Bacteria, Fungi Spores, Oh My!

When you’re in the cleaning business, questions often arise regarding disinfecting and sanitizing. Antimicrobials offer protection from unseen germs and bacteria on many surfaces. There are three levels of antimicrobials that kill or limit microbes and the spores they use to reproduce.

Sterilizer – In the spectrum of antimicrobial activity, a sterilizer is the strongest killing 100% of microbes and spores.

Sanitizer – To sanitize a surface simply means to reduce levels of harmful microbes to a a safe level. However, most chemical sanitizers have little to no effect on certain bacteria like Tuberculosis. Improper use may create resistant strains of harmful bacteria.

Disinfectants – The term disinfectant can only be used on the label of products that have been tested and proven to kill or destroy at least 99% of all microorganisms. Such disinfectants are regulated by the EPA. Common household bleach is also a disinfectant available to consumers. Disinfectant label directions must be strictly adhered to as misuse can lead to damage to materials or health risks.

So what should you use?

Since sterilizers are only typically needed for critical jobs like surgical instruments, we are left with disinfectants and sanitizers. When making the decision to use a sanitizer instead of a disinfectant, you should weigh the risk presented by the microorganism against the risk involved with the chemical itself.

When making a decision about your home and the kitchen counter in particular, keeping it clean usually means maintaining a sanitary condition. If you’re preparing raw meats on the counter, you may consider using a good sanitizer/cleaner. However, a strong disinfectant might be more appropriate in the bathroom.

A clean home is important but the most important thing to remember is that all cleaning agents, sanitizers and diinfectants should be stored and used according to the label directions. Failure to do so could cause more harm than good.

At B/P Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning, our goal is to clean not only for appearances but also for your health. Please call us today if you have any questions. We look forward to working with you!

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The Truth About Spots and Stains

Television commercials would have us believe that a bottle of spot remover can remove stains from carpet like magic. Red wine, ketchup, fruit punch, grass stains and more are removed in seconds with no rubbing or scrubbing. Just spray and blot!

If only it were that easy!

In reality, the ease or difficulty of spot removal depends on many variables: fiber type, age and condition of carpet, type of stain, and the cleaning agents and methods previously used on the carpet.

The first step is to identify the spot. Clues like color, location, texture, odor and shape can help us figure out what the spot might be. The next step is to categorize the spot. The four categories of spots are:

Category 1: Water soluble – These spots respond to water based solutions. For example, enzyme spotters break down protein spots like blood, milk, gum and adhesives.

Category 2: Solvent soluble – Solvent based spotters treat spots caused by tar, petroleum grease, lipstick, ink, dried paint and gum.

Category 3: Insoluble spots – Spots caused by graphite, carbon, fireplace ash and powdered copier toner cannot be dissolved with water or solvent spotters.

Category 4: Specialty treatments – Treatments such as strong acids, oxidizers, reducing agents are used to treat rust, food dyes, urine and mustard stains.

Before applying any spotting agent, the fiber type must be determined. Spot removal then follows 5 basic steps:

1. Remove excess material with scraping or blotting. 2. Apply the appropriate spotter to the spot. Do not oversaturate the carpet. 3. Agitate gently. Never scrub or rub the carpet. 4. Rinse 5. Blot with a clean white towel.

As stated, these are basic steps. Our techniques, tools and processes will vary depending on your unique situation. B/P Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning technicians are experts at identifying, categorizing and treating the spots and stains that other companies can’t. Call us today if you have questions or need help removing spots, odors and stains from your carpet!

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Understanding Your Carpet and How to Solve Problems!

When selecting carpet, choosing the right color is often the most difficult part of the process. Most people choose neutral colors such as beige, taupe, gray and even off white because they blend with any decor. Carpets in bold colors like burgundy, deep, rich browns, regal blues and even multi-colored patterns are not uncommon either. The interesting thing is that the color itself is not what protects a carpet from stains. How the color is dyed is what really matters! When you know how your carpet was colored, you can make more informed cleaning and spot treatment choices.

Extrusion and Coloration

Many carpets are created through extrusion. This is the process of melting plastic balls of certain colors, then extruding the liquid through small holes to create strands. When the color goes all through the thread, it’s called “solution dyeing”. This creates the most colorfast carpets which are highly resistant to fading and bleaching. These carpets, polyester and Olefin, are not very absorbent so they are highly stain resistant.

Fiber & Yarn Dyeing

Sometimes material is extruded, turned into rough fibers, before color is applied. Then various methods are used to apply dye to these fibers before they are spun into yarn. This type of dyeing provides great color penetration but it’s expensive. It’s typically used on wool and other high end fabrics. If the fiber is spun into yarn, then dyed, this is yarn dyeing, a common way that multiple colors of fibers are woven into carpet to make a variety of patterns.

