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.
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.
All carpet is not created equal
There are many factors that determine how well a carpet will clean up, such as the type of fiber the carpet is made of, the age of the carpet, cleaning habits of the carpet owner, what types of soil are in the carpet, what methods of professional cleaning was done in the past, and the list goes on. The purpose of this article is to discuss how different carpet types clean up differently and what types of carpet you may want to select for your home based on your lifestyle. Not only does the carpet itself play a role but the quality of the pad can really make a huge difference in how carpet wears over it’s life.
Polypropylene Olefin is quite often used to make loop pile carpet also known as Berber, it does hold up very well in high traffic areas, and cleans fairly well. Berber is not the best choice if you have pets as the loops can get snagged by a dogs nail and run the entire length of the room. It is also famous for for pet stains to wick back after a cleaning.
Wool is a very durable and cleanable fiber but is not very common due to the cost, wool can also be damaged if not cleaned correctly. Possibly a good choice for those with upscale homes and deep pockets.
At this point nylon is the number one most common fiber found in carpet, however that may not be the case for long. Nylon is used in cut pile carpet and found in a wide range of quality from the cheapest builders grade at $5 a yard up to $40 or more per yard for very dense stain protected versions. The cheap stuff actually cleans very well, but shows wear over time in traffic lanes and the stairs. The builder grade nylon is a great choice for rental units when expensive carpet just does not make sense, it is also used by builders because it is cheap and will look good the first year during their warranty period which is all they’re concerned with. If you’re a home owner planing on staying in your home and want a carpet that will last a long time, going with a good quality nylon carpet such as Dupont Stainmaster with upgraded padding will be the best choice. As a carpet cleaners in Fredericksburg Virginia, nylon is our favorite fiber to clean because it looks good, cleans well, and there is little risk involved with cleaning it. Out of all the carpet fibers nylon is the best choice in most cases in my honest opinion.
Ok, now here is the bad news. Polyester is the whole reason I decided to write this post, it is the worst we see as far as cleaning ability and wear goes, and unfortunately it is the fastest growing fiber in production, soon to take over nylon and olefin. Shaw industries, the leading manufacturers of carpet recently attended a big carpet cleaning expo in Las Vegas, when they were asked if the quality of carpet in general was going up or down, he responded that it was unfortunately going down, and polyester was being increasingly manufactured because of costs. This scares me as a carpet cleaner because we’ve seen first hand how the traffic lanes look terribly worn and shaded in as little as a year or two, and it does not respond well to cleaning. We suggest to avoid this material and hopefully it will send them a message once word gets out, that we don’t want it!
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.
Virginia Allergies…. carpet cleaning is one of the most important things you can do to remove these allergens from your home.
When 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. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
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.
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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Cleaning the dryer vents, why must we do this?
Dryer vent cleaning is probably the most important thing that needs to be done around the house every year or so, depending on use. It may be a good idea to mark your calendar with this task, along with other periodical tasks such as changing furnace filters or water filters.
To Prevent Fires
The most obvious reason is to prevent fires. Dryers with excessive lint buildup are one of the most common causes of house fires. When the dryer vent gets clogged it puts more strain on the dryer causing it to run hotter making it more likely for that fine lint to catch on fire.
prevent long dry times
If you notice that your laundry is taking longer to dry than it used to, that is an indication that air flow is being compromised, drying time can be reduced by a staggering amount of time. How do I know this? When my wife told me we needed a new dryer because the jeans were taking 2 cycles (140 minutes to dry) I knew it was time for a cleaning, to protect my wallet… I have been accused of being a tight wad more than once.
After I thoroughly cleaned the vent and the dryer, the next load of jeans took less than 40 minutes to dry, that is a difference of 100 minutes or 250% faster.
Reduce the amount of energy usage
The second complaint my wife had for today, was that our house was very dusty despite the fact that she dusts regularly( I get this all the time from my customers). Well… she was right! (and usually is). After close inspection I did find that the dryer connection was leaking, I am betting the strain from the reduced airflow might have caused this. After securing the vent and taping all seams with duct tape, we have noticed much less dust, leading to less sneezing and allergy attacks.
Who cleans dryer vents?
Dryer vent cleaning can be a little tricky, but can be done ambitious home owners. They do sell dryer vent cleaning kits in the home centers that can be used with a cordless drill, a shop-vac with a good filter should also be on hand. Wearing a face mask or respirator for this project is a must as very fine particles will be circulating around your face. It is important to pull the dryer out and clean from both sides making certain it is clear all the way through. All connections must be re-secured well.
For the less ambtious
Dryer vent cleaning is also done by some carpet and tile cleaning companies, duct cleaning companies or handymen. A good time to have this done is while your carpets or floors are being cleaned, it can be less expensive, if a special trip is not needed for small jobs like this.
Thanks for reading!
Pristine Tile & Grout Restoration in Fredericksburg Va. He is a master carpet cleaner as well as the leading expert in tile care in the greater Fredericksburg area. You can find out more at Prisitinepete.com or follow Pete on facebook.
These are some shots of carpet cleaning jobs in and around the Fredericksburg Virginia area. There are many factors that determine the quality of the carpet cleaning job, such as the machine being used, the cleaning agents, and the experience level of the person doing the cleaning. When choosing a carpet cleaner one must consider what they are getting for their money, choosing the lowest priced cleaner is surely going to lead to disappointment. We all know how much it costs for gas, cleaning agents, insurance, labor ect… companies advertising ridiculously low prices are either cutting corners or using unethical bait and switch tactics don’t fall victim!
Pristine Tile & Carpet Cleaning
632 Forbes St
Fredericksburg, Va 22405