Rob

Rob McLeod served in the Canadian Military for over twenty years, has been married to his lovely wife Marilyn since 1987 and is the author of "The Dollar Club"

The importance of a good vacuum.

Our phones are busy almost every day with questions about carpet cleaning.  How do I remove red wine stains?  What’s the best way to clean my sofa? How should I clean up a pet stain, and many, many others?  However, the most frequently asked question I receive is about how to maintain and extend the life of the carpet.  Flooring is one of the single biggest investments in your home so keeping your carpet clean and looking good is always important.

 

The best way to extend the life of your carpet, to keep it clean and looking its best is to vacuum, vacuum, vacuum.

 

Miele vacuumWe carry in a lot of different chemicals and debris in our clothes and on our shoes when we come into the house.  Nicotine, pesticides, fertilizers, sand, dirt, hair, you name it.  Your pets bring in all kinds of things and deposit them on the carpet and all these things will impact the environment in your house as well as wear out your carpet.   Sand is one of the major problems we encounter in carpets here in Edmonton, especially during the winter because the roads are covered in the stuff for half the year.  Sand is sharp edged and will cut carpet fibers when stepped on or ground into the carpet.  The best way to prevent damage is to remove the sand.  How do you do that?  Just vacuum the carpet.  Sounds simple doesn’t it?  Well it is and it isn’t.  Vacuuming is a simple task, but it can be time consuming. 

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We recommend vacuuming your carpet at least once a week to remove all of the dirt, dust and debris.  That can be time consuming and with all the chores, appointments, hockey games etc. you don’t always have the time for a weekly cleaning.  Whether you clean once or twice a week or once every two weeks, your best tool is a good, dependable vacuum cleaner.  Most professional carpet cleaners use vacuums that are much stronger than conventional vacuum cleaners, and they can cost quite a bit of money.  However there are a number of brands on the market that work very well and you should take a little time to ensure you find one that you are happy with, one that works well and is within your price range.  I personally recommend purchasing either a Miele, or a Dyson vacuum.  Both are high quality, well made and dependable and replacement bags are easy to find.   They may cost a bit more than some other machines, but I find that they are worth the price. I have a Miele at home that is close to ten years old and it still works well.   No matter which machine you choose, ensure that it has a Hepa filter.  A Hepa filter will help remove much smaller dust, pollen etc. than a regular filter, the better the filter the better the clean.  Not all filters are created equal, so if allergies or other breathing problems are an issue, look for a filter that removes the smallest particles possible.

 

One area many people neglect is the stairs.  Do not forget the stairs.  Stairs get worn out more than any other area of carpet in the home.  Each person may take a different route to navigate through a room, but we will all step in the same place on stairs.  Simply vacuuming the stairs every time you do the carpet will help keep them clean and looking better.  The same is true for upholstery, vacuuming will help keep it looking better and help prevent wear and tear on the fabrics. 

 

Constant upkeep of the carpet by vacuuming regularly will help maintain the health of the carpet, help keep the environment in the home healthier, and will keep the carpet looking better longer.  As well there is the added bonus of not having to call a professional carpet cleaner in as often. 

 

 

Thanks for listening. 

owners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLEANING UP AFTER RENOVATIONS

It seems that in the last few years house prices in Edmonton have gone through the roof.  With high house prices, and inexpensive rental units few and far between many people are turning to renovations as an affordable means of upgrading their home. With the warmer weather coming our way, many homeowners are starting to look at getting a contractor in to do some renovations or if they are handy, getting started on those jobs they’ve put off all winter long.  All this work means that there is often a lot of cutting, painting, sanding etc. going on in an enclosed area.  Once all the renovations are complete and all the tradesmen have left, a few problems remain for the homeowner to deal with.

 No matter how scrupulous the contractor has been in cleaning up after their work, it seems there are always a few issues that need to be resolved by the homeowner.  Newly painted walls still have that new paint smell, sawdust, and other particulate matter can get into the most inaccessible of places, onto furniture, the carpet and more.  Pets often take exception to strangers in the house and will often mark their territory in protest.  With half the house being worked on, the other half of the house gets a harder than normal workout.  Not to mention there is always that workshop, newly remodeled smell you get in the house when renovations are complete.

