DIY – Can I get urine out of my carpet without cleaning products?

by Jeremy Strickland

guilty dog.jpg

First: The bad news…

Many a conscientious parent and grandparent attempts to avoid the use of chemicals in their homes. Despite best intentions, when Fido has an “accident,” you can not clean urine out of a carpet without cleaning products, and I don’t recommend that you attempt to clean it yourself.

Urine forms ammonium salts in the residues as it dries, and these salts have to be broken down in order to clean the spot (otherwise, the salts will potentially keep the urine moist under the carpet for years). This requires an enzymatic cleaning solution. If the spot goes deep, you may also need to clean the back of the carpet with this solution, replace the padding, and scrub the sub floor.


Now, some good news…

If you have an elderly yellow urine spot on your carpet which is posing an aesthetic problem but doesn’t stink, it may be possible to remove the spot with hydrogen peroxide. Put a clean spray nozzle right on the brown bottle, mist the spot, then rake the chemical in with your fingers (or an old brush if you’re squeamish). If the spot remains after eight hours or so, try again. The peroxide will turn into oxygen and water after it’s exposed to life outside the bottle, so you’re not going to hurt anything unless your carpet is wool (don’t use hydrogen peroxide on natural fibers).

That said, peroxide is no magic bullet. It may work, it may not. There’s quite a few factors involved in its success, but think of it like that time you got ketchup on your vintage Smurfs t-shirt and didn’t get it treated and cleaned right away. That ketchup spot became a permanent stain, didn’t it. Sad too. You loved that shirt.




If this old urine spot hasn’t been professionally cleaned in the past, it may still be damp underneath, depending on how old it is and what or who peed there. If it was your pet chihuahua, Randall Tiberius Montgomery III, there’s probably not much of a problem, his bladder is quite small and timid so there was probably not enough urine to penetrate the backing of the carpet. However, if your neighborhood Sasquatch lumbered out of the woods behind your house to borrow garlic to ward off the mosquitoes (he doesn’t like chemicals either), and then you told him a joke that made him laugh so hard that he peed… Well, Sasquatch’s monster bladder definitely produced enough urine to penetrate the carpet backing where it may remain moist under the carpet for years to come.


When there’s enough urine to penetrate the carpet backing, it will hit the padding underneath and spread. A urine spot can be like an iceberg, where you only see 1/5 of it above the surface. Because the salts that form in the residues will keep the spot damp under the surface of the carpet, treating it is a much bigger issue than making the visible spot go away.

The moral of this story is, if Bigfoot peed on your carpet, skip the peroxide, and call a professional carpet cleaner. If you’re in West Michigan, Randy’s Carpet Care specializes in pet spot removal. Call today to schedule your free estimate!

(616) 392-1400



DIY – How do I get rid of bad carpet smells?

by Jeremy Strickland

bad smell.jpg

Bad carpet smells are the worst!

Luckily, you may be able to deal with them cheaply. Baking soda will work in your carpet just as it does in your refrigerator and absorb odors. Sprinkle it across the carpet in the offensive room(s) in the evening. In the morning, vacuum it up. If this doesn’t do the trick, try it again. You won’t hurt anything.

That’s the good news. Here’s the bad…

If your carpet smells bad because of pet accidents, baking soda won’t do the trick. You’ll need to have the carpets cleaned professionally, and if the problem goes deep or is old and ongoing, you may even need to replace padding or scrub the sub-floor.

More bad news: Soft surfaces will absorb odors, so it is not uncommon for odor problems to go beyond the carpet and into curtains, paint, and drywall. If this is the case, I recommend you give an ozone generator a try. You can purchase one online or rent one from your local carpet cleaning company. This will require an evening set-up and a morning take down, and it works by adding an extra oxygen molecule to the air, neutralizing odors. Just remember that you don’t want to be home while this machine is running. That extra molecule of sweet sweet oxygen will not make you feel real hot.

