Welcome to Green Glove Carpet Cleaning hints & tips
I’ve created this page to assist with common stain faq’s and problems assosiated with carpets, upholstery & tiled floors. Click any of the headings below to take you directly to the subject matter, or simply scroll down the page to browse.
Carpet vs. Hard floor
Carpet, hardwood, or tiled flooring, it’s one of the biggest choices to make when building a new home or renovating. Obviously, the problem is that once the choice has been made, it can be a very costly exercise to replace the flooring should you wish to change it. Hard flooring like timber, laminate or tile and grout cleaning Melbourne are becoming more popular due to the fact that it is much easier to clean than carpet and in many cases is more aesthetically pleasing. There is no contest when it comes to mopping up spills, the hard floor will win 1st prize every time, hands down. So there are two very positive pros when it comes to hard floor coverings. Are there many cons?
These are the most common complaints heard from homeowners that have opted for a hard floor covering.
- Hard flooring is colder on the feet. Unless sub floor heating has been installed, a hard floor covering will always be colder than carpet. Of course, there are simple solutions to overcome this problem, rugs or mats beside the bed or in front of lounge suites, or even easier, wearing something on your feet to guard against the cold.
- Heating bills increase. Still on the subject of temperature, people who have converted from carpet to hard floor have noticed their heating bills increase. This is solely due to the fact that wall to wall carpeting acts as an insulator, in fact insulated floors account for 10 to 20% of heat loss from a home.
- A slip or fall can hurt more on a tiled or wooden floor. The difference between a broken bone or a bruise can often depend on the floor covering. Carpet with a decent underlay will soften a slip or a fall, an important factor when considering the very young or the elderly.
- Hard floor coverings are noisier. Techniques used on the installation can reduce the noise levels in a home with hard floor coverings, but nothing is as whisper quiet as a carpeted floor.
- Hard floor coverings are more expensive. Yes, a good quality hard floor covering properly laid will cost more initially than a good quality carpet. The argument then is that the regular professional cleaning required to maintain carpet in good condition will eventually rise above the cost of a hard floor covering.
Ok, by now you see that I am very pro carpet, but I always have been, even before I became a carpet cleaner. During my carpet cleaning training recognized by the IICRC, I was shown some documentation which increased my leaning toward carpet even more. I’d like to share it with you.
Back in the early 70’s in Sweden, there were various reports released to the public via media claiming that textile floor coverings could hold contaminants responsible for causing allergies and increasing asthma related complaints. As a result, the general public and many businesses began converting to hard floor coverings, so much so that the percentage of carpeted floors in Sweden fell from 40% in the mid seventies to around 2% by 1992. What was the result? The graph below speaks for itself.
A report released in later years stated that there was no evidence that the removal of carpet improved conditions for allergy patients. The report nowhere stated that the opposite was apparent, but merely stated that the benifits of comfort, insulation and noise reduction were lost with the replacement of carpet. As you can see though, allergy related complaints actually increased. So, does having carpet in a home in fact reduce asthma and allergy related complaints? Now, while it hasn’t been stated or scientifically proven, it has been suggested that carpet could actually work as a filter for dust and allergens in the home. With further explanation it starts to make sense. There is always dust in a home, floating in the air, some of it in the ‘breathing zone’, or settled on all available surfaces until it is removed or stirred up by movement, allowing it to mix back into the breathing zone again.
Firstly, lets consider that dust on a hard floor surface, and being disturbed by footsteps, or a breeze coming through an open door or window. There is nothing holding it to the floor, so a very large percentage of that dust will float back into the air, some of it into the breathing zone until it is allowed to settle again. Of course, removing as much dust from the environment is the best course of action, so very regular cleaning on hard floor surfaces is required, some claiming that it should even be every day or two.
Now lets consider that dust on a carpeted floor. As microscopic particles settle onto a carpeted floor, the fibers of the carpet can actually trap a large amount of those particles and hold them there, so that only a small percentage will be released back into the air when disturbed, resulting in an environment with fewer particles airborne in the breathing zone. As long as regular maintenance is performed including regular vacuuming with a vacuum that has a good quality filter, a large percentage of those particles won’t get the chance to redistribute in the air. So there it is, although not scientifically proven, it is highly possible that a carpeted home is actually beneficial for those that might suffer with asthma and allergy complaints.
