It’s a very common problem, beautiful Lilies with their lovely perfume. Either on their own or in a beautiful bouquet, they are a delight and a pleasure. You can’t help feeling cheerful when you walk into a room a smell them , let alone see them. One of the wonders of nature! Truly spectacular!
But………….What about when they drop the brightly coloured stamen on the carpet? Aarrgghh! Panic!
Well don’t! Panic, that is! Follow these simple steps and, at the very least you will avoid permanent staining. Yes! Permanent staining is a very real possibility if you panic and do the wrong thing. The very best of carpet cleaners may only be able to lighten the stain to a point where it is barely noticeable.
Follow these steps carefully and don’t rush.
1. Do not touch or rub the stamen at any time.
2. Clear the area surrounding the stain to give yourself plenty of uninhibited work space ( a radius of about 3 feet or more if possible)
3. Gather the tools you will need; these are
a) Vacuum Cleaner
b) Small Crevice tool attachment (narrow nozzle) for item (a)
d) Cotton Buds
e) Vaseline or similar gel
4. Attach crevice tool to vacuum cleaner. Ideally the crevice tool needs to have as small an opening as practical so you may need to Sellotape over some of the opening. Alternatively, you could just slide a finger over the end to make an appropriate size opening. The reason for this is to create a very strong and concentrated channel of vacuum.
5. This next step is very important. Lay the crevice tool on the carpet to the side of the stamen. Do not at any time touch the stamen or it’s pollen. Gradually move closer to the stamen to vacuum it up. Once the stamen itself has been vacuumed up, you can then concentrate on the pollen dust. Do this from all sides as it is so fine, it may stick itself to the carpet pile in one direction, but may come free from another. Final stage of vacuuming is to try vacuuming from above being very careful not to touch down on the pollen.
6. This should have removed the majority, if not all of the pollen. If there is remaining pollen, the next stage is to dip a cotton bud in some Vaseline and very gently touch the pollen with the Vaseline and it should pick some pollen up. You may need to use several cotton buds. Once it has picked some pollen up, do not re-use that part of the bud. Have a few buds ready to keep picking up as much as you can.
7. If the above step fails to remove any more, and there is still pollen in the carpet. Wrap a loop of sellotape around you finger, sticky side out, and very, very gently touch the sellotape to the pollen. This should pick up the pollen. The harder you press, the more likelihood you will push the stain into the carpet fibre. So be very cautious at this stage.
8. At this stage the pollen should be gone, or as far as it might be safe for you to proceed. Now, if there is a remaining stain you can choose to call a carpet cleaner to deal with it or, you might choose to apply your favourite stain remover to it. Whichever choice you make, I wish you every success.
The steps I have outlined here are the steps I would follow if I was called to your house to deal with the stain from scratch, and I generally have 100% success with these stains, however…….common sense tells me I should warn you of the following.
This blog is just generic advice. It doesn’t guarantee success and no liability can be accepted for problems arising from following the advice contained herein. There are just too many variables with each and every stain to provide a “one size fits all” approach. The carpet fibre along with velocity of stain all can make a huge difference to the success that might be achieved.
That said, enjoy your Lilies when they are bought for you.
Carpet left wet for days? And when it does dry out it doesn’t look any better, or looks worse?
Looked fine when it was wet, but now doesn’t look clean?
The stains and marks didn’t come out.
Well, programs like Rogue Traders are full of examples of shocking companies that prey on unsuspecting householders. The most notable of which tend to be builders, and roofers, although it does not stop with them.
When it comes to carpet cleaning there are also unqualified and unscrupulous companies out there that, are only too happy to take your money and run. The old joke about “Bodgit and Scarper” can apply in every trade.
So how do you protect yourself, and avoid disappointment?
It’s always good to do a bit of research. Does the company have a website? Do they have a proper address for their business? Do they offer a money back guarantee? Are they a member of any trade organizations? Can they show you hard copies of Testimonials and their latest Certificates of membership to trade organizations?
If you’re choosing a company from the Yellow pages or similar, you need to ask them some important questions (for more information on what to ask, download our free Consumers Guide to Carpet Cleaning).
