Furniture Cleaning: what you don’t know can cost you!

 

Furniture cleaning is something that can cost you – if you don’t know how to maintain it.

Oftentimes it’s an afterthought to cleaning carpet or area rugs, yet if furniture is not professionally cleaned by certified furniture cleaning company, your beautiful sofa, favorite armchair, dining room chairs, or even outdoor upholstered furniture – can have it’s useful life drastically reduced, meaning you may have to replace it in just a few years.  By having furniture cleaned every 12-24 months, you can drastically increase the life of the fabric, and keep it beautiful and enjoyable for years to come.

In between professional cleanings, make sure to vacuum it (both sides of cushions, all areas you can reach) with an attachment tool, preferably one that has a small rotating brush to help remove hair and dander.

And when you do have furniture cleaned, make sure you choose a cleaning company that does NOT use steam on it, as so many companies do.  A lot of companies end up buying furniture from people after they ruin it.  The high temperature of steam can permanently distort and melt microfiber materials, can strip lanolin out of natural fibers (lanolin is it’s natural stain repelling property) and it can bleed colors and remove fugitive dyes from the fabric. The high pressure of steam cleaning can also push soapy water into the batting and cushions, causing mildew issues, as well as rapid resoiling from the soap residues.

When our IICRC Certified technicians clean furniture, we use only the safest and most effective method to remove soil from fabric.  We first vacuum all accessible surfaces to remove allergens, hair, dander, and abrasive soils.  Then we go over the entire piece by hand with special terry towels wrung through our soap-free cleaner, applying sufficient agitation and pressure to remove the oils and soils into the towels, and we keep using new ones until they come out clean.  Lastly, if desired, we can apply Scotch guard to the fabric to help prevent new spots from setting.

The most important thing is to make sure you clean your furniture and upholstery on a regular schedule, no more than every 2 years, and that it’s cleaned by a company that uses a safe process to clean it.  If you would like an estimate on making your furniture clean, healthy and beautiful again, call our office at (970) 927-1313 today and we’ll provide you with a free estimate.

Healthy (Green) Carpet Cleaning

You might not think that one carpet cleaning company is any different than another – however I’ve spent the last 18 years (and my dad spent over 50 years) educating people on the differences, most notably on what to look for to keep your carpets (and home) healthy, safe, and ensure that the cleaning lasts as long as possible.

If having a healthy home and indoor living environment is important to you, consider these benefits of green carpet cleaning (we are the only company between Vail and Rifle, Glenwood and Aspen – that provides this type of service):

