Blogs & News

Commercial carpet cleaning

One of the things I don’t talk about very often is commercial carpet cleaning.  Most of our customers require residential carpet cleaning so usually I focus my efforts in that direction.  However I think it’s the right time of the year to talk about commercial carpet cleaning.  Fall is almost here and winter is skulking around the corner waiting for its turn to hit us. 

Most commercial spaces, if they get carpet cleaning at all, tend to have the work done in the springtime.  They wait until the winter mess is gone and then get their carpets cleaned.  For some places this works well if there is very little foot traffic on a daily basis, but for very public places, stores, condo buildings, large office buildings once a year is usually not enough.

When the volume of foot traffic is significant, we recommend that the carpets are cleaned twice a year, in the spring and in the fall.  The reasons are twofold, the first one is simple maintenance of an asset.  It helps keep the carpet clean, helps reduce the wear and tear on the carpet and helps reduce odours in the workspace.  The second reason is staff morale.  Your employees want to work in a clean, neat workplace.  If there are stains on the carpet, if the carpets have an odour, if they look messy, it can and does impact staff morale.  Coming to work and stepping onto a dingy, dirty carpet is not a fun thing.  It constantly amazes me that employers and office managers will budget for janitorial services, but not for carpet cleaning.  No matter how clean your desk or work area is, if you’re looking at and working on a dirty stained carpet, it will affect your morale.

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Not only that but when all natural Hypo-allergenic cleaning solutions, like the ones used by EKO Carpet and Upholstery Care, the workplace environment is healthier.  Removing the deeply imbedded dust and dirt help make the carpet healthier, and with all the chemicals and junk we carry in on our shoes day in and day out, it helps remove many of the allergens in the workplace.

A clean well cared for carpet is as important to your business as is keeping the rest of your work space or retail space clean and neat.  Customers take seconds to form an opinion of you and your business when they walk through the door.  Staff morale can be aversely affected by a dirty, unkempt work area.  So remember that commercial carpet cleaning in the workplace is good for both sales and the wellbeing of your employees.

 

Thanks for listening.

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Picking the right spot cleaner.

I was talking to a customer today and she asked me a question about spot cleaners.  After I finished talking with her I wondered how many other people have the same question.  What she wanted to know was if she was using the right spot cleaner to clean up small stains around the house and if not, what the best one to use was?

When I thought about what she asked me I realized that we do get asked that same question over and over again.  So I thought I would answer that one in print.

Stain removal techniques - Lemon and salt bag 2

First of all as you know we use an all-natural carpet and upholstery cleaner and if you have read any of these blogs you know that is our first and only choice for cleaners of any kind.  So first and foremost I recommend that any cleaner you use is made from natural products.

For pet stains and odor use a cleaner that contains enzymes.  Pet stains smell because bacteria eats the urine crystals and that is why they can off gas for up to 5 years. I know, scary isn’t it?  Specially formulated enzyme cleaners will destroy the urine crystals and if the bacteria has no crystals to eat they die off and no smell.  Note that there are different types of enzyme cleaners, and the one for cleaning your hot tub won’t work for the dog’s pet stain.   Pet stores and vets can help you with the right one.

Now that the smell is gone all you have left is the stain.  Whether it is a pet stain, a wine or coffee stain, there are a million different stain removers out there.  Which one do you use?

First of all, stop researching on the internet for the best stain remover.  Every person has a different opinion and as far as they are concerned theirs is the right one, and I am no different.

When people ask me which is the best stain remover to use, I always ask them if they have one and do they like the way it works.  If so my answer to their question is to keep using that one.  If it works, if they like the results, if it does what they want and they like the smell or after effects, then continue to use it.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

 

Now if you’re not happy with your current spot cleaner then my advice is to find a natural spot cleaner.  Again there are a million of them out there and almost every big box store in town carries natural cleaners. 

Remember, no matter what anyone says, no matter who tells you the spot cleaner you’re using is not as good as the one they use, if you’re happy with it, don’t switch.

 

Thanks for listening.

allsiteimages_0008_mcleods

Helping your carpets survive the wet weather.

