DIY – How do I remove food spots from my carpet?

by Jeremy Strickland

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“How do I clean a food spot out of my carpet?” I get this question a lot, so I’ll skip my normal approach and jump right in.

First, it’s crucial to know what food it is that you’re dealing with and whether or not a DIY solution is even a realistic one (you may make the problem worse or set the stain – as always, DIY at your own peril). For example, if you’ve spilled red wine or your carpet is wool, bite the bullet and call a professional.

If it’s a protein-based spot, you’ll need to break down the proteins in order to get it clean. Remove any of the solid bits. Scrape any excess off the top; careful not to fray the carpet fibers. Dilute a couple of drops of Dawn dish soap in a gallon bucket of hot water, mixed with a cap full of ammonia. The dish soap will help with the food and grease, and the ammonia will help break down the proteins. Clean with a towel which is damp with this solution. Scrub in a circular motion. Careful not to get things too wet. Next, dampen a towel and scrub with white vinegar and hot water mixed 50/50 to neutralize the PH so the spot doesn’t brown as it dries. (NOTE: This is also the process you’ll want to follow to clean dog poop.)

The next day, after the mess is clean and dry, the spot may have turned brown despite your efforts at prevention. No big deal. This is caused by over-wetting the carpet while cleaning. Put a spray nozzle on your brown hydrogen peroxide bottle and give the area a good misting (don’t saturate). Peroxide is great for organic stain removal (but not for wool), and it also helps remove browning. After you’ve misted, use your fingers to rake it in.

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If your spot is not protein-based, skip the ammonia and go right to the vinegar and water solution with a couple of drops of dish liquid. Vinegar kills germs. It’s not quite as effective as chlorine bleach, but for household purposes, it does the job just fine and isn’t as harsh or disastrous to colors as bleach is.

Finally, as odd as it may be to hear this from me, I recommend that you’re wary of advice found on the internet when searching for answers such as this. I’m a professional carpet cleaner, and I oftentimes see terrible advice posted by lay folk with best intentions but no idea what they’re talking about. Your best bet is almost always to call in a professional, but if you absolutely must DIY, at least make sure your advice is coming from a credible source like a professional’s blog.

 

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Best of the Best 2017

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Randy’s Carpet Care has won Best of the Best Holland (formerly known as Best of West Michigan) for fourteen consecutive years in the category of (you guessed it) Carpet Cleaners. Now it’s time to defend our title!

Help us make it to fifteen consecutive years by nominating us for Best of the Best 2017 today! Simply click this link, find Carpet Cleaners under “Services,” and write us in.

Thanks you in advance for your nomination!

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How do I get an ink spot out of my carpet?

by Jeremy Strickland

girl artist

By the time she was five, you knew that your daughter Sophie was an artist. I don’t mean that she was like the other kids, drawing houses and cats and rainbows with their crayons, I mean she’s the real deal. She’s got talent.

At eight, Sophie was already experimenting with oil painting landscapes. At nine, she won an award for her watercolor portrait of her dad. At ten, her school gave her her first solo art exhibition in the library. At eleven, inspired by her new found love for Manga, she spilled a bottle of India Ink on her bedroom carpet.

Now, as a mother and a responsible adult, your first inclination is to let your prolific and gifted child know that it’s okay. Mom’s got this, kid. You’ll simply get down there and clean it up. Naturally, you want to make sure you do the job proper and thorough, so you journey down the rabbit hole of an internet search engine, finding a plethora of voices offering thoughtful advice on how to deal with the spill.

Bad advice. 

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Ink spots on your carpet are wrought with peril. If you attempt to clean this yourself, you are likely to make it worse. Either you’ll spread the spot or you’ll set it. Maybe both. You’ll also make the job more difficult for the Professional Carpet Cleaner that you should have called in the first place.

