Monday, 31 January 2011

Tips for Cleaning Upholstery

The tricky part is to determine the safest cleaning procedure for optimum cleaning results. Unless you are familiar with a number of products, some research is necessary. Once you have made that choice, this is the recommended order of action:

  • Vacuum thoroughly to remove dry 'particulate' soil.
  • Pre-treat with a suitable solvent to emulsify oils in the arms and head rest areas.
  • Pre-spotting as necessary.
  • Preconditioning to suspend packed oils and soil.
  • Thorough but gentle rinse with maximum extraction using a suitable machine hired for the job.
  • Depending on the fabric, touch-up and finish.

If your furniture is past its best, it may be a risk worth taking but saving money may cost you dear if you want to keep your suite looking good for a few more years. It could help to talk to a professional and compare the cost of cleaning with the cost of having to shop for a new suite.

Paraphrasing a Red Adair quote, "If you think a professional is expensive, just wait and see what an amateur could cost you."

Picking up the phone for a quote is cheap and easy - a quotation should be free.

Start here for upholstery cleaning quotes in the Northants, Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes areas.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Industry Standards - Carpet Cleaning Procedure

There are industry standards for carpet cleaning: PAS 86: 2008 from NCCA (National Carpet Cleaners Association) to ensure the best possible carpet cleaning job.

  • Pre vacuuming - thorough vacuuming with powerful vacuums to remove all dry soil - including edges and corners.
  • Furniture Moving - utmost care is exercised in moving furniture items to access and clean carpet underneath. Upon careful reposition, moisture resistant tabs or blocks are placed to protect carpet and furniture from moisture damage.
  • Spotting - special reagents will be applied where necessary in attempts to remove persistent spots and spills. Specialised spotting may incur an additional charge.
  • Preconditioning - application of specifically formulated surfactants to increase soil suspension, thus minimising moisture retention, will be applied to heavily soiled areas.
  • Thorough Cleaning - all areas are custom cleaned using the finest equipment and cleaning compounds for the removal of maximum soil and care of fibres. All areas are rinsed for maximum soil and cleaning solution removal.
  • Nap/Pile Setting - a final grooming will aid in restoring the fluff and set of carpet fibres for maximum resilience. It assures faster drying and provides a finished, detail look.
  • Minimum Dry Time - ensure that the carpet is dried and returned to normal use within a reasonable time after cleaning with proper air flow and /or ventilation. Times will vary with the degree of soiling, humidity and temperature. Windows should be left open to assist drying, or heating system switched on after cleaning has finished.

The NCCA welcomes professional carpet cleaners.

(published courtesy of NCCA member, Homecare Cleaning Services)

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Misconceptions about Carpet Cleaning

There are 6 costly misconceptions about carpet cleaning detailed below, as provided by Phil Vissian of HomeCare Carpet Cleaning Services of Milton Keynes, Bedford and Northants. (There are also 4 recommendations and 9 questions you should ask before inviting a carpet cleaner into your home - these are addressed on the website.)

MISCONCEPTION 1: YOU SHOULD WAIT AS LONG AS POSSIBLE BEFORE CLEANING YOUR CARPET.

No. Dirt is an abrasive - like sandpaper. Every time you step on the carpet, you grind dirt into your carpet fibres. This cuts your carpet, just as if you had used a knife, causing it to wear out faster. A dirty carpet will not last nearly as long as a clean carpet. Even though vacuuming helps, it's simply not enough. The longer you wait to have your carpet cleaned, the more damage you do to your carpet and the faster it wears out.

MISCONCEPTION 2: THE ONLY REASON YOU SHOULD CLEAN YOUR CARPETS IS TO REMOVE THE DIRT.

No. As you probably know, outdoor air contains pollens, fungi, bacteria, air pollution, cigarette smoke, car exhaust fumes and hundreds of other chemicals. When you and other members of your family enter your home, you carry those pollens, bacteria and chemicals in your hair and on your skin, clothing and shoes. Not surprisingly, all those chemicals, pollens and bacteria end up in your carpet.

If you have allergies, asthma, emphysema or other breathing problems, one major source of your problem could be the pollens, fungi and chemicals in your carpet.

