Does your pet keep peeing on the carpet in the same place?

 

 

Why, why, why do they keep peeing on my carpet?

Ahhhh cats and dogs….my favorite topic. We love our pets to death but lets face it, they can cause problems around the house from time to time. One of the most common things we hear while out in the field cleaning carpets is “my cat(or dog) always marks in the same place, I’ve tried everything but the smell always comes back”  Pets urinate on the carpet for many reasons, if there is a large spot or puddle, that usually means the animal had to go but couldn’t or didn’t want to go outside. Maybe mom and dad got stuck in traffic or maybe a bad storm kept Fido from wanting to go out.  Puppies need to be house broken, this is the second biggest reason we get to suck pee pee from the carpet. Another very common reason is “marking” pets like to mark their territory and the things they think belong to them too, and unlike us they think it smells great!  Our pets also grow old and become incontinent and don’t even know they are leaking.

Dogs and cats can also mark due to behavioral issues, they could be mad at you because you left them, something changed with your schedule or perhaps you introduced a new animal to the home.  Cat pee can be some of the worst, most difficult odor to remove, and I can almost guarantee  it’s on more than just the carpet. My black light has shown on many instances where cats have backed up to a wall and sprayed the wall and base boards as well. Another thing I would like to point out is that dogs and cats that never ever pee on the carpet might do so if brought to a friends or relatives for a visit. We hear this all the time, people go on vacation and bring the dog to a friend and next thing you know the friend has a house full of pee pee spots, and gets upset that their good friend would bring an untrained dog to them. The case can also be reversed, you go on vacation and have your friend stay at your home to watch the pets but when you get back from your cruise you find out that your friend did not do their job very well, or did they and your dog is letting you know leaving this person here with them for a whole week is unacceptable.

What can be done once the damage has been done?

Well the first obvious thing is to try and find out why the pets are making your life miserable. I am no pet psychologist, but I do know some believe it or not, so if  it’s a behavior problem maybe look into that. If you have a  cat box, it is super super important to clean it out daily. If a cats box is not clean they will use the carpet, I know this for a fact from my own experience. If vacationing consider boarding your pet, my vet offers these services, and then I know they are well taken care of.  If you pet is peeing due to bladder or health reason be sure to visit the vet as they do have medications that can help. You must work hard to train your dog to go outside, this is a given. Cleaning the carpet well is a very important step to help stop the markings in the same spot, but how?

Cleaning the carpet of all urine and odor contamination, using the water claw flash extractor. 

waterclaw

Water claw tool, flushing out the carpet

First the pet urine location needs to be  identified, this can be done with a black light,  many of my customers can usually bring me right to the trouble areas.  When pet urine gets down into the pad and sub floor it needs to be fully removed with specialized tools and enzymes, saturation of the effected area and dwell time is most effective.  Then full extraction of the area using a subsurface tool such as the water claw will remove the urine salts and the odors they produce. Most good carpet cleaners will offer these services as an added treatment and cost, but it is unlikely that the “fly by night $79 whole house hack” will give you the results you want.

Most moderate pet issues can be reversed, however we have seen our share of carpet that we have recommended replacement as the only surefire fix. These very severe cases also have to have the sub floors sealed before new carpet goes down.

 

 

Why do my carpets have wrinkles?

Carpet wrinkles everywhere!

As carpet cleaners in Fredericksburg Virginia, naturally we see a lot of carpet. One of the most common things we come across is wall to wall carpet that have unsightly wrinkles in them, not only does this look terrible but it can be a trip hazard as well. Leaving these wrinkles in the carpet for extended lengths of time can cause permanent damage to the carpet, including uneven wear or delamination (when the carpet backing and the secondary backing separate from each other) once the carpet becomes delamaninated the wrinkled area will most likely still be slightly visible , even after the carpets are stretched tightly.

Carpet wrinkle

Wrinkle in a closet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why does the carpet get wrinkles?

So you buy new carpet and after the installation you stand back and marvel at how much better it makes your home look, you can’t help but to ask yourself why you didn’t do it sooner. You’re so happy you cheerfully write the check and even throw in a tip for the young man because he did such a great job. Now after a couple of years pass, you start to notice wrinkles appearing and ask yourself why? Some folks think maybe it was from the guy who cleaned the carpets last, but that is not the case at all. The carpet begins to move at pivot points, like at the top of the stairs where people turn to go down a hall, or in traffic lanes. Dragging heavy furniture over the carpet can also cause loosely installed carpet to move.

