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What should I use to clean my shower? …Norwex!

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!


How different types of carpet effect cleanability

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.

Olefin/Berber

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 $$$

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.

Nylon

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.

Polyester

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!

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.

 

 

Drying carpet

How long will my carpet take to dry?

As a carpet cleaner here in Fredericksburg Virginia I hear this question all the time. In fact it is probably the the most frequently asked question we get. Our customers love to have their carpet cleaned for many reasons including appearance or they may want to prolong the life of their carpet, allergies to dust and pet dander also rank up there in the top reason we get called out. But some people are just too nervous about calling us because they had a bad experiencing from a previous carpet cleaner.   I hear it way too often “the last company we had out left our carpet soaking wet for days” OMG are you serious? Folks… this is not the way it should be. A true professional should be able to get your carpet to dry fast.

How long will my carpet take to dry?

There is no short answer or exact time as to how long carpets will take to dry. There are many factors that play a roll in this, such as the type of carpet, how soiled they are, the humidity inside the home, is the heat or AC running? does the customer have ceiling fans? But I can say this for sure it should be measured in hours not days. We often see that the rooms we started in first are dry to the touch before we even leave. We tell our customers that the carpet should dry in about 3-6 hours, but it is always a good practice to wait overnight before putting heavy furniture, area rugs or plastic desk chair mats back, you don’t want to trap any residual moisture under these items.

What will happen if my carpets are wet too long?

Carpet that is left wet for more than a day or two will start to smell, longer than that, it could need to be treated as a water damage restoration job. Carpet can’t stay wet for longer than 72 hours or mold will start to grow, at that point the padding will need to be replaced and the carpet will need to be treated with a microbial agent.  Another problem that can occur is wicking, if the carpet dries slowly the chance for stains to reappear or browning to occur increase significantly.

What causes over wetting?

The main reason for carpets being left too wet is operator inexperience. It takes practice to get everything perfect…the right amount of pre-spray, the right temperature and pressure to have the equipment set at, doing dry strokes and utilizing fans also play a big roll. I remember my first day well… got my brand new truck mounted carpet cleaning machine went home and told my wife I was going to get our carpets unbelievably clean, well…water squishing up between the toes the day after did not over impress her. I got it dry and re-cleaned with the proper settings and Voila! great looking and great smelling clean carpet.

Other reasons that carpet will stay wet too long has to do with the equipment. Carpet cleaning machines need to be in proper working condition to ensure the carpet will dry fast. The water coming out of the carpet cleaning wand needs to be ripping hot, the hotter the water the faster it will dry. The vacuum needs to be running at peak performance with no vacuum leaks. The Jets on the wand need to be the proper size, and the pressure regulator needs to be in proper working order. If any of these components are not working the carpets will be too wet. Do you think a shady, cash strapped carpet cleaner will tell you their equipment is not working properly?

How can I be sure the company I hire will not over wet my carpets?

There are many ways to screen a company for professionalism, and looking online for ratings and reviews is probably the best way to go. Check many outside sources such as the BBB, Google, Yelp, Yahoo to see what experiences others had. It is very important to stay away from deals that seem too good to be true, I can  guarantee that you will not have a great experience from the low ball guys.

Ask questions…how long will the carpets take to dry? Do you use a truck mount? How long has the person that will be coming to my home been cleaning carpet?

Get a referral, always a good idea to ask friends and family of their experiences with a cleaner or any other service company for that matter, this reduces the risk of being a victim of a shady bait and switch company.

Drying carpet

Getting carpet to dry quickly before the new tenants move into this rental.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Cleaning a Travertine kitchen floor in king george va

Cleaning, Before & After Photos

Awesome Results

This was a great week at Pristine! Even after years of cleaning with our powerful truck mounted equipment I am still amazed myself at the results we achieve. Thanks to today’s technology I am able to snap some quick photos with my smart phone and share them with the world. In this particular post I am sharing photos from a concrete cleaning job, a tile & grout cleaning job, and a carpet cleaning job.

Concrete Driveway Cleaning

Concrete Cleaning

Driveway cleaning

This photo is of a concrete driveway at a residence out in King George, Virginia. The owner stated that he has never had it cleaned in the 14 years he’s been there. Our concrete cleaning system is far superior to ordinary power-washing in many ways. It is a contained cleaning system with powerful vacuum, so there is no over spray or run off. This was especially important on this job because the homeowner had the driveway surrounded with some very nice plantings. If you’ve ever power washed, you know what happens when you hit that flowerbed with the wand, dirt everywhere!

Using powerful truck mounts also enables us to clean at temperatures well over 200 degrees, everyone knows heat is critical for achieving outstanding cleaning results. You can view great concrete cleaning video on our website.

Tile Floor Cleaning

Tile and Grout Cleaning

This second picture is actually from the same home in King George, Virginia. It is obvious from the photo that the grout had turned completely black over the years. It is extremely difficult for a home owner to achieve these results from scrubbing alone. There are 4 components that work in harmony that give us this type of clean. They are heat, vacuum, pressure, and emulsifiers.

After this floor was cleaned we applied a sealer to the grout. In this case only the grout will benefit from a sealer, ceramic and porcelain tiles are non-porous and will not accept sealers. Sealing the grout protects it from permanent staining as well as makes it a little easier to clean. Our tile & grout cleaning footage on our site is quite Impressive.

Carpet Cleaning in a Preschool

Pre School

This rug belongs to one of our great customers, it is a local preschool here in Stafford, Virginia. It is important for daycares and schools to have their carpets cleaned on a regular basis to avoid the spread of germs. Again, this is where the heat comes in. When you clean with steam you are enhilating the germs and bacteria that lurk deep down in the carpet fibers. Regular carpet cleaning is key for any carpet to keep it looking great for years.

