You probably practice this ancient ritual without even realizing it!

by Jeremy Strickland

spring in holland

Every year, as the weather warms, a ritual begins taking place all over the world. This ritual doesn’t necessarily occur on a set date, and it doesn’t always have to happen in the same way. In fact, from culture to culture and person to person, it is likely to vary in practice and intensity. To participate in this ritual, one need not be affiliated with any particular religion, but some particular religions require very particular practices. This ritual is known as Khane Tekani in Iran, where some speculate the practice began. People of the Jewish faith perform the ritual for Pesach. The Chinese are also in the running for first practitioners, and they add a twist to it by performing it meticulously, then not performing any part of it for a few days afterwards in an effort to bring good luck to their home.

You probably practice this ritual too. You know it as Spring Cleaning.

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There’s another interesting origin behind Spring Cleaning from more modern times that’s unique to western culture. Picture this: It’s 1840. You’ve been shut in your house with your husband and six kids all winter, burning wood for warmth and whale oil in your lamps for lighting (kerosene wouldn’t be in wide use for another 20 years). Now it’s warm enough to send your husband out to work and your kids out to play, and you can finally open windows to let fresh air in.

And what do you see when Spring’s sunlight finally illuminates your abode? Dust, soot, whale oil residues… And let’s not forget about all of the messes your clan made while shut in. Your house would be filthy!

Luckily, modern homes are electrified, so whale oil doesn’t make the impact it once did (if you’re an exception to this rule, I’d live to hear from you). Winter, however, still leaves its mark, and Spring is still the best time to do a deep cleaning.

In cold, snowy regions, such as we have here in West Michigan, salt makes a big impact on carpet. Salt and sandy mud tend to get tracked in during the winter, and they act as abrasive elements against carpet fibers, accelerating the wearing process, particularly in entries and high traffic lanes. This makes adding Professional Carpet Cleaning to your Spring Cleaning to-do list essential!

Randy’s Carpet Care has been West Michigan’s most trusted carpet and upholstery cleaners since 1980. Call today to schedule your free estimate and have winter’s mess cleaned from the carpet of your home!

(616) 392-1400

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Thank you, thank you! Twice, you are thanked!

by Jeremy Strickland

Tulips5

unprecedented
[uhn-pres-i-den-tid]
adjective
1. without previous instance; never before known or experienced; unexampled or unparalleled*

The Holland Sentinel held it’s annual Best of the Best contest (formerly known as Best of West Michigan), and we have won 1st place in the category of “Carpet Cleaning” for the fifteenth consecutive year! As special as that is, this occasion is made even more special by the fact that we also won 1st place in the category of “Cleaning Company” for the first time.

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So, with two awards won, please allow me to take this time to thank you twice… THANK YOU & THANK YOU AGAIN! It is our honor and pleasure to serve the fine folks of West Michigan. We appreciate you, your support, and your business.

You’re the best of the best.

BestOf2017

WINNER: Best Carpet Cleaning

BestOf2017

WINNER: Best Cleaning Company

*Definition of “unprecedented” from Dictionary.com.

On the Five Second Rule and Your Dining Room Carpet

by Jeremy Strickland

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So, Detroit Dave is sitting at his kitchen table, eating his french fries from a red cardboard sleeve, watching the Lions game. Why? I don’t know. Anyway, there’s another (perceived) bad penalty called (holding, defense, five yards, first down), and Dave flips his lid. As he leaps from his seat, shouting creative expletives at the ref (who’s in Seattle, by the way, completely safe from Dave’s threats on his well-being), Dave inadvertently knocks his half eaten cheeseburger from the yellow wrapping paper on the table and onto the dining room carpet. In an instant, Detroit Dave’s mood shifts from furious to remorseful, and as he retrieves his fallen McQuadruple, he asks himself, “Can I still eat this?”

Five second rule!

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Actually, Dave’s question here should not have been, “Can I still eat this?” Instead, it should have been, “Do I want to put this tainted meat treat with cheese in my mouth?”

Eating food dropped on the floor probably won’t hurt Dave (or you), but the “Five Second Rule” is bunk. The moment your food touches the floor, it’s soiled. In Dave’s case, with the carpeted dining room floor, there could be everything from dead skin cells and hairs to dust and allergens to exhaust particles and government nanobots (kidding!) in the carpet. And now all of that and more is on what’s left of Dave’s value meal sandwich.