 Whether you hire a contractor or are a DIY kinda person here are some tips to help get rid of that smell and ensure that the house is clean here are a few hints and tips.

 

·        When planning the project with the contractor ask them to use low or no VOC paints and other products to reduce the smell and make the work more environmentally friendly.

 

·        Before the work begins, take the time to cover up or remove objects that might end up covered in dust, sawdust or face the possibility of getting stained.

 

·        Replace your furnace filter before the work starts, and then again after it is completed.

 

·        Install filters in each of your floor vents to help the furnace filter keep the dust out.  Filters can be purchase at any of the main self help stores.

 

·        Use a swiffer duster to wipe down the walls, especially the newly painted ones.

 

·        Roll up and store, or send out to be cleaned any area rugs you have.

 

 Once all that has been done, after all the last minute touchups are completed, then it’s time for the carpet cleaners, even in the winter months, to come in and clean both your carpets and your upholstery.   With quick drying solutions like ours at EKO, cleaning in the winter months is not a problem.  You asked your renovator for low or no VOC products whenever possible and you should be able to expect the same from your carpet cleaning professional.  Not only should you have the carpets and any stain removal done, the upholstery should be done as well.  If you follow these tips when having interior renovations done and once the carpets and furniture are cleaned, the house will be fresh, clean and ready to enjoy.  

 

Thanks for listening.

owners

Doing the little things.

April 14 2017 Edmonton Alberta

Wasn’t sure what I wanted to talk about this week until I woke up this morning and looked out the window.  All that snow falling made me think of the problems faced by our technicians when we have to clean carpets and upholstery during inclement weather.  I mean all that slush and snow out there can cause some problems both for the technicians and the client, if the job isn’t thought out ahead of time and the proper procedures used.  So I thought I would talk a bit about how we manage these kinds of problems and what the client should look for and expect from a professional carpet cleaner.

 

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Little things are important, especially when working in a customer’s house.  It’s their home, and they want the same care that they take in the house used by the carpet cleaners.  AT EKO we wear crocs inside the house so that we don’t leave dirt and mud on the hard surface floors.  Some companies use booties but we find a second pair of shoes more effective.  We could go in our sock feet, but socks can get wet and we end up leaving footprints on the hard surface floors.  Doesn’t sound like a big deal but once we leave the last thing we want is the customer forced to clean up behind us.  They will remember that our techs left a mess and that will factor in to their thought process the next time they want their carpets cleaned.

The same thinking has us laying down a drop cloth on the floor underneath our cleaning machines.  Because we are an environmentally friendly carpet cleaner we use portable machines that we bring inside your home.  To ensure that any accidents or spillage isn’t left behind when we leave, we put down the drop cloth.  When the tech is finished they will wipe down the hard surface floor back to the door to ensure that other than a clean carpet no trace of us is left behind.

I mentioned earlier that we use portable equipment, and that allows us to come inside the residence, whether it is a house an apartment or a condo.  Many other companies use truck mounted equipment and must drag hoses in through an open door or window and pull the hose throughout the home.  Not only does this mean that a door or window has to be open during the cleaning, despite the weather, but whatever the hose picks up outside will end up inside the house.

As a green carpet cleaning company one of the areas that helps us and the customer quite a bit is that we have no dumping fee, no disposal fee and we do not require the use anything other than electricity from the customer.

These can seem like small often inconsequential things, but when something goes wrong the customer is the first to be inconvenienced. That being said, the more you deal with and anticipate the little things the happier the customer will be, and no matter how good a job you do, if you upset or inconvenience the customer, chances are they won’t be your customer next time.

 

Thanks for listening.

owners

Tips for cleaning up pet stains.

