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.

Atlas, Icarus, Pandora and 3 Myths About Your Carpet

by Jeremy Strickland

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We humans have been using myth to interpret our experience of the world since before recorded history. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the carpet of your home through the lens of three famous Greek myths…

  1. Atlas_sculptureFor his role in the war against the Gods on Mount Olympus, the Titan called Atlas was punished by Zeus to stand on the edge of the Earth and hold up the sky on his shoulders (…and you thought your job was grueling!). The carpeting is the Atlas of your home, taking quite a punishment, holding up your entire household. The carpeting is also like a cloud in the sky. When you can see that your carpet is dirty, that cloud is full to bursting. You are at critical mass, the sky on Atlas’ shoulders is about to fall, it’s going to rain! This is particularly troublesome in high traffic areas because if you were to look at the accumulated dirt under a microscope, you’d see that it looks like shards of glass. Your carpet is probably plastic (upwards of 60% are made from nylon), so your feet are grinding these shards into the plastic fibers of the carpet, accelerating wearing (AKA irreversible damage).
  2. Daedelus & IcarusTo escape the Minotaur’s Labyrinth, Daedalus built wings of wax for himself and his son Icarus, who he warned not to fly to close to the sun. Well, if you’ve ever told your kids not to give in to temptation, you can guess how well this went over with Icarus once those wings were strapped on. Sun. Wax. Melt. Fall. Nice knowing you, Icarus! You’re likely to be tempted like Icarus to clean your own carpet, and the freedom you feel with every success is going to lead you ever closer to the sun. While you can buy or rent your own carpet cleaning machine, they are no where near as powerful as the truck mounted engine utilized by a professional. Furthermore, specific spots require specific chemicals and processes to effectively clean. Which leads us to…
  3. Opened_up_a_Pandora's_box.jpgPandora had a big box filled with all of the evils of the world. When curiosity got the best of her, she peeked inside, inadvertently letting loose all of the box’s contents upon the Earth, save for hope, which she managed to close the lid on just in time. You’re like poor Pandora when you clean carpet spots yourself; your innocent action may be doing more harm than good. See, some products will work for some spots, but when you empty those bottle’s contents into your carpet, you may make the spot worse by spreading its evil or setting it in. If you are not rinsing those evils out of the carpet, their residues will create a trap for dirt, accelerating soiling.  A professional carpet cleaning technician will have the knowledge and the tools to get the job done right.

Good thing there was still hope left in Pandora’s Box! Carpet cleaning is a crucial (and in some cases, even dramatic) home improvement. It’s an investment in the health and well being of your family. Having your carpets cleaned at least once a year will keep your home looking it’s best, remove germs and allergens, and lengthen the useful life of your carpet.

That’s no myth.

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Tulip Time 2017

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Every Spring, our quiet little beach town of Holland, MI becomes a tourist Mecca, as people from all over the world come to see our thousands millions of tulips in bloom. There are three parades during the festivities, and for the first time, Randy’s Carpet Care participated in all three. What a great experience! I brought my eight year old son, Viktor, to the first parade. This was the Volksparade (or the “People’s Parade”), which includes a procession of street scrubbers in Dutch costume. I had Viktor blow soap bubbles at the crowd with  a motorized bubble fan out of the passenger-side window. You wouldn’t believe how many people yelled “Bubbles!” at us, cheering! To the second parade, the Kinderparade (or the “Children’s Parade”), I brought my ten year old daughter, Evie. Just as her brother did the day before, Evie blew bubbles at the crowd and had an absolute blast. Finally, for the last parade, the Muziekparade (or the “Music Parade”), Rick Harrington, a RCC Technician, drove the van while I blew the bubbles.

Here are some pictures from the experience:

And here are a couple videos of that amazing crowd:

Could your beautiful rug actually be an attractive fake?

by Jeremy Strickland
NOTE: Names and places have been changed to protect the innocent.

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John was in China for business, but he was sure to make time to do some shopping for his wife. In addition to three traditional Chinese flower paintings on silk, he purchased her a rug from a street-market in Shanghai. “It was very, very expensive,” his wife Sylvia told me in a hushed tone. “It’s one hundred percent silk!” Indeed, the fringed rug was a lustrous beauty, cream colored with simple, soft pastel pink, blue, and green floral patterns. It added a subtle touch of color to their white-walled living room, where it had lain for nearly forty years.

