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?
· 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.
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.
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.
*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.
Do you find that you, or members of your family always seem to have the sniffles, always seem to be fighting a cold? Do you think you might have allergies? Is it a problem seasonally or does it happen all the time? Do you have pets?
I am a former member of the Canadian Military and as such my family and I have lived all across this country and in parts of Europe. Because my wife has a number of seasonal allergies and because of our moving around, it took us years to figure out that not only was she allergic to outside sources, trees, mold, flowers etc. but also to our dogs. We have always had dogs in the house and it wasn’t until our children came along that we started to notice, they had the sniffles constantly, just like mom. Although I am not allergic, it turns out that not only is my wife allergic, but so are both of our children. Being dog people and not wanting to be without a dog around the house we found non-shedding, hypoallergenic dogs.
My wife studied the various breeds and found two that we could have around the house. The breeds she settled on were Havanese (they have hair not fur) and Bichon frise (they don’t shed). Since then we have had one or both of those breeds in our house and both her and the kids have not had problems with their allergies. I say that because while they still suffer from allergy symptoms, they take allergy medication, and we all tend to blame something other than the dogs for any problems.
However studies suggest hypoallergenic cats and dogs can cause just as many symptoms as the regular kind, says James Seltzer, MD, a spokesperson for the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. That’s because skin and saliva proteins, not just hair, trigger allergy symptoms. Allergens (particularly saliva proteins) can latch on to the hair, so less shedding in general, rather than the length of the hair, should be considered. The same is true for cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, etc.
To help combat some of the allergen’s, ensure you vacuum on a regular basis, the more hair and dander you remove the better your family will feel. Put filters in your heating vents as well as replacing your furnace filter regularly. Have your carpets and upholstery professionally cleaned annually, or even semi-annually if required. Purchase a spot machine from one of the big box stores and keep it handy for any of those pet accidents that will happen. Make sure you find an all-natural cleaner to use in the machine. There are lots of places around town where you can buy them.
To help with allergies there are several breeds that are better than others. For allergy sufferers, it pays to take some time to research and look at every option before getting a pet. We believe in going to your local rescue society to look for a dog or for information, they are all more than willing to help you find the right animal for you and your family. Remember there is nothing worse than getting a pet, bringing them home and then having to give them away. Do your research first, then go and find the right pet for you.
The internet has a great deal of information, the SPCA is a great source of information and there are numerous qualified, upstanding breeders out there who are more than willing to help in your decision. Even though they have accidents, chew your stuff, bark and do any number of annoying things, dogs and cats should be a part of every family.
Here are links to some helpful information.
Thanks for listening.
A few days ago, sitting in a coffee shop, I overheard two women talking about getting stains out of a dress. One woman mentioned that she had gone on-line and found out how to concoct a homemade stain remover, which she then used on the dress. Instead of removing the stain, the stain remover actually made it worse and she had to throw out the dress. She went on to tell her friend that she always checked the internet for everything, and often used the tips and tricks she found on line so she couldn’t understand what went wrong this time.
Listening to them chat, I started to think about how often we get phone calls here in the office from people asking for a little advice. They have a small problem, a stain or a mess on their carpets or upholstery, and they want to fix it themselves. It’s usually a small problem and they don’t want to pay for us to come out and clean it for them, they just want a suggestion or a tip or two to make the problem go away. Most times we know exactly what the problem is, know the best product for fixing the problem and send them on their way armed with enough information to alleviate the problem. Sometime however, we can’t help and then I will often refer people to the internet to look for a solution. When I tell people to look on the internet for a solution, I caution them not to accept everything they read as gospel. They should follow these simple rules to make sure that they actually find the right solution to their problem, rather than make that problem even worse.
YouTube is the best medium for addressing your problems, whether it’s a cleaning problem, a computer problem, or anything else, someone has posted a solution to your problem on YouTube. It is very easy to find a video showing you step by step how to do whatever you need to do. I always recommend YouTube as the first step in finding a solution.
2. Find more than one solution.
If you are using YouTube, always try and find two or more video’s that show how to fix the same problem. The video you find may have been made in Europe or Asia, or even in parts of the US where the products they are using cannot be found or have a different name than we use here. Watching more than one video will help you decide on what way to go.
3. Don’t trust the recipe.
When you get the ingredients and start using the recipe for making that stain remover or odor remover, don’t automatically assume that it will work in your situation. The woman in the coffee shop should have tried her homemade stain remover on a piece of fabric identical to her dress. If it worked on that then she could try it on the dress. Use the corner of a closet, or under the bottom of a chair to test your new cleaning concoction. That way if it doesn’t work you haven’t wrecked anything out in the open where everyone can see it.
There are a million tips and techniques you can find on the internet. Most of them work, and are often easy to make, easy to use, green, and safe. Just be sure that you use the information cautiously. Once you find the right formula, go for it.
Thanks for listening.