If the amount that the cleaning costs is your overriding deciding criteria, again you will probably be disappointed. Cheap price means, cheap equipment, cheap (damaging) chemicals, and an untrained cleaner. A properly trained cleaner will know how to clean you items properly, which chemicals are safest in your particular case, allow enough time to do the job properly, and will usually have decent, well maintained equipment, with a clean and tidy professionally sign-written van.
Also, don’t accept a price over the phone! Any company that quotes a price over the phone doesn’t care what might be involved in the cleaning of your carpet e.g. how much furniture to move etc. They will make an assessment when they get there as to whether or not they can make the job pay. They will do this by bumping up the price when they arrive, or only doing a partial job to make it pay. You will be trapped on the day into making a snap decision as to whether to pay more or not.
Yes, this is the easy one. Ask your friends, family, work colleagues if they have used someone that they would recommend. I don’t mean someone that was OK, but someone that they were really happy with. I have clients now that were relatively happy with their previous carpet cleaner. It was only when they saw the work I had done at someone else’s home that they realized they hadn’t previously been getting a good quality service at all. Also, we all have differing standards of what equates to a clean home. So be sure to ask someone who has similar standards to yourself.
For advice about drying times, see one of my previous blogs.
Finally, when it comes to stains and marks. Sadly, it is true that not all stains will come out, either completely or at all. There are so many variables to stain removal that it would take another blog or two to explain it all. To put it simply, most stains and marks come out quite quickly and, there are the others that can be a problem that might never be solved. These things can be discussed at the time of quotation.
So, if you’ve been disappointed by a carpet cleaner. On behalf of all genuine carpet cleaners in the industry, I am sorry that you have had a bad experience.
If you want to avoid being disappointed by a carpet cleaner, then please do give me a call. I will arrange a mutually convenient time to come and give you a quotation. I can show you my certificates and testimonials (the testimonials on my website are real). I won’t give you a price over the phone. I will carry out a proper audit of all cleaning to be undertaken and supply you with a quote. During the audit I will be able to advise you about the likelihood of stain removal of each individual stain. If you’ve found me other than by recommendation, I operate a referral reward scheme so that when you’re happy with the work I’ve done for you. You can become actively involved in recommending me to your friends and family.
I don’t know if it’s only the British, but we certainly do seem to love our rugs in this country!
What I mean by that is, that we seem to form a bond with our rugs beyond it being just another carpet. We seem to grow very attached to them. Far more so than a carpet anyway. They become a part of the family; the children play with their toys on them; we curl up in front of the fire on them; sometimes even fall asleep on them. Or is that just me? One rug I restored had been in the family since the current owners great, great grand-parents time. It was a family heir-loom, and that’s what I mean by forming a bond with a rug.
A rug can make a room complete. Rugs can also differ greatly in how they are made (construction), the products used to make them (Fibres), and of course value (price). These three factors are important in determining the cleaning process to be used. (Value becomes an important factor when dealing with very weak, older fibres and construction because one process may get a better cleaning result, but not necessarily be advisable due to said weakness.)
Construction refers to the manner in which the rug is made. Traditionally rugs are woven on a Jacquard loom (clue; you can see the pattern underneath the same as on top). This construction is often mimicked by the tufted contruction method (clue; it will often have a heavy weight coarse weave cloth glued to the back, or in some cases with imitation Chinese rugs a loose cotton back stitched to it).
Fibres. Well there are many, many fibres. For the sake of brevity though, there are basically two types, natural and synthetic. e.g. Wool and Nylon. Very common today are cheap, but nevertheless woven, polypropylene rugs and these can be problematic to clean, and are often not worth it because they can probably be replaced for less than the price of cleaning it.
So it is then, that from time to time I get entrusted to cart them away and restore them. Some of them, it’s just a bit of a freshen up, others it’s stain removal, and others still it becomes a salvage clean. Then of course, there are all points between.
When it comes time to clean them though, who can you really trust to do the job properly and not ruin it?
Cleaning a rug requires a very special skill-set that are not so necessary for cleaning fitted carpets (generally speaking). Different rugs have different dying processes making some more prone to colour bleed than others. Some have woollen fringes, others have cotton. Do you want the fringes restored? There are far too many factors involved in the decision making process about how to safely clean a particular rug to list here. Suffice to say, only really well trained carpet cleaners should be trusted when it comes time to clean your rug. For a list of people in your area log onto the National Carpet Cleaners Association website. Or click this link www.ncca.co.uk and type in your postcode.