I was meeting with John and Sylvia to pick the rug up and take it back to the Randy’s Carpet Care shop for cleaning. Sylvia was trepidatious about having her prized possession cleaned again. A previous professional carpet cleaning company had cleaned it once, many years ago, but the texture was different afterwards. She didn’t feel like the best possible job had been done. “I need you to assure me that you can actually clean it without ruining it. It’s irreplaceable. You can’t use water on it.”

“Of course. We’ll take every precaution. It’s in good hands,” I said. I told her that we’d check for color fastness and clean it by hand with a towel if need be, however the idea of cleaning without water didn’t sound right to me. Can you imagine cleaning your hair without water? “I’ll have our senior-most technician have a look at it,” I assured her. “Mike’ll know what to do.” So, with some gentle encouragement from John and a worried look in her eyes, she let me roll up her precious rug and take it away.

The next morning, Mike knelt beside the rug in our shop to inspect it. “This isn’t silk,” he said, examining the seam where the fringe was sewn to the body of the rug. “It’s probably rayon.”

Well, that was a shock!

Mike grabbed the smart-phone out of his pocket to do a Google search. “This happens to people overseas all the time,” he said, hunting an article for me to read. The article talked about foreign travelers being duped in Shanghai, where unsuspecting tourists are oftentimes sold so-called “one-hundred percent silk” rugs when they are actually made from “Art Silk” or “Man-Made Silk.” “Art Silk,” is a clever way to say “ART-ificial Silk.” As you know, real silk comes from a worm, so “Man-Made Silk” is another dressed-up lie. Most of the time, these rugs are actually made from rayon, bamboo viscose, or mercerized cotton.

I called Sylvia right away. The reason why the texture changed after the last cleaning is because rayon tends to get a little crispy after it’s cleaned. She was sad to find out the rug was a fake but appreciative that we were honest about our discovery. “The rug’s been a part of our home for years, so I can’t imagine being without it.”

“Maybe I’ll go and demand my money back,” John joked.

To avoid falling for this trap yourself, here’s what you need to look for:

  1. Silk rugs are one complete piece, so the fringe will come out of the body of the rug and not be sewn on to it.
  2. If you look at the back of a handmade rug, you can see the individual knots. Because silk is such a fine thread, silk rugs can be woven with a thousand or more knots per square inch. The higher the knot count, the more likely the rug is silk.
  3. Because of the high knot count, silk rugs typically have quite colorful and intricate patterns. They are not shiny or lustrous (Rayon is).
  4. Burn tests are used by professionals to determine what a rug is made of. This is why “Art Silk” or “Man Made Silk” rugs oftentimes have real silk fringe sewn on. See, the fringe is the most obvious source for an inconspicuous bit of rug that can be snipped away, while the pile in the body of the rug doesn’t allow for safely cutting off a bit.

If you do indeed have a silk rug, precautions should be taken for cleaning. Consider this:

    1. Water won’t hurt silk. In fact, like wool, silk can hold nearly a third of it’s weight in water before you can even tell for sure if it’s wet. Water may, however, cause the dyes to run. As with all natural fiber rugs, a test for color-fastness should be performed before cleaning.
    2. Heat is the real enemy. Silk is a protein based fiber, so heat will cause a chemical reaction that will alter it. Think about it in terms of cooking. Meat is mostly protein. What happens to meat when it’s cooked?
    3. A silk rug is usually quite an investment. Do you want to risk ruining it by cleaning it yourself? Instead, have it professionally cleaned.

 

If you are in the market for a new area rug and are considering an investment in a handmade silk area rug, there are plenty of options for you online. Turkey, Pakistan, India and other countries produce beautiful work. However, it’s not just fakes that you need to look out for. Look into the manufacturer so that you can rest easy, knowing that child labor was not used to produce your rug. India ships about 90% of their product to the United States and is developing a label to let consumers know they are purchasing their rugs from a reputable vendor. Learn more here.

For more information on swindle-proofing your area rug purchase, check this out.

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Who do you trust with your special, beautiful area rugs?

