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"

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?


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.



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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.



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.

 NY 2009 028





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



Thanks for listening

Choosing a carpet cleaner in Edmonton.

I’ve talked about this many times before but with the Christmas season coming up its time to remind our readers that picking the right professional Carpet Cleaner is important.  For us the phones usually start to ring off the hook in December.  People start getting ready for the holidays and suddenly those distant relatives take you up on the offer to visit during Christmas, or you realize that you’ve done everything for that big party this weekend but forgot to get the carpets cleaned.  In a panic, with only a few days to go you need to find a professional carpet cleaner. 






Some people start phoning one company after the next until they find someone who can get to their carpets in time for the big event, and they are so happy they forget to ask a few basic questions.  While most of the carpet cleaners in Edmonton are professionals who will do a good job, there are those out there who will not, and even worse there are ones who for whatever reason just don’t show up.  Even if you are in a time crunch, remember to ask questions.  The wrong company will only make the problem worse instead of better.


To help you find a qualified, reliable service provider, we’ve outlined 15 key questions to ask (and get answered) before you hire a carpet cleaning company.


Qualifications & Experience


·         How long have you been in business?

·         Are your employees insured and/or bonded?

·         Is your work guaranteed in writing?

·         Can you provide references and contact information for recent satisfied customers?


Services & Pricing


·         What is included in your typical cleaning package?

·         Do you provide a firm written estimate?

·         Does the stated price include everything or will there be additional fees?

·         Does the stated price include pre-treatment for high traffic areas? Pet stains? Other stains and spills?

·         Does the stated price include a final treatment to protect against stains and re-soiling?

·         Do you move the furniture? Do you charge extra or is it included in the stated price?


Cleaning Methods


·         What type of cleaning method do you use?

·         Is your equipment truck mounted or portable?

·         Are your cleaning products approved by the CRI?

·         Do you vacuum before you begin cleaning?

·         How long will it take to complete the entire job?

·         How long must we wait before we walk on the carpet and move furniture back into place?


If you or someone in your household has allergies or chemical sensitivities, ask specific questions about the chemical compounds and fragrances present in the cleaning solutions. You may think of additional questions or find you don’t need to ask all of them, but this list will get you started.


Thanks for listening.


Helping your carpets last longer

During this time of economic uncertainty in the province, and with Christmas close at hand, many people are re-thinking their spending habits.  The old car will have to last another year, vacation plans may have to be changed, and putting in that new hardwood floor may have to wait another year or two.  I can’t do much about the cost of living or the cost of gas, and I am never going to be accused of acting like a mechanic, so don’t ask me to help you keep that old car running.  But I can tell you how to maintain your carpets, area rugs, and furniture, and help keep them looking good and staying clean for a lot longer.

Number one, the most important thing you can do for your carpets, is vacuum on a regular basis.

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 equipment that is much stronger than conventional vacuum cleaners, and they 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 and filters are easy to find.   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.


Get a spot machine.

A spot machine will help clean up spills and accidents.  Head out to one of the major box stores and see what they have in stock.  Talk to the staff and get their recommendations, most of the machines out there do basically the same function, so do your research and find the one you like.  You do not need one that can clean carpets, iron your shirts and wash your car.  You just need one that will do the small jobs around the house when you require it.  en you have a spill or an accident, fill the spot machine with whatever cleaner you use.  As soaps and oils will stay in your carpet and collect dirt, I always recommend that you find a cleaner that is all natural, and contains no soaps or oils.  There are dozens of products out there and most stores now offer a line or two of green natural cleaners.  Spray the spot and suck up as much of the liquid or substance as possible and use a clean white towel or cloth to blot up the stain as you work.  Blot from the outside into the center to prevent the spill from being pushed further into the carpet.  DO NOT step on or push down on the center of the stain.  The spot machine should help you pick up most of the stain, and help remove some of the smell associated with chemical or pet stains.  The spot machine will also help clean up spills and accidents on upholstery, mattresses and car seats.  It has a great many applications around the house and is extremely useful in a variety of situations.