Hints and Tips regarding DIY stain removal on carpet and upholstery
There are plenty of DIY carpet stain removal advice articles online today, using all manner of products that you may have in your laundry or kitchen cupboard. Some methods work, some don’t, and then….. some may actually leave you with a bigger problem than what you started with.
You may think that this is a scare tactic and my sole purpose is to talk to you regarding choice of Carpet Cleaning Mornington service providers, so that you can enjoy facilities that offer value for money.
The fact is, carpet cleaning is a science – a professional carpet cleaner will have been thoroughly trained in all aspects of carpet cleaning, including carpet fiber identification, how to properly use their equipment, and the importance of understanding ph levels when tackling soiling and stains.
While I do offer some advice on stain removal for many common stains, these treatments are very mild. The reason for this is that if you don’t have any success, a professional carpet cleaner will have a much better chance at removing the stain when a mild DIY remedy has been used rather than a radical & harsh remedy. Many permanent stains are the result of someone trying to remove them with a variety of cleaning agents – some of which are capable of what can be called ‘locking in’ or ‘setting’ the stain.
My main reason for only offering mild remedies & methods for stain removal is that I would much prefer to be known as someone who could assist with stain removal than someone whose advice contributed toward ‘setting’ a stain in carpet or upholstery.
If you are still thinking of trying a more aggressive approach toward tackling a stain from an advice column you have found online other than what I have offered below, here are a few tips and facts that may help avoid causing any damage to your carpet or upholstery.
- Knowing what your carpet is made of is the number one factor when it comes to stain removal. A professional carpet cleaner will always perform a carpet fiber identification test before commencing any cleaning or attempting stain removal.For example, wool carpet is very susceptible to bleaching, if you have a stain on woolen carpet, avoid using strong concentrations of alkine based cleaners such as ammonia or any cleaners with oxidizing properties. Laundry powders or liquids that advertise whitening or brightening strength properties may remove the stain, but they can also remove some of the colour from the carpet fiber itself, leaving a permanent lighter patch on the treated area. Polypropylene (Olefin) carpet is a very hard wearing synthetic carpet which fares very well with acid based food stain removal, but not so well with oil based stains. If treating a candle wax spill on Olefin Carpet with the hot iron technique, proceed with extreme caution, as just a brief touch with the iron on bare Olefin fiber can melt it, causing permanent damage. Not related to stain removal, but on the subject of Olefin carpet, be careful when moving furniture around on this fiber as the heat generated by the friction can also melt the fiber. It is advisable to use furniture sliders that are available in most hardware stores when moving furniture on Polypropylene more so than any other fiber.
- It is always best to attempt stain removal while the stain is still fresh. First blot up any excess of the spill with either white paper towel or absorbent cloth, such as a nappy or a tea towel. With it being white is important, as using coloured fabric or paper towel may result in the dye being transferred onto the carpet or upholstery fiber. If the spill has substance, such as mayo or tomato sauce, scrape up the excess with a blunt knife, a spoon, or two pieces of stiff cardboard, working from the outside toward the center, to avoid spreading it any further.
- When applying a solution to a stain, ALWAYS blot, or tamp down, NEVER rub. It’s time consuming, and the temptation will be there to aggressively rub in a circular motion, but rubbing will more than likely push the offending substance deeper into the fiber, or may even do damage to the structure of the fiber itself.
- If you are treating a large spill, don’t try to to tackle it all at once. Work on it at one small patch at a time, starting from the outside of the affected area and working toward the center.
- If possible, use a spray bottle to apply the cleaning solution, and try not to soak the affected area. Two or three squirts at a time should be enough, then blot it up with a dry cloth, shifting to a fresh piece of the cloth as the stain is transferred to it. If spray bottles aren’t an option, use two cloths, one to dip into the cleaning solution and apply to the stain, and the other to blot the solution from the fiber.
