Do You Make These 5 Carpet Cleaning Mistakes?

Everyone makes mistakes now and again.

Perhaps you submit a resume to a potential employer but later discover a typo in the third paragraph. Maybe you text your friend an invitation to your party but then realise that the last digit should have been a 4 instead of a 7. Or you meant to order onion rings but mixed up the menu and received curly fries instead.

In most cases, the above mistakes seem laughable and correctable. However, when you make the following mistakes with your carpet, you could cause irreversible damage and shorten the lifespan of your flooring.

 

1. You Wait to Clean the Spill

When you are busy or not present when a spill occurs, you might not have the chance to spot spills the moment they happen. You may find traces of the accident the next day or even the next week, depending on the spill and its location.

However, the longer you wait to address a stain, the harder it may be to remove. Some liquids can sink deeply into the carpet backing and underlay or seep through and stain all of the pile and not just the surface. Other materials bond quickly with the fibres, making removal more difficult and in some instances impossible. With some exceptions, set stains usually require advanced stain removal techniques and don’t respond to cleaning or normal spotting product so are unlikely to be a DIY option.

 

2. You Don't Test Cleaning Products

In your hurry to clean a spill, you may feel tempted to grab the nearest all-purpose cleaner and attack the offending stain. But if you don't check the label, you may end up using chemicals too harsh for your type of carpet to handle. Always follow label instructions to avoid the possibility of permanent damage. Even if the product seems suitable for carpet, always test the product on an extra piece of carpeting or in a discreet area such as the bottom back corner of a cupboard or wardrobe.

 

3. You Use Too Much Powder

There are a number of powdered products on the market designed to help you handle spills and odours as they happen. While these powders may work to an extent, we don’t recommend them. They usually leave a residual of the spilled substance and some damp powder in the carpet. We recommend a procedure that will completely remove the stain and rinse out any product used to aid the removal process.

Additionally, it is very easy to cause a build-up of powder in your carpet either from overuse or inadequate suction from your vacuum cleaner. If you are going to try a powdered product use it sparingly and make sure your vacuum cleaner is in good working order and preferably use one with a motorised power head (beating brush).

 

4. You Scrub Vigorously

When you face a particularly difficult stain, your initial impulse may be to scrub the area as hard as you can. After all, a little old-fashioned scrubbing and elbow grease cleans almost everything, right?

However, the more you rub, the more you run the risk of spreading and or pushing the stain deeper into the pile. Furthermore, vigorous scrubbing causes the fibres to untwist and fray causing an unsightly fuzz effect which in some cases is more obvious than the initial stain.

Rather than muscling the stain into submission, lightly dab the area with a damp cleaning cloth. Start with the outside of the stain, then gradually work your way toward the middle.

 

5. You Do All Your Cleaning Yourself

As a DIY homeowner, you may try to maintain every aspect of your home on your own. You vacuum your floors regularly to prevent dirt and debris build-up. You place mats at the entry way and you keep the areas directly leading onto the carpeted areas as clean as you can.

While these techniques do extend the life of your carpet, you shouldn't neglect to hire a professional carpet cleaner now and again. As a general rule, hire a cleaner at least once a year to remove embedded debris that your vacuuming is leaving behind. If you have heavy foot traffic in your home, or if you have pets, you may need to hire a professional cleaner on a bi-annual basis.

5 Preventative Tips to Avoid Water Damage in Your Home

As a homeowner, you pride yourself on keeping your house in good condition. You clean your floors, organise your garage and maintain your yard. Whether you just moved in or have lived in the same place for years, you do all you can to keep up appearances and prevent irritating problems.

But what if you live in an area with heavy rainfall or high humidity? Homes in these locations-or houses that experience plumbing problems-may suffer from indoor flooding and the associated water damage.

Along with house fires and termite infestations, water damage asserts itself high up on a list of homeowners' nightmares. This kind of damage causes a host of frustrating-and downright unhealthy-problems, including:

  • Warped skirting boards
  • Discolouration
  • Mould & mildew
  • Rusted metals

The following tips can help you avoid water damage from some of the more common causes.

