Just this last week I have had several customers ask me questions about carpet beetles. This is only the second or third time in my career that the subject has come up, but in the course of talking to one customer one of the questions they asked was about the difference between carpet beetles and bed bugs. To say that I am not a biologist and have very little knowledge of carpet beetles is an understatement. I am not a biologist and I do not know very much about carpet beetles. So I looked on the internet and found out a few things about carpet beetles.
1- They don’t bite. If you are getting bites at night when you sleep then it probably isn’t carpet beetles. Carpet beetle larvae, cause damage to human clothing, furnishings, and other products. These larvae feed on natural fibers, while adults feed primarily on plant nectar and pollen. Although some people can have an allergic reaction to the larvae’s hair-like feelers, carpet beetles don’t munch on humans. If you are getting bit while in bed, you may want to start thinking about bed bugs.
2- Carpet beetles can multiply and create an infestation. They are shy and generally the larvae prefer dark and quiet or secluded places. They often burrow into bird nests or other organic materials outside. Air ducts, collected lint, dry dog food, wool, and stored grains or spices often serve as both food sources and shelters while larvae grow indoors. The black and common carpet beetles do not like higher temperatures and are often found in the Northern United States, and Canada. Adult carpet beetles prefer sunlight and populate gardens or other plant-heavy locations.
3 – One of the first and most obvious signs of an infestation to look for is adult beetles on windowsills. The larvae can be detected by irregular holes found in carpets and fabric. Carpet beetles generally cause the most damage during the larval stage. Unlike moths who create small irregular holes all over the fabric, carpet beetle larvae tend to eat a single large area. As well carpet beetle larvae leave their skin behind while molting. These can cause allergic reactions in some people.
4 – Preventing and eliminating the risk of infestation. The adult carpet beetles can be carried into the home via plants and flowers, so regularly checking gardens and plants around the house may help eliminate the risk of an infestation. Cleaning out any long standing collections of lint, hair, dead insects by vacuuming will help to remove the food source for larvae and may also kill any larvae or beetles nesting in the carpet. Frequent cleaning of rugs draperies furniture and stored fabrics is recommended. Have a professional carpet cleaner clean the carpets and upholstery at least once a year. If an infestation occurs don’t call a professional carpet cleaner or try to remove them yourself, we highly recommend that you call a qualified professional pest control service to deal with the problem.
For more information google carpet beetles or go to the following websites.
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As a professional carpet cleaner, we run into a myriad of misconceptions about our profession. I thought that this week I would clear up some of the ones we hear all the time.
#1. Number one on Google is number one!
When you type in Edmonton carpet cleaners, or carpet cleaners Edmonton in the computer you are relying on the computer to give you the names of the best cleaners on the market. After all, if they are on the first page of Google, then the must be the best. Unfortunately that just isn’t true. I just recently signed a contract to have an IT company help us move up to the number one spot on google searches. That isn’t to say we’ll get there, but I am relying on someone who knows computers to get my name to the top. Don’t rely on the fact that just because you found us on the first page of Google, we are the best there is. Even though I believe we are the best in Edmonton, you need to check and ensure we are the right guys for you. Ask questions. What products do we use? Do we guarantee our work? Do we have liability insurance, and WCB? There are a number of questions you should ask any Carpet Cleaner you hire. Don’t rely on Google to make the decision for you.
#2. Just like new.
Some people own carpets for years before having them cleaned. Some people have their carpets cleaned twice a year every year from the time they were installed. Either way, people often assume that once the carpet is professionally cleaned it will look exactly like it did the day it was installed. Unfortunately, no matter how well you’ve looked after your carpet, when your carpet cleaners are finished, the carpet will not look like it did the day it was installed. It is a simple fact that fabric wears through use, and the more use it gets the faster it wears. Those dark traffic lanes you see in front of the sofa or in the doorway are there because that is where you walk the most. Carpeted stairs always wear faster because everyone steps in the same spot when using stairs. Those areas will be more worn than the other areas and will not come back looking new when cleaned. While you should expect nothing less than clean carpets, expecting them to look just like new is a little unrealistic.
#3. DIY is cheaper and just as good.
