We are dog people at our house. Both my wife and I owned dogs as kids and we have had dogs in the house as long as we’ve been together. We love them and despite their antics and accidents, we will always have dogs around. Because of allergies we found dogs that were either non-shedding or dogs with hair rather than fur. Unfortunately you can’t go to the pet store and pick a dog that won’t have accidents in the house. And while as carpet cleaners we have the professional equipment and products to clean up pet stains in our home, not everyone has that luxury. I know, I know, the first thing you’re going to tell me is that your dog is good and doesn’t have accidents in the house. Well let me tell you. They do. Leave him in the house too long, don’t pick up on their signals, forget when you last put them out, and I can guarantee that they will find a place to go. If you can smell pet urine but are not sure where the smell is coming from get a black light, make the room as dark as possible and turn on the black light. Pet urine fluoresces under a black light and is very easy to see. For those of us in the carpet cleaning industry a black light is indispensable when searching for the source of that urine smell, whether it is from a cat or a dog. Once you identify the stain mark it and then you can clean it. However most spots can be found right away, either by sight, or touch, whether you find a new stain or an old one, what do you do?
When you find a wet pet stain the first thing we recommend you do is blot up as much of the urine as possible. Remember to blot from the outside in, never lay the cloth or paper towel on the stain and step on it. All this will do is push the urine into the underlay and spread the stain. As well as spreading the stain, it will ensure that you smell the “problem” for a much longer time than you need to. Urine can off-gas for up to five years, so be careful about cleaning it up. If you have a spot cleaning machine, use it during this part of the clean up.
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 home made cleaners. Most of the retail cleaners and the home made cleaner’s work as advertized, 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 your 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.
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.
As professional carpet cleaners we get a number of calls every week from people who have just had a bottle of wine spill on their cream coloured carpet, their basement just flooded, someone knocked over a can of paint or some other catastrophe has just happened. While most of these problems are caused by adults, with husbands and pets rank right up there in the accident prone department, some of the best calls I get are about children. When it comes to stains, kids are still number one!
There are the usual messes kids make that we see almost every day. Juice, orange and grape are especially common, chocolate milk, coke, mud, dirt ink and grease are standard stains we see all the time. But children are extremely energetic and inventive and left to their own devices they manage to find ways to make life very interesting. Turn your back for just a moment or two and they will find ways to keep themselves occupied. As professional carpet cleaners here in Edmonton we have seen many instances of this, and on numerous occasions we have had to clean carpets and upholstery that some child has found interesting.
Here are a couple of my favorites.
On a Thursday I received a call from a real estate agent who asked if we could remove crayon stains from carpets. She was very agitated because the house was showing that Saturday and the owner’s children had marked the upstairs carpets with crayon. I went to the home the next day to clean the stains, thinking that it would take about an hour. What the agent had failed to mention was that the children, all three of them, had decided to use the upstairs hallway and bedrooms as a drawing board. The marks and drawing went ten feet down the hallway and into two rooms. Some of the pictures were pretty good. I really liked the one of the moon and stars, but the palm trees were nice as well. Thankfully the parents had purchased washable ink markers and although they are not always as washable as they advertise they do clean up well and a great deal of the stains came out with our regular carpet cleaning process. I still had three hours of stain removal left to finish taking out all of the stains, but in the end the house was ready for the showing.
While removing the beds in their children’s bedrooms in preparation for us to come and clean their carpets, a young father found out where his son deposited his popsicles when he didn’t want to finish them. Of course the ones he didn’t like were purple and green. We were not sure how many he had stashed under the bed, it was a hot summer, but it took almost two hours to get out all those dye stains. Needless to say that popsicles were eaten in the kitchen from that time on.
My favorite story concerns a bottle of glitter nail polish and two sisters. The older sister had convinced her parents that she should have her very own bedroom and they agreed, installing her in a newly renovated bedroom in the basement. As young teen girls do, she used the top of her dresser as a repository for all her makeup, including one new, full bottle of blue glitter nail polish. After only one night in her new room the older sister went to school and the younger of the two decided to visit her sister’s new bedroom and there she found the bottle of nail polish.
It took a while, but we managed to get the stain out.
Carpets can be one of the most expensive items in your home, and keeping them looking their best can sometimes take a lot of work. One of the best ways to care for your carpet, as well as your upholstery, mattresses or even the interior of your car is to use a spot machine. When you have a spill, or the family pet has an accident, or the kids forget to take off their shoes, a spot machine will help clean up the mess and help keep your carpets looking great.
There are a number of machines out there and I can’t recommend any one brand. I use professional machines, ones that cost a lot more than you need to spend for one you are going to use around the house. 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.
When 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. Find one you like, and use it. If you don’t have a product like that around the house when the need arises, then use a home made cleaning solution, or just plain water. Water is a great cleaner and quite often it is all you need. 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. Use a white cloth because coloured cloth can transfer dye to the carpet, and you can end up with a nice clean purple or blue spot on your carpet. 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.