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Personally, I wouldn’t eat a cheeseburger which has fallen to the floor, but I’m not a Lion’s fan. Make whatever connections here that you please, and do what thou whilst after your own food foul. You now know the penalty.

However, when it comes time to clean up the mess, I strongly recommend a Professional Carpet Cleaning as opposed to the DIY method. You’re likely to make things worse, Dave. Geeze.

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Absolute necessities for Spring Cleaning!

by Jeremy Strickland

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Spring Cleaning Season is an important and busy time for us here at Randy’s Carpet Care, and for good reason: all of that salt and muck your family has been dragging into your home for the last several months is damaging your carpet, and after being shut tight against the elements, the air quality in your home may be suffering too.

So, what should you do about?

1) Vacuum. Vacuum early, vacuum often. Vacuum every day if you can make time for it.
2) Change your furnace filter. My wife changed ours yesterday. It was way gross.
3) Schedule a Professional Carpet Cleaning. There are two reasons for this. First, as I mentioned above, your carpet is being damaged by the salt and muck that your winter boots bring in (I go in depth about this here). Second,  air is forced through your carpets while your furnace is running, and your carpet will act much like your furnace filter, capturing all of the particles and debris (you may see this manifest itself as gray lines in your carpet underneath doors or along walls and stairs). Just as  changing your furnace filter will improve air quality, so too will a Professional Carpet Cleaning. In addition to dust, hairs, and particles of general grossness, Carpet Cleaning will also help to remove allergens, germs, and also increase the useful life of your carpets.
4) Since you’re already planning to have a technician work in your home, schedule them to clean your couch and favorite recliner too. Your furniture is chock full of unpleasantness, such as dirt, germs, allergens, body oils, crumbs, hair, dead skin cells, and nanobots (kidding!).

Some folks prefer to clean their own carpets, but this is a mistake, because:

1) Machines made for home use are no where near as powerful and deep cleaning as what the pros use.
2) Proper soaps and chemicals are crucial. Can you wash your hair or your pants without soap? Of course not, and your carpet is no different. However, the wrong chemical can set a stain or bleach your carpet, and using too much soap can leave residues which create a dirt trap that will make your carpet get dirty faster.
3) Experience counts. The pros are trained to use the specific soaps, chemicals, and processes that specific spots require. They come to your home prepared for whatever your carpet has to throw at them, and they’ll take all of your dirt as well as the soaps and chemicals they used in your carpet with them. On that note…
4) You do it yourself at your own peril. There are quite a few devastating mistakes you can make when you DIY. I’ve written about that here.

 There are, of course, plenty of other tasks to consider when Spring Cleaning, disinfecting being chief among them in my mind. Read this to help you get the best results in your kitchen and bathrooms.

Randy’s Carpet Care has been helping West Michigan get the best results for their Spring Cleanings since 1980. Call today for your free estimate! (616) 392-1400

If you can smell the street by looking at the photo, it's a street photograph.

Happy anniversary!

by Jeremy Strickland

2nd-Birthday

February marked the second anniversary of the Randy’s Carpet Care blog. In that time, I’ve written and published 70 articles, covering topics from professional steam cleaning to DIY pet accident cleanups to the amazing versatility of corn.

Carpet Cleaning may not be the most glamorous of industries, but when looked at with a sense of humor and a little imagination, it can be a fun topic. That’s why this blog has included articles which include references to Indiana Jones, advice on how to deal with dragon’s breath, and even a brief lesson on Greek Mythology!

The most popular article I’ve posted, however, is a practical one, so no ruminations on a lost meatball, tale of a sick prince under the queen’s watchful eye, or a visit from a Sasquatch. Instead, the most views belong to the eight ways you can prevent your carpet from developing wear patterns.

As a writer, the rule cuddled up next to my heart is: “Show, don’t tell,” so I try to paint a lush landscape with watercolor words. Writing packs a bigger punch when it illustrates than when it pontificates. “Show, don’t tell” is also the way that Randy’s Carpet Care works. With 39 years in the business, our results speak volumes. It’s no wonder we’ve been voted “Best of the Best” by the readers of the Holland Sentinel Newspaper for the last fourteen consecutive years.