In addition, tobacco smoke contains over 4000 different chemical compounds, 43 of which cause cancer. Even if you don't smoke, those chemicals get on your shoes and as a result, are carried into your home and deposited in your carpet. If you are sensitive to cigarette smoke, you might find that you'll breathe easier after you employ a company to remove those harmful chemicals out of your carpet.

So, in addition to removing the dirt, another important reason to clean your carpet is to rid it of pollens, fungi, bacteria, chemicals and the tars and residue from tobacco smoke.

MISCONCEPTIONS 3: ONE METHOD OF CARPET CLEANING IS AS GOOD AS ANOTHER.

No. You can choose from two primary methods - Dry cleaning or hot water extraction. At Homecare Cleaning services we use both systems- you make the choice. First, I'll explain dry cleaning. Many people believe that dry cleaning your carpets is like dry cleaning your clothing. This is not true. All carpet cleaning methods use water in one form or another
  • DRY CLEANING METHODS.
When a carpet cleaner uses dry foam, shampoo is applied to your carpet, allowed to dry then the dried shampoo is extracted into a vacuum. Can you imagine applying shampoo to your hair, allowing it to dry and then removing the shampoo from your head with a vacuum? This method can leave a residue in your carpet, which is one reason why dry foam is not very effective. For soiled or stained carpets in the home, this system is best suited to regular maintenance cleaning for commercial carpets. I do not recommend this method for cleaning carpets in the home, as residues attract soil.

The Dry Chemical method is similar to dry foam. The major difference is that the operator sprays a product onto the carpet, then sets a large cotton bonnet on your carpet. Using a rotary machine, the bonnet spins from side to side, absorbing the dirt that's in the carpet. After the bonnet is saturated with dirt, another cotton bonnet is applied. Bonnet cleaning is like trying to use a large towel to rub the dirt out of your carpet. Like dry foam, it's not very effective, especially if your carpets are dirty. It can also fracture the carpet fibres. As above, I believe this to be a system which has its place for maintaining lightly soiled carpets.

The dry-compound method spreads an absorbent mixture that looks like wet sawdust all over carpet. Then the machine brushes the mixture into the carpet, Which causes dirt to absorb into the mixture. When the mixture has dried, a vacuum cleaner removes the cleaning substance out of the carpet. This is the HOST Dry Carpet Cleaner System. It is recommended by over 70 carpet mills, and is Europe's No. 1 Dry Carpet Cleaner System. We provide this popular system which leaves carpets dry upon completion.
  • HOT WATER EXTRACTION METHOD
The Second carpet cleaning method is called Hot water extraction. This is a short description which indicates that a hot water cleaning solution is forced under high pressure into the carpet and then extracted from the fibres. This method is also referred to as steam cleaning even though steam is not used. Excellent results can be acquired with this system as its deep cleaning action fully penetrates every fibre and extracts over 90% of the moisture from the carpet being cleaned. (We follow the National Carpet Cleaning Associations' Approved 12 step Professional Cleaning System.)

Shaw Industries, the world's largest carpet manufacturer, recommends hot water extraction, as do Wilton Royal. In order to achieve even better results, Homecare Cleaning Services uses a Powerful Truck mounted cleaning machine, these superior Machines extract more dirt & moisture from your carpet, leaving it cleaner & drier. We also use Cleaning products that are Biodegradable.

All Products are safe & non toxic and no soapy residues are left on the carpet.

The most effective way to clean a carpet is with a hot-water extraction unit which thoroughly extracts dirt, harmful bacteria, fungi, chemicals, pollens and tobacco residue from your carpet. There are machines that use cold and even warm water to remove dirt (i.e. hire machines) but they are not as effective as the hot water extraction method. The most powerful machines are truck mounted, Homecare Cleaning Services are the first in the county to offer the power of Truck mounted cleaning - once you've tried our system you'll never try another.

Some people believe that hot water damages your carpet, but this isn't true. By washing and rinsing your carpet with hot water, we clean your carpet completely - in the same way that a person showers and rinses off the dirt and soap will be cleaner than the person who takes a sponge bath.

MISCONCEPTION 4: HAVING THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT IS ALL A COMPANY NEEDS TO CLEAN YOUR CARPET PROPERLY.