- Alternate between using the solution and fresh water on the area with two spray bottles if at all possible. This will help reduce having too much residue on the fiber when you are finished.
- If you have success removing the stain, there will be at least a little solution residue left on the fiber. This will attract soils and dust that will darken the area in time, much like an oil spill on a driveway will hold dirt and debris as it blows across it. The area needs to be flushed to try and remove all of that residue. Using a spray bottle with fresh water wet the area and then blot it up with fresh absorbent cloth or paper towel, soaking up as much as you can before applying the water again and re-blotting. At the minimum I would say do this at least 6 times.
- When finished, lay a fresh absorbent cloth (folded if possible) or at least 6 pieces of paper towel over the treated area and put something heavy on it, such as a brick or a phone directory. This will help soak up any excess water and prevent what is called ‘wicking’, a process that occurs when the drying of over wet carpet draws up through the fiber what may be remains of the spill that soaked through to the base of the carpet, or even the colouring from the jute backing of some carpets. As the remaining water evaporates, it works its way up the fibre until it reaches the tips. The water itself will evaporate, but any foreign matter in that evaporating water will remain on the tips of the fibre, resulting in another stain. Leaving the cloth on the area (overnight if possible) will allow the evaporating process to continue from the fibers through to the cloth, hopefully avoiding the wicking from occurring.
Caring for your carpet
Maintaining your carpet does not stop with regular vacuuming. Vacuuming should be just one of a range of tasks to help maintain your carpet and keep it in good condition. It is recommended that vacuuming should be performed on average twice per week on any heavy traffic areas, and once a week on the remainder of the home. The vacuum of choice by professionals is a good quality one with a power head and a good filter system. A power head can assist toward removing soil build-up deep in the base of the pile that some suction only vacuum cleaners can’t get, and a high quality filtration system will prevent minute particles re-entering the air as you vacuum. (Be advised that continued use of a power head on a 100% wool loop pile can result in giving it a fuzzy appearance, some power head vacuum cleaners have adjustable heads and are recommended for use on this type of carpet, using the brush on a low setting only occasionally)
Tackling minor spills while they are still fresh with a good quality spot cleaner or using professional services will help prevent permanent staining. If you prefer to use cleaners purchased from a supermarket, it is highly advisable to test them on an inconspicuous area of carpet first, as some of those cleaners can be quite aggressive and can actually lighten the color of the carpet.
Carpet manufacturers recommend that the carpet in an average family home should be professionally cleaned at least once per year that meets the Australian standard AS/NZ S:3733-1995.
Over time some carpets can stretch, giving a loose, rippled appearance, or joins may start to come apart. Addressing these issues early with minor repairs will greatly help to extend the life of your carpet. Many carpet cleaning companies are now offering carpet repair services, contact your regular carpet cleaner, if they don’t offer this type of service, they should know someone who does.
Common stain removal guide
The following Remedies while only mild, may remove all or only part of a fresh stain, depending on the nature of the spill. Old stains in carpet & upholstery are best left to a professional for removal, as more aggressive remedies for old stains that are found online using chemicals such as ammonia for example can cause irreversible damage to certain types of carpet fiber. Beware of ‘magic’ carpet cleaning products that claim to remove ‘all’ stains from carpet and upholstery. All stains are different, and require specific treatment for their removal. Some of the ‘remove all stains’ products found on supermarket shelves can actually assist in setting a stain to your carpet, or even possibly permanently bleaching some of the colour out of your carpet.
Items you will need when attempting DIY stain removal –
- Appropriate solution to tackle the stain (refer to chart below)
- Spray bottles. Preferably two. 1 for the solution, the other for plain water.
- If spray bottles are unavailable use 2 bowls, 1 for the solution, the other for plain water.
- Absorbent cloth. Plain white paper towel or white absorbent cloth
(such as a tea towel or nappy.) Coloured dyes on any cloth or towel could possibly transfer onto your carpet when wet, so them being white is very important.
- A weight, such as a phone directory or a brick.
Procedure for carpet spot and stain removal
As mentioned above, you have a much greater chance of success in removing a stain while it is still fresh, so always attend to any spills as soon as possible.