When I was a kid we had to sneak our pet dog in the house because mom and dad said dogs were not allowed in the house.  Well those days seem to be gone forever.  Now everyone seems to have a dog or a cat and they have become a part of the family.  So much so that there are even custody battles over pets during divorces.  With more and more people owning pets in the city, one of the most asked questions we receive is “do you clean up pet stains?”

So today I want to talk to you about “cleaning up pet stains.”  As carpet cleaners we have the professional equipment and products to clean up pet stains in our home, but not everyone has that luxury.  I know, I know, the first thing you’re going to tell me is that your dog is good and doesn’t have accidents in the house.  Well let me tell you.  They do.  Leave him in the house too long, don’t pick up on their signals, forget when you last put them out, and I can guarantee that they will find a place to go.  If you can smell pet urine but are not sure where the smell is coming from get a black light, make the room as dark as possible and turn on the black light.  Pet urine fluoresces under a black light and is very easy to see.  For those of us in the carpet cleaning industry a black light is indispensable when searching for the source of that urine smell, whether it is from a cat or a dog.  Once you identify the stain mark it and then you can clean it. However most spots can be found right away, either by sight, or touch, whether you find a new stain or an old one, what do you do?

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When you find a wet pet stain the first thing we recommend you do is blot up as much of the urine as possible.  Remember to blot from the outside in, never lay the cloth or paper towel on the stain and step on it.  All this will do is push the urine into the underlay and spread the stain.  As well as spreading the stain, it will ensure that you smell the “problem” for a much longer time than you need to.  Urine can off-gas for up to five years, so be careful about cleaning it up.  If you have a spot cleaning machine, use it during this part of the cleanup.

 

Once you have blotted up the excess, or you are working on a dry stain it’s time to clean the rest of it.  There are a large number of cleaners out there on the market that promise to get rid of the stain and the smell.  There are also a large number of recipes for homemade cleaners.  Most of the retail cleaners and the home made cleaner’s work as advertised, some better than others, so it’s up to you which one you pick.  AT EKO Carpet and Upholstery Care, we always recommend enzyme cleaners for pet stains.  Enzyme cleaners use natural chemicals manufactured by plants and animals.  Just make sure you find the right enzyme cleaner for the job.  The cleaner for the hot tub won’t clean up a pet stain so ensure you know what you’re buying.  Many retail outlets carry enzyme cleaners and if you’re not sure check with your local Veterinarian as they often carry enzyme cleaners.  Use the cleaner as directed, either undiluted on the stain or with your spot machine.   Always blot the stain “do not scrub” as scrubbing can permanently damage the carpet. Repeat the process until the stain and smell are gone.

 

Havanese

Go Oilers Go

Most of these cleaners can also be used on upholstery and mattresses, but check the label to be sure before using it, and always test it in an out of the way place to ensure it doesn’t damage the fabric. 

 

Remember that while most carpets should be cleaned yearly by a professional carpet cleaner, you can easily deal with the day to day stuff yourself.

 

Thanks for reading

owners

Getting ready for Spring!

Well here we are.  The time has come to sit down and talk about spring.  Yes I know, the snow is still falling out there, and there is a minus sign in front of the 20 on the thermometer, but today is the day we turn our clocks to daylight savings time, and so it must be springtime, and with springtime comes spring cleaning.

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I know people who religiously schedule their spring cleaning and can’t wait to get it done.  We have a customer who is already finished her spring cleaning and heading south on vacation, and then there are people l know who schedule their cleaning each year and only manage to get it done sometime in December before visitors show up for the holidays.

Today I don’t want to talk about cleaning carpets or upholstery, I want to talk about how you dispose of those things that you decide to or need to get rid of when you start to clean.

Spring isn’t only a time to clean it is a great time to renew.  Both at the office and at home, people like to start out fresh in springtime.  Now is the time to change all those old desk phones or mobile phones in the office, or change out some of the old uncomfortable desk chairs.  Maybe it’s time to throw out your old toaster, or blender or TV.  I have a box full of old cell phones that I and my children acquired over the years.  My wife is a gardener, she loves to putter in the garden all day long.  She digs out old flowers and plants new ones, prunes trees and bushes ( when she can’t make me do it) and generally accumulates a lot of plant waste that needs to be removed.

