add Scotch Guard to my carpets after cleaning? This is the question we get on almost every tile and carpet cleaning job we do. The answer is, it depends. Some grouts will benefit from a sealer more than others. Some carpet will benefit from protectors more than others. The reason for both are very similar even though the textiles are very different.
It really has to do with the absorbency of the textile. Sanded grout is much more porous than unsanded grout and should be sealed unless the grout was mixed with a grout additive. Grout additives are basically sealers built in to the grout. This helps it resist staining along with other benefits which include better bonding as well as better color uniformity. These additives are produced by many different manufactures and can be found in tile shops and home centers everywhere.
We at Pristine Tile & Carpet Cleaning use grout additives in all of our grout mixes as we feel it delivers the best end results for our customers. If your unsure if your grout was installed with a additive, you can still apply a sealer. It won’t hurt it, it just won’t absorb into the grout as well and could be a waste of money. The piece of mind knowing it’s protected outweighs the possibility of permanent staining of unprotected grout.
Unsanded grout is is le
ss porous than sanded grout and will absorb less of the sealer. Epoxy grout is by far the least absorbent of the grouts and is not very common in the residential market. Carpet is the same as grout in the sense that different fiber types absorb more that others. For instance an olefin berber carpet will not absorb as much as nylon carpet. Some of the higher end carpets such as Stainmaster come with a protection from the factory and should be reapplied periodically.
How often do I need to seal?
Quality grout sealers can last many years, some claim 15 or 20 years. This really depends on the type of sealer and the traffic in your home as well as your cleaning habits. We strongly advise not to use harsh chemicals such as bleach or acids to clean. They will damage the grout as well as the sealer and even remove color. Always use neutral cleaners that do not leave residue that can cause rapid re-soiling.
Myth of sealers
Okay here is the big let down, sorry folks. Grout sealers and Scotchguard protector will not keep your floors or carpet from getting dirty! Foot traffic, dirty mop water, pets and children coming in and out will eventually take their toll and you will have to clean it. The good news is that the sealers will provide a protective barrier to prevent permanent staining and make cleaning easier. The trick to keep your grout or carpet from becoming permanently stained is to clean up the spill as soon as possible.
Pro Cleaning Tips
Wow it’s been a little while since our last post so I’ll try and make it a good one! Lots of great cleaning tips here.
Being a busy professional carpet cleaner in Fredericksburg Va we see the insides of many homes. A lot of our customers do a great job of maintaining their homes, but I won’t lie… some do not for one reason or another. Some homes we go in are like museums and are so clean we sometimes wonder what we are there for, and others well…OMG do they not see it? do they not care? or do they feel they are too far behind and don’t know where to start? The worst we see are usually rentals, some folks like to rent and clean once a year when their lease is up and they have to, and sometimes they don’t even do it then…just walk away and let the property management deal with it.
Lets face it, nobody likes to spend there whole weekend cleaning and quite honestly they should not do that. I am going to share some tips on how my wife and I take care of our own home, and hopefully it inspires you to get on a program that makes you feel better about your cleaning habits.
Get a good vacuum!
First and foremost I recommend getting a quality vacuum cleaner with an upgraded attachment package. Having the right tools for any job is critical. We have a Riccar that we got just before the last good independent vacuum guy closed up in Fredericksburg. There is a quality vacuum shop by Potomac Mills that still carries the Kirby’s, Royal’s, Riccar’s, ect… worth the trip.
Having the right tools makes the job a little more bearable, one thing I noticed out in the field is that very few people vacuum their stairs regularly, probably because they don’t have the right attachments to make it easier on the back.
Break it up into manageable pieces
The next tip is to not do it all in one day. We have a big house and it would take at least a whole day if not a couple of days to do a top to bottom cleaning. So we attack it by levels, it only took me an hour to do my whole finished basement. That included doing the full bathroom, and using all my attachments to get along the base molding and the crevices of each stair tread. I still had the whole day left to do fun stuff. This particular day was Labor Day and we went out on the boat and enjoyed the beautiful Potomac River. You could also choose to do a little on the weekdays after work. It is also a good idea to vacuum under the furniture from time to time. Now that would take a long time to do all at once so just do a couple of pieces each week and keep rotating throughout the year.
