Carpet Maintenance Tips
The most important step in maintaining your carpets is your regular and thorough vacuuming. Next important is prompt attention to spills and spots. With regular vacuuming and prompt spot cleaning you can both extend the life of your carpets and postpone the professional carpet cleaning.
Vacuuming to avoid wear: Vacuuming is the most important step to prevent fiber wear. The most abrasive soils are those that are tracked in on our shoes. Some folks try to go shoe-less in the house; this is helpful but hard to enforce. A good idea that’s easy to do is to use entry mats, runners would be even better, that have long enough pile to capture the soil and can be tossed in the washer when dirty.
Spot Cleaning for appearance: To maintain the carpets' appearance, prompt attention to spills and spots is vital. Keeping all eating and drinking on tiled areas is very helpful, but also hard to enforce. Keeping absorbent cotton towels and a bottle of our spot cleaner handy will help you clean up spills.
Spot Cleaning and Vacuuming: Therefore to extend the life of your carpets and your professional cleaning and to maintain your carpets appearance and prevent wear, you must vacuum thoroughly and often, weekly at least, and spot clean as necessary.
Carpet vs. Hard Surface Floors
EPA studies have found that most health complaints in buildings are caused by microscopic particles consisting of bacteria, fungal spores, pollen and other allergens circulating in the air we breathe. Although these particles do not originate in carpet they are often found in high concentrations in carpeting.
Your carpet acts like a giant air filter in your home - filtering dust, pollen, smoke, polution, and other contaminants out of your breathing space (air) - if that filter is full, your air is dirtier - if you clean that filter, it keeps your air cleaner! If your family has allergies or asthma this is especially important!
Previous research, especially the European studies promoted by hard surface flooring companies, focused on contaminants in the carpet, rather than in the air above the carpet. The air above the carpet is what is being breathed, not what is in the carpet. These earlier studies have mistakenly led consumers to believe that hard surface flooring, wood, linoleum, laminates, etc. would be better for their home when considering the health benefits of floor coverings.
However, recent studies show that carpeting actually traps and immobilizes these health-threatening microscopic particles keeping them out of the air we breathe and holding them until we vacuum them up or have them professionally hot water extracted. A study of 13 classrooms in six Florida schools found that the air circulating over the carpeting had a lower concentration of dust and bacteria than the air circulating over the hard surface flooring.
The Florida schools study reinforces a growing body of scientific evidence that carpeting is beneficial to your indoor environment. Carpeting has the unique ability to hold soil and allergens that descend on and into it; they are held there, out of the breathing zone, until effective cleaning vacuums and extracts the soil, mold spores, dust mites, mite allergens, and other microscopic particles. Carpeting traps and immobilizes microscopic indoor air contaminants preventing them from circulating in the air we breathe.
Cleaning Agents Used
Our cleaning agent is 100% non-toxic, designed for carpet cleaning, designed for use in homes, completely safe for your kids, pets, all your different carpet and rug fibers and upholstery fabrics.
We offer additive-free cleaning agents for people who are chemically sensitive. Our customers have given us very good feedback on the thoroughness of the cleaning without affecting their health.
We have stronger products we use selectively to clean a spots or stains that don't come out with the regular cleaning agents.
Coffee and Tea: Spots & Stains
Coffee and Tea have a tendency to cause some permanent staining. The tannin in them causes a tan discoloration that sometimes comes completely out and sometimes does not.
We have special products designed to counteract tannins that will often help remove coffee/tea stains. Sometimes these stains come right out, but we cannot promise 100%.
Do I need to be home?
We can make any arrangements you are comfortable with. You can be home and stay the whole time we are cleaning or meet us to let us in and show us what you want done or leave, hide a key or leave the door open.
We can call you at your workplace to let you know we are at the job and/or go over the various costs to get your approval. When finished we can leave the door open or lock out or we can call you to come meet us (cell phone or work phone).
Drying time, how long will it take?
It depends on the type of carpet and degree of soiling. Thicker carpet and carpet that was more heavily soiled will take longer to dry. Some of our customers tell us their carpet dried in as little as 1 to 3 hours. More often it takes 6 to 12 hours. We do everything we can to get it as dry as possible and shorten the overall drying time.