1.Check for Appliance Leaks

One of the easiest ways for water to invade your home is through leaky plumbing fixtures, including toilets, sinks, showers and baths. Checking these areas of your house on a regular basis for leaks or cracks can prevent flooding from ever happening.

As well as plumbing fixtures, remember some appliances can contribute to leakage. Don't forget to check on your refrigerator, dishwasher and washing machine for any signs of unwanted drips. If you find regularly checking these items too tedious, consider changing washes and hoses every few years. If you don’t check them and don’t replace them, it is only a matter of time until washes fail and hoses crack.

2. Inspect Gutters and Downpipes

You may easily overlook the important role your gutters and downpipes play to keep rainwater and other debris out of your home. Clean pipes allow for consistent water flow and smooth irrigation. When dirt, leaves and other materials clog your gutters and downpipes, excess water may seep into your roof or exterior walls.

Regular cleaning of your gutters is recommended and checking your roof tiles for cracks or chips periodically is also a good idea especially if you have had a tradesperson up there.

3. Get the Air Flowing

To circumvent too much humidity or condensation inside your home, let in more air. Open windows in different rooms to combat stagnant or damp air. You'll feel less sticky and, perhaps more importantly, you'll defend your house from potential water damage. Depending on your budget, you can also use a humidity metre or a dehumidifier to create the right amount of moisture in your bedrooms, bathrooms, hallways and other areas in your house.

4. Watch What You Pour Down Your Sink

Remember that garbage cans and sinks (including garbage disposals underneath your sink) have two separate functions. Your sink's pipes cannot handle solid materials or even thick liquids. When you cook or wash dishes, remember to avoid washing food items, plastics, chemicals and grease down your sink.

Such materials can accumulate inside pipes and create clogs and backups. Use your garbage bin instead as the receptacle for waste items that may ruin your plumbing.

5. Pay Attention to Your Water Bill

If you pay your water bill on time, do you also carefully read it? Your bill may shed light on unexpected or unknown water leaks in your home. If you notice uncharacteristically high prices, you may have a leaky pipe somewhere within your walls or ceiling.

The best way to resolve unseen, problematic plumbing is to contact a plumbing company or a general home contractor. Professionals will identify the trouble, fix it and give you advice on how to prevent further leaks.

Remember these tips and regularly apply them to keep your home safe from the physical and financial harm of water damage. If you experience indoor flooding, contact your local water damage experts to receive professional assistance.

3 Sneaky Pests That Damage Your Carpet & Upholstery

Ever hear the phrase, "snug as a bug in a rug"?

Some insects and pests love to nestle in your carpet. The soft, thick fibres serve as an excellent hiding place. And for many bugs, the wool pile presents a seemingly endless supply of food for themselves and their larvae.

The following pests in particular are infamous for sneaking into homes uninvited and damaging oriental rugs, upholstery and carpet.

 

1.Carpet Moths

Carpet moths (the webbing moth and the case making moth) don't look like much at first. They have a small wing span, only 14 to 18 mm. The adults tend to have a brown or beige colouring, and they prefer dark, undisturbed areas to lay their eggs.

Why They Like Carpet

Although adult carpet moths don't cause a lot of damage on their own, you should definitely watch out for their larvae. A single female adult can lay 100 to 150 eggs, which hatch in as few as five days.

The small caterpillars then proceed to devour the wool and other natural fibres in your carpet. They also nibble on pollen, hair, dried animal remains and other dead insects that tend to accumulate in your rugs.

Infestation Signs

Signs you have carpet moths include:

  • Loose carpet fibres where the larvae have eaten the knots in your rug
  • Squirming larvae underneath your rug
  • Small cocoons that blend with your wool
  • Adult moths flying in your home

Because adults prefer the dark, and because their larvae tend to blend in with their surroundings, you'll probably see the damage long before you see the insects themselves.

 

2. Carpet Beetles

Carpet beetles have a recognisable oval body with a shiny, dark, brown-black colouring, though their wings tend to vary with irregular patterns of white, brown and dark yellow. They range in size from 0.3 cm to 0.4 cm.

Why They Like Carpet

 Adult carpet beetles don't eat carpet or upholstery, as they prefer pollen and nectar from outdoor flowers. But should you bring them indoors, they'll quickly lay their eggs on or near your wool rugs, carpets or leather furniture.