Over 90% of carpet is not installed to the manufactures specifications, unbelievable right? I really don’t understand why this industry is like this, but why should a good paying customer have to pay again in two years to have the carpets re-installed again properly, makes no sense, but i can almost guarantee the reason is money.

The retail carpet industry is very competitive, every carpet salesman is trying to convince potential customers why they should buy carpet from them. The lower price just always wins, especially when selling to builders and property managers. The faster they can get the carpet installed the faster they can get to the next unsuspecting customer. The installers just throw the carpet down and use a knee kicker to push it over the tack strip and tuck it under the base molding, it is impossible to achieve the manufacturers recommendations regarding installation, using a knee kicker.  The proper way to get carpet as tight as it should be is to use a power stretcher. This tool has long steel tubes that run across the room to push off the opposite wall using leverage to pull the carpet very tight. Using this tool is more time consuming than using a knee kicker, so installers don’t use them. It’s not even an option you could request, could you imagine a salesman saying “I can put new carpet in your house for this great price, but if you want it done right  it will cost a lot more”

The power stretcher is the proper tool for installing carpet properly.

The power stretcher is the proper tool for installing carpet the right way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What can be done to get the wrinkles out?

As much as the industry standard makes me angry, I shouldn’t complain as it brings us a lot of  business re-installing carpets the correct way…using a power stretcher. You would be amazed at how much excess carpet we cut off around the perimeter of a room after power stretching, quite often a good inch or even two. If a customer has a hole or burn mark in the carpet they want repaired but don’t have any spare carpet, quite often I can stretch the carpet enough to get a donor piece out of the edge, cool…right!

If carpet cleaning is also being done at the same time we recommend to do the stretching first and then the cleaning.

 

 

 

Iron transfer of a difficult stain

Removing stains and spots from carpet

Removing stains and spots from carpet is not always an easy task, but with the right tools and spotters most will come out. This is what separates a good cleaning company from…well… a not so good cleaning company. There are a few different reasons that I know of for sure as to why some companies don’t carry all the different spotters, and there are many. Many smaller companies struggle, trying to keep up with their equipment payments, mortgage payments ect.. so when money gets tight the first things to go are the very expensive spotters, pre-sprays and rinses. Having the right products on the truck makes all the difference. Another reason that some of the larger companies don’t utilize what’s available to them is because they don’t trust that there own technicians will use them right, putting the wrong chemical  on the wrong stain or the wrong carpet type can make matters a whole lot worse, not to mention they can be dangerous if mishandled. The last reason I will mention is just poor organization, running out of stuff and forgetting to re-order.

Now lets say you did your homework, checked reviews, and found a great carpet cleaner. Great! the hard part is done. There are so many stains and spots that we as carpet cleaners run into throughout our work days, some are very easy to remove and some are not. Many stains we just look at and know just what to do… rust, red stains, grease, oil, wax to name a few. Where we struggle is the unknown, we are in a empty rental, tenants long gone, who knows what some of those spots are, they all look the same. So, with that being said if you have a carpet cleaning scheduled always let the cleaner know what was spilled, if you know, it can be the difference of  weather or not it will come out. There are spotters and chemicals made specifically for almost every different stain and using the right one will do the trick where as using the wrong one can likely set a stain in worse or damage the carpet fibers. My carpet cleaning company here in Fredericksburg Virginia maintains an inventory of spotters for almost any situation, to give us the absolute best shot of getting everything out.

We are always well stocked with the proper spotters for each job

This picture shows a red stain being transferred to a white towel with an iron, but the trick here is a specialized 2 part red dye remover. It must be mixed at the time of use.

 

 

 

Why hire a professional carpet cleaner?

Eliminate the need to rent a machine

This is probably the biggest reason to hire a professional rather than go at it yourself. When you add up the cost of the carpet cleaning machine, the cost of the cleaning chemicals and the additional tools you may need to do stairs or upholstery you are not saving all that much and the rental or homeowner cleaners are no where near as powerful as professional carpet cleaning systems.

Different types of carpet

There are many different types of carpet on the market, nylon, berber, wool and so on. Professionals have the skills and knowledge to determine what type of carpet you have and what type of cleaning agents will work best without damaging the carpet.