Wow, that first weekend in August was something else.  Anyone else get caught at Heritage days in the rainstorm on Saturday?  My buddy was volunteering at the Malaysian pavilion and I agreed to help him out.  We were on our way to the park when the rain started.  We talked about turning back but we had given our word to help so despite the rain on we went.

I was astounded at one point by a lady in a pair of open toed, shiny gold coloured sandals.  I watched her walk across a huge area filled with mud and not get one speck on her or her sandals.  It was amazing.  I, on the other hand was covered in mud.  I had spots and splashes of mud up and down my pants, and my shoes were totally covered.

How many times during the spring, summer and fall has a pair of muddy, wet boots made its way into your home and usually all over your entrance mat or carpet?  If you live in a condo or apartment, chances are you’ve had mud from the entrance to the elevator and halfway down the hall.

Mud usually dries enough to sweep or vacuum up, but many times, depending on what was mixed in with the mud; clay, oil or even pet poop, it can sometimes be very difficult to clean.  

Here are a few tips to remember when the mud, dirt, and other more noxious substances get dragged onto your entrance mats and area rugs.

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1. Let it dry.  Let the dirt and mud dry before cleaning it off.  If you try and vacuum or brush off mud or other wet substances they will often smudge and create a much bigger problem.

 

2. Try and find mats that you can put in the washing machine.  Smaller floor mats and kitchen mats don’t always fill the space the way you want, but if you’re concerned with cleaning them then find one that will fit into your washing machine.  If it won’t fit in your washing machine most coin laundries have large enough machines to fit your mat/rug.

 

3. Bath mats, kitchen mats and entrance mats can be washed but you must be careful about drying them.  If there is rubber backing on the mat DON”T put it in the dryer!  The heat from the dryer with wreck the rubber backing and cause it to peel.  Not only does this remove the usefulness of the rubber, but it can disintegrate into a million little pieces that will make a royal mess in your dryer.

These are just a few quick easy tips to make life a little easier to clean up.

 

Thanks for listening.

owners

Cleaning your RV before heading out.

Canada day 2017.  Happy 150th Birthday Canada!  This year the Government has stopped charging for the use of Canada’s National Parks and so I bet the parks are going to get a lot of use this year.  Over this long weekend alone imagine all the people sitting around a campfire, listening to the sounds of the forest, staring into the vastness of the night sky.  On Monday and the end of the long weekend everyone will bring their RV’s home, leave them parked in the heat and forget about them until the next time they want to head out.  How many of you have opened the door to your RV to get it loaded and been floored by the smell and the dirt.  Smoke from the campfires, smell of garbage that sat inside for the long weekend, sand from the beach ground into the carpet, that musty smell from the wet towels sitting on the carpet for a day. 

RV’s like any other toy needs to be looked after constantly.  You not only have to make sure that all the mechanical parts are working properly you must also ensure that the living spaces are clean and ready to accommodate you and your family.

Either before the season starts, or after the season ends, have your travel RV cleaned.  You can clean the washroom and the kitchen yourself, and get the windows bug free enough to see out of.  What you need a professional like EKO carpet and Upholstery Care for is to clean the upholstery the carpets and the mattresses.

With all the things that can soil your RV an annual cleaning is a must.

The carpets have dirt, twigs, sand and much more ground into them, pets often travel with their families and if you are one of those pet owners, you can pretty much guarantee that your pet has soiled the carpet.  If you don’t get that stain out not only is it unhealthy but the smell in small heated metal box can be overwhelming.

Your upholstery has the same problem as the carpet.  The level of staining and soiling can be very high and if you don’t clean the upholstery regularly it will look and smell dirty, and will wear out much sooner.

One of the most over looked items to have cleaned are mattresses.  We clean the sheets, and covers, sometimes even drag the mattress outside and “air them out”.  What few people ever have done is to have them cleaned professionally.

Next time you are thinking of getting the RV or trailer ready to take the family out to enjoy this great country of ours, spend some time and have it cleaned professionally.

 

I encourage everyone who can to get out and visit some of our fantastic National parks and enjoy this great country of ours.

 

Happy Birthday Canada!!

Canadian flag

Canadian flag

Selling?  Stage your home first.