This spring when you start any project, remember that we should make sure that all our garbage or unwanted items are disposed of properly.

All those old electronics that don’t work anymore or are too old to use should be taken to the eco- center, along with just about anything else you want to clear out of the house and yard.  We take old wood, empty and not so empty paint tins, dead and mangled venetian blinds, sod, tree branches, electronics you name it the eco-center will take most of it.

The city run eco-centers are great, the cost to dump is minimal and they will take almost anything.  So before you try and put that stuff out on the curb and find out the garbage trucks won’t pick it up, try the eco-center first.

The other places to think of are the many charities in town.  I personally drop off just about everything I don’t use anymore to the Salvation Army, but there are a ton of other places to donate all those items you no longer want.  The items will come in handy for people who might not otherwise be able to afford them new, and the money it generates will go to a lot of useful causes.

So whether its old junk you want to throw out, or items you can’t use any longer but may be useful to someone else, think about how you intend to dispose of all those things you clean up this spring.

 

Thanks for listening.

owners

Flood damage to carpets and upholstery

That title is a mouthful.  In fact when they teach you about writing a blog that long titles tend to put people off.   They won’t read the blog if the title isn’t small and snappy or a list of seventeen reasons why you should or shouldn’t do something.

Well this time I will have to step outside the box for a minute because what I want to talk about today is flood or water damage on your upholstery, or your carpet.  Spring is just around the corner, believe it or not, and with all the freeze and thaw that goes on in spring many of us end up battling water damage.

There are a number of different ways to get water damage in your home.  You get your regular old flood of water from the river or the lake, you can have the sewer back up, ground water seepage, rain or snow leaking through the roof.  You think of a way and it can happen.

At EKO Carpet and Upholstery care, we often get calls, especially in the springtime, about cleaning up after a flood.   Usually the insurance company lets you look for someone to clean, and then pays the bills.  So people call us looking to see what options they have.

First of all, if it’s a flood, or sewer back up you can’t get it cleaned.  If your carpet is covered in sewer water or flood water it’s a health hazard, rip it out and throw it away.  The same goes for your upholstery and area rugs.

Area Rug

Area Rug

There may be some specialty company out there that can clean and sanitize your Aunt Mable’s 100 year old antique chair, I don’t know about that, but I know I sure can’t clean it, and wouldn’t even try.  The stuffing, underlay, stitching everything will be saturated with sewage.  Just throw it out.

If the hot water tank leaks or the roof leaks, then we can help out.  If your carpet gets soaked we recommend that you pull it up and replace the underlay.  The underlay is a big sponge and it will stay wet for quite some time and there is always a possibility of mold, so best to stay safe and remove it.  Once the new underlay is down and the carpet replaced, then we can clean it properly.

This is true for your upholstery as well.  If it gets saturated then companies like us can clean the upholstery but we won’t get into the six inch foam cushions.  If it is clean water then the foam can be dried and the upholstery cleaned, but if it has an odor or the water was not clean, then the best option is to replace.

 

Thanks for listening.

owners

Cleaning Office Chairs

One of the many services we provide is the cleaning of upholstery, hence the name EKO Carpet and Upholstery Care.  Unfortunately it seems that most people only consider the furniture in their homes when they think of having upholstery cleaned, and they forget about the furniture in their place of work.

We recently cleaned a set of office chairs that had never been cleaned before, and after we were finished one of the employees came up to us and mentioned that before we came the only time they got a clean chair was when the company purchased a new one for them and that had been quite a few years before.

Think about that for a minute.  Think about your office, whether it’s at one of the big offices downtown, a government office, a home office or even a warehouse, when was the last time you used a clean, chair to work in all day?  When your customers come into the reception area and sit on the sofa or chair, when was the last time it was cleaned?  Many reception areas have leather or faux leather upholstery and someone will occasionally wipe it clean, but what about the fabric ones?  It’s our experience that no one cleans them.