Remember, you don’t need a thousand dollar spot machine; you just need a durable, easy to use machine, one that will help you keep your carpets and upholstery clean and looking good.
There are a great many professional carpet cleaners in Edmonton, and when it comes to cleaning all the carpets in your home you should call a professional. But what about all the little stuff, the coffee spills, pet stains, dropped juice boxes, and the rest of the stuff that happens during day to day living? For the minor spills, there are a number of home cleaning solutions that are not only effective but can also help save you money.
The internet is filled with a carpet cleaning tips, upholstery cleaning tips, etc., tips to help clean up all those daily living spills and accidents. What is the best remedy for wine? What is best way to get nail polish out of you daughter’s carpet? With very few exceptions what you can find on line, either on professional carpet cleaners websites, Google searches or YouTube are tried and true methods that work. Remember that most home remedies work because people have been using them and perfecting them for years, and now with a click of the mouse you can find them at your fingertips.
Which remedy should you use? The simple answer is to find one you are comfortable in using, one that isn’t too complicated and uses easy to find ingredients. First test the remedy in an inconspicuous place, like the inside of a closet, to ensure that if you mix it wrong, it won’t damage the carpet. Don’t test it in a noticeable spot like the middle of the room or in front of the sofa. Once you are comfortable using the home made cleaner and it cleans to your satisfaction then you can use it every time you get a spot or stain on the carpet and you don’t need to go out and buy some chemical laden cleaner or something you saw on TV. Most of the day to day stuff can be cleaned with products you usually have around the house, peroxide, vinegar and water, etc.
I recommend that you try You Tube when looking for a DYI solution for stain removal. There is literally hundreds of You Tube Video’s out there showing you how to clean stains and problem areas on the carpet. With You Tube you can follow step by step instructions, see how it is done and see the results before you try it yourself.
So the next time you spill some red wine at one of those wild parties you always throw, or the kids drop a glass of chocolate milk on the way to the sofa, have a look on line and there is usually a handy cost effective way to clean the problem. Remember that most Professional carpet cleaners are usually eager to help you with advice so don’t hesitate to call us.
Since I first learned about recycling in the early eighties I have tried to follow the notion of the three R’s. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
I try to recycle as many of the paper, cardboard, glass plastic & metal things in daily life that we use in our home and office. I reuse office paper, cutting used 8’ X 11” pages into note pads, I copy on both sides of the paper in the office, my wife saves as much wrapping paper as she can, and anything we can’t find a use for we send out in a blue bag for the city to recycle. The problem with recycling is that darn near everything we buy has a throw-away component. Cardboard, plastic, tin, glass, wood, whatever you purchase they all have something that covers, holds, explains or fulfills some other function that once in the home is of no value and has to go out to the curb on garbage day.
There are times when I feel like a hoarder, we keep cardboard boxes, plastic ice cream, whip cream and butter tubs, plastic bags, and the plastic clips from bread bags, bubble wrap and whatever else we can find a use for. All of which is stored in every nook and cranny in the house, shed, and garage. One day soon I hope to find a use for these things other than as a means to hold screws, nails, pencils, change, etc. At least we manage to move the pop cans, milk jugs, juice boxes, and wine bottles every couple of months, when the bags begin to build up to the point where we can’t get around them anymore. Of course the money we get back on our deposit goes right back into things we have to recycle.
My next car will be electric, not only because it’s better for the environment, but because I’m tired of getting out of my car in minus thirty Celsius weather to gas up while some guy sits inside a warm store and watches me. We use bins not bags for shopping and carrying our groceries. Our lawn mower is electric not gas, and now with the city of Edmonton pushing for us to stop bagging our grass clippings, I have to sharpen my lawn mower blades every time the grass is cut so the clippings can be left in the grass. It also means that the lawn has to be left longer, and cut more often. Even our weed whacker is electric.
I had to replace all our toilets from the old conventional ones to low flush water savers. If you’ve ever seen me with tools in my hands you’ll understand what a chore that was. Around the house we use everyday products to clean whenever possible, micro fiber clothes and water for windows and mirrors, water and vinegar on the floors and much more. We had a heat audit done on our 1970’s home and we were losing over 40% of our heat. We replaced doors, water heater, furnace, insulated the basement and the attic. Most of which we did ourselves. Remember that tools and I don’t get along? Imagine how much fun that was to do. But now we have a much more efficient home when it comes to heating and cooling. Saves us money and helps the environment.
We all know how important it is to follow the three R’s. We all need to help keep the environment in good shape; we all need to be responsible for what we use and how we use it. I am the first person to get upset when people don’t follow the ideals of recycle, reuse and reduce, but I am also the first to let you know what a pain it can be to do it.
Thanks for listening.