With so many homes up for sales these days in Edmonton it is hard to not only make the sale but get the price you want or need to get.  Often those selling their homes feel that it’s perfect just the way it is and if they’re comfortable living in it then everyone else will be too.  This just isn’t always true.  When people are searching for a new home they want to buy a place they can picture themselves living in.  If they walk through the door and can’t see themselves living there they won’t buy, just ask my wife if you don’t believe me.  Sellers need to make the house look and feel comfortable to as many people as possible.  One of the best ways to do this and keep the value of the house up is to stage it.

Once the house has been decluttered and the lawn cut and raked sellers tend to think they’ve done enough.  Usually they haven’t.  Here are a few things left to consider when staging or getting ready to sell.

One thing everyone will notice as soon as they walk through the door is the cleanliness of the place.  One of the great assets of a newly built home is that it is always neat and clean.  The pristine kitchens, the waxed and shining floor, the blindingly white carpets all catch the buyer’s eye.  Not all occupied, older homes look like a show home. They are lived in and they tend to look like it.  Having a clean fresh smelling home will sell itself.  Some homes have a distinctive smell to them.  A smell that the homeowner may not even be aware of.  Pets, cigarettes, air fresheners, perfume, food and a myriad of other things all lend a distinctive odor to a home.  Even though the homeowner doesn’t notice it, buyers walking through the front door certainly will.  Cleaning the home from top to bottom will help remove any lingering odors and make it look and feel clean.

MicroFiber Couch - Before

MicroFiber Couch – Before

MicroFiber Couch - After

MicroFiber Couch – After

Start with dusting.  Once you have de-cluttered, painted etc, start dusting.  Dust everything, picture frames, lamps, books, shelves; fridge tops, every surface you can think of.  Once you’ve dusted everything you want to keep the dust to a minimum.  To do this change your furnace filter and install filters in your floor vents.  Most home renovation stores carry filters for your vents, or if you want put a couple of dryer sheets in them to help trap the dust.

Along with dust comes pet hair.  A great many people are allergic to pet hairs, and too much hair or dander in the house may generate an allergic reaction.  People snuffling and sneezing as they tour the house are unlikely to feel comfortable.  If you have a cat or a dog you need to remove as much pet hair as possible.  Vacuum floors and furniture, and if that doesn’t work, try running a damp rag over the furniture to help pick up hairs.  The filters will help keep some of the pet hair and dander out of the air, but you will have to vacuum and clean on a regular basis.

Once everything else has been done, you need to have your carpets cleaned professionally, and you want to use an environmentally friendly cleaning company like EKO, to get the work done.  You want green not only to have your carpets looking their best but you want to remove any chemicals and odors left in the carpet.

Along with having the carpets cleaned, you need to have stains removed.  Those crayon marks from the grandkids, red wine stains from one of your wild parties, or perhaps wax from your Christmas candles.  All of those need to come out.  People won’t remember the colors of the walls, but they will remember the red wine stain in the middle of the living room floor.

If you have pets, invest in a black light.  Pet urine fluoresces under black light and you will be able to tell exactly where Fido has had an accident, and you will be able to mark it for your carpet cleaner.  Being able to find the exact spot where your pet has peed will help our technician not only eliminate the stain, but the smell as well.

This is also a good time to get your upholstery cleaned.  Again, if you have pets, you will want to have the pet hair removed from the furniture and any odors, nicotine, coffee etc that have impregnated the fabric cleaned up and removed.  Once the furniture has been cleaned, spread a blanket or sheet on it if the pet sleeps or sits there, that way you can remove the sheet, and the hair, when there is a showing.

Last but not least when staging and getting ready for tours of the house, you should consider having your mattresses cleaned.  Not only is it a good, healthy idea for your family to have the mattress cleaned but it will help keep the room smelling clean and fresh.

Remember not to take offence if the realtor asks you to de-clutter, repair or replace items, or wants you to clean your carpets and upholstery.  The more appealing your home is to others, the quicker it will sell.

Thanks for listening

owners

6 Tips on Renovation clean-up

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 and raising the value of their investment properties. Exterior renovations, especially in a place like Edmonton are usually done in the summer time leaving a great deal of the interior renovations for the colder 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.

 

Condo Living Room

Condo Living Room

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?

 LUCY

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.

DSCN1222

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

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