Blogs & News

Getting ready for Summer!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Thanks for listening.

allsiteimages_0008_mcleods

Let’s all have a green Christmas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 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

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

 

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

 

http://eartheasy.com/give_sustainchristmas.htm

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Thanks for listening

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. 

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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.

owners 

Pets = Allergies

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.

 

Havanese

Havanese

 

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.

LUCY

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.

http://www.edmontonhumanesociety.com

http://www.acaai.org/allergist/pages/default.aspx

http://www.sheknows.com/pets-and-animals/articles/815208/top-10-best-hypoallergenic-dog-breeds-1/page:3

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20307349,00.html

 

 

Thanks for listening.

owners

3 Rules for Internet cures and fixes.

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.

 Stain removal techniques - Lemon and salt bag 2

 

1.  YouTube.

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.

owners

3 Winter cleaning Tips

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.

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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.

 owners

Cleaning your work space carpets

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.

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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.

owners

Four Cleaning Tips for Fall

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.

matress-before

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.

 MicroFiber Couch - Before

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.

 R and M

 

Coupons season is upon us

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.

 owners

Winters coming. Are you ready??

I thought that with the wet weather we’ve had during the summer of 2016 it is probably a good bet that we will have a wet, read snow-filled, winter. That being the case I thought it might be a good time to repost this blog I posted in 2014, just to remind all of us that now is the time to start thinking about getting ready for winter, to start thinking about getting your home ready for the cold months ahead.

The days are getting shorter and the weather is getting colder day by day.  There really isn’t a lot of time left to start working on all the little things that are required to have the house ready for those long cold winter months.  Remember that it’s the little things that can sometimes have the biggest and most costly effect if they are not taken care of.  So take the time to plan and ensure that everything is done before it’s too late.  This is true for both inside and outside the house.  How many of us have killed at least one garden hose because we left it outside in the cold weather.

Heating bills skyrocket this time of year because we don’t have our furnaces checked and cleaned, or our doors and windows sealed to help keep in the warm air. Aside from the cost to you, it certainly doesn’t do the environment any good when we use twice the fuel to heat our homes as we really need. Think green all the time, even in winter.  Have the professionals come in and check your furnace and if need be clean the ducts in your home.   There are a lot of great companies in Edmonton you can contact for furnace and air conditioning maintenance but I recommend Always Plumbing at www.alwaysplumbing.ca.  Glen and his crew will do a great job and look after you.

 

Here are a few videos that explain much better than I can about prepping for winter.

 

 

Windows, doors, furnace, humidifier, and a myriad of other things need to be done inside, but there are probably just as many things that need to be done outside as well. Hoses, patio furniture, garden plants the list can go on and on.   Cleaned your Eves trough lately?  If it’s clogged with leaves it can cause an ice dam during the winter and your house could end up being flooded in the spring.   Good for me if you end up calling us to come out and clean the carpets after a flood, but not so great for you.

 

 

 

 

Even though we’ve all been through this more than once, it’s always a good thing to be reminded of what to do and how to do it. There are a number of YouTube videos out there that show you everything you need to do.  While I have attached a few to this blog you should take the time to browse through You Tube and find out for yourself just what you need to do to prepare for winter.

 

Well that’s all for now, thanks for listening.

R and M