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Office chairs should be cleaned semi-annually, or at least annually.  They are used almost every day, people eat at their desks, and drink all kinds of beverages at their desks, and trust me an awful lot of that gets on the chair, things like soup, pizza sauce, coffee, etc.  They use their chairs wearing business clothes, work clothes, or even athletic clothes.  Not only do your clothes often carry dirt and chemicals from outside the workplace like nicotine or sweat but they often carry pet hair and pet dander from home. At the office you get dandruff from you or your co-workers, hair, ink, glue, gum, the list goes on and on.

The other cleaning company we own, the Cleaning Command, does janitorial work, and one of the many things people want is from our staff is to sanitize all the touch points in the work space.  Desk tops, door handles Keyboards, or the myriad of other places and other surfaces that people touch every day.  People think about health and want a clean working environment, but don’t often think about the one item in the office that is used constantly.

When your finished reading this, have a look at your office chair, if it’s not fabric, chances are you’ve wiped it down once in a while, but if it is fabric I’d be willing to say you haven’t had it professionally cleaned in a long, long time.

Thanks for listening.

R and M

Summer cleaning.

Last week I talked about getting ready for summer and booking professional services you need for the summer.  Booking services like the roofer, the house painter, and the carpet cleaner well in advance so despite a busy summer you can be sure to have those projects completed.  Now, when there is no pressure to get the job done in a couple of days, is the right time to research and select the right company for the job, this is true as much about the carpet cleaner as it is about the roofer.

Of course it all depends on whether or not you think you need the service in the first place.  So let me qualify something from last week.  First of all professional carpet cleaners, unlike the roofer or the house painter can work all year round.  If so why have your carpets cleaned in the spring or summer when there are so many other things to get done?  While we in the carpet cleaning profession actively seek out customers in the winter months we find that many people want their carpets cleaned in the spring to remove that last vestige of winter from their homes.

Hallway

Hallway

Cleaning the walls, the windows and all the hard surface floors in your home will make everything look and feel bright and fresh.  But a dirty carpet will not only become that much more obvious but can also leave a lingering odor.  During the winter months pet accidents, spills, sand and salt can combine to make your carpet look dingy and smelly.  If there is a smoker in the house, your carpet will trap a great deal of the cigarette smoke and odor and you can’t always eliminate that odor by simply opening the windows.

That grey shadowy trail or traffic lane in front of your favorite chair or the sofa will look even darker and more obvious in the bright summer sunshine, especially on your nice white front room carpet.

Everyone runs around in running shoes and flip flops in the summer and taking them off before running into the house is not always a high priority, especially for the kids.  Let’s not forget about bare feet.  Inside and outside the house dirty bare feet pick up and deposit a lot of dirt and grime, and who has the time to wash them off every time you need to run into the house?

Having your carpets professionally cleaned before the summer starts will help make all the spring cleaning you did worthwhile.  Let’s not forget that carpet manufacturers recommend having your carpets professionally cleaned every 12 to 18 months.   Maintaining your investment, and having your carpets looking and smelling fresh, clean and healthy is always a good thing.

Thanks for listening.

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Getting ready for Summer!!

Well folks, the New Year is upon us and I think it’s time to start thinking about summer.  A little early you say?  The snow is still on the ground, and the current warm weather will no doubt be replaced by more snow and cold, you say?  Well you are probably right, winter hasn’t let go yet, the snow and cold isn’t going anywhere soon and spring is just wishful thinking at this point in time.  So like I said, now is the perfect time to start thinking about summer.

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My daughter is getting married in July this year.  There are a thousand little items to get finished before the big day.  Things like finishing all the little half done renovations around the house.  You know, little things that are easy to put off until later, things like painting and installing the baseboards that have been sitting out in the garage for six months, replacing the kitchen tap, etc., etc.  Everything around the house has to be done before the end of June as that’s when our family will descend upon Edmonton stay with us until after the wedding.  That’s just the house, we have all the other parts of the wedding to help co-ordinate, we still have to put in the garden and do a million other things. It’s only January so I have lots of time, right?  Well actually I do, but only if I plan it all out properly.