Another added bonus to using the spot machine is that most of the spots will be barely noticeable and when you have a professional carpet cleaner come to clean, they will not have to spend their time and your money cleaning stains, as most should come out with little or no trouble.

Along with doing these two things ensure you have your carpets professionally cleaned at least once a year.  With our green all natural products EKO will ensure that not only are your carpets looking and smelling good, but that they help create a healthy environment for your family and pets.







Thanks for listening.

7 Tips for Christmas Carpet Cleaning

Every year just before Christmas and/or New Year’s we always get a number of customers calling and trying to book a cleaning job right away.  If we can’t get it done today, can we come tomorrow first thing in the morning, because it’s Friday and they are having friends/family/the boss/ coming over for dinner Saturday night.  Or they decided to host a New Year’s Eve party and they have been super busy and they just realized that the carpet looks dirty and it needs a professional cleaning.  When we tell them we’re booked up and can’t help them they start phoning all the carpet cleaners in the city hoping they can find one that is available.  When that doesn’t work they head out to the supermarket trying to find a DIY rental cleaner.



While most of the carpet cleaners in the Edmonton area are professionals, even the very best can sometimes cause problems if you are on a schedule and you get a cleaning done at the wrong time.  Imagine still having wet carpet when the whole family plus pets comes trooping in for Christmas dinner.  Try and plan your carpet cleaning well in advance of that Christmas or New Year’s get together.  Most professional carpet cleaners are very busy this time of year and if you’re planning a big party make sure you do more than plan to have the carpets cleaned, book the appointment early.


Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are having carpets cleaned, stains removed or furniture cleaned any time of the year, but especially at Christmas time.


*When you call a professional carpet cleaner, know what it is you need.  Are you looking to have the entire house cleaned or just a room or two?  Do you need stain removal or furniture cleaned?  It’s hard to add extra things onto the appointment once the technician gets there.  We are so busy this time of year everything is scheduled pretty tightly. Know exactly what you need done and book accordingly.


*Think about cleaning your furniture, especially during the Christmas season when everyone is visiting.  Does your sofa need to be cleaned, freshened up or the dog/cat hair removed?  There is nothing worse than leaving someone’s home with your pants and top covered in pet hair, especially if you are allergic.


*Is the product they use green and environmentally friendly?  Is it odor free, and hypo-allergenic?  Do they use harsh chemicals and soaps?  If the dog/cat hair doesn’t set off an allergic reaction in your guests the chemicals and soaps left in the carpet just might.


*How long will it take to dry?  Drying times are very important, especially if you are working on a tight deadline.  A wet carpet or damp furniture will certainly cause problems if you have a houseful of guests.  They might be able to come and clean the same day as the party, but you will end up with a huge mess if the carpets are not dry by the time everyone arrives.


*Do they have insurance?  With all the small breakable things that come out of storage and the clutter that ensues at Christmas, it’s not hard to have an accident once in a while.  Bad enough if you have that snow angel ornament broken, but what happens if they break your new fifty-two inch TV.  Ask and make sure they are insured.

NY 2009 026

*Do they try and sell you things you don’t want once they get in the house?  At EKO we don’t sell any cleaning products, so the price we quote is the price you pay.  Some company’s badger you into spending much more than you bargained for, wanting to sell more products and services than you need or want.  This practice is bad enough during the rest of the year, but at Christmas time with most of us spending lots during the season, it can be even worse.

Another question to ask is if they have any hidden fees, disposal fees, mileage costs etc.  Know what they charge before you hire.


*Do they guarantee their work?  Whether it’s a last minutes appointment or one that was scheduled weeks before, know what your carpet cleaner will do for you if there is a problem after the work has been done.


These tips are just common sense and most people ask these types of questions as a matter of course.  But if you’re busy running around planning a Christmas party, buying gifts, cooking or any of the myriad of  tasks that the Holidays place in our way, you can sometimes forget, so use this as a reminder of what you need from your carpet cleaner.


We hope you have a very Merry Christmas.


Thanks for listening.