Print and Continuous Dyeing

In print dyeing the carpet is made without color variety. Then, dyes are sprayed or painted on the carpet using stencils.

Continuous dyeing is the most common technique. After the yarns have been stitched into the backing material, the carpet passes through jets that spray hot dye into the yarn. This is the fastest and most cost-effective way to dye carpet.

How Do You Keep Your Carpet Looking Good?

The dyeing process of a carpet determines how it resists color loss, fading and bleaching. An experienced cleaning company will know what chemicals and processes to use in order to get the best cleaning and maintenance results from a particular carpet. Using the wrong cleaning agents or process could result in fading, loss of luster and other issues. To maintain your carpets, be sure to have them cleaned by B/P Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning!

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Maintaing Carpets Keeps Your Family Healthy!

According to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study, carpet actually helps to clean out the air in our homes and offices. The carpet acts as a filter, trapping soils, gasses and pollutants such as pet and human dander, pollen and even air pollution. This is great since nearly every American home has wall to wall carpet installed in one or more areas.

Despite this study, some people still believe that carpet is bad for indoor air quality. Properly maintained carpets actually improve indoor air quality. The key to keeping the air in your home healthy is to have a maintenance routine for your carpet.

EPA Guidelines for Cleaning

Periodic professional carpet cleaning is a major part of eliminating contaminants that build up over time and maintaining satisfactory air quality. Confused about how often you should have your carpets cleaned? The EPA is there to help with some basic guidelines for a total carpet maintenance plan based on your lifestyle and usage.

  • In a two person non smoking home, the EPA recommends that carpets are cleaned every 6 – 12 months. If you smoke, the carpets should be cleaned every 4 months.
  • If you have kids or pets, carpets should be cleaned at least every 3-6 months. If you live in a very contaminated or dusty area, the recommendation is every month.

While this may seem a little excessive, remember the source of these recommendations is the Environmental Protection Agency. These recommendations are based on cleaning for health, not simply appearance.

Looking Dirty vs. Being Dirty

Carpet is designed to hide soil, so it can hold a lot of dirt before it begins to look “dirty”. Unseen contaminants build up in a carpet over time to the point where they may have a negative effect on the occupants. The key is to avoid letting the carpet get to the point where this happens.

Maintaining Your Carpet between Cleanings

These guidelines are just that, a guide. There are things you can do to reduce the frequency of professional cleaning. First, make sure you vacuum often; the more the better. Also be prompt about cleaning up spot and spills. Use doormats at entrances. Don’t wear street shoes in the house.

Regardless of how neat and tidy you are, there comes a time when you need professional carpet cleaning. Call B/P Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to schedule your next cleaning. Your family will breathe easier and your carpets will look better and last longer!

 

 

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Spend a little now…save a lot later!

Fall is the perfect time to do some maintenance on your home’s exterior. Warm weather and the higher humidity of summer can cause materials to shift and expand, then as the weather cools and the humidity decreases, the process reverses. Now is the time to act.

As Winter Approaches and the weather gets cooler, materials like paint, caulk, shingles, wood, rubber and vinyl siding tend to shrink and harden. The air is drier, rubber seals around doors and windows become brittle. Caulk separates from siding and trim, allowing outdoor air and damaging mositure to enter.

The wood around doors and windows can rot. High moisture levels encourage insects and termites to make your home their home. Hidden mold growth on porous surfaces can cause expensive structural damage. Moisture is the primary cause. You can take a few easy steps to ensure your home is in good shape as winter approaches.

Easy Fall Checkpoints. Take a slow walk around your house and check the following:

  • Visually check all windows and doors. Look at the wood trim to ensure it is not rotted or pulling away. Check the caulk to ensure it is flexible and well sealed.
  • Check weather stripping to ensure pliability and good seal.
  • Look around windows, doors, soffits and other areas for water intrusion.
  • If you have a basement, check it for leaks by touching the wall, especially where it meets the floor.

If you think that you may have had a water entry, call B/P Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning. We can assess if there has been any damage to your floor.

As the old saying goes…an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It can also save you a ton of money in the long run as well!

 

 

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What do Those Codes on Furniture Tags Really Mean?

If you look under the cushions of a typical piece of upholstered furniture you will probably find a fabric care tag. This tag should include recommended procedures for maintaining and cleaning that particular piece of furniture. However, to find out how to keep your furniture looking its best, you will need to find the “cleaning tag”.

The Cleaning Tag

These tags will list cleaning codes that serve as a guideline to assist you in spot cleaning. The tag also informs the professional cleaner on how to avoid color loss, bleeding, browning or shrinkage during cleaning.

