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.

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(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

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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!

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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.

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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?!?

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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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DIY – Tackling Pet Odors

by Jeremy Strickland

family with pets on carpet

Accidents happen.

In the carpet cleaning business, pet “accidents” are considered job security! However, it may be possible to deal with some pet and pet odor problems without calling in the pros. I have consulted with our Senior Technician, Mike Sheridan, and below are the inherent problems with the spots & odors as well as possible remedies. A few of these topics have been covered in detail in prior posts, but here, I’ll try and keep it short. Follow links for additional information.

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1) Cat & dog urine:

Problem: Urine is acidic, but it becomes alkaline and ammonium salts form in the residue it creates. Typical cleaning solutions will not break down these salts, and they can not be rinsed away with hot water. Also, urine spots are like icebergs; what you see on the surface may be but 1/5 of of the problem. The other 4/5 is underneath the carpet, onto and/or into the padding and perhaps even on the sub-floor.

Gross.

(NOTE: If more than 20% of the carpet in a room has been affected, the carpet may need to be replaced.)

Potential Remedy: Sop up as much of the liquid as you can with a clean towel. Mix a solution of equal parts hot water and vinegar. Wet a towel and scrub the spot with a circular motion. If it still smells when the spot’s dry, try it again. If the odor improves, but the spot still looks ugly, mist Hydrogen Peroxide onto the spot and rake it in with your fingers. No need to soak the fibers, just make sure they are coated. (NOTE: Don’t use peroxide on wool or other natural fibers.)

If vinegar and peroxide don’t get the job done, look for an enzymatic pet spot cleaner at your local pet store. Be sure to follow the directions on the bottle.

If a male cat’s spraying is the problem, you may also want to consult your vet for advice on curtailing the bad behavior. Neutering oftentimes ends spraying habits.

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2.) Lingering Pet Smell:

Problem: Your dog’s lingering odors are, in large part, body odors. Body odor is caused by bacteria, so not only do you need to deodorize, you need to kill the bacteria, which is tough to do without hiring a Professional Carpet Cleaner or renting an Ozone Machine.

Potential Remedy: Sprinkling baking soda on your carpet at night and then vacuuming it up in the morning may help. Baking soda won’t kill bacteria, but it may absorb odor (like when you put an open box in your refrigerator). If this doesn’t work, there are many products on the market, many of which are also designed to sprinkle on, then vacuum away.

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3.) Pet hair.

Problem: Hair needles it’s way into soft surfaces, making extraction difficult.

Potential remedy: You’re probably doing the right thing already. The question is, are you doing it enough? See, vacuuming is the key here. Vacuum early, vacuum often. Vacuum every day if you can; it doesn’t take long. Pay special attention to those areas prone to trampling. Make sure the bag or cylinder or whatever receptacle your vacuum has is emptied. Vacuum. It’s not just for scaring the dog anymore.

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4.) Feces.

Problem: It’s easy to panic and exacerbate the problem.

Potential remedy: Let the poo dry, then remove the solid bits. Mike recommends that you “Scrape any excess off the top, then dilute a small amount of dish soap in hot water, mixed with a cap full of ammonia.” Clean the spot(s) with a disposable towel dipped in this solution. Scrub in a circular motion. Careful not to get things too wet. ”White vinegar and water mixed 50/50 after the ammonia and dish soap solution should neutralize the PH so it doesn’t brown as it dries,” sayeth Mike. (Vinegar also 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, when the mess is clean and you’ve dried it as best as possible, 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, and it also helps prevent browning. After you’ve misted, use your fingers to rake it in.

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Unfortunately, these are not Be-All-End-All solutions. Sometimes, it is potentially cheaper and/or less damaging to call in a professional. Every house and every problem with odors has variables that make it unique. What works in one home, may not make much of a difference in another. On that note, it’s best that I add that when you clean your own carpet, you do so at your own discretion.

Randy’s Carpet Care is available for free estimates. If you have any questions or concerns about the pet odor in your home, call us at (616)392-1400!

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Thanksgiving & Gratitude

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We’re thankful for you.
After 37 years in the business, we’ve got quite a lot to be thankful for here at Randy’s Carpet Care, but you’re number one on that list! Without you, our wonderful, loyal customers, we wouldn’t be here. From our families to yours, thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!

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Schedule service between 11/27/17 & 12/29/17 and receive $10 OFF any service appointment over $100! *Subject to availability. Some restrictions may apply. Mention this post when calling (616) 392-1400.

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Meet Chelsie. She’s new to our front desk. Welcome her aboard when she answers your call!

Zach and Carl are our two newest Professional Carpet Cleaning Technicians. Be sure to welcome them to the team when you see them. We’re grateful to have them on board!

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Did you know?

Anytime you schedule carpet and upholstery to be cleaned in the same appointment, you save $20!

Call us today at (800)920-2202

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Speaking of upholstered furniture…

Grandpa’s favorite old chair has occupied the same space in your Grandparents’ living room for as long as you can remember. It’s off limits to everyone but Grandpa, but who else would want to sit in it anyway? It’s old, tattered, dirty, and the carpet in front of it is downright gross. The thought of putting your bare feet there is enough to turn your face green…

Click here to learn what you can do about it.