To get a carpet thoroughly clean, it requires a longer drying time than the “dry cleaning” method offers. Dry cleaning sacrifices thorough cleaning for quick drying. If you have Carpet Protector applied it will extend the drying time. Upholstery drying time is a little longer and depends on the type of fiber. Natural fibers will tend to take longer to dry.
Some people are concerned about cleaning in the winter because they think the cold, damp weather will extend the drying time. We understand how they feel. However, with our indoor heating systems, which all DRY OUT the AIR, the drying time is still just a few hours. The humidity in the home only goes up about 2%. We do everything we can to make it comfortable for them, including using an insulated door blanket to block any drafts.
Entry Mats & Runners Protect
The most voluminous and abrasive soils are those that are tracked in off the street on our shoes. Some folks try to go shoe-less in the house; this is helpful but hard to enforce. Vacuuming is very important, but hard work.
A good idea that is also practical is to have entry mats or runners that have enough length to the pile and can be tossed in the washing machine. These will catch the majority of the dirt and keep it off your carpets.
Fingernail Polish Spills
To remove fingernail polish use fingernail polish remover. Like paint, once dry, fingernail polish is not able to be dissolved easily. It will be harder than the carpet or fabric it is adhered to and you risk damaging the fabric or fiber further by aggressive removal attempts. Dampen the cloth and dab or blot at spill. Go carefully, don't hope for good results. (Sorry).
Furniture moving before cleaning
We ask our customers to move as many of the smaller, more numerous items as the can out of the cleaning area; things such as plants, lamps and knick-knacks.
We handle all the larger moving for you. Just leave things where they normally sit and we will move them back and forth as we go. We move them off their spot, clean and dry, and move them right back, using plastic sheets or Styrofoam blocks as necessary. This is less work for you. When we are done all you need to do is move the little things back.
Most often our customers will have us clean around pieces such as entertainment centers, dining room hutches, bookcases and pianos. If you want them moved and they are able to be safely moved, you will need to unload them first.
Use ice to freeze the gum and chip off what you can. Some household solvents will soften the gum and loosen it from the carpet, but use caution; this can spread into a bigger mess!
How often should I clean my carpets?
For appearance sake, it is purely subjective: clean when your carpet looks dirty to you. Carpet warranties usually say every 12 to 18 months to avoid excessive wear and maintain fiber resilience.
For the health reasons every 6 to 12 months is not too often. Hot water extraction with appropriate cleaning agents will remove from deep in the carpet those substances that can be harmful to your health: spores, mites, dander, etc.
Ink Spills & Spots
Rubbing alcohol or denatured alcohol will dissolve ink. However, extreme caution must be exercised, because if applied directly to the spot it will rinse it out into a bigger spot and be harder to restore to a pleasing appearance.
Always apply alcohol to a cloth and dab lightly at the spot. Ink will transfer quickly and then start spreading so dab quickly then move on to a fresh area of the cloth. Hairspray only works because it is alcohol based.
Motor Homes & Auto Interiors
Yes, we clean motor homes and automobile interiors - carpets, upholstery and some window valances. Prices vary greatly because of the different sizes of cars, truck, and motor homes. We can set an appointment to clean your vehicle and determine the price when we get there or we can stop by and give you a free written estimate.
Mystery Spots & Wicking
Mystery spots appear and you have no idea where they came from. They are usually caused by something being spilled that is clear. For example apple juice, 7-Up, or even plain milk. These mystery spots occur in practically every home that we clean. Over time the stickiness of the spot attracts dust and grime and turns into brown or gray. To clean mystery spots, first dilute with water and blot. Next use our spot cleaner and blot. Repeat as necessary.
Wicking is when dirt is carried to surface of a freshly cleaned carpet as it dries. Spots that go away and come back are caused by "wicking" of residue from the backing of the carpet, can be successfully re-cleaned, and may sometimes not be removed entirely if caused by large amount of residue in backing or especially if caused by oil (i.e. salad oil). We are happy to return and reclean any wicking area or item if you are not 100% satisfied.