Skip the chain cleaners, and look for a local company who’s well reviewed on Google or recommended by your friends. When you make the call, be sure to ask about a minimum service charge and what work you can add to the spot removal to ensure you’re getting your moneys worth on that minimum service charge.

palette

Like Sophie or any other artist, a Professional Carpet Cleaner will have an eye for detail. Instead of oil paint or India Ink, they’ll be prepared with a palette of appropriate cleaning solutions and have the proper training to address the specific needs of a difficult spot like the one in Sophie’s room.

If you’re in West Michigan, you may already know that Randy’s Carpet Care also comes equipped with nearly 40 years in the business and an award winning reputation for customer service.

Call (616) 392-1400 today for your free estimate.

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Don’t Make These Devastating DIY Mistakes!

by Jeremy Strickland

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A meatball rolls off your son’s dinner plate. A house plant gets knocked over during an indoor Nerf gun shootout. Your husband nods off in front of the Michigan game and drops a glass of red wine. Your dog gets sick in your bedroom.

It’s been a long day, and now your carpet is trashed. What do you do?

“Clean it up,” you say. “Of course. Por supuesto. Natuurlijk.”

While rolling up your sleeves and getting to work on the solution is the natural, reflexive response of any responsible adult, I urge you to resist the urge to Do It Yourself (DIY). Mistakes can be made, dear reader, mistakes which can make matters worse.

Here are my top five reasons to consider professional carpet cleaning services instead of DIY:

First: The internet is chock full of bad advice.

  • This is the elephant in the room, isn’t it? I see the irony. Here I am, a trusted adviser on the internet, warning you against bad advice from the internet. The difference between me and them is that I am a trained Professional Carpet Cleaning Technician who works for an award winning company with 38 years of experience. Oftentimes, internet advice is coming from civilians with good intentions but no point of reference for which they speak. Pay special attention to any article or blog which makes guarantees, promises, or uses hyperbolic language when it comes to DIY cleaning. As the great Obi Wan Kenobi said, “Only a Sith deals in absolutes.” If you look back on my own blog, you’ll see that even when I do outline potential DIY solutions, I’m always sure to remind you that you’re usually better off calling in a professional.

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Second: The wrong chemical or process can be bad news.

  • Take advice from a civilian, be it from the internet, your mother, or a neighbor, and you risk seeing no result from your hard work or making the problem worse by setting a stain or adding an extra element to your carpet that makes cleaning tougher than it already may be. One example of this would be using vinegar and baking soda together as a cleaner. See that cool chemical reaction? That’s the cancelling of the two ingredients. While they both have effective uses in cleaning, mixing them renders them as useful as water.

'My life coach said don't wait for what you want, just take it, so I did and look where it got me.'

Third: Too much of a good thing is not a good thing.

  • There’s a rumor going around that after you have your carpet cleaned, it will get dirty faster. This is because of soap residues which have not been thoroughly rinsed from the carpet during the cleaning process. Less reputable carpet cleaners as well as DIY jobs are notorious for this. These residues essentially create a dirt trap, so you will indeed see your carpet soil faster. Use soaps on your carpet at your own peril.

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Fourth: A wet carpet can turn brown.

  • Carpets dry from the bottom up. If there’s any organic material at the bottom of the carpet, it will get drawn up like wax to a flame, and the carpet may turn brown. Too much water without proper extraction is usually the cause of this.

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Fifth: Your furniture can undo your hard work.

  • If you have furniture with stained wooden legs, you can not put it back onto wet carpet without protection or you will likely suffer negative consequences. The moisture will transfer the stain to the carpet, and it will live up to its name. Unfortunately, the results will probably be permanent.

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Some jobs are best left to the professionals, and carpet cleaning is usually one of those jobs. The next time an unfortunate accident leaves its mark on your carpet, consider rolling up your sleeves and calling Randy’s Carpet Care. Fixing an exasperated problem is likely to be more expensive than having it cleaned the right way in the first place. That’s just good, common sense, right?

Of course. Por supuesto. Natuurlijk.