When in doubt, call for a professional opinion! At Randy’s Carpet Care, we specialize in pet spot removal, and estimates are always free. If you’re in West Michigan, call to schedule yours today: (616) 392-1400


Six Reasons to Hire a Professional After Your Flood

by Jeremy Strickland


Winters in West Michigan have a lot to offer. There’s sledding, skiing, and snowshoeing. There’s the pristine beauty of freshly fallen snow. There’s the joy of leaving the first set of footprints on your favorite trail in the woods. There’s snow angels. There’s the looks on your kids’ faces when they wake up to a snow day. There’s shoveling, snow-blowing, and salting. There’s stuck cars. There’s frozen and bursting pipes. There’s unexpected melting. There’s a flood in your basement.

There’s a lot of work to be done. And quick.

Have Michigan winter; will flood basements. This is a stressful and worrisome scenario for any homeowner, and when it happens, you need to know what to do. Lucky for you, there’s a likelihood that insurance will cover you. It’s also lucky that not only do you have a professional water damage expert a phone call away, you absolutely should call them.


Here are my top six reasons not to attempt flood water clean-ups yourself:

  1. There’s potential danger: Remember when you were a kid and you were thrown out of the public pool by the lifeguard because she saw lightning? That’s because water is a conductor, and electricity is not so good for your health. If the water level is above your outlets after a flood, you need to stay clear.
  2. Water is a sneaky devil: Water’s always looking for a way to keep spreading, invading spaces, and destroying your stuff. It gets into nooks and crannies, cabinets, walls… Everything. In fact, unless you have an infrared camera, you’re unlikely to locate all of the water that needs drying after your flood, and that leads us to…
  3. Mold is imminent: Like you and I, mold requires water and organic material to feed on. Unlike you and I, mold grows fast. Like, in a day or two. If you do not locate, dry, and treat all affected areas, mold and mildew will form. This could negatively impact the air quality of your house, the sensitive occupants within, and even your house itself.
  4. Experience and equipment counts: Chances are, when the pipes burst, your plan will be A: Panic. B: Remove your belongings. C: Scoop water out one bucketful at a time. Okay, you may have a better plan than that, but most folks do not have the proper experience, tools, extraction equipment, fans, dehumidifiers, or antimicrobial chemicals necessary to get the job done efficiently, completely, and in a timely manner. Professionals will also come prepared with a plan and the know-how to execute it.
  5. There may be a ton of work to do: Besides locating, extracting, drying, cleaning, and treating the affected areas, there is quite a bit to do. Furniture needs moved. Carpet may need to come up. Carpet padding may need to be torn out. Drywall may need to be cut away. Damaged goods may need to be hauled away and disposed of. These are arduous tasks.
  6. One word: Sewage. A few more words: It’s not just clean water pipes that freeze and burst.

Guess what the world’s most dangerous chemical is; the one responsible for the most deaths on planet Earth. Is it hydrochloric acid? Spitting Cobra venom? Lava? Nope. It’s H20. Water. Water is a necessary element for life and alternately, a destructive force. Attempting to deal with flood water yourself may increase the damage done to your belongings and your home. When winter flooding strikes, save yourself the time, effort, headache, and money by calling in your local professional.

Water Damage_ Meet Randy's.

Randy’s Carpet Care has nearly four decades of experience with flood water clean-ups and has been voted Best of the Best (formerly known as Best of West Michigan) by the readers of the Holland Sentinel newspaper for the last fourteen consecutive years. If you’re in West Michigan, do not hesitate to call (616) 392-1400 the moment you discover a problem.





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

by Jeremy Strickland

spag spill on carpet.jpg

“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.


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.



Best of the Best 2017


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!


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. 

ink stain11

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.


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.


Don’t Make These Devastating DIY Mistakes!

by Jeremy Strickland

frustrated cleaner.jpg

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.


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.

too much of a good thing.jpg

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.


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.


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.


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

by Jeremy Strickland


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.

peroxide bottle

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…).


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).


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.)