Fabrics are made from a variety of fibers including cotton, polyester, silk, rayon, nylon, polypropylene, acetate, acrylic, wool and blends thereof. Improper selection of cleaning agents or methods can lead to permanent damage to fabrics. An example of this is crushed velvet. If it is treated improperly, it can lose its softness, luster and crimp. Unfortunately, damage like this is irreversible. Many floral or multicolored patterns are printed on the fabric rather than woven into it. Extra care must be taken when cleaning these as colors are only on the surface. The wrong chemical can actually remove the printed dyes, or destabilize them to the point that the colors run into each other. Again, this is irreversible.

Effective and safe cleaning of your upholstered furniture means knowing how to clean it. Part of that requires deciphering the code. For example – W means spot clean with water based upholstery cleaners, avoid over wetting the cleaning area; S means spot clean with a water free dry cleaning solvent, be careful not to oversaturate the cleaning area or use any water; WS or SW means spot clean with mild detergent or mild dry cleaning solvent; X means clean only by vacuuming or light brushing, never use water or solvent based cleaners.

No matter what tag you see remember to: Always clean spills promptly and never rub, but rather blot up liquids to avoid damaging your furniture. Of course if you are in doubt, we recommend that you call B/P Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning!

 

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Is it okay for me to use those miracle stain removers I see on TV?

Whether you watch television during the day or at 2 a.m. when you can’t sleep, you simply can’t avoid them: commercials and infomercials, trying to convince you that some liquid in a bottle will magically remove any spot or stain you have on your carpet, no matter where it originated, how long it’s been there, or what type of carpet you have!

Every carpet fiber is different. Every spill is different. So there is simply no one-stop solution to clean everything. And, unfortunately, using some of these “miracle” stain removers in the wrong place can cause irreversible damage to your carpet.

Miracle Oxygen Cleaners

One popular product that people tend to try, is the “Oxy” cleaners seen on infomercials. If you choose to use these cleaners, do exercise caution! Professional carpet cleaning companies are seeing more and more damage being done to carpets by the oxygen bleaches in these cleaners. Damage can range from minor color loss to large permanent yellow stains caused by the chemical reaction with the carpet fibers.

Theoretically, these products should be safe if used according to the manufacturer’s directions but when the chemical reaction is affected, cleaning results can vary greatly. For instance, the exact nature of the spot matters. Some stains do not react well to oxygen bleaches, and can even become permanent if you use these products. Sunlight can also be a problem. Under sunlight, the oxidizer becomes more chemically active and aggressive, resulting in heightened bleaching action.

Remember, anything that has the ability to remove food coloring has the potential to destabilize the dyes used to give your carpet its color!

Other Product Promises

There are other products that use high ph detergents in conjunction with the oxygen bleach to help break down greasy spots and spills. While these products can be quite effective in removing the offending spots, they can also leave behind a residue that destroys the stain resistant properties of your carpet.

Also, these highly alkaline residues are often quite sticky attracting dirt. So even though the spot goes away, the area keeps getting dirtier and dirtier. So you apply more cleaner, which leaves more residue and the frustrating cycle repeats.

If you had the ability to thoroughly extract the chemicals, it wouldn’t be so bad but that can be difficult! So what can you do?

Your safest bet when you have a difficult stain is to call B/P Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning before attempting to remove it yourself. As an experienced carpet cleaning company, we can give you options as to the best way to handle the situation while avoiding damage to your carpet. We’ll also share with you tips for removing small spots in the future!

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Be Healthy, Wealthy and Wise with Carpet!

Carpet is a great way to decorate your residence or place of business because of the textures, colors and patterns available. Not only does carpet look good, but it provides many benefits. Carpet’s insulation can provide increased energy savings. Carpet absorbs sound, making a house quieter and more relaxing and it’s safer, reducing the occurrence of slips and falls.

Did you know that carpet is economical requiring little maintenance and it’s good for your health too!

Little Maintenance Required

Carpet requires less maintenance than hard surface floors such as hardwood, vinyl and tile. Typically your carpet only requires routine vacuuming and prompt attention to spills in between professional cleanings. By contrast, hard surface floors require sealers, waxes and polishes to keep clean, not to mention the time it takes to sweep and mop.While it is true that hard surface floors are easier to clean in the event of a liquid spill, properly maintained modern carpeting has protectors such as 3M Scotchgard and DuPont Teflon which helps them clean-up well.

Carpet is Good for Your Health Too!

Carpet that is properly maintained actually improves indoor air quality. How? Carpet acts as a filter, trapping pollutants such as dust, pollen, dander, smoke, and dust mite contamination as air passes through it. Carpet acts as a “sink” trapping pollutants, instead of allowing them to be distributed up into the breathing zone. The result? Homes and buildings with properly maintained carpets have better air quality in the “breathing zone” than those with other flooring types. So, as these contaminants build-up in the carpet, they simply must be removed by professional cleaning. This creates a cycle of cleanliness.