NOTE: While carpet cleaning can be a huge, intensive operation, it doesn’t always have to be. Keeping the open areas of the carpet in your home clean, particularly the paths of high traffic, will go a long way to making your carpet last longer and also improve air quality.

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3 Natural Cleaning Agents You Can Use On Your Carpet (+ 1 You Should Not!)

by Jeremy Strickland

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Many of the same natural cleaning agents that can be used elsewhere in your house can also be used on your carpet. In fact, you’re better off with these options as store-bought carpet cleaning soaps are likely to leave dirt-trapping residues behind.

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Hydrogen Peroxide is my favorite, an effective cleaner and bleaching agent for organic spotting (coffee, urine, etc…). Soak up the offending mess with a clean towel. Put a spray nozzle right onto the brown bottle, and then mist it onto the problem area. Rake it in with your fingers. Leave it be for eight hours. Do it again if need be. Just avoid using it on any natural fibers (wool carpets, silk rugs, etc…).

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White vinegar will kill nearly all of the same bacteria and viruses as bleach. Mix it 50/50 with hot water and go to Scrubtown, man. Mix in a drop of Dawn dish liquid if you need some extra oomph (not too much, though, the idea is to avoid leaving behind soap residues that trap dirt; a dab will do ya).

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Baking soda is good at absorbing odors such as pet smells in your carpet. Sprinkle it over the carpet and leave it be overnight. In the morning, vacuum it all away. Do it again if the first try didn’t get the job done.

volcano science project

(NOTE: If you’re looking at “White Vinegar” and “Baking Soda” and an idea to put them together for something besides a 6th Grade Science Project Volcano, don’t bother. While the reaction that occurs when these two chemicals meet is pretty cool, it doesn’t do much for cleaning. That cool reaction is essentially a cancelling out of the two, meaning that you’re going to get about the same result with this chemical mixture as you would with water.)

(ANOTHER NOTE: On the subject of “elsewhere in your house,” if you usually use vinegar or peroxide to clean your kitchen and bathroom but someone in your house has been sick, bleach is a nuclear warhead and probably your best bet. Bleach, by the way, is made from salt, so it is arguably a natural cleaner too. However, don’t use bleach on your carpet or upholstery unless you’re okay with the inevitable color loss that will occur. Use bleach, dear reader, at your own peril.)

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5 Tips For Hiring the Right Cleaning Service For Your Home and Family

by Jeremy Strickland
cleaning lady & baby
We all need a little help sometimes.

When there’s a job to be done but your life is too busy… Or the job is too daunting… Or your not equipped with the right tools or knowledge to do it yourself… It’s time to call in a professional. But what if you’re hiring a cleaning service for the first time? How do you make the right choice?

Here are my five tips to get the service that’s right for you.

1) Ask around
– The best cleaning companies are small businesses, and small businesses thrive on word of mouth. A dependence on word of mouth necessitates a dedication to a job well done as well as top notch customer service. Who do your friends, families, and colleagues trust to clean for them?

2) Research online
– Look for companies who are well reviewed on Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc… But don’t just look at the stars a company has been awarded, read reviews. Do the positive comments align with your own expectations? Are the negative comments fair?

3) Call around
– Do you feel like the person who answered the phone is attentive? Are they empathetic? Likable? Your home is a sacred place and cleaners are oftentimes invited into private corners not even best friends or family see. If you don’t feel listened to, understood, or you flat out don’t like the person on the phone, don’t bother inviting them into your home.

4) Ask for a free estimate
– Everyone has their own personal habits, beliefs, quirks, and challenges, so no two living spaces are the same, and no two sets of personal expectations are either. Make sure that if you are on a budget or have any concerns to address, you ask for a representative of the cleaning company to provide you a free estimate or quote. If taking you on as a client is important to them, they’ll invest the time to meet with you and earn your trust as well as your business.

