Myths about carpet cleaning

You know when to wash most things because you can see how dirty they are. Carpets are a little different in that there are many things that come into play when thinking about having your carpet cleaned. Here is a list of myths that abound about carpet cleaning:

  1. I should only get my carpet cleaned when it looks dirty. You should in fact have your carpet cleaned regularly whether it looks dirty or not. Not having a cleaning means that dirt you can’t see will abrade the fibers, and wear on them. Typically in your home, a once a year carpet cleaning will suffice, depending on use.
  2. Steam cleaning methods are universally better than dry cleaning methods. Most people think this because steam cleaning is the first thing that comes to mind when they think of carpet cleaning. In reality there are a number of methods that use very little water.
  3. After you have your carpet cleaned, it will get dirty quicker. Generally untrue, with this proviso: if your carpet cleaner used too much detergent, it can leave a film on your carpet. This film however rarely ever attracts dirt to the degree that you can see it.
  4. All carpet cleaners are the same. This is the worst myth of all. Many carpet cleaners have in some cases invested decades of their lives in mastering their techniques. Sure, there are johnny-come-latelys, but  will charge bottom dollar and do a bottom dollar job. Beware the cheapest price.

There are really a lot more myths about carpet cleaning than we can handle right now. We will continue this subject in another installment.

Written by, Derek Beyer.
 

 

 

 

 

How to find a good carpet cleaning company

There are tons of guys out there who call themselves carpet cleaners. But for better or for worse, the bar to entering the business is pretty low which means just about anyone with a machine and a truck to put it into can call themselves a “professional.” Knowing what to look for can help you from getting one of the incompetent ones.

First of all, avoid all those “10 rooms for $10” specials you have probably seen on those little signs stuck in the grass at large intersections. When the service guy gets there, you will find out that the “special” doesn’t include any cleaning solution and he will only clean with plain water. (You may think that’s crazy but that is how they work.)  As with all things, you get what you pay for.

Ask your carpet cleaning company what steps they take when cleaning. Do they move the furniture? If so, is it extra? Do they vacuum thoroughly before doing the job (very important!)? Also, make sure they do a good walk-through before committing, so they know what to expect.

The most important and most obvious point is: how long have they been in business. It takes about 5 years to get pretty good at carpet cleaning, and at 10 they are just about experts. If you can find one that has been in the business 20 years, you’ll often be getting ninja level service. Now, that doesn’t mean that the longer you’ve been in business the better the service experience, because there are still unscrupulous providers out there. Nevertheless it’s the best thing to look for first.

Knowing what cleaning method your carpet cleaner is using is something you should also look at, but that statement must be qualified. Most people think of hot water cleaning when they think of carpet cleaning, and if that is the method you want you have a right to ask for that. However, there are other methods, –low moisture methods– which do not use hot water and are just as good or better than hot water extraction. So remember, be open minded and don’t dismiss your carpet cleaner if he doesn’t use hot water cleaning.

As a rule, the more questions you ask, the better you will be to gauge their reaction. If it seems that they cannot answer your questions, or act like your questions are a nuisance, move on to the next guy.

Written by, Derek Beyer.
 

Pet odors and your carpet

We all love our pets, but for people with carpeting in their homes, pet odors raise special problems.

dog sleeping on clean carpet

The best way to avoid pet odor problems is, of course, to not allow the stain to dry. If you know your animal has wet the carpet, dab up the moisture with a dry cloth as well as you can. Then take a slightly moist cloth and dab it a little more. After that apply a pet stain neutralizer which will counteract the natural acidity of urine.

The story is a little different if your pet stain has dried, but first some science. First, urine is sterile and odorless because it’s an acid, but over time the acid breaks down into alkaline salt. Those salts become magnets for moisture and it’s the moisture that allows bacteria, which is what causes the smell, to proliferate. Problem is that it’s difficult to find exactly where the odors come from. Carpet technicians generally use a black light to find the dried outline of the stain. Often water extraction carpet cleaning methods are used, but if there is too much staining, you will need another method.

There are compact machines out there that are great for cleaning pet stains and in fact go right over the stain, but they are fairly expensive and you sort of have to know what you’re doing in order to get the most out of it. In most cases  you will need the expertise of a professional to get the stains up.

Written by, Derek Beyer.

Cleaning up after water damage

Water damage is one of the worst things that can happen to a carpet. We’re not talking about hurricane flooding, but when a pipe bursts in your home for instance. Don’t worry, not all is lost. In fact most soaked carpets can be saved if you address the problem in time.

There is unfortunately no one best way to deal with a soaked carpet. There are a number of factors that come into play, how long the carpet has been wet for example. Another factor is whether your carpet has been soaked by clean or contaminated water. Clean water is simply tap water, and is the easier to dry, but contaminated water would typically be a backed up toilet. For clean water flooding you will need a professional, and here are a few steps you can take to make the operation go more smoothly:

  1. Stop the source of the flooding, naturally. If it’s a burst pipe you will need to find the shut off valve until a plumber arrives. If you have a leak in your roof that is running down the inside of the wall, that is not so simple to address. In that case  you will have to wait until it stops raining.
  2. You must not walk on a flooded carpet unless absolutely necessary. Treading on it will cause the backing to come loose. This includes furniture that weighs heavily on the carpet
  3. Pull the carpet back from the tack strip to expose it to the air and retard mold growth.
  4. In most cases you will need to call a professional carpet cleaner to properly dry the carpet. It is imperative that the carpet be dry within 24 hours of flooding, so you will have to act fast. He or she will probably pull the carpet up and apply industrial carpet drying fans.