Now we move into the bathroom, first thing is to vacuum real good. You will need to use the attachments in there too because hair will hide under the shoe molding. It will come out to frustrate you when you start to mop. My favorite bathroom cleaners is Bon Ami and Armstrong floor cleaner. Nothing comes close to the Norwex water only microfiber cloths for streak free glass cleaning. I actually put an ounce of the Armstrong right in the sink and use a sponge to wipe down everything, then clean my way out with the mop right from the sink. The rubber Norwex toilet bowl cleaner is the best for cleaning toilets and never get nasty like other bowl brushes. Where can you get these Norwex products you ask? The one and only…Leona Vangee
The last thing I would like to touch on is organization and breaking the cycle of clean. Before you can start a good cleaning regiment your home needs to be free of clutter. Lets face it you can’t effectively wipe down a counter top or dust the top of a dresser if it is completely covered in junk mail and other useless household clutter. There is nothing quite like having your home totally organized and knowing exactly where every single thing is at all times. This alone is a huge time saver. Before I got organized I spent half my life looking for things that I could not find so I went out and bought another. No more people! get organized!!! Handle the mail every single day…right in the recycle bin. You don’t need it, handle all your bills electronically. Get with everyone you do business and choose paperless!
Breaking the cycle of soil
Now to the last topic…breaking the cycle. This means cleaning the outside of your home and unfinished areas of the basement and garage. Preventing soil from entering your clean home in the first place is important. Every week after I cut my grass I grab my leaf blower and take five minutes to blow off the driveway, walkways, patios, decks and garage. Some may call me a nut, but occasionally I even use my Shopvac to vacuum the unfinished areas in the basement. Doing all of this as well as keeping good doormats at all entrances will greatly reduce dust and allergens from entering the home.
Having some rules in the home such as no shoes, or food stays in the kitchen will go a long way in extending the life of your carpet and floors. Owning a small Bissell soptter machine is a must have for small accidents and spills, but be sure to have a professional carpet cleaner out annually for a good deep clean.
Ok, so you just had Pristine Tile & Carpet Cleaning out to professionally clean your tile & grout or perhaps you opted for the full shower re-grout and restoration, either way, the first question we ALWAYS get asked is what should I use to clean it and keep it looking good? or how long will my new grout or caulk last? At this point our customer usually opens the closet to show me what they have been using and let me tell you, it’s not good! Most of those chemicals that line the grocery store shelves are not good for your home or your health.
Just because a label says “tub and tile cleaner” or “carpet cleaner” does not mean it is good, many have bleach or other harsh chemicals. The manufactures could care less if you are damaging your grout or your health, they want your money, period. Then our customers say “but Pete nothing but bleach will get it clean” although it may seem to clean well, it is only temporary. Bleach or other acidic products are slowly etching, and opening the pores of the grout making it more porous and therefore will grow mold and mildew faster and faster with each cleaning, and ultimately leave you with damaged shallow grout lines or separated caulk, resulting in leaks.
The problem with chemicals in the home doesn’t end with the just the tile & grout cleaners, it is the glass cleaners, carpet cleaners, furniture polish, kitchen cleaners, hardwood floor cleaners, and the list goes on and on, there is just nothing good about these cleaners folks. So what should you use? is the question of the day. Well I am going to introduce you to a company that is making a big impact on how people are cleaning their homes…Norwex!
A couple of years ago I had the honor of meeting one of the greatest people I’ll ever know! Leona Vangee, who is a Norwex team coordinator.
Leona attended the 6:3 networking group in Fredericksburg which I am currently the president of. When she started talking about her products which include micro fiber cloths that can clean glass with no streaks using only water, I was like yeah right ok, whatever. After several demonstrations, I said okay, now you have my attention. My tight butt finally broke down and bought some cloths, and they are AWESOME! But it doesn’t stop there, Norwex has a whole line of cleaning products that are safe to use, good for the environment, and clean effectively. Most importantly they will not damage the textiles in your home that you paid dearly for. They have a variety of great products including dusting mits, toilet bowl brushes (that don’t get nasty), floor care systems, flexible pole dusters and so much more.
So lets go back to your new freshly installed grout and caulk in that shower. When we install grout we mix it with an acrylic additive that helps it to bond to the tile, it also add strength as well as stain resistance and water resistance, eliminating the need for a sealer. We also professionally prepare the corners and edges for the best possible adhesion of the new caulk. These techniques along with proper cleaning will greatly extend the life of your grout and caulk. So what is proper cleaning? It’s gentle cleaning agents, gentle cleaning cloths, and a gentle cleaning hand. If you scrub the caulk hard enough it will separate from the wall tile or tub, water will seep behind, turn black, then need to be replaced. Yes, believe it or not, there is such a thing as over cleaning and people that obsess about trying to keep their shower looking brand new are often the ones with problems.