As you can see in the video above, your handmade area rugs are pretty special. Who do you trust to clean yours? For those of you in West Michigan, Randy’s Carpet Care offers in-home as well as in-shop professional cleaning of all kinds of area rugs. We’ll even pick-up the rugs from you and deliver them back to you after they’ve been carefully and professionally cleaned. Call today for details. (616)392-1400

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How much time to complete this important operation?

by Jeremy Strickland

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Above you, the florescent lights are blinding. To your left and to your right, hospital staff comes and goes in powder-blue scrubs, gloves, masks, and skull caps. They poke and prod your arms while words of comfort escape their lip-less faces. Your gurney is moving now, one of the wheels a bit squeaky. Above you, lights come and go. A woman’s voice announces a Code 6 in Emergency, Code 6 in Emergency. Above you, a surgeon’s head moves into your line of sight from a funny angle, blocking the lights. “Don’t worry, ma’am,” she assures you as you pass an orderly with a cafeteria cart, broadcasting the scent of turkey and mashed potatoes at your nose. “Brain surgery is routine. We do it all the time, every day,” she continues. You smile at her as best as you can with the oxygen tube in your mouth.”Why, we’re so efficient, we’ll have you in and out of the operating theater, alive and well in under an hour or your money back! Guaranteed!”

Wait. What?!?

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Some things shouldn’t be rushed. Carpet cleaning isn’t brain surgery, but it is an operation in your very own sanctuary, a science and an art with a right way of doing things and a wrong way of doing things. Some carpet cleaning companies will “gun and run,” valuing quantity (more customers crammed into a day equates to more cash in pocket, after all) over quality work. Well, a fast cleaning is not synonymous with a job well done.

How long should it take? Until the job is done.

An hour is not a sufficient amount of time to dig into a frontal lobe or to clean the carpet of an entire apartment, let alone a house. In most cases, if a technician gets a job done this quickly, he’s sacrificing quality in one way or another. When deciding on the right carpet cleaning company for you and your family, be sure to ask about timing. Take advantage of offers for free estimates, as this will give you the opportunity to elaborate on your priorities and gauge realistic expectations for your cleaning, including cost, quality commitment, and timing. That’s using your brain!

Carpet cleaning is routine. We do it all the time, every day. Randy’s Carpet Care will be in and out of your home in the time it takes to ensure a job performed to our own award winning standards. Guaranteed!

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

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4 Excuses You’re Making That You Should Immediately Reconsider

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“Our carpet doesn’t look that dirty,” he says.

“We take our shoes off at the door,” she says.

“The carpet is only three years old,” he says.

“We didn’t want to have it cleaned because it’ll get dirty faster,” she says.

Excuses, excuses!

Professional carpet cleaning can be what you might call a “Tolerated Inconvenience.” While it’s quite nice to see and smell a clean carpet after the job has been finished, there are several points that give people pause when considering making the call. Some folks struggle to justify the expense. Besides cost, you also have to take the time out of your schedule to meet the technician, not to mention getting your house ready before they arrive. For some of those folks, that preparation may involve turning their kitchen into a storage space – i.e., an obstacle course – for a day. Speaking of obstacle courses, what about the time it takes the carpet to dry after the cleaning? Do you need to install monkey bars through your hallways and travel hand over hand in an effort to avoid walking on the wet carpet?

It’s easy to understand why folks make excuses and go without professional cleaning for long periods of time. Unfortunately, these excuses may end up being more costly than a cleaning, as cleaning is always cheaper than replacement. I’ve addressed preparation and dry time before, so let’s focus on the four excuses we opened with.