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. Exterior renovations, especially in a place like Edmonton are usually done in the summer time, although some work can be done in the colder months. Michael at Nord-Alta says that they do sometimes replace exterior windows and doors in the wintertime. When it comes to interior renovations, because of our extreme winters, many are scheduled and completed in the winter months. This means that there is often a lot of work 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.
Once all that has been done, after all the last minute touch ups 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.
It’s the beginning of Oct. and the snow looks like it’s here to stay. If it does melt and go away, it won’t be gone for long. The snow brings a number of hassles and problems when it comes, not the least of which is the mess it makes as it gets dragged into the house. Here are a few tips to help keep the carpets and furniture in your house clean this time of year.
Being good Albertans most of us have a good sturdy matt on the floor in front of the door and the idea is that everyone is required to tamp the snow off their boots outside, before coming into the house, and no one gets past the entranceway with their boots on. If you need something from the house or your children’s friends are waiting for them to come out, everyone is meant to stand on the matt and not make a mess in the house. Sounds great in a perfect world but we all know it doesn’t happen that way in real life. Here are a couple of things to remember to help keep the carpets clean during the winter months.
Cleaning the entranceway matt.
Most small entranceway matt’s can be put in the washing machine. If they are small enough and light enough then there is no problem with washing them in the machine. Check the underside of the matt, if it has a rubber backing on it do not put it in the dryer. The rubber backing will crumble and fall apart in the dryer, so just hang it up to dry. If there is no rubber backing and it’s not too heavy then you can put it in the dryer. If the matt won’t fit in the washing machine take it down to your laundry sink and spray it off and let it air dry. Either way this should be done at least once a month.
Get a Spot Machine
Even though the snow may look clean and white it’s anything but, and you’d be amazed at the type of things that we drag in on our boots, the cuff of our pants, on your pet’s paws, etc. Everything from sand and salt, anti-freeze, grease and oil, and whatever the dog was rolling in out in the back yard. Don’t forget that just because you put your pet outside doesn’t mean they went and did their business, or that it was cold enough that they didn’t finish completely. Once back inside where it’s warm and friendly they often finish what they didn’t want to do out in the cold. Go to one of the big box stores and buy a spot machine. You don’t need an expensive one, you just need a good easy to use spot cleaning machine. They can be used to clean up any spills, messes, pet accidents on a daily basis and you can use them on your furniture, mattresses, carpets, area rugs and vehicle interiors. No home should be without one.
Have the carpet professionally cleaned at least once a year.
As we talked about earlier, there are a myriad of things that can get on your carpet and although a spot machine will help immensely in keeping it cleaned, getting it professionally cleaned annually is the only way to ensure every inch of it gets cleaned. Professional cleaning will help your carpets look feel and smell cleaner, work towards a healthier home environment for your family and pets, and help keep your carpets lasting longer.
Thanks for listening.
It always amazes how often people tell me that they haven’t had their carpets at work cleaned in years. More and more people are becoming concerned with how healthy their home environment is, how clean and safe their house needs to be for their family, friends and pets. Then they turn around and tell me it’s been years since the carpets at work were cleaned. To me there is nothing more disheartening than walking into a messy, soiled workspace every day. I’m not talking just about offices, but about all kinds of commercial spaces. I was in the men’s department of a major retailer a couple of weeks ago and the carpet was so filthy that I couldn’t stop staring at it. This was a national chain that should know better. Not only was there distinct pathways of dirt between the displays but there were so many stains I doubted I could count them all. Not only do the employees have to see this day in and day out, but so do all their customers. You have the janitor come in at night and clean everything including the hard surface floors, but all they can do is vacuum the carpets. As much as we recommend you vacuum your carpets regularly, it is impossible to vacuum up stains.
Service industry companies, places tire shops, service centers or plumbing shops have carpet in their office areas and often, when we go in to clean we find that many employees can’t remember the last time the carpets were cleaned, and in most instances they have never had their desk chairs professionally cleaned.
Here’s the thing, cleaning the carpets in your retail or commercial space has a number of benefits, and no downside. First of all, like I said before, it can be downright demoralizing to walk into work and look at a dirty, stained carpet day in and day out. People drag all kinds of things in on the bottom of their shoes, dirt, tar, chemicals, nicotine, you name it chances are you can find it on the carpet. Not only does that make the carpet look dirty but it can make them smell as well. You may not notice the smell because you’ve become nose blind to the problem, but I bet your customers can tell. The same goes for any fabric office furniture you may have. Coffee, tea, coke, food of all kinds can get on your chair no matter how vigilant you are. Then there is the cat/dog person working in the next cubicle or across the room who constantly comes to work covered in pet hair. That’s always fun for employees and customer who suffer from allergies.
Cleaning the carpets and upholstery in your commercial work space has the benefit of making the area look better. Not to mention the lift to employee moral when the walk into a clean fresh workspace. It is a much healthier work environment when the carpets are cleaned regularly, especially in the winter months when everything is closed up 24/7. At EKO we use all-natural carpet cleaning products and that helps eliminate any harsh chemical smells. It also works toward a healthier, safer work environment.