Sanitizing

A true professional will  be using powerful truck mounted equipment capable of producing extreme heat, the heat that is needed to kill germs, dust mites and other contaminates found deep in the carpet pile.

Difficult spots and stains

There are many different types of stains, some can be very challenging such as urine, red dyes found in kool-aid. These types of specialty spotters are just not available to the public.

The physical aspect

Carpet cleaning is very strenuous work, just lugging the machine to and from the store is enough to cause back pain and the actual cleaning is even harder work.

Inferior cleaning 

The portable equipment available for sale or rent is with out a doubt leaving dirt and soil behind. The vacuum motors in this type of equipment are no comparison to the what the pros use. Not only is dirt being left behind but usually too much water and cleaning agents are left behind as well. Over wetting can cause mold, mildew and odors. Leaving chemicals behind will cause faster re soiling from sticky residue.

Leases and security deposits

Most leases state that the carpets must be cleaned by a professional carpet cleaner, and they will ask for a receipt to prove it. They know that a professional job is far superior to the  do it your self jobs.

 

 

Professional Carpet Cleaner

How carpet cleaning companies compare

Carpet Cleaner Specialties

Like any industry, carpet cleaners come in many different levels of service and specialties.     Some companies focus on just carpet cleaning while others may have strong specialties such as water damage restoration, fine rug cleaning, tile & grout cleaning, hardwood floor cleaning, furniture and upholstery and so forth. It is always a good idea to seek out the company that focuses on the specialty that you may be looking for to ensure the best possible out come.For example, my company has a strong focus on carpet cleaning but we are also the leader in tile & grout cleaning, and shower re-grouts in Fredericksburg, Stafford and Spotsylvania Virginia, however, we would not touch a water damage or hardwood floor job because we just are not properly set up for that.

Not all carpet cleaners are created equal

Like all industries, carpet cleaners come in a wide variety. Some are big national companies, some may have a few trucks, some are 1 truck owner operators, some are scammers and then there are the ones working out of their trunk with a rug doctor. All these different scenarios have good points and bad points.

Lets take a closer look at each of these different scenarios and see how they differ.

1. The big national franchises such as Stanley Steamer, Chemdry, Coit – the services and pricing these companies offer can vary greatly from place to place. The high advertising budgets will increase the cost as well as pressured up sells. They also have a higher rate of employee turnover making this option a gamble…it can be a great experience or a horrible one. On the up side, these larger multi-truck operations are usually prepared to provide same day service.

2. The local medium sized business – These companies are generally a good bet, they are not so big that they cannot keep a handle on their customer service, they often have a few trucks for quick service and they usually invest in good training for their techs. On the down side they do have some overhead such as shops, training and employee benefits making it a little more expensive, but you get what you pay for!

3. The Owner Operator – This is the category my company falls under, and is great choice for many reasons. Not many techs from larger companies will care enough to provide the level of service that the owner of a company will. Many owner operators use superior truck mounted equipment and have far more cleaning experience than most techs just in it for the paycheck. Their overhead is generally lower making it affordable as well. The downside is they do become busy in the height of the season, and with only one truck it can be difficult to get an emergency appointment. The owner operator is the best option for the planners looking for the best of both worlds….quality & price.

4. The lowball hack – This is one to watch out for. Often they use inferior equipment that is no better than what anyone can rent in a grocery store, they most likely are uninsured and untrained, they cut corners in the products they use (if they use any) Be very wary of companies with unusually low prices, unlettered trucks, no websites or reviews, advertise with flyers on  utility poles ect… Most of the people who use these guys are renters who don’t care, they just want any receipt they can turn into their landlord upon move out.

5. Scam companies – This is the one that bothers me the most! These are the companies that have no intention of cleaning your carpet for the advertised price. It is called bait and switch, they advertise cleaning at truly unbelievable low prices and then change them once in your home, for sometimes huge amounts. These folks are high pressure and often prey on the elderly…. in my book, they belong in jail! This bait and switch news clip will make you sick!

It is always a good idea check out a companies online reputation before you hire them, make sure they have many good ratings not just one or two.