Many people refuse to get their carpets professionally cleaned because they think that they can do a better job. Just rent a machine, grab some cleaner and get it done. This is more often than not wrong. Sure it might be cheaper, although depending on what you need cleaned, it often cost as much to do it yourself as to call for a professional. Professionals know how to clean, they know what products to use on the different problem areas. They also know how much water and cleaning solution to put into the carpets, what type of cleaning solution to use, how to rinse the carpet properly and how to ensure that the carpet doesn’t bleach out, discolour, stain or otherwise become damaged.
These are just three of the myths we as professional carpet cleaners in Edmonton confront on a daily basis.
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This time of year people start to clean, fix-up, re-new, and generally start to get the house, yard or business cleaned and fixed up for the summer.
Every day on TV, we are subjected to a dozen commercials telling us about this type of paint that’s easy to use, that great tool you need to buy to finish you project or some other amazing product you can use to complete you own project. You just buy whatever it is they are selling and start doing whatever it is you want to do. Right?
Unfortunately it’s not that easy or simple. Remember the old adage “the right tool for the right job.” Well as trite and cliché as that sounds, it is true. Ever used a Nail Gun? They are a great way to complete a job in a fast and easy manner, if you do it right. You can also put a 2” nail over the top of your neighbours house, (I know this first hand), or if you are not careful one of those nails can go into your hand. If you get the wrong nail gun for the wrong job you may end up redoing the job or getting someone else to do it.
A power washer is a useful tool if used properly. It’s great for cleaning the driveway, or your ATV, but use it the wrong way and you could actually peel the paint off the fence or you wife’s car rather than just the dirt. I won’t get into the chain saw or power shovel, but I think you get the idea.
When it comes to cleaning carpets and upholstery, the same thing is true. Using the wrong tool or using the right tool the wrong way, can very quickly become an expensive headache.
You not only need the right tool, but you need to know how to use it before you start the job. You can rent a Rug Doctor or other carpet cleaning machine, read the instructions and still not do it right.
The some carpet cleaning solutions can leave a myriad of chemicals in your carpet, something your family will walk on or breathe in for weeks or months to come. If you use the wrong cleaner for the fibers you could bleach them or discolour the carpet permanently.
Too much water on the floor will leave the carpet wet for days. In this warm weather if a carpet is wet for days it can lead to the growth of mold and mildew, two things you definitely do not need in your home. Too much water can also damage your subfloor and your baseboards.
These are just a couple of the ways using a rug cleaning machine yourself can go wrong. We recommend that rather than doing it yourself you call a professional carpet cleaner and have your carpets and upholstery professionally cleaned at least once a year. Professionals know the right tools for the job, and they know how to use those tools the right way to get your carpets looking and smelling fresh and clean.
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Many of the new homes built these days have hard surface floors in the main living areas. Tile, hardwood, and laminate have become the flooring choice of most developers and builders. They do look good; they wear well and clean up easily in most cases. Even though hard surfaces have become a staple in most new homes, many new home buyers still like the idea of have soft warm carpeted areas in the family living areas. To this end many home owners cover some of the hard surface floor with area and oriental rugs, helping add warmth and colour to a room. Usually they are in high traffic areas or underneath tables and chairs, places like the dining room table. Life happens and dirt, stains, and traffic areas show up in stark contrast to the rich colours and vibrant patterns that adorn many area rugs.
Here are 4 tips to help keep your area and oriental rugs clean and fresh and help you enjoy them in the house for a long time.
#1, Vacuum, Vacuum, Vacuum. I can’t stress this enough. Like any carpeted area in you home, your area rug should be vacuumed at least once a week. No matter how thick the pile, ensure you use the “beater bar” attachment (the spinning power head) and go over your rug weekly.
#2. At least once a month flip your area rug over and vacuum the underside. You will only do this if the rug has no backing on it. Remember to sweep the hard surface floor underneath the area rug before you put it back in place, because if there is no backing on the rug dirt, sand and other grit will fall through the weave onto the floor. Walking on the rug will grind those hard particles into the floor. I have seen the hardwood floors underneath area carpets scratched so badly that the floor had to be resurfaced.
#3. At least once a year take your area rug outside, hang if off the fence and beat it to get out the dirt and debris that your vacuum cannot remove. This is especially important if the rug has a backing on it as the dirt and grit can accumulate and harm the fibres and the backing if they are not removed. Most area rugs these days are made from very durable fibres and can take a good shaking or beating. Oriental rugs are a little more fragile than area rugs but they will still survive an annual shaking or beating.