Once the eggs hatch, the larvae will eat almost anything, from woollen socks to animal skins to dried plant products. And of course, they'll eat your rug fibres, too.

Infestation Signs

Are you worried you have carpet beetles? Here's what to look for:

  • Shed skins and faecal pellets on or near your carpet
  • Adults crawling around your windows and skirtings
  • Irregular holes in carpeting and other fabrics
  • Larvae squirming on the carpet
  • Small cocoons under your rugs

As with carpet moths, carpet beetles prefer the dark. You'll probably notice the holes and the occasional adult long before you spot their larvae.

 

3. Silverfish

Silverfish have a sleek, teardrop-shaped body with a blue-silver or brown-grey colouring. They measure 12 to 19 mm long and have three noticeable bristles on their rear.

Why They Like Carpet

Silverfish prefer to eat carbohydrates, specifically polysaccharides such as starch and dextrin. You can find polysaccharides in a variety of household materials, including glue, book bindings, clothing and human dandruff. But when these materials become limited, silverfish will also eat silk, linen, household dust and even synthetic fibres in your carpet.

Infestation Signs

Watch for these signs of silverfish infestations:

  • Holes in wallpaper, clothing and carpeting
  • Yellow stains around the holes
  • Faecal matter (resembles black pepper) in corners
  • Adults in opened or unopened food packages

Like carpet beetles and carpet moths, silverfish become more active during the night, but you can spot them during the day if you have a particularly large infestation.

 

What Can You Do?

If you've identified any of these pests in your home, you should take action quickly as all of these insects reproduce at a rapid rate. Start by hiring a professional carpet cleaner to steam clean your flooring. The high temperatures will kill the larvae and the vacuum will suck away any eggs lodged in the fibres. Your carpet cleaner may also recommend additional methods for removing infestations, such as the use of pesticides or changes in your lifestyle to make your home less inviting for pests.

The Best Carpets and Carpet Care for Those with Allergies

Carpet remains a popular flooring choice for most houses. It offers comfort and warmth. It also comes in many different styles, patterns and colours.

It’s a little known fact that indoor air quality is enhanced by properly maintained carpets and drapes. They actually act as a filter for the air that is constantly moving around your home, removing the airbourne allergens like dust and pollen and trapping them until vacuumed away. However, without proper and regular maintenance carpet can collect large amounts of allergens and eventually allow it back into the air, thereby reducing your home’s indoor air quality. This was not a story made up by carpet manufacturers, by the way.

A test was done at a school in the U.S. where indoor air quality was measured for several weeks before and after carpet was removed and replaced with Linoleum flooring. The tests clearly showed the indoor air quality was better before the carpet was replaced. The conclusion was the filtering effect of the carpet was removing and trapping some of the airbourne particulates. The hard floor obviously had no filtering capacity.

Does this mean you shouldn’t have hard floors in your home? Certainly not! However to achieve the same indoor air quality in your home, your hard floors may require more regular maintenance than your carpeted areas. This goes against the commonly held belief.

Care for Your Carpet

To maintain your carpets correctly we recommend a regular vacuum with a cleaner that has a motorised beating brush (power head) and the best filter you can afford. Some vacuum cleaners pick up the surface dirt and look like they are doing a reasonable job. However they are blowing back into the air any particles small enough to make it through their inadequate filtration system.

 In addition to regular vacuuming it is recommended by most carpet manufacturers your carpets are professionally steam cleaned once a year. Not only will this help keep your carpets clean and fresh it will extend the life of your carpet.

Additionally, clean up stains and spills as soon as they occur. If moisture makes it to your carpet's underlay, it can create the perfect environment for mould growth. When mould spores release into the air, you may notice your allergy symptoms worsen.

Considering New Carpet?

Ask your flooring specialist to recommend the best carpet for allergy sufferers. Some fibres are less allergenic and easier to maintain.

Even if you have allergies, you can still enjoy beautiful flooring when you use the above techniques. If you have additional questions about which maintenance methods will work best for your home or needs, talk to your local carpet-cleaning expert. He or she can recommend the best ways to maintain a hygienic environment without compromising your home's current decor.