So to reap the financial and health benefits of your carpet, give B/P Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning a call for proper maintenance and periodic, professional cleaning.

 

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Is it Too Soon to Clean My New Carpet?

 

If you purchased new carpet within the last year or two, you may be wondering when you should start to have it professionally cleaned. Often times, the carpet store salesperson will tell you to wait as long as possible before having your new carpet professionally cleaned; that cleaning your carpet will just make it get dirty faster requiring more frequent cleaning. Is that true?

Old Attitudes for Old Technology

The belief that once you clean your carpets the first time you will then need to clean them all the time goes back to the early days of professional carpet cleaning. Back then lots of chemicals and water were used in an attempt to get the carpet clean. These carpet cleaning chemicals worked great at attracting soil away and suspending those soils in the cleaning solution to be wet vacuumed away.

Early carpet cleaning equipment was not able to extract or rinse out all the chemicals applied. So the chemicals remained on the carpet as a sticky, soil-attracting residue. It was true that once you cleaned your carpet back “in the day” your carpets needed to be cleaned more often.

How Poor Quality Carpet Cleaning can Cause Damage

“Discount” carpet cleaners who charge low, low prices can cause irreversible damage because they use cheap chemicals, inferior equipment and untrained workers.

The poor guys who work for them are often subcontractors or are paid on commission. The technician often has to rush through the job just to make a decent living. Often times cheap, sticky chemicals are left in the carpet because they were not properly rinsed out. Sure the carpet looks okay when he leaves, but the carpets will re-soil quickly, often over the course of a few days or weeks.

The True Benefits of High Quality Carpet Cleaning

The carpet cleaning industry has changed dramatically over the past few years. The cleaning agents, though more expensive, are designed to rinse freely from the carpet and leave little or no residue. Quality equipment does cost more, but it has the power to thoroughly clean your carpet and rinse away soils and cleaning agents. Finally, the application of a quality protector makes your carpet stay cleaner longer.

A reputable cleaning company will pre-treat, agitate and rinse with extremely hot water and a power vacuum system. This leaves carpets clean, fluffy and residue-free. Indoor air quality is improved so your family can breathe easier!

Finally, most major carpet manufacturers require professional carpet cleaning once every 12-24 months in order to maintain your carpet warranty. If you want your carpets to stay cleaner, last longer and look beautiful call B/P Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to set up your personalized carpet care program.

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How Does Stain-Resistant Carpet Work?

Consumers today have become quite demanding. We expect that the things we buy and use will last a long time, work properly and out live the warranty. Our high expectations extend straight down to our carpets. We expect them to resist staining and look new for many years. Fortunately, with modern stain-resistant applications, we can get years and years of life out of our carpets with proper care.

Understanding Stain – Resistant Fibers

True stain resistant carpet is referred to as “5th generation nylon”. Although these fibers are stain resistant, they are not stain-proof. In order to properly care for our carpets and make them stain resistant, we must understand what a stain is.  

A stain is something that has added color to the carpet fibers and cannot be removed with regular cleaning. Some stains are fairly simple to remove. Others are difficult or even impossible to remove completely. One type of stain that gives carpet owners nightmares is the red food coloring typically found in soft drinks. These products dye the carpet in the same way that carpet is dyed at the factory.

5th generation nylon carpet fibers are factory-dyed using an acid based dye system. Nylon fibers have microscopic areas on the surface called dye sites. These dye sites are negatively charged. Acid based dyes and staining agents like food coloring are positively charged. Opposites attract, and the molecules of dye attach themselves to dye sites on nylon fibers giving you the color you want. However, staining agents can do the same thing!

The Magic of “Invisible Dye”

When a carpet is dyed, not all of the dye sites are filled. This creates an open space for stain molecules to attach themselves. To help prevent staining, fiber producers created a process wherein open dye sites are filled with “colorless dye”. Theses “colorless dyes” called acid dye resistors (ADRs) make it very difficult for stains to permanently enter the dye sites, buying the consumer precious time to blot and remove a spill before the spot becomes a permanent stain. If it weren’t for ADRs, most food spills would instantly stain a carpet for good!

Protecting Your Carpet’s Warranty!

There are things that can damage the factory-applied ADRs. Untrained, uneducated carpet cleaners using the wrong type of cleaning agents can void your carpet’s stain-resist warranty. That’s why B/P Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning is always your safest choice when it comes to having your carpets professionally cleaned. The result is that your carpets look beautiful, resist stains and last longer, maintaining your valuable warranty.

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