I recently had to clean a very large Chinese rug that was about 25 years old. It had spent the first 20 years of it’s life in the family home having all the trials and tribulations that a growing family can bring to it. Children colouring on it, even painting with poster paints. Tea, coffee, fruit juice etc… Finally it looked so bad it was banished to the garden shed, which leaked, for five years. The rug owners had a new house built and decided that the rug would look great in one particular room. When the rug was retrieved from the shed….OMG! The rug was even worse than before, and what’s worse it stank too.
This rug required every I’ve ever learned to try and restore it. After four weeks of different processes in the appropriate order, the rug was cleaned and smelling fresh, and the fringes were no longer black. A lot of very hard work into restoring that rug, and there were times when I considered taking it back and apologising that there was nothing I could do with it. To both my satisfaction and the owner’s though, it came good. I’m glad I took all that training!
’til next time.
That was the question I had been pondering for months.
At it’s most basic level, it’s the pain or pleasure principle. Those are the two principle drivers for humankind. To get out of pain or get into pleasure.
Why the dilemma? Well, the media would have us believe that we are in the middle of the worse recession to hit this country. Don’t get me wrong. I do believe that we are enduring a tough recession. At the same time, I do feel that government and media manipulation goes a long way to make us believe and feel that things are worse than they really are. We settle for less because they tell us we should, and they like us to feel afraid so that we look to them for solutions. Having said all of that, my intention is not to dis-respect anyone who is suffering hardship as a direct result of this recession. For many I’m sure the hardships are very real. However, to answer my question though. Fear is the reason that I had the dilemma. Fear of pain (financial hardship).
There is an interesting acronym I learned for fear (I think acronym is the right word). F = False, E = Evidence, A = Appearing, R = Real. In other words the fear is all internal to us as we see it. Another person might see the same circumstances/situation, and perceive it as a fantastic opportunity. Also, it can come down to what we look for to support our fears. Do we look for advice, information etc.. which will support our fear and persuade us not to take the step? Or do we seek out information and advice from sources that will support our decision to take on the challenge?
Fear can manifest itself in many ways, and that question in the title is all down to perception. Fear = Expense. Optimism = Investment. I was allowing fear of what the future might bring with this recession to stop me from investing in my company. My van was getting older, and was soon to be having a few major problems. My machine. whilst it had been extremely reliable up until now, was getting older and the older it got, the more expensive the maintenance costs. So both had served me well, but they were past the time when I should be owning them. The expense (fear), was holding me back from taking the steps I needed to take. It wasn’t until the discomfort (fear or pain) of the van or machine not performing, got strong enough to make me take the step across to the other side of the coin and see that it was a necessary investment in my business.
In the end, after much procrastinating and research, I settled on the new van I required and the new machine too. Result? I am absolutely delighted with both purchases! The new van is a dream to drive, and it looks pretty good too (for a van). The new machine. Wow! What a difference. Technology has advanced the boundaries of what the machine can do, performance wise, and controllability. No wasted fuel, no wasted water. It really is so very much better.
The result to me now is pleasure. My van is a pleasure to drive and the machine is a delight to use. I enjoy going out to my van each day safe in the knowledge that it is going to reliably do it’s job and that my machine will likewise do it’s job reliably and efficiently. I feel better about my business, the image I am presenting and the job that I can perform.
Take a look at the photos and let me know what you think.
Until next time,
Hi. I know, I’ve been very quiet lately. The truth is I have been very busy which, considering our economic climate, I am very happy about.
Anyway, Spring Cleaning. I know, I know. In today’s busy world it’s hard enough to find time to do the normal routine cleaning, let alone a major spring clean. And at the same time, there is a very good reason why it was always carried out in the past. We can learn a lot from past traditions.
Part of the reason for a Spring Clean was very much a sort of “out with the old, and in with the new” approach. Along with the better weather, it was a good time to air the house out, clean away all the dust, mould, soot and smoke accumulated through the dark winter months and generally make the house feel fresher. The sunlight would also show up the areas that hadn’t been cleaned quite so thoroughly in the darker months.
