DIY – Tackling Pet Odors

by Jeremy Strickland

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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

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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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