Carpet Cleaning in the Winter? Really?

This is the time of year that you may wonder if it makes sense to get your carpet cleaned? Hmh…Does it make sense to clean your kitchen tile floors in the winter? Does it make sense to change and clean your bed linens in the winter? Yes!

For some reason, people treat their carpet differently, as if carpet is immune to soiling because the weather is cool. Logically, this is not true. It’s what you can’t see on your carpet that is problematic.

Modern carpets do a great job of hiding soil. This may lead you to think that you only need to clean your carpets once a year or when they “look” dirty. But according to the EPA, most households should clean carpets at least twice a year, maybe more depending on lifestyle.

In most homes, carpet is the largest filter trapping soils, pollutants, allergens, oils, pet and human dander.The fact is that winter is a great time to get your carpets cleaned.

During the summer, pollen and other pollutants enter your home and become trapped in the carpets. In the fall, mold spores are more prevalent, again, becoming trapped in your carpet fibers. All of this happens just as you close things up for the winter and spend more time inside.

It’s bad enough that winter is the time when people suffer from cold and flu without adding poor indoor air quality to aggravate conditions such as asthma and allergies.

Carpets tend to dry faster in the winter because the humidity is lower and most of us are using our furnaces. Warm, dry air is great for drying carpets! Remember that in the winter, days are shorter, darkness comes earlier and lasts longer. A clean, fresh, healthy carpet is a great way to help fight off the winter doldrums. Call B/P Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning now for your winter cleaning!

 

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Want to get tough dirt out?

Did you know that carpet cleaning is a profession based on scientific principles of chemistry and physics? The ability to effectively clean carpet requires an understanding of four basic principles of soil suspension: Chemical Action, Heat, Agitation and Time – also known as CHAT.

Chemical Action – Water is used in cleaning because of how it reacts with many soils. While water does the majority of work in cleaning, it alone is not very effective on oily or greasy soils. We need specialty cleaning agents to dissolve some of the more difficult soils like food, grease and petroleum oils found in such items as make-up and ink. We need very little cleaning agents to get great results. In fact after dilution, we are actually using about 99% water. We use just enough cleaning solution to break down soils. This assures that we leave no unwanted residue.

Many untrained cleaners subscribe to a “more is better” mentality so they tend to overuse cheap, harsh detergents that leave a residue. This is one reason why carpets get dirty quickly after untrained carpet cleaners do the job.

Heat – Heat helps cleaning agents work better and faster. Applying a heated cleaning solution makes cleaning more efficient, so we use less detergent. Heat also helps to liquefy oily, greasy and sticky soils, suspending them into the cleaning solution for effective removal.

Agititation – Agitation makes cleaning more efficient by helping distribute cleaning agents for better penetration. By agitating the cleaning solution into your carpet, we suspend soils and lifted matted carpet yarns for better cleaning.

Time – In order for a cleaning agent to work well, it needs “dwell time” to penetrate into the carpet yarns and break down stubborn soils. We make sure we allow the product to work so soils are completely dissolved for removal.

All of this is why after B/P Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning visits, you can expect fluffy, fresh-smelling carpets that stay cleaner longer!

 

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How To Enjoy Better Air Quality At Home!

Fall is a great time of year. The weather is getting a bit cooler and the days a bit shorter. Most likely your family is spending more time indoors as summer activiites wind down. That’s why right now is a great time to think about indoor air quality.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that indoor air can often be 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air, particulalry in heavily populated areas. Is there anything you can do to help?

There are many sources of air pollution and there are many factors that affect air pollutuion in your home. These sources come from both outside and inside your home. Some are in your control, others are not.

Outdoor pollutants and allergens affecting the air in your home enter through infiltration and ventilation. Pollutants like car exhaust, pollen, smoke, insecticides, fertilizers and mold spores enter your home on air currents by attaching themselves to your clothing, shoes, hair and pets. When these pollutants settle on surfaces outside, they are often neutralized, swept or washed away. But once inside your home, the pollutants tend to accumulate on floors, furnishings, surfaces and in the air.

Because we live, eat, sleep, play and often work in our homes, we generate a significant amount of allergens and pollutants from inside our homes too. Dust mites are potent allergens and every home has millions of them. House pets also contribute to poor indoor air quality. 