Thank you to all of our readers. I hope that you have learned something valuable and had a little fun while doing it. Any topic you’d like me to cover or any burning question keeping you up at night? Please let me know by leaving a comment below.

If you’re in West Michigan and looking for results, call us today for a free estimate: (616) 392-1400

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What kind of carpet do you have?

by Jeremy Strickland

Happy-Family-Clean-Carpet

Recently, while investigating a yogurt spill in a dining room, a client asked me what her apartment’s carpet was made of. “Plastic,” I told her. “Nylon, polypropylene, polyester… Something like that.”

“I knew it was cheap!” she exclaimed.

People are surprised when I tell them that their carpet is made from plastic, but that’s not necessarily an indicator of quality or cost. Nylon, for example, is a sturdy plastic that holds up well against wearing, making it the most popular carpeting option. Triexta is another plastic carpeting material made in part from corn oil, and it is a high quality, stain resistant product, with a price tag to boot. Polypropylene (also called Olefin) is relatively cheap and low grade plastic, but when made into carpet with small, tight loops (Berber carpet), it holds up well against heavy foot traffic. Berber Carpet made from polypropylene is used primarily for commercial carpeting but because it is relatively inexpensive, you’ll sometimes find it in apartments too.

Natural materials make for more expensive carpets, but just as synthetic is not necessarily bad, natural is not necessarily good, particularly from a Professional Carpet Cleaner’s perspective. Some natural materials used for making area rugs, like jute or grass, are difficult to clean. Silk is beautiful, strong, durable, and holds about a third of it’s weight in water without seeming wet, though because it’s naturally dyed, colors may run in the cleaning process. Wool, the most common natural fiber on the other hand, is also quite absorbent. It’s naturally stain resistant and easy to clean, but to carpet your home wall to wall with wool is very expensive.

So, what is your carpet or rug made from? How can you tell?

  1. If your home is carpeted, chances are good that it’s nylon, which comprises something like 60% of household carpets.
  2. If your office, school, church, or apartment is carpeted with Berber, it’s a safe assumption that it’s polypropylene.
  3. Wall to wall wool carpet is rare because of the price tag. Think your carpet might be wool? Smell it when it’s wet. It’ll smell like a wet sheep.
  4. Jute, sisal, bamboo, cotton, and grass are plant-based fibers oftentimes used to make designer area rugs. Most will have a label that tells you what it’s made from and what its point of origin is. Jute is a soft fiber which typically comes from Bangladesh. Sisal comes from the Mexican agave and is more durable. Bamboo (or viscose) is silky, extremely durable and has hypoallergenic and antimicrobial properties. Cotton rugs are silky and can come from many places. They can sometimes be identified by performing a friction test. Rub the rug between your hands vigorously; the fibers of a cotton rug will stay cool where silk will warm up. Finally, grass rugs can be made from seagrass or mountain grass found in China and other Pacific Rim countries, though many companies make the rugs here in the USA. They’re quite coarse and appreciated for being stain resistant and made from sustainable resources.
  5. Silk rugs can have more than a thousand knots per square inch, which you can see by looking at the back. They are also one complete piece, so you will not see fringe sewn onto it. Tourists in China are sometimes duped into buying expensive “Art Silk” rugs, which are actually made from bamboo or cotton. I wrote about one such incident here.
  6. Ask a professional. They may be able to test it to make a determination.

There are a myriad of materials that can be used to create carpet and area rugs, but in the end, it all comes down to personal preference. From a Professional Carpet Cleaner‘s point of view, two of the biggest considerations are: “Is it synthetic or natural?” and “Will the colors bleed?” Natural fibers require a more gentle approach, and Professional Carpet Cleaners can perform a color-fastness test to ensure that they can safely clean any carpet or rug without colors running.

Since 1980, Randy’s Carpet Care has specialized in carpet and area rug cleaning. If you’ve got questions about yours, call (616) 392-1400 and schedule your free estimate today!

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After carpet cleaning, will my carpet get dirty faster?

A tale of chivalry by Jeremy Strickland

queen of the castle

Once upon a time, in the magical land known as “Michigan,” there was a beautiful queen who lived in a grand castle by a big lake (you may even call it a “Great Lake”). The queen’s little prince, Edward, had brought misery to the kingdom when he came down with a nasty stomach bug and barfed on the royal carpet next to his chamber bed. Distraught, the queen made chicken noodle soup for her beloved child and then summoned the kingdom’s bravest Professional Carpet Cleaners.