There was an even greater purpose served by a spring clean though. In the process of moving all the furniture and cleaning behind and underneath, it meant that nasties like the carpet moths were cleaned out before they had chance to do their damage.
If you move an item of furniture that hasn’t been moved for a couple of years, say a heavy bookcase or similar. You might find that underneath there are some cream or white coloured cigar shaped husks about a centimetre or so long. (They look a bit like rice). You might also find that there is a patch (or patches) of carpet missing. This is the carpet moth. They love dark undisturbed spaces to lay their eggs, and when they pupate, they eat your carpet for you.
This can be avoided by spring cleaning. Spring cleaning will mean that all of your furniture is moved and cleaned underneath at least once a year and this level of disturbance is enough to discourage the moth from laying it’s larvae. Also if you get there soon enough, even if they have laid the larvae, you’ll get to hoover them up before they do any damage.
If you do find however that it’s too late and the damage is done. By having your carpet cleaned and then treated with anti-moth spray, you will at least help to stop them returning and, in the unlikely event they do return the spray will kill them.
If you find them under a fabric sofa, you might also find them inside the sofa. The sofa will also need cleaning and treating if that is the case. Likewise the same applies with floor length curtains. They will climb up inside the curtain linings and hatch their larvae there.
Generally speaking, any natural fibre is at risk; i.e. Wool, Silk, Cotton, Jute etc..
If you’re concerned about any of these matters, please do give me a call.
’till next time
Want to know the truth about drying times? Then read on.
I have been in this business for 31 years as of today. Yes that’s right, I started this business exactly 31 years ago today. In that time I have seen would be competitors come and go. I have seen Carpet Cleaning systems come and go, and come back again as if they are brand new. I have seen wild ridiculous claims about drying times, and I have heard (and seen the evidence of), ridiculously long drying times (several days and even a couple of weeks). So what is the truth?
Well, I have to hold my hands up right now and say that, in the early days, I too was probably guilty of causing peoples carpets to be wet longer than truly necessary. This was due in part to my faulty initial training by a previous employer, and a lack at that time, of very good training being available in the industry. The NCCA or National Carpet Cleaners Association, and the IICRC the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (that’s a mouthful isn’t it. Actually soon to be changed to The Clean Trust) have changed all of that. The training by these bodies have ensured that there is no need for bad cleaning practice. This in turn has helped to produce better drying times through applied knowledge. That said, the majority of carpet cleaners advertising in Yellow Pages and local Newspapers, have still had little or no training whatsoever. I gained a new client recently because the person who had bought a local Chem Dry franchise had left her carpet soaking wet for two weeks!
A properly trained carpet cleaner can get carpets dry within a few hours. But the issue is far more complex than that. The issue involves carpet fibre and the construction method of the carpet. The cleaning system used to carry out the cleaning. Why does this make a difference? Let me explain.
Natural fibres like wool and cotton absorb some of the moisture used in the cleaning. When this happens, the cleaning equipment has longer to recover the moisture from the fibre and this in turn reduces the drying time.
Synthetic fibres on the other hand, generally do not absorb any moisture. Particularly Polypropylene. It has a moisture retention rate of 0.01%. So when moisture used in cleaning these fibres comes into contact, it runs straight the bottom of the carpet pile. The equipment logically has a much shorter amount of time to recover the moisture and so can protract the drying times. Now there are techniques and adaptations a skilled carpet cleaner can use to reduce and minimise the extension of drying times, but this can be hampered slightly by the carpets construction.
What has the carpets construction got to do with it? Well, the contact area for the equipment being use can be greater or smaller depending on the construction. Tufted construction has better contact area than a loop construction carpet like for example, Berber style. Generally speaking, the better the contact area for the equipment, the quicker the drying time. The equipment is better able to extract back from the carpet, the moisture used in cleaning if there is better contact. This is true regardless of the system used.