#4. Have your area rugs cleaned professionally at least once a year. You should ask the cleaning service you choose how they clean the rugs. They should be vacuuming and then cleaning both sides of the rug. While weekly vacuuming will keep the rug dirt free, professional cleaning will help reduce allergens, remove dirt and debris, remove most stains, both pet and man made, and help maintain the life of the carpet. It will also help bring back those vibrant colours and patterns.
If you follow these four simple steps you oriental and area rugs will continue to look and feel clean and fresh all year round.
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In keeping with the beautiful weather out there, its supposed to go to 17 Celsius today, I think we should keep talking about spring cleaning. This time however I don’t want to talk about the house or the yard, I want to talk about that other love in every man’s life; his vehicle.
Even though we usually take the car through the carwash a couple of times each winter, rarely do we clean up the interior in any meaningful way. Summer is on the way and rolling down the windows to get rid of the smell of your hockey equipment that has been sitting in the backseat all winter is not the way to go.
I have always recommended that every household own a spot machine. it can be used to clean up spills on carpet, upholstery and mattresses inside the house, but it is especially good at cleaning up the interior of your vehicle, be it car, truck, or RV.
For your car or truck it’s pretty basic. Remove the floor mats, spray them with a hose to clean most of the sand and debris out of them and then use the spot machine to clean up the stains and heavily soiled spots. Vacuum everything fabric in the car, including the roof if needed and then use the spot machine to go over all the fabric, seats, door panels etc. Break the cleaning up into sections, and as you finish each section, wipe it down with a white towel. This will not only help dry the interior faster, but will remove any dirty solution that you may have missed with the spot machine. Of course when using the spot machine ensure you are using an all-natural cleaner, Home Depot, Canadian Tire or other stores carry natural cleaners. Once it’s finished leave the car in the garage and open the doors to let it dry. If you don’t have a garage, don’t leave the doors open, crack the windows about half way and leave it sitting in the sun. If you leave the doors open you risk having dust and dirt blown into the car and wrecking your cleaning job.
For your RV or Trailer we recommend that you have it professionally cleaned at the end of the season, that way come spring time you only have to freshen it up. The spot machine is just a little bit too small for cleaning everything in the RV, especially one of the bigger motorhomes, for small trailers it should be fine. When you head out on your road trip make sure you take the spot machine with you. It might not be able to get all the s’mores out of your seat cushion, but it will help with that early morning coffee or late night beer stain.
Remember that having a professional cleaner detail your car or truck or clean the carpets, mattresses and seats in your trailer or motorhome is a good thing to have done at least once a year. After that, with a spot machine you can help keep it clean and smelling good for the rest of the year.
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Sounds good doesn’t it? 6 “keys” to identifying a quality carpet cleaner. Really, all I’m talking about here is common sense. The headline sounds good, but really these tips are things that you should be thinking about every time you look for any service company not just a carpet cleaner.
1.What type of cleaner do you use? A professional carpet cleaning company should not only be able to tell you what products they use, but why. We like this one because, this one is better than that one because. If they don’t know what product they use or they don’t know why they use it, maybe you should take the time to call someone else.
These are some of the questions you should ask your carpet cleaner or any service company you are thinking of paying your hard earned money to work for you. It’s your house or office, and it’s your money make sure you are getting what you paid for.
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Last week I talked about getting your furnace vents and ducts cleaned for spring. Now that you have that out of the way the next thing to look at inside the house are three things that are usually cleaned by professional carpet cleaners once a year, if that.
Let’s start with mattress. Most people never get their mattresses professionally cleaned, even though they may have had that mattress for a great many years. All sorts of things get on a mattress, sweat, urine, make-up, tea, coffee, and a host of other things. Then there are the dust mites. They are microscopic bugs that feed on dead skin cells and then poop out the residue into the mattress and pillow. They can cause breathing problems and for people with allergies they can be a real problem. Most of the mattresses in the home will be pillow top mattresses, and cannot be flipped over like mom used to do to let you sleep on the cleaner side. We recommend that you have your mattress cleaned at least once a year, and the spring time, when you are getting the rest of the house in order is probably the best time to do it.
It’s also a good time to wash all those stuffed animals that the kids have laying all over their bedroom. They also get covered in all sorts of dirt and stains and a good cleaning at least once a month is a good thing.