 

professional carpet cleaning can remove allergens

How do I relieve those allergies symptoms? … Professional Carpet Cleaning

Virginia Allergies…. carpet cleaning is one of the most important things you can do to remove these allergens from your home.

professional carpet cleaning can remove allergensWhen I moved to  Fredericksburg Virginia in 1994 the second thing I noticed was that my allergies were much more severe. The first thing I noticed, was that the pizza & bagel quality was going to be an issue for me. There are things that can be done to ease the allergy situation, but the bread thing really has scared me, however, I’m beginning to heal thanks to the Wegman family from New York. As much as I’d rather to write about food, my favorite pastime, I will move on to what I know best…Carpet Cleaning and Tile & Grout Cleaning!

Many people suffer from allergies of all kinds… pet dander, shellfish, pollen, peanuts, phosphates ect… you name it, and someone is allergic to it. Thankfully the allergies I suffer from, and most others do too, can be controlled with some effort. I’m talking about the pollen, dander and dust! I sneezed just writing that. Removing these contaminates from the home is the best defense we have, but getting rid of the pets is not an option for most, defiantly not me. Here are some tips that can help reduce the suffering.

  1. Close the windows – I know, I know, the nice breeze blowing the spring air through the house that has been closed up all winter. But the pollen is coming into your house too, and settling right down on your floors and furniture.
  2. Find an allergy pill that works – there are many great products on the market today that control allergies with little side effects. Zyrtec works for me, but not my wife, find out what’s best for you, and take it daily.
  3. Vacuum, Vacuum, and then Vacuum some more – A good hepa filter vacuum will really help catch the allergens, if your vacuum is just blowing the fine stuff out the back, what good is it? you need a hepa if you have allergies! *note: as stated in another blog, your carpets will last years longer with lots of regular vacuuming.
  4. Vacuum – yeah, I know. Really! you should vacuum the furniture, the mattresses, and yes! even behind the fridge ( a good idea to get those refridge coils too, while your back there.)
  5. Change the air filters – make sure you keep those furnace filters changed, we do ours every 3 months with the higher merv rating. Tip, make sure your filter is installed in the right airflow direction, and use a sharpie to mark the date on the filter.
  6. Dryer vent – It’s very important to make sure your dryer vent is free of lint, for more reasons to clean the dryer vent, visit our dryer vent blog. If the dryer vent is not fully secured to the back of the dryer excess dust can leak out, a lot of dust!
  7. Professional Carpet Cleaning – You knew it was coming! That’s right, a really good deep professional carpet cleaning can free your carpets of all that dander, pollen, dead skin, pet hair and pet oils among other things. Also consider having your furniture, and mattresses cleaned.

Phosphate Allergies

I have had customers contact me for carpet cleaning, who are allergic to phosphates. Phosphates are found in many cleaning agents such as laundry soap and the carpet cleaning pre-sprays the carpet cleaners use. If you are allergic to phosphates ( and you most likely know this) there is good news… there are special cleaners available to us carpet cleaners that do not contain phosphates.

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Tile Backsplash

Installing a tile backsplash

Pristine Tile & Grout Restoration specializes in cleaning tile, grout, carpet and concrete however we occasionally stray off the beaten path for some of our regular customers. In this case we installed a tile backsplash to add a nice touch to their kitchen.

Installing a tile backsplash

The first part of the job is removing all the switchplate covers and outlet covers. We then check the wall to make sure there are no high spots that need to be scraped down. The next step to any tile job is the layout, in this case it was pretty easy and straight forward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Installed tile backsplash

After we installed the tile we let it set up for a day or two before we can grout it. When we came back to grout we found a nice surprise, my favorite customer was happy with our work once again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tile & Grout

This photo shows the job completed, the color of the grout is Platinum, which is a light gray. It looks a little dark here because it is still wet, once dry it will look much lighter.

 

 

Spring Carpet Cleaning

Why clean the carpets in the spring?

Spring is knocking on our doors, which means it’s time to get down to some serious cleaning. Although we had a relatively mild winter, the grit that makes it’s way into your home in these colder months is plentiful. In the warmer months people work on the outsides of their homes more often, which usually results in sweeping or blowing off the walkways, patios and decks. This maintenance that is part of the weekly yard work helps remove that soil before it enters the home. However, in the winter, that is not the case and the soil easily finds it’s way to the floors of your home. If not removed in a timely fashion it could cause scratching of the surface.

Why am I getting traffic lanes in my carpet?