I’m proud to endorse Norwex products, it’s what we are using in our home for everyday cleaning. If you would like to know more about Norwex, how to purchase, or even host a gathering to share these awesome products with your friends then you must contact Leona, she is the one that can really show you how to clean properly!
We often get calls for tubs and shower leaks, most of the time the leak starts slow and is undetected, until some visible damage has occurred. One of the most common spots for damage to occur is outside the tub or shower in the corners. The main reason this happens is the caulk around the tub splits, cracks or separates from the tub and tile allowing water to get behind the caulk. Bathtubs and fiberglass shower pans have a one inch lip that runs all the way around it that the tile hangs over and covers. So the water channels along that lip behind the caulk, behind the tile, and behind the shower door frames, unseen. People often think their damage outside the shower is caused by careless family members not be careful with shower curtains and such, not usually the case.
Inspecting your showers and tubs on a regular basis will greatly reduce the chance of structural damage. If you see any cracked, loose or missing grout and or caulk, take care of it asap. If left unattended the sub-floor under the tub will rot, becoming soft and allowing the tub to move when someone stands in it. If this happens, it will be difficult to maintain a caulk bead around the tub that won’t crack. At that point, the tub would have to be removed and the sub floor repaired, this can be quite expensive.
The key to getting a good, long lasting seal is the preparation. All the old damaged caulk and grout must be removed, dried and properly cleaned. Making sure the cracks and crevices are dry is super important, the new caulk will not adhere or set up correctly if there is any moisture present. This is the number one reason for failed caulk jobs. We use toilet paper to find, and wick out moisture in hard to reach spots, shop vacs can be used if there is a substantial amount of water trapped.
Then a heat gun is carefully used to further dry the area. Some custom shower floors that have a hand made shower pan with tile & grout can take a very long time to dry out enough to re-grout. We have had some that took a month, with a dehumidifier in the shower before we had acceptable numbers on our moisture meter. Once all the necessary preparation is done we install a mold and mildew resistant silicone caulk.
It is very important to use mild cleaners to gently clean the surfaces, harsh chemicals such as bleach and abrasive cleaning sponges or scrub brushes are a sure fire way to damage your grout and caulk. People that tend to be obsessive about cleaning, can be doing more harm than good. Yes, you can overclean!
Unsurpassed Power of the El Diablo Truck Mounted Carpet Cleaning Machine
Introducing the El Diablo truck mounted carpet cleaning machine!
As with any business, levels of service, knowledge, and equipment can vary greatly. At Pristine Tile & Carpet Cleaning we take great pride in making sure we deliver the best we can in all aspects of our business. That’s why we choose the Master Blend El Diablo truck mounted cleaning system. Tile and grout cleaning is a large portion of our business so we needed a cleaning system that could deliver the heat, vacuum and pressure needed to clean hard surfaces such as tile and concrete yet also adjustable to clean very delicate items such as upholstery and carpet. The El Diablo fits that bill. We did not just go out and buy any old equipment, we did countless hours of research on the internet forums and talked to many other owners and concluded that this is the right machine for us. Now after using it for just a few jobs I’m even more confident we made the right choice, the heat and suction it produces makes easy work of even the dirtiest carpets, and they dry remarkably fast.
The El Diablo is equipped with a diesel fired burner that delivers just the right amount of heat we need on demand, without wasting any water or fuel. Heat exchanger truckmounts can’t control temperature like the diesel fired units can,. When it gets too hot the burner shuts off, if it needs more heat it comes on, simple as that. The Vacuum is powered by a Roots 45 blower, the best in the industry providing extreme vacuum even on very long hose runs. The cleaning solution is pumped by a 3000 psi 3cp Cat pump, again Master Blend used the best pump in the industry.
This El diablo machine is mounted in a Chevy Express 2500, and is complete with a 75 gallon waste tank as well as a 100 gallon fresh water tank. Having fresh water on board is new to us as our other truck does not have this. Having the van and water on board will make cleaning apartments and towne homes much easier as parking is tough and water is not easy to find. The downside to the van as compared to the trailer that we are used to is room, the trailer has plenty of space and we are able to stand up inside of it as well.
Having a second cleaning rig on the road is definitely a step in the right direction, we always felt bad when we couldn’t be in two places at once. Having to tell long time customers or property managers that we could not get to them on their desired day was always downer. We can now get to most cleaning jobs in a day or two, or even the same day now that we have two very experienced carpet cleaners and two of the best cleaning machines in Fredericksburg Virginia.
Pristine Tile & Carpet Cleaning
632 Forbes St
Fredericksburg, Va 22405