Let’s move on to your furniture next. Upholstery tends to something that most people forget about or feel that a good vacuuming is all they need, to help it stay clean and in good shape for the next year. They don’t want to spend the money on a professional cleaning even though the furniture is one of the most expensive purchases in the home. Most furniture should be vacuumed at least once a week or more depending on the use it gets. Like carpet or your mattress, furniture gets all kinds of things dropped, spilled and ground into the fabric, and then there is the pet hair, and dander to think about as well. Furniture should be cleaned at least once a year if the whole family is using it, eating on it, bouncing on it, etc. This is especially true if family members suffer from allergies or if you have pets. If it’s used occasionally or doesn’t get a lot of wear and tear then longer periods between cleaning is OK, as long as you continue to vacuum it on a regular basis. We are not just talking about the sofa and loveseat, your kitchen chairs, ottoman, office chair, granny’s rocking chair, any upholstery in the house should get a good thorough cleaning annually.
Last and definitely not least is the carpets and area rugs in the home. We recommend that your carpets be professionally cleaned at least once a year. You can clean them yourselves but a professional has the means, training and experience to clean them properly. As always whether you or a professional cleans them, ensure that a natural, environmentally friendly cleaner is used. Carpet cleaning solutions made with soap, oil or other chemicals can stay in your carpet after the cleaning is finished. Kind of defeats the purpose of cleaning it if chemicals are left in it don’t you think?
Remember, it doesn’t matter how many windows and walls you clean this spring, if your carpets and upholstery are left dirty, you aren’t really getting the clean healthy home environment you are looking for.
Thanks for listening.
OK guys, I guess I won’t put too much of a jinx on things if I start talking about Spring Cleaning. This winter has been very good from a weather stand point and even though spring is officially a week or so away, when I look outside its’s pretty obvious that spring is actually here.
With spring’s arrival, people myself included, start looking forward to doing all those activities they couldn’t or wouldn’t do inside and outside the house. Things like planning what to put where in the garden, what junk is headed out the door or into the garage sale pile, and of course all those little and not so little cleaning tasks that are traditionally lumped together to be called spring cleaning.
If we were in Houston, or Phoenix we might not have to worry about it, but with six months of winter up here in Edmonton, spring cleaning is the surest sign that warm weather is here to stay.
So let’s talk a little bit about some of the things you should be thinking about and cleaning this spring. As you know, especially if you have allergies or breathing problems, spring is the time when allergy season hits us hard. In our house I can tell when spring is here just by the increase in Kleenex tissue, and allergy medication purchases. One of the biggest areas that could use a spring cleaning is the carpets in your house, but before you call a professional carpet cleaner in to clean it you might want a couple of other items clean as well.
Start with your furnace. If you haven’t had it done in the last five years get your ducts cleaned. You will also want to change your furnace filter and get a new clean filter in there for spring. Make sure you constantly change your furnace filter. Three or four times each year at the least.
After that have a look at your cold air return and all you floor vents. We have always recommended that you put filters in each of your vents to help purify the air in your home. Yes you are going to open windows and doors in the warmer weather, but anything you can do to help clean the air in your home you should try and do. Most box stores, Rona, Lowes, and Home Depot, etc. carry filters that will fit your vents, or if you wish you can substitute dryer sheets for filters. Bounce sheets fit nicely in most floor vents.
The furnace and the ducts and the filters are a good first step for spring cleaning. Next week we’ll talk about cleaning all the furniture, mattresses and carpets in your home.
Enjoy the warm weather.
Thanks for listening.
OK, even though we recommend you hire a professional cleaner to look after your upholstery, you’ve decided to clean your sofa and loveseat yourself. Well if you’ve read any of my Blogs in the last few years you’ll know I strongly recommend every household have two things to help keep the carpets and upholstery clean.
The first thing every home needs is a good vacuum, one with good suction and equipped with a HEPA filter, like a Dyson and Miele.
The second thing every home needs is a good spot machine. There are lots of different machines out there, find one that has attachments to help you clean in various parts of the house and has good suction. You don’t need to spend a great deal of money on a spot machine, you don’t need a Lamborghini when a Chev will do.
Aside from helping you keep the house clean on a day to day basis, these are the two main tools all you DIY types are going to need to clean your furniture and upholstery.