After the carpet has been cleaned we do recommend Scotchguard protection to help the carpets resist permanent damage from spills and soil. We also offer deodorizers and odor treatments for folks that may have pets.

According to Shaw Industries you should have your carpets cleaned every 12-18 months, this will help keep the carpets looking new for many years and is actually part of the warranty requirements for the Stainmaster line.

This last shot is of a berber carpet in a rental property down in Lake Land Or.  Another fantastic customer that counts on us to restore their carpets in their many rental properties as the tenants come and go. We were successful in removing several stains and spots as well as greatly improving the appearance of a noticeable traffic lane.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to visit us at Pristinepete.com to find out we can help you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More shots of our work

 

carpet cleaners stafford

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Affordable Carpet Cleaning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cleaning a Travertine kitchen floor in king george va

Tile floor cleaning in Stafford virgina

This travertine kitchen floor in King George Virginia was heavily soiled from dogs and years of foot traffic. As you can see there was no problem getting this floor to look new again.

 

 

Kitchen floor tile with white grout in Stafford Virginia, no problem for our advanced cleaning techniques.

 

 

 

 

 

How to choose a carpet cleaning company

How do you know who to hire?

There are many carpet cleaning companies in your area, but not all are created equal. So how do you know which one to hire? Many people just look for the lowest price, which often leads to unsatisfactory results. Others think that because the price is high the company does a good job. Both of these examples are not good methods in which to choose. With a few tips, and knowing the right questions to ask, the process can be a little easier. Here are a few things to consider when making a choice:

  • Ratings/Reviews – There are many places on the web that offer reviews. Google, Yelp, Yahoo, BBB just to name a few. Know who your hiring , if a company has poor reviews or no reviews at all, stay away!
  • Coupons and fine print – Those low price offers usually have many restrictions, and rarely turn out to be a bargain. Unfortunately bait and switch tactics are common in this trade, don’t fall victim. You can ask if the job includes pre-spray, spot removers, pre-vacuuming, fiber rinse? What is their limit for room size? Some items are legitimate add-on’s such as carpet protection, deodorizer, red stain removal and pet treatments. It is always a good idea to get the cost of the job, and what is included, upfront and in writing.
  • Who is doing the cleaning? –  There is a high rate of tech turnover in the larger carpet cleaning companies. Lets face it, carpet cleaning is not the most desirable thing to do. Ask…is the cleaner experienced? properly trained? does the company do back round checks on there employees? You just don’t know if  you are getting a great cleaner or the guy that just started yesterday. Even if you do ask these questions, it’s unlikely that you would be given an honest answer all the time.  A great choice may be a small owner/operated company. This way you can always be sure your carpets are cleaned by the same experienced carpet cleaner, usually for less than the big guys.
  • How will the carpet be cleaned? –  hot water extraction? dry cleaning? foam? these are just a few types. There has been ongoing arguments to which is the best. Shaw industries, which is the leading manufacturer of carpet, endorses the hot water extraction method. Will your carpet cleaner be using truck mounted equipment? or portable? Truck mounts offer more heat and vacuum, leading to cleaner, faster drying carpets.

Why do carpet cleaning rates vary so greatly?

There are many reasons why rates vary. The most obvious is the company structure. The young kid out high school trying to make a few bucks with a rug doctor rental is going to be less expensive than the national franchise with lots of trucks, employees and an advertising budget as big as the national debt. Many companies fall in between these two extremes, and they all have different goals and clientele. Some want to charge less, and run through your house at 100 mph so they can get to the next 10 jobs they have booked. Some want top dollar so they can focus on the quality of the work and not the quantity. I have seen some of my customers quotes from other companies that where so high it would seem that replacing would be a better option. The best carpet cleaner in my opinion is the one that takes the time to do great work for a fair price. Guess what? I know one!

pristinepete.com

 

 

Replacing cracked or loose tiles.

 

Why are my tiles cracking and grout falling out?

There are many reasons why tiles crack or become loose. The most common reason is poor installation. There are many short cuts installers can take to save time or money, most may not be noticeable for a year or two, long after the job is done. By this time the installer is nowhere to be found. Before tile can be installed the floor should be prepared with a suitable cement backer board. The board should be layed in thin set, and screwed down as well as making sure all seams are taped.

After the sub floor has been prepared with backer board the tile can be set in thin set. For larger jobs there should be at least 2 installers to ensure the thin set does not start to set up be for the tile is placed on it. It is also advisable to butter the back of each tile, another step that is often skipped because it just takes more time.

Pristine highly recommends using a company that specializes in installing tile, not just a handyman or a family member. You will be much happier with your floor in the long run. Pristine has two personal favorites J & J tile and Marble or quality carpet and floor(Bob Mcdonald or Scott Busby can help you). Please trust me on this, I get call after call from folks who’s floor is failing because they tried to save money on the install.

So… after all that has been said, can we fix your floor?

sometimes… it depends on the severity of the problem. If it is just a few tiles or a small area that has become a problem we can carefully remove the tiles, grind down the old thin set and re-set the tiles, as shown in the photos. If the problem is widespread through out the majority of the floor, chances are, it was a really poor installation job and needs to be done over.

One last tip on installing floors…always, always, always save some leftover tile for repairs and even take note of the grout color and where it came from. This makes certain that any future repairs will look great! The biggest problem we face is that people have cracked or broken tiles and no spares. Once the floor is installed the tile will become obsolete and nowhere to be found in less than a year.

 

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