Then there are sticky and oily residues from cooking gases that eventually settle on surfaces. If you have a furnace that burns fuel such as gas, oil or wood they all add to the problem.

After all of this, you may be wondering if it is even safe to stay in your home! Don’t be alarmed, there are many things you can do to improve indoor air quality. You can invest in high quality air filters for your HVAC system. Professional duct cleaning helps to remove contaminants that can accumulate in your HVAC system. Use a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filtration. HEPA filters trap the smallest particles. Use bathroom exhaust fans and range hoods to remove excess humidity and cooking gases.

Finally, clean carpets, upholstery and area rugs to remove pollutants and allergens that can bond to these surfaces.You are most likely going to spend more time indoors so now is the perfect time.

Call B/P Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning today to schedule your fall cleaning. You and your family will breathe easier!

 

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Carpet Beetles – What are the facts?

Carpet beetles are oval-shaped flying insects that can ruin your carpet, rugs, upholstered furniture and clothing. They can also cause irritating dermatitis in children and sensitive adults. These are definitely unwelcomed guests you want to “show to the door” as quickly as possible!

There are four life stages of the carpet beetle; egg, larvae, pupae and adult. The larvae stage is most damaging because they feed on carpets and clothing. This stage can last 6 to 18 months during which time the voracious insects do the most damage. In the final stage, the adult beetle emerges. Adult carpet beetles can live up to a year.

Carpet beetles and larvae are very difficult to spot. They look like tiny, hairy worms and prefer dark, undisturbed areas such as under furniture, rugs and in closets. The irritation caused by contact with carpet beetle larvae can be confused with bites from bed bugs or fleas. Property damage from carpet beetles is very similar to moth damage. Small, irregular-shaped holes in clothes and rugs are a telltale sign of either a carpet beetle or moth problem.

Fighting Back

Maintaining cleanliness may not be enough to avoid a carpet beetle infestation. Along with vacuuming, professional carpet, area rug and upholstery cleaning are essential. Detergent and hot water kill the larvae, so this is an important means of limiting indoor carpet beetle populations. Pesticides may also be necessary to eliminate an exisitng infestation. Choose a pesticide designed for carpet beetles and follow label directions.

If you suspect you have a carpet beetle problem or want to avoid one, call B/P Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning so that we can clean your carpet, area rug, upholstery and drapery and help eliminate these detructive invaders!

 

 

 

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Total Carpet Care – What you need to know to get the most out of your investment!

There is nothing like a new carpet. It looks beautiful and makes a perfect statement about your style and taste. While carpet is relatively inexpensive to buy and install compared to other floor coverings, it still represents a sizable investment in your home or business. In order to get the most out of your carpet, you need a total carpet care program. Below are some tips:

Carpet selection and professional installation – carpet selection is an important part of making sure your carpets perform as expected. Some fibers are more resilient than others and certain colors look cleaner longer because they hide soils better.

Soil Control: To prevent soils from getting on carpet try using walk-off mats and keep walkways and hard foors clean. If you remove your shoes when entering and wear clean house shoes, you will stop much of the soil from ever entering your home. Regular use of a well maintained vacuum cleaner is the single most important part of total carpet care. Also, prompt attention to spots and spills is critical. If not treated promptly, spots can become permanent stains if allowed to age and oxidize on the carpet.

Interim Maintenance: Some areas require more attention than others.High traffic areas like the main entry of the home, the family room or just outside the kitchen tend to collect the greatest amount of soils. It makes sense to perform maintenance cleaning on these areas in between regularly scheduled cleanings.

Scheduled Profesional Cleaning: Deep, restorative cleaning should be done before soil becomes visibly noticeable. By the time you see soil buildup, damage is already being done to carpet fibers. How often you need professional cleaning depends on factors such as the number of occupants, vaccuming frequency, the presence of pets and lifestyle.

Protector Application: While most carpets manufactured in America come with a factory-applied protector, this protector wears off overtime. Once this protector wears off, your carpet loses its ability to resist common household spots, spills and stains. Reapplying this finish after every professional cleaning will help your carpets to stay beautiful and last longer.

Call B/P Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to help manage and maintain your total carpet care!

 

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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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