Some carpet cleaning systems guarantee a drying time of 30 minutes. This can be achieved by low moisture cleaning systems that employ some variation of Bonnet Mopping. This involves a mist of cleaning product spray applied to the carpet, coupled with a cotton bonnet which may have been dipped and rung out in another solution set on a rotary floor machine that may have a heated blower attached. This is a heat transfer cleaning system and, despite manufacturers claims, cannot deep clean a carpet. This system is fine for quick freshen ups and for carpets that are problem fibres. It is possible for the system to have your carpets dry in around 30 minutes to 1 hour, although I have known of occasions when it has taken longer.
Hot Water Extraction via a Truck mounted machine, which in my opinion (and that of the NCCA, IICRC and major carpet manufacturers), is the best system for cleaning carpets thoroughly and properly, can take a little longer. When carried out properly drying times can be as quick as 1 hour, but can take as long as 5 or 6 hours. Again the fibre and construction will make a difference. If you decide to have Stain Protection applied, this can take even longer as this is applied in a water based carrier and sprayed onto the carpet.
The humidity of the day can make a difference too. On a hot and dry summers day I have had carpets dry in under half an hour. On a damp and cold day, I have had carpets take 4 or more hours to dry.
Factors to speed up drying. Air movement i.e. windows and doors open allows the damp air to escape. During colder spells, put the heating up by a couple of degrees and crack open the top windows. Brushing of the carpet pile following cleaning helps to lift and separate the fibres (this should be done by your carpet cleaner following cleaning). The use of Air Movers if necessary. Good carpet cleaning procedures. High machine operating temperature means cleaning solutions evaporate more rapidly. Extremely powerful vacuum recovery system means more moisture is pulled back out of the carpet. Machine left outside so humid vacuum air is not re-circulated in the property. (These last three points are only really available via a Truck mounted Carpet Cleaning System).
Even with all of the skills and tools of a fully trained reputable carpet cleaner. A carpet will not fully return to it’s original level of humidity until possibly a full 24 hours has elapsed. The carpet will feel dry long before then, but technically speaking, it won’t be fully dry.
So how long does it take for a carpet to dry? Well, as we’ve seen, there are a varying determining factors including, fibre, construction and method. In general though you should expect anything from 1 hour to a few hours, and definitely not longer than 24 hours. If a carpet is wet for longer than 24 hours then there are a myriad of problems that can arise.
How can you avoid extended drying times? Use a reputable and well trained carpet cleaner. Where possible use one that only your best friend recommends. Check the NCCA and IICRC websites for your local certified company.
’til next time.
Smoke and Mirrors. The magicians way of diverting your attention in order to appear to have done the impossible.
What on earth has that to do with carpet cleaning you may ask? Well, directly…nothing. Indirectly, quite a lot.
Unfortunately, as carpet cleaning is an unregulated industry, it is hard to tell the bona-fide professional from the rogue trader. Many tricksters are out there, only too keen to extract your money without extracting the dirt from your carpet. These will resort to mis-selling by Bait & Switch. This is a process whereby they call you up and offer you a ridiculously low price over the phone (the Bait), and then when they arrive they tell you that the price didn’t include stain removal, moving furniture, rinse aid and conditioner etc..etc…(the Switch). Unfortunately, by the time the carpet has eventually dried out a few days later. You realize that the carpet doesn’t look any better, in fact it looks worse, and you can’t get hold of them to come back and sort it out. (Let’s face it. Would you want them to come back?)
The more subtle form of Smoke and Mirrors is unsubstantiated claims. That is, a claim that you can’t disprove because you don’t know. Claims like “Revolutionary New Carpet Cleaning System”, “90% Success Rate with Stain Removal”. How can you disprove whether or not they have a 90% success rate with stain removal? You can’t. Do you know if their particular cleaning system is a new revolution? Probably not.
So why do they say it? They are preying upon a previously dis-satisfied consumer. Someone who has had a bad experience with another company and is hoping that this time, it’s better. Which is totally understandable. If you’ve had a bad experience, you don’t want
to repeat it.