  1. “Everything looks okay to me.” What you don’t see is just as gross as what you do. Dead skin cells, hairs, germs, allergens, dust, grease, and dirt will build up over time, regardless of vacuuming. When you can see that your carpet is dirty, when all of the aforementioned particles have have come together to form visible spots and paths, this is a dirty carpet at critical mass. (This is also true of your upholstered furniture.)
  2. “No shoes!” This is smart. Best to keep whatever you’ve stepped in outside. However, you’ll notice that several of the elements I listed above don’t come from outside, they come from your family and pets. Also, as the carpets build to critical mass, your feet are picking up particles from high traffic areas and dumping them in less trafficked areas while the air flowing through your house is doing much the same.
  3. “This carpet is like new, man.” Can you imagine buying a new shirt, wearing it every day, and not washing it for one, two, or even three years? No way. Regular professional carpet cleaning isn’t just to keep things pretty, as we’ve discussed, and warranties oftentimes require it or they become void.
  4. “Cleaning makes it get dirty faster.” Ever see that episode of Seinfeld where Kramer warns Jerry not to shave his chest hair, saying that it’ll come back thicker and fuller each time? This is the same kind of false logic in the “cleaning makes it dirty” excuse. Properly performed Hot Water Extraction (aka steam cleaning) will not accelerate soiling from henceforth. There is an improper method, however, and I’ve written about both of these methods here.

When hiring a professional carpet cleaning company, you can expect them to do everything possible to mitigate the “Tolerated Inconvenience” of the process. If you have any anxieties about it, an excellent first step is to call and schedule a free estimate. With an estimate, you’ll know exactly what to expect, how to prepare, and what the cost will be beforehand. So, don’t make excuses. Call today!

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Best of the Best (x14)

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Thanks to the support of our loyal customers, Randy’s Carpet Care has again been voted “Best of the Best” by the readers of the Holland Sentinel. This is the fourteenth consecutive win for us in the category of “Carpet Cleaning.” From our families to yours, thank you to all who took the time to cast their vote. You are appreciated!

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Do You Even Know About This Inconvenient Law?

A cautionary tale by Jeremy Strickland

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Murphy’s Law is “If it can go wrong, it will.” With this in mind, it’ll be no surprise to you, dear reader, that the day after I last cleaned my carpets, a meatball got up off of my little boy’s dinner plate and committed suicide, leaping from the table top, splattering on the carpet by Vik’s feet. A red radius of grease and tomato sauce exploded from the orb as it made impact. Oh, the carnage!  Come to think of it, given the timing of this incident, it has got to be an example of another law altogether, not necessarily pertaining to what can go wrong so much as when. Let’s call it “Viktor’s Law.” We’ll state it as, “If it can go wrong at an inopportune time and/or location, it will.”

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Now, I’m fortunate enough to be trained as an elite specialist in this kind of situation. Not only could I adeptly navigate Vik’s mourning of his lost meatball (with a rousing chorus of “On Top Of Spaghetti”), I also possess the know-how to deal with the crime scene. The trick is to treat for the grease, but the red tomato sauce could pose another problem and may require an alternate solution. No problem. I’m a professional carpet cleaning technician. I got this.

But what if I wasn’t a carpet cleaner? What if I was an accountant who didn’t know all of the words to “On Top of Spaghetti,” let alone how to remove a spot from the carpet? How would I know what to do in this situation? Would I even know whether or not the spot was something that I could treat myself? Probably not.

Because no two spills or spots are the same, different chemicals and different processes are required in order to get optimum results. Let’s look at a few spots that an accountant (or you) could handle on her own, and then we’ll talk about other spots which are best left to a professional.

Vomit and feces, gross as they may be, can usually be cleaned out of your carpet without calling in a professional. I’ve outlined this process in detail here. Gum can also be taken out with DIY methods. What you want to do is, fill a sandwich bag with ice, seal it, and leave it on top of the gum for 20-30 minutes. Once the gum is frozen(ish), it’ll be simple enough to scrape it off of the carpet strands. Whatever spotting is left can probably be removed with hot water and a little dish soap. Don’t use other soaps. Unless you can rinse and extract, soaps will leave residues in the carpet that act like a tar pit; every dinosaur that walks by will leave a fossil behind, and the cleaned spot will get dirty again quick. Instead of soaps, distilled water, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide are better options. Vinegar’s a fine disinfectant (and bleach alternative) and peroxide is excellent for organic spots. Peroxide and cold water may even do the trick for cleaning blood out of your carpet, but I wouldn’t risk it if I were you. If you apply any heat or chemicals, you could end up cooking the blood, making it impossible to remove.