 

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Help Grandpa Rest Easier In Front of the Television

by Jeremy Strickland

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Grandpa’s favorite old chair has occupied the same space in your Grandparents’ living room for as long as you can remember. It’s off limits to everyone but Grandpa, but who else would want to sit in it anyway? It’s old, tattered, dirty, and the carpet in front of it is downright gross. The thought of putting your bare feet there is enough to turn your face green.

How’d it get like that?

The obvious answer is that Grandpa’s own feet did it, but there’s more to the story. Over the years, the carpet in front of the chair has taken in dirt like a sponge. Eventually, it took in more than it could hold, and you see it as it is now because the cup runneth over.

Think of a sponge. Pour enough water into a dry sponge, it’ll fill up and the water will spread from it. The same thing is happening in front of the chair, and yes, the dirt is spilling over and spreading out from Grandpa’s foot spot.

And your right to be grossed out by it. Within that spot of carpet is dirt and dust from outside as well is dead skin cells from Grandpa’s feet, germs, allergens, and crumbs of food from countless snacks.

Something else is happening too. Look at the dirt in that spot under a microscope, and you’ll see that it looks like little shards of glass. Because the carpet is made of plastic, Grandpa’s feet are wearing the spot out by grinding that dirt against the fibers of the carpet. All carpet in high traffic areas will eventually wear out, but the situation in front of Grandpa’s chair is accelerating the condition.

What can I do about it?

Call in a Professional Carpet Cleaner. A professional will be equipped to restore the spot to an impressive degree using chemicals and processes that aren’t available to the average do-it-yourselfer. It’s likely that, as I mentioned above, the fibers are worn to some degree, so the spot will still be visible after the cleaning, but the dirt will be gone and so will the gross-out factor.

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Can I prevent it?

High traffic areas in your home should be vacuumed often, as much as every day if possible. This includes areas going in and out of the home, kitchen, and bathrooms as well as areas in front of favorite seats, like Grandpa’s chair or the couch. Regular professional carpet cleaning is the other crucial ingredient to prevention. Once a year is optimal for most folks, but some homes require more.

Remember, when you schedule your next appointment with Randy’s Carpet Care, it doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. Oftentimes, such as in the winter, having key traffic areas cleaned (as described above) is a quick, inexpensive, and crucial option to keep your home looking it’s best, free from allergens, and you’ll extend the useful life of your carpets too.

And while you’re at it, have the upholstery of Grandpa’s favorite old chair cleaned too! Grandpa deserves it (and so does Grandma, for that matter!) At Randy’s Carpet Care, you’ll always save $20 when you have carpet and upholstery cleaned during the same appointment.

 

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Four Reasons Why It Is Crucial To Have Your Carpets Cleaned In Winter

by Jeremy Strickland

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Someone recently said to me that, “If you’re going to live in West Michigan, you have to make peace with the winter.” Sound advice, sure, but tough! I’ve always been more of a summer guy, preferring sunburn at the beach to sitting fireside at home while the snow piles outside. “Instead of complaining about the winter,” she continued, “find something you can enjoy, then get out there in the snow and do it!”

Snow or no, Randy’s Carpet Care enjoys caring for our fellow West Michiganders by cleaning their carpets. In fact, it’s a crucial job year round. Some of our customers, however, are like me, preferring the warmer months, and opt to having their carpets cleaned when there’s no snow, mud, and salt to track into their home. To you, I say, “Don’t wait!”

Consider the following:

  1. Snow, mud, and salt is not only unsightly, it may be forming visible traffic paths and damaging your carpet.
  2. The more salt that builds up in your carpets, the more difficult it may be to clean. You may see it recrystallize after a carpet cleaning, requiring a second cleaning.
  3. Randy’s Carpet Care’s Professional Carpet Cleaning Technicians use door blocks to keep the cold air outside so your warm home stays that way. We also utilize walk-off mats and practice mindfulness to ensure we are not bringing in more snow, salt, and mud.
  4. If your area rugs are what takes winter’s hit at the entries of your home, you can have them picked up, cleaned at the Randy’s Carpet Care shop, and then returned to you.

Remember, having your carpet cleaned does not have to be a massive undertaking. In the winter season, it is beneficial to keep your entry carpets cleaned, and this may be all you need. Not only is this inexpensive in the moment, it will save you money in the long run as keeping your carpets clean will extend their useful life.

Love it or hate, winter is right around the corner. What do you do to make the most of it? Leave a comment below and tell us why you love winter in West Michigan!

 

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Randy’s Carpet Care on Grand Rapids’ Fox 17 Morning Mix

Jeremy on Morning Mix

The good folks over at the Fox17 Morning Mix studios were kind enough to have me as a guest this morning. Here’s the complete segment, where I chat with LeighAnn about Randy’s, the perils of DIY cleaning, and the benefits of professional cleaning.

FROM THE FOX17 WEBSITE:

Are your carpets and upholstery filthy from dirty pets, hyper children, and everyday life during the summer?

Randy’s Carpet Care, voted “Best of the Best” by readers of the Holland Sentinel for 14 years, can help make your carpets look almost as clean as they day you bought them.

Jeremy Strickland, Marketing Director from Randy’s Carpet Care, says that this method is much more efficient than trying to clean up extreme stains and excessive amounts of filth out of the carpet yourself…

READ MORE HERE.