  1. 100% Safe products.  We use Green Seal Certified cleaning products, as well as botanical disinfectants.  These cost us literally 1000% more than cheap detergents or phenol-based disinfectants.  But everyone that works for our company has kids and a family – and we believe in only using products in your home that we would want in our homes – for our kids.  Many carpet cleaners claim to use ‘green’ products but it’s essentially just marketing – as these products can still be toxic.  The best way to know what a company uses is to ask the technician for an SDS form (a “Safety Data Sheet” – which they are required to keep in their van) which will tell you if a product is toxic or not.
  2. Thorough cleaning.  Most carpet cleaning companies (about 90% of them) use steam cleaning, or “hot water extraction”, which is essentially a 1-2 step system: inject the carpet with near boiling, soapy water – and suck some of it back out again.  This is why they can clean a whole house in an hour.  What we provide is a 5-step deep cleaning, which my father invented and franchised from the west coast to the great lakes.  Why did he invent his own system?  Because he started out working for a steam cleaning company, and he was appalled at the results that were left as “clean”.  In a nutshell, here are the differences.  a) Vacuuming.  The first thing we do is vacuum – to remove all the loose soils, dust, dander, allergens – everything that’s ground into the fibers over a year (or more).  With steam cleaning – they usually don’t bother vacuuming: their first step is to inject the soapy hot water.  So instead of taking the dirt and dander out before they clean – they have now driven it deep into the carpet, pad, and even down to the subfloor.  They do this at 400 pounds of pressure (or more) per SQUARE INCH!  Which is why it can take days to dry out (a soaking wet subfloor doesn’t dry fast with a giant wet sponge on top of it (carpet pad) and wet carpet on top of that.  Often it creates mildew issues. And remember the near boiling temperature (steam)?  This softens the glue on the carpet backing – which is what holds the fibers in place, as well as the warp and weft foundation fibers. Translation: using steam repeatedly on carpeting distorts the fibers, shrinks or stretches the carpet (you’ll see it buckle in large rooms) and RAPIDLY deteriorates it, shortening the lifespan by as much as 50% (it’s no wonder carpet manufacturers like steam cleaning – they get to sell you new carpet twice as often!) b) Application of the cleaning product.  Instead of injecting this high pressure soapy mix into carpeting, we use a low pressure sprayer (about 30 PSI) to gently apply our cleaning products to the carpet fibers, allowing enough dwell time for it to penetrate down to the base of the fibers, and for it to start breaking down spots and soils. c) Agitation.  Steam cleaning doesn’t agitate the carpet fibers.  It pushes water in, and pulls it back out.  We use a rotary floor machine with a special brush that spins at 175 revolutions per minute – which cleans all four sides of the carpet fibers – and helps to break up stubborn spots, as well as traffic lanes where the fibers have been smashed together.  Think of it as brushing hair that’s been tangled and matted. When we are done – all the fibers are scrubbed and lifted – ready for the soil to be extracted.  d) Extraction.  Instead of dragging hoses all through your home, which leave marks on walls and means your front door likely is open the whole time (not to mention the vans pump out exhaust the whole time they clean and are noisy) – we use powerful portable equipment that’s electric – no fumes.  We use the same rotary floor machine to extract the liquified soil, using special king-cotton bonnets, which combined with the 80 pound weight of the machine and 175 RPM’s – pushes the clean cotton deep into the carpet fibers, pulling out all the soil.  We typically use about 4 of them on an average room (8 sides). e) Grooming.  After the soil has been extracted, we use a grooming tool to set the knap of the fibers in one direction, which helps it to dry quickly and uniformly.  In my experience – and in my dad’s – it’s not possible to thoroughly clean carpet if any of these five steps are omitted – hence why we do what we do, and why cleaning with 1-2 step systems (like steam) don’t do a very good job.
  3. Longevity of the cleaning (how long it will last).  Remember the part about soaps?  This (combined with an insufficient cleaning process) is what causes spots and traffic lanes to come back quickly – often within a few weeks of the cleaning.  By the way – this is great for steam cleaners – because it means you have to call them every 1-2 months – but it’s not good for you, or your carpets.  Once soapy residues get into carpeting – no matter how much they say they’ve rinsed it – there will always be residues left in the fibers – and those sticky residues cause resoiling. Our products, however, are residue-free, which means that once we clean it – it stays clean!  On average, you can expect to get 3-4 times the life out of our cleaning.  That means it costs you less overall with less frequent need for cleaning.  And that, combined with a system that prolongs the life of your carpets – means you get a lot more life out of them – and make no mistake – they are the single most expensive replaceable item in your home.

That may be more than you wanted to know about carpet cleaning – but now you know what to look for in a cleaning company, and perhaps some questions to ask a cleaning professional before inviting them into your home.  If you have any questions, I’m always happy to answer them.  You can call our office at (970) 927-1313.

Mold Removal: Do NOT clean mold yourself – here’s why (advice from a Colorado professional)

Many people try to clean or perform mold removal themselves. I hear clients all the time ask if they can just “spray bleach on it”.

What you need to know:

  1. Mold spores are hydrophobic.  That means if you spray them with moisture, the colonies release their spores into the air, which means they can spread throughout your home on air currents and recolonize mold growth in new areas!
  2. Bleach becomes a food source for mold after 30 days (when it becomes inert). This helps mold to grow back to where it was.
  3. If the Hyphae (roots) are not completely removed, it will grow back, even if you ‘paint over it’.  I just had someone call this morning that couldn’t believe it grew back a few months later even though she painted over it with Kilz.

Mold is a health hazard, especially for young and elder people, because their immune systems are either underdeveloped, or compromised. If you have a tiny bit on a hard surface, like a shower, you can damp wipe it with hydrogen peroxide (3-5% bleach solution) but it likely will keep growing back because that likely won’t eradicate the hyphae.  If you have growth in anything porous, like drywall, wood, carpet, pad, etc, leave it to an IICRC certified professional company (AMRT certification minimum (Applied Microbial Remediation Technician)).

Once you see the first signs of mold growth, it’s imperative to call a professional as quickly as possible so they can isolate the growth with containment under HEPA filtration from a Negative Air Machine. This will keep the mold from spreading. Also, if you have any HVAC ducting (such as forced air heating or air conditioning) shut it off as long as it won’t freeze your home. If the system is running, especially if it has vents or returns in the contaminated area, it can broadcast spores throughout the entire home.

If you would like a FREE estimate – if you live near the roaring fork valley in Colorado (Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, Basalt, Aspen or Snowmass Village) call Belmont Clean + Restore at (970) 927-1313. We have over 18 years of experience and fully certified technicians.

You can learn more about how Belmont Clean + Restore provides safe mold removal and remediation here: http://www.belmontrestore.com/mold-remediation

and see what valley locals are saying about our mold removal process here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeoE8CBpbxs