It doesn’t take a professional carpet cleaner to tell you that the sand and grit from outside can damage your wood floors or natural stone floors, but what many people don’t know is that these elements are more likely to cause scratching or “shading” to the carpet. The abrasive grit gets stuck deep into the carpet fibers and when walked on continuously it will give the carpet a worn look. By the time you notice the uneven wearing of the carpet, the irreversible damage has already been done.

Preventative carpet care

The best defense against shading and premature wear of the carpet is lots of regular dry vacuuming. Because vacuuming carpet is not the most exciting of tasks, it often gets rushed, leaving behind soil. I know this is true because when I replaced my vacuum cleaner, the newer model had a built in light indicator that would let you know when it stopped picking up soil. Red light, still picking up, green light good to move on. Now here is the amazing part, my wife always vacuumed the house on a regular basis, but when she tried the new vacuum the red light would not go out, I thought it was broken! She continued  to go over the same spot until finally the light went green. There was a lot of soil that was being left by our old vacuum, which was a good named brand. After the good, long initial vacuum it got easier to get the light to turn green.

I can’t end this blog without telling you how important it is to get out the crevice tool and get the corners and edges of your wall to wall carpet. This is the most overlooked part of vacuuming, in time, a black ring called filtration soil will form around the perimeter of the room. Once this sets in it is super difficult to remove this electrostaticly charged, ultra fine soil.

Professional carpet cleaning annually

Even the best vacuums and home steamers can’t compare to the powerful equipment the professionals use. In order to remove odors, pet oils, dander and other contaminants from your carpet it’s advisable to have the carpets cleaned by a professional once a year. Steam cleaning, also known as hot water extraction is the preferred method of cleaning according to Shaw Industries, the leading carpet manufacturer. Powerful vacuum, high heat and professional cleaning agents will get the job done.

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floating grout in Fredericksburg Va

How to regrout a shower

After years of being bombarded with water, cleaning agents, and scrubbing, your grout may have had all it can take. Grouting a shower or bathtub surround is actually quite a bit of work. All the old grout and caulk must be removed before the new grout and caulk can be replaced. We often come across jobs that were not prepared correctly and the new grout just fails. New grout cannot be floated or skimmed over old grout, it will just flake off in no time. However, we see this all the time, especially in today’s real estate market. Skim coating is common in properties for sale. It’s real hard to sell a house that has an ugly black shower, a quick skim and a bead of caulk to cover up all that black stuff might just be enough to pass it off to an unsuspecting buyer.

How to regrout a shower properly

Preparing the surface

This picture shows a properly prepared surface for the new grout. We used various grout saws, utility knives and lots of elbow grease to remove all the old grout and caulk. Many contractors or even homeowners use electric dremel type tools to do this, we prefer hand tools to reduce any risk of chipping a tile. It’s always best practice to wear safety goggles during this procedure. After all the grout and caulk is removed give the shower a good vacuum and wipe down with a damp grout sponge. If the tile had any build up of calcium or soap scum that would be cleaned real good before the grout removal, so excess water would not get between the tiles. The preparation of the shower is the most tedious and time consuming of the job, this next part goes much quicker but does require some skill level.

 

properly removed grout

all old grout removed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Installing the new grout

floating grout in Fredericksburg Va

Regrouting showers is something we also do.

Floating grout can be a bit tricky for the newbie. Newly mixed grout is just a little thicker than pancake batter, but starts getting thicker and harder to spread as it starts to set up. That can be a problem for someone that does not have the speed of a pro. It’s important to never add water to the grout after it’s initial mixing, that will ruin it.

After working the grout into all the joints, It’s important to get as much of the excess grout off the tile by placing the float on an angle and wiping across the tile diagonally, as shown.

Clean up

After the grout has been floated onto the walls, it is then wiped clean with a grout sponge. Sponging also helps even out all he grout lines for a nice even professional look. Now this is the important part, don’t over work the grout with too much water in the sponge or re wipe areas already wiped. Just wipe it once, and leave it. The tiles will haze over and will buff off easily with a clean white terry cloth towel in about 2 hours. While buffing the tile it’s advisable to wear a respirator, the fine dust produced is not good for you to breath.

The final icing on the cake is the caulk, I like to caulk around the base of the shower pan and up the corners as well. Most of the unsanded grouts found today have polymers in the grout and don’t need sealing. I do however recommend sealing sanded grout, usually found on floors.

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sponging the tile & goout

Wiping and smoothing grout joints