The fact of the matter is; there is no revolutionary new system. What there is, and always will be, are manufacturers coming up with better and more effective chemicals along with improvements in the operation of some equipment. Essentially though, there has always been and continues to be, only four different methods of cleaning carpets. The methods are fundamentally unchanged although the equipment and chemicals have improved. These methods are 1, Dry Fibre Compound, 2, Crystallizing Foam Shampoo, 3, Rotary Machine and Pad (aka Bonnet Buffing), and 4, Hot Water Extraction (often called Steam Cleaning). The first three offer very quick drying times, and despite manufacturers claims, they cannot deep clean a carpet. Hot Water Extraction is the most effective method of deep cleaning a carpet. Particularly if the machine is a Van Mounted Unit (often called a Truckmount).
As for Stain Removal, well….I’ve been cleaning carpets for over thirty years now, and I would never say I can get 90% of stains out because it might not be true. I might get 100% of the stains in one home out, and maybe as little as 50% in the next one. There are too many variables involved with stain removal to make such outrageous claims.
A carpet cleaner who is industry trained and keeps himself up to date with the latest chemicals and products, will always be well placed to serve you well and have a wealth of satisfied customers.
So don’t be distracted by unsubstantiated claims (smoke & mirrors). Do your homework about the company you’re thinking of using. Get a recommendation from a friend. Check to see if the company is certified by the N.C.C.A. and the I.I.C.R.C. Ask to see testimonials. Ask to see their Treatment Risk Insurance. Do they offer a money back guarantee? If they’ve got nothing to be ashamed of, they will.
’til next time.
Have you heard that Carpet Cleaning is Bad for Carpets? This falls into the category of what we commonly term as “old wives tales”. However, with lots of stories we hear, they are often rooted in truth. We’ve all heard the expression “there’s no smoke without fire”. This prompted me to examine why this belief about carpet cleaning came into existence.
In part it was, (and can still be) rooted in truth. It came about mainly because of bad cleaning chemistry and methods (which is why I say it can still be true), although it needn’t be.
When carpet cleaning was in it’s infancy, little was understood about the detergents used and the fibres reaction to them. Also very little was understood about the drying process or of possible problems due to over-wetting. So it was quite quickly that problems started occuring such as; carpet taking days to dry out; when they eventually dried out there was pooling of stains; rapid re-soiling; fibre degradation; delamination; shrinkage. In these cases, it could certainly be argued that carpet cleaning was bad for carpets. What followed was a lot of head scratching to try and understand what was going on.
This prompted the development of alternative cleaning techniques, methods and systems. The most significant advances were made in understanding the characteristics of the various fibres and constructions of carpet types. This has led to better and better chemicals, equipment, machinery, processes and perhaps most importantly, knowledge.
With the right knowledge, chemistry and equipment, all of the problems associated with carpet cleaning of old, can be avoided. A trained and qualified carpet cleaning technician will select the right process, the right chemicals and the right system for your carpet’s needs. When carpet cleaning is carried out properly, there is no need for your carpet to take days to dry out. Hours are all that are required. Your carpet will not re-soil quickly because there will be no detergents left in your carpets. Your fibres will not break down or oxidise due to poor chemistry. Shrinkage and delamination will not occur either.
If you choose your carpet cleaning company based purely on the price they charge, you cannot be sure that they are going to give you the best possible service and treatment. The most common first question I get on the telephone is “How much do you charge?” What we should be asking is “How do you go about cleaning? What system do you use? What products do you use? What insurances do you have? Do you offer a Money Back Guarantee? Do you have Training Certificates you can show me? Can you come and give me a quotation?” Pre-occupation with price will sadly lead to cleaning that is bad for your carpets. Cheaper companies will use cheaper, poor quality chemicals and equipment and you could still expose yourselves the dangers that the “old wives tale” was trying to warn you about. When carried out incorrectly, carpet cleaning can still be bad for your carpets. BBC’s Watchdog highlighted this recently with more and more rogue companies using Bait & Switch tactics, but also phoning pretending to be the company that you had clean for you last time.
A properly trained and conscientious carpet cleaner will only use the best equipment, chemicals and processes to give you the client the best possible results for the long term life of your carpet. When carried out properly, Carpet Cleaning is Good for Carpets, as it can double the life of your carpet.
In summary then, perhaps I can put it this way. Bad Carpet Cleaning was, and still is Bad for your Carpets. Good Carpet Cleaning is Good for your Carpets. What you receive will be down to who you choose to use.
Till next time.