“Can you get it all out?” asked the queen.

“I’m almost certain that I can,” said the very good looking carpet cleaner (probably named Jeremy). “Shall I clean the entirety of Prince Edward’s chamber? The great hall? The banquet room? The germs are going to be wherever your son has been and cleaning the carpets will help to get rid of them.”

The queen hesitated. “I don’t know,” she said, looking around her castle floors for other signs of soiling. “We just had this carpet installed a couple of years ago, and it doesn’t look too bad. I don’t want to have it cleaned if it doesn’t need it because it’ll just get dirty faster afterwards.”

The handsome carpet cleaning man (who may or may not have been named Jeremy) gasped!

three witches

Working in the professional carpet cleaning industry, I am oftentimes confronted with this old wives tale, and woe to the kingdom, the old wives were right! Sort of. Carpets WILL get dirty faster after being cleaned… IF the carpets have been cleaned improperly.

All soaps and chemicals must be thoroughly rinsed out of the carpet fibers along with the dirt. Otherwise, lingering residues will become like the castle moat, and every invader or dragon that assaults the castle by will become trapped. The spot where the carpet was “cleaned” will end up looking worse than it did before the act of cleaning occurred. It is only when all soaps and chemicals have been rinsed out of the carpet that the carpet will not resoil any faster than if it were new.

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This oftentimes happens when you clean your kingdom’s carpets yourself but can also happen with professionals too. Some dastardly carpet cleaning companies run water and cleaning solution through the same line, so they do not rinse their cleaning solution out of the carpet. Instead, they’re applying soap and then vacuuming the excess away. This cuts out the step of having to pre-treat carpets before wanding (what the blue guy above is doing), which may make the job go faster but sacrifices quality.  These guys, these court jesters, give the rest of us brave professionals a bad rap.

When summoning a Professional Carpet Cleaning company (which you absolutely should do), be sure to ask their scheduler if they rinse all soaps and chemicals thoroughly with clean water. If they don’t… Thanks, but no thanks! Call someone else.

Randy’s Carpet Care has perfected carpet cleaning methods since 1980. It’s no wonder that we’ve been nominated for Best of West Michigan for the fifteenth consecutive year.

If you’re in the magical land of West Michigan, and you want the carpets of your kingdom cleaned, call us today! (616) 368-2024

And they all lived happily ever after. The end.

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Top 7 Reasons Why This Is The Job For You!

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Randy’s Carpet Care is West Michigan’s most trusted Professional Carpet Cleaning Company, a growing institution looking to build our team this Spring. This is a great opportunity for the right candidate to get into a well paid full-time position that breaks the usual nine to five mold.

Here are the top seven reasons why this is an opportunity you won’t want to miss:

  1. Randy’s has a reputation. Randy opened his business in 1980 as a one man operation. He worked tirelessly, day and night, to make Randy’s Carpet Care the household name it is today. Since then, we’ve been voted Best of West Michigan by the readers of the Holland Sentinel newspaper for fourteen consecutive years. When our technicians arrive in a customer’s home, our reputation precedes us, and when we’re finished cleaning for them, we’re their hero!
  2. Every day is different. Most jobs are monotonous. You clock in at your regular time, you go to your regular work station, you do your regular work, you clock out at your regular time. Not so at Randy’s. We offer you new places and new faces every day. While you may be cleaning carpet in a Saugatuck condominium today, tomorrow may find you cleaning boat upholstery on Lake Michigan!
  3. Travel is a part of the job. We provide service from South Haven up to Muskegon and over to Grand Rapids, so you’ll find yourself travelling in a company provided Carpet Cleaning van every day. On a beautiful June afternoon, driving along the lakeshore to your next customer with your windows down and the radio on, you’ll be asking yourself, “Who’s got it better than me?”
  4. You get to meet West Michigan. Our world by Lake Michigan is full of kind-hearted folk, colorful characters, and interesting people with a story to tell. Thousands, literally thousands of them are Randy’s Carpet Care customers, and you’ll get to work for them everyday. Do a good job, and they’ll likely ask for you to come back to perform their next cleaning too!
  5. We provide a necessary service to our fellow human beings. Cleanliness is next to Godliness. We get the privilege of being invited into people’s homes and personal spaces to ensure that they have a clean, healthy place to live, work, and raise their children and grandchildren in.
  6. Your boss isn’t breathing down your neck all day, every day. We work in one man crews, so once your paid training has come to an end, it will be up to you to live up to Randy’s high standards. That’s a lot of responsibility, but it’s also a lot of freedom.
  7. The pay and benefits are great. We hire at $14.00 an hour, and your pay rate will go up from there! There’s plenty of opportunities for overtime too. We also offer payed vacation time, health insurance, and a retirement plan.