Unfortunately there is no effective treatment for carpet that has been flooded by contaminated water. In almost all cases the carpet will have to be discarded.

Written by, Derek Beyer.

More Snow?!?

Will it ever end? Being cooped up for 5-6 months out of the year can bring a lot of wear and tear on your floor coverings. Carpet especially takes on an extra load. Whether it’s ice-melt or slushy shoes, it never leaves a pretty picture. With Spring nearly here, it’s time to start considering your next professional carpet cleaning! The smell of freshly cleaned carpet always makes for a better, brighter working atmosphere. Employees seem to appreciate working in a well taken care of environment. Mentally it is invigorating. And with the clock change coming up this Saturday night / Sunday morning (yeah, don’t forget about that!) we’re all looking forward to more and more sunshine.

Here’s some photo’s from Playa del Carmen, Mexico where Shawna and I visited in January. The extra Vitamin D we received was a nice kick in the pants to make our way through the rest of the Winter. Hopefully this helps you to!

 

Up for some sailing?
Up for some sailing?

 
Is it a raccoon? No, it's a Coati!
Is it a raccoon? No, it’s a Coati!

 
An afternoon in the sun...
An afternoon in the sun…

 
The elusive Carpet Iguana.
The elusive Carpet Iguana.

So if you’re looking for a freshening up of your carpet, give me a call at your convenience (585) 746-5307. I can’t bring sunshine to your office, but at least we can help to alleviate some of the “stale air” brought on by a typical Western NY Winter.

Written by, Derek Beyer.

How To: Prolong the Life of Your Flooring Investment – Part II

What is the largest air filter in your office or in your home? That’s right, your carpet is.

Most people don’t think of their carpet as an air filter, but that’s exactly what it is. Thanks to gravity, that soft, plush textile under our feet catches all the crumbs, dust and hair that we live or work with each day. If we could replace our carpet semi-annually like we do our furnace’s air filter, there wouldn’t be a problem. So what are we to do?

In-depth studies conducted by top carpet and rug industry organizations have found that as much as 75% of soil can be effectively removed with a high-efficiency vacuum. That is a tremendous help in combating premature carpet wear because, as we discussed in last weeks Blog, those dry particulate soils will “cut” into the fibers, and will affect the appearance of your carpet

So  what can we do to make sure that the vacuum in our office or home is running optimally?

  • Check the vacuum bag and replace it BEFORE it gets full. Most vacuum owners wait and wait to replace their vacuum bag. This cuts down on the airflow of your vacuum and greatly decreases it’s efficiency.
  • Also checking the vacuum’s filters and rinsing them off (if foam) or replacing (if paper) will help in this area. Periodically checking the status of the brush roll is also a must.
  • We need to make sure that it isn’t becoming clogged with hair or other objects (rubber bands, shoe strings or Fluffy’s favorite chew toy.)

Executing these rather simple steps will ensure that we can all breathe a sigh of relief when it comes to cleaning our home or office’s largest air filters – our carpet.

Thanks for stopping by, I hope these tips helped!

Written by, Derek Beyer.

How To: Prolong the Life of Your Flooring Investment.

Hello! Thanks for checking out our 1st Blog post. I thought a good way to begin is to educate you on something that you can do as a Facility Supervisor, Office Manager or Home Owner, to extend the life of your investment in carpet. No I’m not going to talk about the importance of regularly scheduled carpet cleaning, daily vacuuming or anything related to commercial carpet cleaning. By and large, we find that our Clients do a GREAT job in those areas. What I wanted to discuss is something I notice often when I am out in the field, meeting new prospective clients — Chair Mats!

I should clarify that a LACK of chair mats is what we’re talking about here. How is this important to you? Many of you I know have the best of intentions when allowing us at Beyer’s to maintain your carpet’s appearance. But it seems that more and more we are running into Offices, Cubicle areas and Call Centers that forget to put down the relatively small investment in chair mats. Why are chair mats so important? Notice in the photo’s below, which were taken today, the lightening of this carpet’s color in the center. That is the result of not employing a chair mat at a work desk. In the After photo the carpet, while cleaner, still bears some discoloration. The carpet is permanently damaged unfortunately.
chairmat_before chairmat_after
When you place a 180 pound man onto an office chair and he gets to rolling around on the carpet, it wears that carpet down VERY fast. That 180 pounds is focused onto 5 wheels, each of which has maybe 1 square inch of contact with the carpet. The resulting downward force is very great indeed. Any and all soil (dirt from the driveway, crumbs from lunch, eraser shavings from the pencil, etc…) is summarily ground into the tuft bundles of the carpet. In time these soils become suffused to the fibers. The more abrasive soils quickly begin cutting into the fibers and wearing them down. This type of carpet wear can’t be “cleaned” away and is permanent, and your left with an area of carpet that sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb. A simple chair mat eliminates this issue.

We can’t tell you how many times over the past 20 years that we have seen prospective clients decide that instead of hiring us to try to salvage what’s left of their carpet, they instead send it to an early grave and invest tens of thousands of dollars into new carpet. Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE the look of new carpet! It is of course easier for us to maintain and adds life to a previously stale working environment. It’s just sad to see it happen way too soon. The amount of $ it costs to replace is STAGGERING when compared with the purchase of chair mats. I hope any of you out there who haven’t yet gotten around to it yet, will go online and purchase these carpet-savers soon!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my first post! I hope it helps you to understand the importance of chair mats in an office environment. Please stop by often, as I plan on posting other helpful carpet care tips along with the occasional Before & After pictures as well.

Written by, Derek Beyer