So the next time you walk into the office, have a look at that carpet and give us a call.
Thanks for listening.
Finally school is back in session and, at least through the day, the volume in the house is down to a manageable level, and the couch is no longer a full time fort and defensive position against the hordes of Zombies, and the sectional downstairs is no longer a full time theatre for all the neighbourhood kids. Finally mom and dad can reclaim the bonus room for themselves and the big screen TV gets to be used for something other than X-Box 24/7.
Having the kids back in school and not wearing out everything in the house on a full time basis is the time to start thinking about cleaning up for winter. We got the plastic on the windows, the furnace and ducts cleaned and maybe even the carpets done professionally. Now it’s time to think about the other smaller items in the house, time to get a few other things done before you close up the house for winter.
When was the last time you had your mattress cleaned professionally. A great many things can get on the mattresses in your home. Everything from pet/human urine to wine, coffee, tea, make-up, dead skin cells, dust mite feces etc. We recommend you have your mattresses cleaned once a year and fall is a good time to get it done. Don’t forget to buy new pillows as well, dead skin cells, insect feces etc. collect on your pillows all year long. Replace them regularly, especially if you or someone in the family has breathing problems.
Upholstery should be cleaned annually. Not the sitting room chair that never gets used but the sofa in the basements the kids watch TV on and play on all the time. Even though you vacuum it all the time, even under the seat cushions, and use the crevasse tool between the cushions, the fabric still gets dirty. Sweat, food, make-up, oils, dirt all get ground into the cushions. A good professional cleaning once a year will keep that expensive investment and childhood playground looking good.
Area rugs are often forgotten or ignored when the professional carpet cleaners comes to the house because they are buried under tables or furniture and the homeowner doesn’t want to be bothered with moving everything to have them cleaned. Well now is the time. Like anything else that the family uses, area rugs get dirty too. Often they reside under the dinner table and become a repository for all the crumbs and spills the family generates. Pets seem to love area rugs and can often be found using a particular rug for a bed. Like the rest of your carpets, area and oriental rugs should be cleaned annually depending on their use.
One last thing I want to mention is cleaning touch points. Touch points are those places that people touch constantly. Things like door handles, toilet handles, faucets, counters etc. We always recommend that those areas get cleaned and sanitized on a regular basis. There are lots of sanitizers on the market to choose from and most are fairly effective. No matter how clean the house, people will still spread germs. To slow down the spread of germs, and to help keep the family healthy try cleaning all the touch points regularly with a sanitizing agent.
Well that about all for now, remember that the cleaner the home the healthier the home.
Thanks for listening.
Fall is here and winter is just around the corner, and for those of us in the carpet cleaning business work starts to slow down a little. Most people still cling to the notion that cleaning your carpets or upholstery in the winter isn’t a good idea, or it’s a pain to have guys coming in and out of the house when the weather is freezing outside. Even though this isn’t true and professional carpet cleaning in the winter is a good idea, getting new customers is harder for us in the cold weather. So of course this is the time of year when we all start working on our specials and deals to try and get some extra work and bring more customers into the store.
I got a couple of carpet cleaning coupons in the mail the other day and I thought that seems like a pretty good special. The company in question was going to clean a number of rooms in my house for a price that was less than EKO could do it. Then I looked a little closer at the coupon and in very tiny print it said, “Some restrictions apply” and that “some services not available in some areas”.
I was kinda curious, what restrictions? What areas? I looked at another competitor whose coupon was good for cleaning several rooms for you and they had all kinds of restrictions, and those restrictions are written in such small font that I had a hard time reading them. Restrictions like rooms that could only be a certain size, a combined Living room and Dining room was considered two rooms, travel charges could apply, not valid for businesses and apartments, waste fee, taxes and energy charges were extra. Man I’ve been in this business for over a decade and I have no idea what an energy charge is.
With all those restrictions, what exactly are you getting? Does the person answering the phone have the same information as the tech who is actually writing up the invoice? Who do you talk to? Do the restrictions apply to you? What happens if you want more than the rooms covered by the coupon? At times it can be a daunting task just finding out the answers you need to know.
All of these companies, my competitors, are honest hard-working fellows who are only looking to get your business, and they will honour those coupons when all the restrictions are met. Just remember that it’s up you to look at the fine print on the coupon, to ask questions and find out exactly what you will receive for using that coupon and what restrictions apply to you.
Me, I’m an old fashioned kind of guy and I like to keep things as simple as I can. As a professional carpet cleaner I try to stay away from coupons. We prefer to give set discounts for certain things all year round and let the other guys hand out those deals that are all wrapped up in restrictions and maybes.
So as I have said time after time, whenever you need a professional carpet cleaning job done, remember to call the company and ask questions. Learn all the things you need to know before the technicians get to your door, that way you don’t encounter any problems and you know before you start what it’s going to cost you. You can never go wrong by asking questions.
Thanks for listening.