There are plenty of jobs out there but few offer such variety, independence, and high starting wages as Randy’s Carpet Care. We have full-time positions open, and we’re looking for self-motivated people with clean driving records, valid, insurable drivers’ licenses, and a knack for providing above and beyond customer service.

Want a career instead of a job? Think you have what it takes to join our team or know someone who does? Resumes can be emailed to jeremy@randyscarpetcare.com, an application can be submitted online here, or we are accepting applications at our office located at 131 Coolidge Ave Ste #2 in Holland, MI.

For more information, check out the story of how I went from retail management and banking to working as a Professional Carpet Cleaner here.

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Try This Cool Science Experiment At Home With Your Kids

by Jeremy Strickland

DenSaluting Flag

From community service to outdoor adventures, the Cub Scout den that I lead builds character in our boys while they learn and have a ton of fun. Recently, my co-leader ran our boys through a science experiment that illustrates Chromatography as well as a process we experience in the carpet cleaning business. It was a simple experiment, so you can try it with your kids or grand-kids using materials you’re certain to have at home.

You’ll need:

  • plastic cup
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • white printer paper
  • pencil, straw, or Popsicle stick
  • binder clip
  • different colored markers

Here’s what you do:

  1. Fill the bottom of the cup with about 1 1/2 inches of water.
  2. Cut several two inch wide strips of paper to be an inch shorter than the plastic cup is tall.
  3. Draw a horizontal line with one of the markers an inch from the bottom of a paper strip.
  4. Lay the pencil across the top of the cup.
  5. Use the binder clip to attach the top of the paper strip to the center of the pencil, dangling the paper strip into the water. Make sure that bottom of the paper strip is submerged but the marker line is not.
  6. Ask yourself: Is the marker color just one color or the combination of many? Observe for the next several minutes. What happens?  Note what you see.
  7. Try it with another color marker and then another. What’s different from the last color? Any surprises? Compare with your previous notes. Be sure to try black and brown markers!

chromatography experiment

The takeaway:

As the water wicks up the strip of paper, dissolving the dyes used to create the marker’s color, the individual dyes used to create the color separate. You’ll notice that some dyes travel farther and/or faster up than others because some dyes have molecules which are heavier than others.

This process is called Chromatography, and it was invented by Mikhail Tsvet in 1910 in order to separate plant dyes. Chromatography is still used by modern chemists in fields as varied as police forensics and animal biology.

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Wicking in carpet cleaning:

So, your beloved German Shepherd, Sir Licksalot, got sick and peed on the Family Room carpet. You take your fur-baby to the vet, and you call in your local Carpet Cleaning Professional to clean up the mess. By the end of the day, Sir Licksalot is on the road to recovery, and your carpet has been returned to its former pee-pee-free glory…

…But in the morning, the spot in the Family Room which had been cleaned yesterday has turned brown. What happened?!? Did the dog pee there again? Did the trusted Carpet Cleaner you had been so impressed with actually do a crummy job?

No no no. The brown spot is the result of wicking, a natural phenomenon caused by carpet fibers drying from the bottom up. If there’s any organic material under your carpet, the drying carpet may pull it up to the top of the fibers (just as the water pulled the dyes up the paper strips in the experiment), turning the carpet brown. This can happen to the best carpet cleaners, and it’s not their fault. Luckily, it doesn’t always happen, and there’s an easy fix if it does.

Randy’s Carpet Care has specialized in the science and art of Professional Carpet Cleaning since 1980. If you’re living in West Michigan with a naughty dog, call today to schedule your free estimate!

(616) 392-1400

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