5) Demand a guarantee
– No one’s perfect. That’s fine, most of us can live with that. What you shouldn’t live with, however, is a job not done to your standards. Any cleaner who takes pride in their work and values your business, word of mouth, and ability to type up a Google review, will at least come back to see why you’re not satisfied with their work. If they can do a better job, they should.

Randy’s Carpet Care has been in business since 1980, working with the philosophy that it’s not our job to clean carpets and upholstery… We make cheerleaders! Our customers are so happy with our service, they can’t help but to tell their friends, family, colleagues, and Google about the great experiences they’ve had with us. Our work is guaranteed, and if you live in West Michigan, call and schedule your free estimate today! (616) 392-1400

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DIY – Amazing, Easy Way To Clean Coffee From Your Carpet

by Jeremy Strickland

family breakfast

Wednesday. 6:39am. Breakfast.

Your husband is holding his coffee cup with his left hand, pouring milk into your son’s cereal bowl with his right. There’s a high pitched feline squeal from the hall, followed by the unmistakable sounds of a chase. Your dog, Theodore Roosevelt, chases your cat, Dr. Frankenstein, between your husband’s legs, knocking him off balance, and while he manages to hold onto the milk jug, half the contents of his coffee cup spill onto the dining room carpet.

You spring into action. Reflexively, you reach for a store-bought carpet-cleaning soap like Resolve or Woolite.

Wait!

woman cleaning carpet

Here’s the thing. I’m not going to attempt to destroy the reputation of these fine products, but I am going to ask you this: Are you rinsing the product out of your carpet after you’ve worked on the spot(s)? While these products may remove some spots, they may also exacerbate the problem.

Browning and Soap Residues.

Your carpet dries from the bottom up, so after your cleaning attempt, organic material from the bottom of the carpet may travel up to the surface to wave an ugly “Hello” at you (we call this “wicking”), turning the carpet brown. Even when browning does not occur, the soaps and shampoos may create a tar pit, trapping every dinosaur (or particles of dirt) that happens by. Over an all too short period of time, these particles build up and give the appearance that the original stain has come back from the dead – it may even look worse than it did before!

Instead…

Sop up as much of the liquid as you can with a clean towel. Go to your medicine cabinet and grab that brown bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide from inside. You’ve probably been using this for cuts and scrapes all of your life, just like Mom did, but that’s a bad idea. Peroxide will kill good bacteria as well as bad. It can be put to better use as a cleaner and mild bleaching agent.

peroxide bottle

Take a spray nozzle (they’re mostly universal) and screw it right on the top of the brown bottle. Mist enough peroxide on top of the spot to get it moist, but avoid soaking it. Blot it with a clean towel. Use your fingers to brush it in. It will take about eight hours to get the full effect, so go on with your life and come back to the spot later. If it hasn’t worked well enough for you, try it again. You won’t hurt anything. A great reason for treating your carpet stains with Hydrogen Peroxide is that it won’t leave any residues behind. It comes in the brown bottle to keep it from turning into oxygen and water, and that’s exactly what it’ll do after being applied to your carpet. Well, that, and (hopefully; fingers crossed) fix your spot.

Bleaching?!?

magic bullet

Household hydrogen peroxide (or H2O2) is diluted about 98%, and the stuff we use professionally is much stronger and also quite safe for most carpets, which are essentially made of plastic (60% of residential carpets are nylon). Hydrogen Peroxide works through oxidation, by blasting the stain with oxygen. It won’t permanently remove colors like the chlorine bleach you use for your whites when doing laundry. The exception to this rule is natural fibers such as wool; don’t use it on natural fiber carpets.

While hydrogen peroxide is super handy to have around (it can be used to treat any organic spotting, including urine), it is not the be-all-end-all magical bullet of DIY carpet cleaning. Sometimes, you have to bite that proverbial bullet and call in a professional.

NOTE: A version of this article was originally published as “The Magic Bullet” on February 9, 2016.

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