While stationed in Germany during the early eighties, my wife and I acquired a small dog to keep her company when I was away doing all that fun army stuff. She found a black Cockapoo, a half cocker spaniel half poodle mix she named Charlie, who became her best friend and companion during our four year stay in Europe. Marilyn and Charlie were inseparable and she never went anywhere without him. Marilyn is a Winnipeg girl, and for the entire time we were in Europe she suffered from allergies. She always sounded as if she had a cold and it didn’t matter what we did, we could not find the source of the problem, but we always blamed it on outside sources, trees, mold, flowers etc. It was only after we returned to Canada, and Charlie passed on that we realized he had been the source of her allergies.
Twenty-five years later we have had a number of dogs since Charlie, two of them, Jake a golden Lab, and Leroy a black Lab, (I like Labs) we had to give away because of the hair and dander problems. Although I am not allergic, it turns out that not only is Marilyn allergic, but so are both of our children. Not wanting to be dogless we found non-shedding, hypoallergenic dogs.
Marilyn 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). For the last seventeen years we have had one or both of those breeds in our house and both Marilyn 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.
To help with allergies and cleanliness 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. There is nothing worse than getting a pet, bringing them home and then having to give them away. 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.
In the world of carpet cleaning here in sunny Edmonton one of the things we see on a daily basis is problems with allergies.
Carpets usually cover a large part of the living space in your home and office. Day to day use allows a great number of things into your carpet, from exhaust fumes to chemicals picked up by pets and shoes, to dust, mold, dirt, and pollen. All of these things can be the cause of some allergies. Two of the main offenders that cause two of the most aggravating allergens are Dust Mites and pet dander.
Dust mites are microscopic arthropods and may be the most common cause of allergies in the home. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, more than 20 million Americans are allergic to Dust Mites. Dust Mites can produce up to 200 times their body weight in waste matter each day, (source Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America) and it is the waste matter that is the actual allergen. These microscopic critters live deep in carpets, bedding, and furniture, and feed off dead skin cells, among other things. Regular vacuuming does not remove more than about 5% of them, (source Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America). One more great reason to have not only carpets but upholstery and mattresses cleaned regularly.
Another main source of allergens in the home is pets. Cute and cuddly though they may be, pets provoke allergies in 15 to 30 percent of people with allergies. Their saliva, urine and other secretions contain proteins that are potential allergens, and their hair traps dust, fleas, and pollen that end up lodged in carpets when the pets shed, and their dead skin or Dander, collects of the surface of your carpet. Pet allergens are a problem because they are sticky and cling to surfaces, and when disturbed they float in the air for a long time.
Mold caused by high humidity, spills that are not cleaned up, and leaks, is another source of allergens. Even having your carpet cleaned and leaving it wet for eight, ten or in some cases twenty four hours can cause mold and mildew. Whenever a source of mold is disturbed the spores are sent floating through the air.
To help reduce the problems for those who suffer from allergies there are a few things you can do. If you are a dog or cat lover, find a breed that doesn’t shed or ones that have hair rather than fur, breeds like Havanese or Bichon Frise. Vacuuming is a good place to start but it must be done the right way. Invest in a good model vacuum with a built in HEPA filter and vacuum all your floors thoroughly one or two times a week. Also ensure that all spills and “accidents” are cleaned up and dried as soon as possible to help prevent mold and mildew from forming. Beyond these actions, you should also have your carpet professionally cleaned every eight to twelve months or more often if your allergies are more pronounced. Try and find carpet cleaners like EKO Carpet and Upholstery Care who use natural hypo-allergenic cleaning solutions and whose process allows the carpets to dry in one or two hours rather than one or two days.
Here are some great links for information on allergies, their cause and effects. Just cut and paste the links into your browsers address bar if they don’t automatically connect you to the site.
http://www.mayoclinic.com (I like this one the best)
Allergy Forecast for Edmonton.
We are a green company. Now what does that mean? Is our equipment colored green? Is our paperwork green? Well yes but not quite by design. Are our uniforms green? No. What we are is a company that understands that being green is the wave of the future. Being a green, environmentally conscious company was more a business decision than anything else. We understand that people just like us do not want harsh chemicals or soaps and oils left in their carpets and furniture. So green seemed like the logical choice. In our case our business decision was aligned with our environmental ideas and feelings.
On our street most of our neighbours have one or maybe two blue bags out for pick up on garbage day. We will usually have three or more. It’s not that we have more stuff or create more garbage; it is because we are diligent in separating and collecting our recyclable products. As a member of the Canadian military I was stationed in Europe for several years back in the eighties, yes I am old, and even then the Europeans were recycling and practicing good environmental habits. We started to recycle and learned a bit about helping the environment and have always maintained those ideas back in Canada.
So when I went into business for myself, that’s the first thing I did was to ensure that it was as green as possible. Not everything we use is natural; some problems need a little extra strength to be used. But we don’t run gas/diesel engines out of our vans for two or three hours at a time while cleaning, we use electricity, and we try to be as gentle on the environment as possible.
So when you hear me say we are a “green Company” you have an idea of just why we call ourselves that, and I will no doubt expand on this idea in later articles.