There are a couple of other things you need before you start cleaning your upholstery. The first, a good all natural cleaner can be purchased at almost any big box store. The second is a generous supply of white towels or rags for cleaning. You should avoid coloured cloth because you could accidentally transfer the dye from your cloth onto your furniture.
The third is an oscillating fan. Have a fan handy to help you dry the fabric quickly. You can get away without it, but the quicker the fabric dries the better.
The fourth thing you may require is a lint brush, especially if you have pets. I recommend a reusable lint roller, rather than the type with sheets of sticky paper. Reusable lint rollers work great and a quick wash has them ready to go again, with paper rollers you can run out of sticky sheets at the wrong time and you end up throwing away a lot of paper which of course end up in the garbage. If we are going to be green and environmentally responsible, it’s the little things like that we need to be aware of. Reusable is not only environmentally friendly, it saves money as well.
If you don’t have carpet in your house or in the room where you are cleaning the furniture, invest in some drop cloths. The last thing you want to do is wreck your floor by getting it wet.
OK, so now you are ready to get at that piece of upholstery and get it clean.
Next week I will walk you through rolling up your sleeves and getting that piece of upholstery cleaned. One thing we want everyone to remember is that no matter how much you like to Do It Yourself, having your upholstery professionally cleaned on a regular basis, will help keep it lasting a long, long time.
Thanks for listening.
OK so whether you are a Number two, the DIY (Do It Yourself) kind or the Number Three type, the save money and do it yourself. You have decided to rent a rug cleaner and do the carpet yourself.
Last week we talked about making sure you have the means of getting the machine home. It sounds silly but lots of people struggle getting the machine into their home, and the machines are not all that big.
This week we’ll cover a couple of the main items you should be aware of when doing the cleaning yourself.
When you talk to the store clerk from the store renting you the machine, unless it is a carpet cleaning or tool rental store there is a better than even chance that they know less about the machine than you do. Ensure that you get a legible instruction manual and if you have any questions call a professional carpet cleaner. If you call EKO Carpet and Upholstery Care we are more than willing to help answer any questions about the machine or the cleaning process. There are a lot of professional cleaners in Edmonton and most of them will bend over backwards to help you out and answer questions for free.
When you buy the cleaning solution for your rental machine find one that isn’t made from soap or oils, soaps and oils tend to stay in your carpet and help re-soil the carpet quickly. Many big box stores carry natural cleaners and the rental store should have a selection as well. My advice is to find one that has no odor. The fewer odors your cleaner has the fresher and better smelling your home will be when you’re finished.
When using the machine to clean your carpets do not, and this is critical, DO NOT over wet your carpet. If you saturate the carpet, the first and the least harmful thing that will happen is that the carpet can take two or three days to dry. One of the worst things that can happen is that you may ruin the sub- floor or the baseboards. Most baseboards are made from pressboard and if they get too wet they will swell and separate.
Also please remember, more cleaning solution does not equal cleaner carpets. In fact the opposite is true because most people do not rinse the carpet enough to remove the cleaning solution.
Rinse the carpet thoroughly, all carpet cleaning machines have a vacuum for pulling up the dirty water after cleaning. Regardless of the type of machine, ensure you go over the area you cleaned with clear warm water to rinse out the remaining cleaner. Rinse twice for every time you cleaned. Again don’t saturate the carpet when you are rinsing, take your time and go slowly over the carpet with just the vacuum running. Don’t hurry, let the vacuum pull up as much moister as possible before you call it a day.
Once you have completed the job, aim a fan onto the carpet to help it dry. If you are doing the cleaning in warm weather open the windows, if you are doing it in colder weather you may want to keep some of the humidity produced by the cleaning in the house. If you do want to keep some of the humidity make sure you regulate it with a de humidifier or by choosing only a couple of windows to open. Too much humidity can ice up windows in the winter, which takes a long time and a lot of heat to remove, and it can saturate the walls with water. Nothing more unsightly than large water streaks running down your walls two months after you’ve cleaned the carpets.
Well there are a few other things to know but for now this is a good start. Whether you are a DIY person or just looking to save a few bucks, these suggestions will help you get through cleaning the carpets yourself. If you do have any questions or need help with doing the job yourself call us at EKO Carpet and Upholstery Care and we’ll walk you through it.
Next week we’ll talk about DIY Upholstery cleaning
Thanks for listening.