The cleaning process is designed to clean the carpet fibers. It is not designed to clean the backing, and the backing is not designed to be able to be cleaned. If the carpets are heavily soiled, or if a spill or spot has penetrated into the backing, the cleaning of the fibers can loosen the surface of the soiling in the backing, which then wicks up to the surface as the carpet thoroughly dries.
Odors & Deodorizing
We have a number of products designed to eliminate odors. These are designed to actually counteract the cause of the odor, not just mask its presence.
We have products specifically for pet odors, and smoke odor, both are designed to break down the odor causing substance for thorough cleaning and then can be used as a post-treatment to further eliminate odors.
There are also other products for more general deodorizing. If there are lingering odors after cleaning, we are happy to retreat and re-clean for no additional charge.
VERY IMPORTANT: When we have cleaned and treated for pet stains, if the house or apartment is then shut up and left without ventilation, the odors will strongly linger in the air, so that the first impression will be of increased odor. Give it ventilation and some time and this will often clear up on its own. If not, we are happy to return and re-clean and re-deodorize.
Most permanent staining occurs immediately. Leaving it until your next cleaning is not going to cause the spot to become permanent. Sometimes minor oxidization occurs, but usually if a stain is going to be permanent it is permanent right away.
The more aggressive the cleaning agents and procedures used for spot removal the more likely the chances of secondary damage to the carpet fibers (bleaching, fiber breakage, twist loss, un-crimping, etc.).
Our heated and pressurized cleaning solution is effective on stains and the carpet fibers are revitalized by it. That is why we are able to clean so thoroughly without the risks of other aggressive procedures (rubbing or scrubbing) or products (solvents, detergents). We usually can remove stains, even if your spot cleaning can't, due to our high temperature, high vacuum power cleaning system.
Pet Hair Removal
Pet hair has a tendency to weave itself into carpet fibers and upholstery fabrics. Repeated cleanings, either dry vacuuming and steam cleaning often seem to bring out more and more pet hair. It is almost impossible to remove all pet hair. However, the pet hair's oils, dander and soils are removed by thorough cleaning.
Pet Odor Treatment
Every person’s sense of smell is different. Some people are highly sensitive to pet odor and even the smallest trace can be offensive to them. We do everything we can to completely counteract and extract the odor-causing compounds.
We have products that are designed for use on pet soiling. These products are designed to break down the odor causing substance for thorough cleaning and then can be used as a post-treatment to further eliminate odors.
If pets have soiled the carpet there is the possibility that some of the soiling has gone beyond the carpets fibers. If the carpet backing, carpet pad, or the flooring beneath the carpet have been contaminated, cleaning and treating is more difficult.
Your carpet can be uninstalled to clean and treat the backing. Usually any contaminated carpet pad is simply replaced. The floor underneath can be cleaned and treated with bleaching agents. The floor can be coated with a sealant to seal offensive contaminants away from contact with your home.
Unfortunately even after cleaning the fibers, cleaning the backing, replacing the pad and cleaning and treating the flooring, 100% pet odor removal cannot be guaranteed. For the only 100% guarantee of pet odor removal you will want new carpeting as well as replacing the pad and cleaning and treating the floor underneath.
Pet Stains & Spots
Discoloration from pet soiling usually is removed with thorough cleaning using appropriate cleaning agents. Some permanent staining can be caused by the ammonia-type compounds in the urine. These cause a bleaching affect and cannot be remedied by cleaning. Also some pet foods have dyes added that can come through in pet waste (urine and feces) that can permanently stain the carpet fibers (see Red Stains). Discoloration will most often improve, but can’t always be fixed completely.
Previous Carpet Cleanings
If you have had your carpets cleaned before, either with a portable do-it-yourself machine, with a dry-cleaning method, or with another professional cleaning company, it won’t be possible to give you results as good as if your carpets had only been cleaned before by Castle Carpet Cleaning.
This is due to the fact that these other methods of cleaning your carpeting do not have the power to clean your carpets as thoroughly as we do. It is critically important to have vacuum power strong enough to overcome the gravity that is trying to keep the soils, the cleaning agents and the water down in your carpeting.
