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.

Why Routine Cleaning Isn't Enough: A Guide to Grime-Free Grout

Those who value clean tile floors know that floors rarely look clean with only an occasional mopping. Moreover, even a clean tile floor can look grimy if the grout hasn't been cleaned. If you want your tile flooring to make a good impression, you need to understand the role grout plays. Otherwise, all the mopping in the world won't be enough to make your floor sparkle. Here's what you need to know:

Not All Grout Is the Same

Before you can clean your grout thoroughly, it helps to know its composition. These are the most common kinds of grout:

  • Cement mixed with acrylic or latex. This is the standard grout blend. It usually contains coloured pigments that give it a basic gray hue. This darker grout doesn't show stains in the same way as lighter colours. The latex or acrylic polymers also protect the colour from fading.
  • Sanded mixture. In some cases, tile installers add sand to the grout mixture, particularly for wide joints. This creates greater stability.
  • Epoxy. An epoxy grout mixture is especially good for kitchen backsplash areas or bathroom flooring, as it offers greater stain resistance than other grout types. However, some epoxy grout becomes yellow over time, particularly in sunny areas.

In most cases, floor installers also apply grout sealers to cure the floor and protect it against stains. Still, even the best-sealed grout needs regular cleaning.

Not All Stains Are the Same

Understanding the properties of grout is important, but it's just the first step in effective cleaning. To ensure an attractive result, you also need to know what common substances interfere with your grout:

  • Soap scum. Particularly in a bathtub or shower surround, soap is a leading cause of grimy tile and grout surfaces. If you also deal with hard water stains, you have double the trouble. Don't assume all cleaners are safe for your grout; read the instructions and ingredients panel first.
  • Mildew. If your tile is in a humid area (again, the bathroom may be a problem zone), you risk mildew stains on your tile and grout. A bleach solution is generally sufficient for mildew, but you should ask your professional cleaning technician to be certain that bleach is safe for grout.
  • Food stains. The kitchen floor is a magnet for food spills, so pay attention to these areas whenever you drop liquid or solid items. It only takes a splash of red wine or a smashed blueberry to stain your floor, particularly if your grout is unsealed or worn. These areas generally require extra attention from a professional.
  • Ground-in dirt. Even regular foot traffic can, over time, grind dirt further into your grout. This type of dirt also needs professional attention whenever regular mopping doesn't make a visible difference.

Not All Cleaning Methods Are the Same

Even if you try to keep your floors and tile surfaces clean on a regular basis, your efforts may not yield positive results if you:

  • Mop without sweeping the floor first, spreading dirt further onto each surface.
  • Use minimal water on tiles, leading to streaks.
  • Forget to empty the cleaning bucket regularly.
  • Use improper tools - a flimsy mop on a large tiled floor just doesn't do the job.
  • Mop with excess soap or too many chemicals that actually attract more dirt.

Instead of rushing through the job or using the wrong method, choose a professional cleaning service that understands tile floors and-most importantly-understands what's best for the grout between those tiles.

Remember, a professional understands which methods work best for grout, and which methods actually cause further problems. Your cleaning professional will thoroughly inspect tile and grout first so you can attend to loose grout before the cleaning process. After scrubbing each grout line, a professional can fully extract the dirt and grime within.

Now that you understand your grout better, you're closer to treating it with respect. In the end, you can congratulate yourself for a truly grime-free grout surface, not to mention a sparkling tile floor.

3 Factors to Consider Before Buying a Rug for Your Home

You want your home to look great and feel comfortable, and your path to achieving that goal starts with the right flooring. Many homeowners choose to install hardwood, laminate and tile flooring. While these floors offer a level of utility not available in carpet, they struggle to provide the same luxury.

If you have hardwood, laminate or tile flooring, but you still want the luxury of carpet, you may want to purchase an area rug. This useful decor will allow you to experience the best of both worlds. Read below and learn which factors you need to consider before buying an area rug for your wood floor.

 

1. Size It Up

The first thing you need to consider when purchasing an area rug is the size. The size you need will largely depend on the size of the room you will put it in and the amount of furniture you have in that room. A small rug in a large room may make the space seem larger, while a larger rug in a smaller room will make things feel cramped.