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So, cooked blood. Yeah. This is a good point to discuss what to call a professional in for:

  1. Red wine. Attempt to clean this yourself, and you risk shifting the PH, which will make cleaning more difficult, maybe impossible, even for a professional.
  2. Plant messes. You’ll make things worse by grinding dirt into the carpet’s backing.
  3. Paint, nail polish, ink, or wood stain. Don’t touch it. Abandon ship. Run away! Let it dry. If you attempt a cleaning, you could spread it.
  4. Urine. Ammonium salts form in the residues, making for a difficult spot which can stay moist underneath the carpet for years(!). I’ve written about this in detail here.
  5. Anything spilled on wool or other natural fibers. You’ll ruin the carpet. Remember Murphy’s Law?

Murphy reminds us that things will go wrong, and Viktor reminds us that things will go wrong in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you’re in West Michigan, you’re lucky to have Randy’s Carpet Care available to right these wrongs for you – any time, any place. Estimates are always free, so when in doubt, call (616)392-1400 and ask Angela or Mindy to send me out to meet you. Just be gentle if you want to talk about leaping meatballs. The wounds are still fresh.

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With Pets and Kids, Carpeting or Hardwood Floors?

By Jeremy Strickland

Note: Names and details have been changed to protect the innocent.

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Annie’s family got a new addition a few months back, a cute little Pyrenees puppy that one of her three kids named “Oscar.” The family had a lot of love to give but job and school schedules to keep, so the puppy found himself home alone for several hours every weekday, kept in the living room with the doorway gated and the TV on to keep him company. Puppies typically need to eliminate once every two hours, so you can imagine what happened in the absence of his new family. To make matters worse, Buttermilk, the family cat, came down with a bladder infection and took to the living room for relief too.

Once Buttermilk was better and Oscar was potty trained , I was called in to assess the damage and estimate a carpet cleaning. With a black-light in one hand and a moisture detector in the other, I found the twenty year old carpet to be more than 30% saturated with urine. Pulling up the carpet at a corner revealed that the problem was deep, going through the padding to the wood underneath. The living room carpet was beyond a cleaning, it needed to come up and be replaced.

Between the vet bills, cat medication, and the cost of cleaning supplies (you should have seen the array of spray bottles; Annie had purchased every possible cleaner she could find in-store and online), she had already spent a good chunk of cash. So, Annie’s question to me was, “Should I just avoid carpet altogether at this point and go with hardwood floors?” It’s easy enough to see why Annie would feel this way after what happened with her pets, but I still recommended carpet to her. In fact, there are quite a few vital reasons to consider carpeting over hardwood floors.

Accidents happen with pets and kids, but with technology advancing every aspect of our lives, new kinds of carpeting have been developed that are resistant to both stains and wearing (see: Triexta carpeting). Besides being cheaper than hardwood, carpet is a beneficial choice for a homeowner because it makes for a quieter house, provides warmth in the winter, is cozier on your feet, and cushions your kids’ tumbles. As Mike Sheridan (Randy’s Carpet Care’s senior-most technician) likes to point out, it also helps to filter the air of your house.

Ever see lines of dirt that have formed under a doorway or in the crevices at the baseboards of a home? These are filtration lines, where the air has been forced through the carpet at a concentrated point, and the carpet has trapped all of the particles carried with the air. Everything from dust to dog hair to your spouse’s last sneeze will get trapped in the carpet, and just like your furnace air filter, if you keep it clean, it will help to keep you healthy. Just as your kitchen trash bin needs to be emptied every couple of days, so does your carpet, so vacuum often, and have your carpets professionally cleaned at least once annually. You will see your investment in carpeting last a long time while improving the look and feel of your home and helping your family stay healthy and comfortable.

I called Annie to follow up with her yesterday. I was glad to hear that both Oscar and Buttermilk are happy, healthy, and going to the bathroom in the appropriate places. The living room is freshly carpeted. Annie and her husband feel that new carpeting instead of hardwood floors was the right choice for their family, saying that as much the kids love to play on the floor in front of the TV, it’s nice to know that they have a clean and comfortable spot for it.

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Potty training your new puppy can be tough. Here’s some helpful advice from the Humane Society: How To Housetrain Your Dog or Puppy

Did I mention that recyclable carpet is going on the market? If you’re considering new carpeting in your home but you’re concerned about the footprint you’ll leave behind, have a look at this: The First 100% Recyclable Carpets Are Here

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