I don’t know about you, but for me life tends to get in the way a lot, and I found out a long time ago, if I set definite goals, and schedule their completion properly I don’t end up having everything happen at once.  Not only that but if you have to rush through getting things done, they tend to get done poorly.  That’s why I schedule things to be done by a certain date, or on a certain date.  I need my fence re-painted, so it has already been scheduled for May.  I would do the same for professional carpet cleaning, if I needed to.

One of the things that can creep up on you is having your carpets cleaned professionally.  You walk on them every day and tend to miss the obvious.  You know they need professional cleaning, but you tend to forget about them until the last minute, and then it’s a mad scramble to find a professional carpet cleaner that has the time to come and clean before the big day. 

We recommend that you book far in advance if you need carpets cleaned.  One or two months or more advanced booking is not a problem for us, and you know you have a professional booked.  It also gives you time to ask the questions you should ask, to ensure we or anyone else is the right fit for you.  Remember, not all companies are created equal, you need to find one that will fix your problems, not increase them.

So remember, it’s not a bad idea to book the painter, or the plumber a couple of months in advance to ensure you can get them, and it’s not a bad idea to book your professional carpet cleaning several months in advance either.

 

Thanks for listening.

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Let’s all have a green Christmas

Ok, so regardless of all the white stuff outside and the way, way below normal temperatures that seem to be going along with it, I want to focus on having a Green Christmas.

 No I don’t mean going to Hawaii or Mexico for Christmas, although that’s not a bad idea, I mean we should all look at doing the best we can to make this holiday season as environmentally friendly as possible.

 To that end here are some tips and links to help you enjoy the Christmas Season and help keep it green.

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Get light strands that are wired in parallel, these have separate circuitry so that if one bulb goes the rest will keep shining and all you have to do is replace one bulb.  If you buy a strand with series wiring then when one bulb goes they all go out and we all know how much fun it is to find the one that went out.  Instead of finding it we just go out and buy another strand and throw the old one out, adding to the landfill. 

** Remember, the smaller the bulb the lower the wattage, and the lower the wattage the less energy used and less heat produced.

We all know by now that LED lights are better than incandescent ones, they use way less electricity, don’t burn out or break, last longer and save you money and energy.  Also you can reduce the size of your holiday light display to help reduce the amount of energy used.

Make your own decorations.  I don’t know about you but my decoration making skills are not the best, my wife has the upper hand it that competition.  Still making your own decorations from reusable materials is a fun way to bring festive cheer into your home and to help keep the landfills a bit smaller.  Check out google or YouTube for ideas and hints. 

**Remember if every home in the United States reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 28,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around planet Earth.

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Recycle. That’s as simple as I can make it!  Recycle.  There are an amazing amount of things you can recycle.  You can use alternatives to wrapping paper, like newspaper, (I use the coloured comics), old wrapping paper or even linen.  Old electronics, T.V’s, laptops, and electronic toys that have been supplanted by this year’s new electronics can be recycled.  All of it, no matter how small, can be recycled.   Paper, cardboard, and plastic can all be reused or recycled.  Even your Christmas trees can be recycled, and of course artificial ones can be used year after year.

 

Here are some of the Links I found that will help you have a green Christmas

http://www.naturallivingideas.com/32-homemade-eco-friendly-christmas-decorations-that-look-stunning/

 

http://inhabitat.com/how-to-green-your-holidays-with-eco-friendly-christmas-decor/

 

http://eartheasy.com/give_sustainchristmas.htm

 

http://www.sustainablebabysteps.com/green-christmas.html

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/eco-friendly-christmas/

 

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ethicallivingblog/2007/dec/12/toptipsforagreenchristmas

 

http://www.livescience.com/9789-8-tips-green-christmas.html

 

 

Thanks for listening