Consider how your furniture will rest on your rug. You may want to place only a small section of your furniture on your area rug. If this is the case, you will want a rug that is just wider than your furniture.

Buying a rug for a room with no furniture? Make sure your rug is large enough to stand out, but small enough that it doesn't hide your flooring. For example, if you place a rug in a hallway, the width of the rug should be slightly smaller than the door.

 

2. Pick a Shape

Shape is another important decision when considering an area rug. You should only use rectangular rugs in rectangular rooms. Orient the rug so the longest side runs parallel with the longest side of the room.

You can use circular or oval rugs in more places. Consider using these curved rugs in:

  • Bathrooms Bedrooms
  • Dining rooms
  • Entryways
  • Family rooms
  • Game rooms
  • Hallways

 

3. Choose the Right Type

Consider the purpose of the rug. Will you use this rug to highlight a certain piece of furniture? Will the rug tie the room together? Will the rug provide comfort in an otherwise uncomfortable room?

Once you have decided on the rug's function, you have to decide on the type of rug you want for your home. Listed below are a few of the more common types of rugs-each with a different look and factors that set them apart.

Tufted Rugs

The majority of rugs you see on the market today are tufted rugs. Easy to produce, rug makers punch wool and other materials through a special backing. Once the designer finishes with the desired pattern, the creator affixes a strong material to the back of the rug to provide extra strength.

Knotted Rugs

Created either by hand or by machine, these rugs come in an array of patterns and styles. Machine-knotted rugs will have more limitations on style and colour than hand-knotted rugs.

Woven Rugs

One of the oldest types of rugs, the woven rug takes shape on a loom. You can purchase either loop-pile or cut-pile constructions.

Embroidered Rugs

The techniques used to create embroidered rugs have also been around for centuries. Rug makers hand-stitch patterns on linen or cotton backing.

 

Finally, Keep It Clean

No matter which type of rug you choose to highlight your home's flooring, it's important that you take care of it. Outside of routine vacuuming, find a quality rug cleaning company. A clean rug will make your home always look its best.

Finally when choosing a professional cleaner make sure you tell them the material it has been made from i.e. Wool, Cotton, silk or manmade (synthetic) fibres. Make sure they have an understanding of the appropriate procedure for cleaning your rug. Beware of anyone who tells you it doesn’t matter!

The Stains of a Mechanic: How to Treat Oil and Grease Spills

When you are hard at work repairing or restoring a car, you can't let dirt, grease and grime get in your way. They are part of the job, and a somewhat satisfying part of the job at that. While you might like getting your hands dirty, you probably don't feel the same way about stains on your carpet.

Oil and grease can create nightmare stains that tarnish your business's reputation or annoy your family. While preventing these stains is the best way to protect your carpet, sometimes that isn't possible. You might accidentally track some grease or oil into your home's living room or your business's waiting room.

Luckily, we can help you remove these stains before they become a big issue. We know the techniques that can get even stubborn oil and grease stains out. We will explain some of the science behind stain removal, and then give you a step-by-step process to deal with these work-related stains. Use our blog as you strive to keep the messiness in the work shop and off your carpet.

The Principles Behind Stain Removal

You probably already know to respond quickly to a stain, usually with a damp cloth. But what makes the first response important?

At the microscopic level, the difference between a stain and a spill is the time it takes for a substance to seep between the fibres of your carpet and stay there. Usually, water dilutes common stain and keeps  it from drying and attaching itself to your carpet.

For more advanced stains, like grease and oil, you will need a detergent. Detergents act like magnets, bonding to the spill. This prevents the grease, oil and most other spills from bonding to your carpet. The Surfactants in dishwashing detergent change the surface tension making the area slippery allowing easier transfer from the carpet to the cloth.

After you rinse the spill with the detergent solution, you can use a colour-fast towel to absorb the stain. You should always dab the towel; never scrub. When you dab, you allow the towel to draw up the spill. When you scrub, you drive the stain deeper into the carpet. Scrubbing too vigorously can also permanently damage the carpet fibres.