Also, unless the highest quality cleaning agents are used they tend to leave a sticky residue behind. This traps moisture and soils with it, creating a situation for rapid re-soiling. Your carpets will look dirty again right away, when in fact they were never really clean in the first place. This also creates a perfect environment for organisms to grow that can be harmful to your health.
Having your carpets in this state of always being somewhat-to-very dirty is a quick road to needing to replace them. Carpeting is the single largest purchase you will make for your home and taking care to get your carpets cleaned thoroughly is a wise financial decision.
Low-price cleaners, dry-cleaning methods and do-it-yourself machines all put your home, your health and your carpet investment at risk. It might take repeated cleanings with our modern equipment, cleaning agents and methods to completely remove the residue left by previous inadequate cleanings.
Red Spills & Stains
If you have a red spill, blot it up quickly. Next, dilute with a little cold water and blot up again. Repeat as necessary. Finally, apply salt or baking soda to absorb remaining liquid. Vacuum when dry. There are products that work on red dye. Start with the least aggressive.
Whether the red stain was caused by natural red dye (grape juice or wine) or artificial red dye (Kool-Aid or fruit drinks), red coloring or dye may cause permanent staining. Children’s Tylenol, pet foods, juices, tomato sauce, beauty products, wine, candies, various foods or drinks, etc. are some examples of the many items that contain red coloring or red dyes.
We have mixed success removing red stains. Many times we are able to lighten and improve a red stain, though there may be some residue left. Sometimes we are unable with regular cleaning methods to improve a red dye stain at all.
There is a process available to remove red stains. It is a mild bleaching process. It is very aggressive and carries with it risk of secondary damage to the carpet. It can leave a "bleached" area and damage the texture of the carpet fibers and possibly harm the adhesive attaching the backing to the carpet. You have to decide whether getting rid of the spot is worth the risk.
Spot Cleaning Tips
When a spill occurs, carefully pick, scoop, and blot up as much as possible. Always move toward the center of the spot to minimize spreading. To spot clean food spills and general soils, use our complimentary spot cleaner and an absorbent cotton or paper towel. Spray lightly on the spot or on your towel and wipe, always toward the center of the spot.
For other solvents are sometimes necessary, but must be rinsed thoroughly to eliminate residue. There are solvents available for tar, paint, ink, etc. Rubbing alcohol or denatured alcohol will often dissolve ink, but will also spread it quickly so always use it on a towel and dab quickly and carefully.
Always spot clean with the least amount of the mildest solvent (water) first and gradually increase aggressiveness of cleaning agent. Always use absorbent towels to blot thoroughly. Always blot, never scrub or rub, as this can damage fibers. Always rinse with clear water after using more aggressive cleaners (anything other than water or our spot cleaner). Blot as dry as possible.
Getting out 100% of a stain by spot cleaning always carries with it some risk of secondary damage. It is sometimes better to settle for 95% removal than going for 100% and damaging the fibers.
Successful spot cleaning is a matter of repetition. It takes time and persistence. If, after you have tried everything, you still have a spot you are unhappy with, we can, for a minimum charge, come by and try to remove it further. Or you might prefer to live with it until your next general cleaning, when we can try to remove it further.
Vacuuming before cleaning?
Most homes are regularly vacuumed and do not need to be pre-vacuumed just before the cleaning. The vacuum power of our Truck Mounted equipment makes this step unnecessary. If there is an unusual amount of clutter, debris, or pet hair, pre-vacuuming is helpful.
Our large steam extraction equipment does things that small dry vacuum machines cannot do, but some degree of dry soil removal is better accomplished with a good vacuum cleaner.
Gently scrape as much wax off as possible. Place a brown paper bag over the spot (ink side UP). Use a clothes iron on the lowest setting to heat the area through the bag. The wax will melt and wick into the absorbent paper.
Keep moving the paper to a fresh spot until all the wax is melted and absorbed. If there is a lot of wax, you will need to let the carpet cool down before continuing. Take your time and be careful. Too much heat will permanently damage the carpet fibers. As with all spot cleaning - proceed with caution.