Not True. Many companies own hot-water cleaners, but a large number of employees/owner operators don't know how to use them. You probably know of someone who has bought the high-tech computer on the market, but didn't learn how to use it for a year or more. The same is true with carpet cleaning machines. The company may own good equipment, but the employees may not know how to use it correctly. This is why it's important that you choose your carpet cleaning company carefully.

The best carpet cleaning companies are those that have been fully trained by Prochem Training School or the National Carpet Cleaners Association. A carpet cleaning company cannot buy these certifications, only through study, experience and the successful completion of formal written examinations, can companies become full members. Cleaners who are certified by the N.C.C.A have, in effect, earned a degree in carpet cleaning.

The N.C.C.A provides written credentials to companies it certifies. So before you choose a carpet cleaner, ask to see written proof of the company's .N.C.C.A certification. DO NOT EMPLOY 'COWBOY' COMPANIES. Your furnishings are a valuable asset.

MISCONCEPTION 5: THE COMPANY THAT OFFERS THE LOWEST PRICE OFFERS THE BEST VALUE.

Not true, here are two important points to consider.

  • The price you see offered may not be for the services you want performed.

    Before you select a company, decide what you want to accomplish. If you want the carpet cleaner to remove only some of the dirt, you can choose from hundreds of companies that use shampoo systems or other cleaning methods, or you can even rent a machine if you wish to do the job yourself.

    On the other hand, if you want your carpet thoroughly cleaned - if you want to remove the harmful dirt, bacteria, pollens, chemicals and tobacco residues, then you need to hire a company that uses a professional hot water extraction system. This is the only way to assure that your carpet remains healthy and free from dirt, disease-causing bacteria and abrasive chemicals. So, remember that the price you see offered may not be for the services you want performed.
  •  
  • The price you see advertised may not be the price you pay.

    Many home-owners have learned that the low price they saw advertised was not the amount that they were charged. If you have ever hired a carpet cleaner, you too may have been the victim of false or misleading advertising. You probably learned the hard way that some carpet cleaners offer a cheap price - usually between £8.00 and £12.00 per room - and then pressure you into paying a lot more once they get inside your home. Not my company. OUR REPUTATION IS YOUR GUARANTEE.

As in all businesses and professions, the carpet cleaning industry has its share of bad apples. I take no pleasure in telling you this but some are unethical - and, sadly, a few are dishonest. By their misleading advertising and false promises, they cast a dark shadow on our entire industry.

Then you'll find other carpet cleaners - experienced professionals, like me, who work hard to earn your trust and respect.

As a way of improving our profession, I've dedicated my business to educating the public. The only way to make an intelligent decision is to have the facts you need. This is why I have written this message. In order to help promote my efforts at consumer education, I am a full member of both National Carpet Cleaner Association and Proclean (Professional Cleaners Association). My company is dedicated to raising standards in the cleaning industries.

MISCONCEPTION 6: ANY HONEST CARPET CLEANING COMPANY SHOULD BE ABLE TO GIVE YOU AN EXACT PRICE OVER THE TELEPHONE.

I wish this was true, but it isn't. Customers often think that if they want to clean four rooms and the price is £25.00 per room, then the price will be £100.00. But this isn't always true.

Honest, reputable carpet cleaning companies usually price carpet cleaning by the square foot. So, if you would like me to tell you the exact cost of cleaning your carpet, I need to know the exact number of square feet that you want cleaned. To get an accurate measurement, I have a measuring wheel I use to calculate the exact size of your carpet area. We measure the rooms in question and multiply the square feet by the price; this is a fairer system for both parties.

You'll be glad to know that the carpeted area to be cleaned is not nearly as great as most people think. For example, if you want your entire home cleaned and your home is nearly 2000 square feet, the amount of carpeting to be cleaned might be only 1200 square feet. This is because most home measurements are outdoor measurements. Plus, I deduct the area taken up by walls, room dividers and like. The result is that the actual area to be cleaned is usually only about 60% of the square footage of your home. One must be honest and fair. This has been my success: COMPLETE A HIGH QUALITY JOB PROFESSIONALLY AT A FAIR PRICE.

Here are the links for your local Homecare Cleaning Services web sites:
Homecare Carpet Cleaning Milton Keynes
Homecare Carpet Cleaning Bedford
Homecare Carpet Cleaning Rushden
Homecare Carpet Cleaning Wellingborough
Homecare Carpet Cleaning Northampton