Remove an Oil or Grease Stain

Oil and grease stains leave black, ugly marks, so they require special and immediate care. Use these tips if you see oil drop on your carpet or upholstery:

  • Apply dish-washing solution to the stain.
  • Use a solution of 5 mL of detergent with 1 L of hot water. Use a colour-fast towel to blot the spill. Keep applying solution to the stain as you treat it until the stain fades. Be careful to work from the outside of the stain in towards the centre. This prevents the stain from spreading.
  • Rinse the area with a warm, damp towel to clean out the detergent.
  • Dab the area dry with a clean, colour-fast towel.
  • If large amounts of oil have been spilt it will pool in the backing or even the underlay, you will require professional help to remove large oil spills.

When the Stain Doesn't Come Out

Oil and grease spills can be stubborn and sometimes resist the best cleaning efforts. If you can't seem to get the stain out, you don't have to worry. Call a specialist stain remover. You can prevent blemishes on your carpet and furniture when you use the steps we explained above to treat oil and grease stains immediately. Even if you can't get rid of the entire stain, your efforts can make it easier for a professional to remove the stain once and for all. If you need extra help getting rid of oil and grease stains, contact your professional stain remover immediately.

How to Clean Common Toddler Spills

When you first found out you were expecting a child, did your friends warn you to enjoy your nice things now because your toddlers would stain everything? How many times have you thrown away a favourite blouse or moved the furniture around because of a stubborn stain?

While frustrating, stains are not a death sentence for your clothes, carpet, furniture, etc. When you’re armed with the right information, you can get rid stains, not belongings.

Special note: Remember to follow all basic stain removal principles when using these tips.

Crayon Stains

Your well-meaning toddler might try to wow you with crayon masterpieces on your wall. Of course, your child probably doesn't realize how difficult it can be to remove the art. Follow these steps to remove crayon stains.

Use methylated spirits (also known as denatured alcohol) or dry cleaning fluid on the affected area. Soak and repeat as long as you see progress.

Jam or Jelly Stains

Toddlers aren't known for their unquestioning obedience or their tidy eating habits. If you leave your child unsupervised in the kitchen with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you're going to come back to a jelly-stain mess. Use this method to remove the stains.

First, remove all excess jelly. Next, use a dish washing solution made from one teaspoon of dish washing soap to every litre of warm water. Apply the solution then blot the area dry.

Repeat this as necessary. Once you are satisfied with the results or stop seeing progress, rinse the area with clean, warm water and blot it dry with a colourfast towel.

Urine Stains

Urine stains are a part of the toilet-training game. Use this guide to remove both fresh and dry urine stains.

Fresh Stains

Use water to dilute the stain and use a colourfast towel to blot it dry. Next, apply a detergent/water solution (one teaspoon of detergent to one litre of warm water). Again, blot the stain dry. Repeat this process until the stain is out and then rinse the area with clean water.

Dry Stains

If the fresh stain method doesn't do the trick or the stain is already dry, use an ammonia/water solution (one part cloudy ammonia to 15 parts cold water). Next, soak the stain in a solution with equal parts of white vinegar and cold water. Blot the area dry. Continue this process as long as you see progress.

Vomit Stains

Sick toddlers don't always understand their bodies which can often mean they vomit on bedding, clothes, furniture and carpet more often than into bowls, sinks, or toilets.

Follow the same process as outlined in the fresh urine stains section. Repeat those steps as long as you see improvement. If that doesn't do the trick, use dry cleaning fluid and blot the stain dry.

Blood Stains

As soon as children become mobile, they start to get into more accidents. Trips, slips and falls all can result in bumps, bruises and cuts-and sometimes blood. You may have heard blood is notoriously difficult to remove. While this is sometimes true, all hope is not lost. Use the following procedure to remove blood stains.

Rinse the stained area with the detergent solution with one teaspoon of detergent for every litre of cold water. Blot the area dry and repeat the process as long as you see results.

If the stain won't budge, rinse the area in the cloudy ammonia solution from the dry urine stain section. Let the area dry naturally.

Large blood spills will require professional attention.

When you have toddlers in the house, messes will follow. However, that doesn't mean you have to live in a permanent state of spills and stains. Use this guide to remove everyday toddler stains.

Some stains will refuse to relent with home remedies. Don't throw out clothes, carpet, furniture, etc. when faced with a stubborn stain.

Call a professional stain removal company for particularly tough stains.