- If the spill has any substance (eg. tomato sauce) scrape up as much as possible with a blunt knife, a spoon, or 2 pieces of stiff card, working from the outside of the affected area toward the centre, to avoid spreading to a clean area.
- For liquid spills, blot up as much as possible with dry paper towel or absorbent cloth, once again, working from the outside of the spill toward the center.
- If using spray bottles, 2 or 3 squirts at a time should be suffice, then blot with fresh dry cloth.
- If using bowls, dip a small piece of clean cloth in the solution, dab onto the stain, then bloth with dry cloth.
- ALWAYS tamp down, or blot, NEVER rub. Rubbing vigorously will only result in pushing the stain deeper into the carpet, or may even damage the fibre, giving it a ‘fuzzy’ or ‘hairy’ appearance.
- When using dry cleaning solvent, never pour directly onto carpet, apply to cloth and blot. Over-wetting with this product can cause a process called ‘delamination’ where the carpet separates from the backing, leaving what may look like an air bubble under the carpet.
- The reason for using several steps for each treatment is that rinsing is all important. Remaining residue will attract dust & soils to it, so the second last step should always be a rinse with cold water.
- After going through each step which requires applying the solution then blotting dry, the final step is to lay a fresh clean cloth (folded if possible) or several layers of paper towel (6 to 8 preferably) over the treated area and place a weight on top. Leave overnight if possible.
- If any of the stain remains, re-treat or consult a professional carpet cleaner in your area.
- The following chart is a guide for the assistance in Treating some common problems such as Red wine stains, Coffee stains, Grease marks, Lipstick stains and Cordial stains.
- The first one or two steps should be carried out first applying the solution in small quantities and then blotting up with fresh towel. Continue until the split substance ceases to transfer to the towel, then move to the steps that aid with the rinsing.
Carpet pile reversal
Carpet pile reversal or ‘carpet shading’ is a purely random phenomenon that can occur in any type of cut pile carpet.
it can appear in small concentrated areas or throughout an entire room. Despite extensive research and continued development in construction,pile reversal can still occur and reasons for its occurrence are largely unknown. Characteristics of pile reversal are often described with terms such as pooling, watermarking or puddling. Areas of the cut pile will appear lighter or darker than surrounding areas, caused by light reflecting off sections of fibers that somehow change the direction in which they naturally lay. Carpet pile reversal is permanent and cannot be repaired, but doesn’t alter any of its characteristics besides its appearance.
The knowledge of carpet pile reversal may come in handy to a tenant requiring the return of their bond at the end of their lease. A landlord may suspect water damage, wanting to hold a portion of the bond money, when in fact pile reversal may be the culprit for the suspicious markings and not be the fault of the tenant. A professional carpet cleaner should notice the common signs of pile reversal, and be able to supply a worried customer with some documentation explaining and confirming its existence, which can then be forwarded to their landlord or agent should its occurrence cause any problems with the return of their bond.
Although the chances of carpet beetle infestation are very slim, as occurrences are vary rare, I’ve decided to add this short article to cover a few basic facts regarding carpet beetle.
Carpet beetles are small insects that can cause severe damage to carpet, clothing and other fabrics in your home. It is not the adult beetle that causes the damage, as they feed on dead insects & carcases as well as pollen and nectar of plants outdoors. The larvae of this insect however, have a voracious appetite for natural fibers such as wool, cotton, silk and fur. The adult beetles can fly, so can gain access to a home via an open window or door, or may be unknowingly brought inside with a posy of cut flowers from the garden. The adult females will seek out a location with an abundant food source to lay their eggs. This can make a wool carpet in a dark undisturbed corner of a home an appealing location. Although infestations on synthetic carpets may be very rare, this can occur if food, perspiration or natural oils are present on the fiber.
The adults are regularly 2-5 mm long, are round or oval in shape, and colour variations can range from mottled white black and yellow, almost completely black or brown with light markings. The larvae are generally brown in colour, possibly with lighter stripes and covered in small hairs, which shed their skins as they grow and range from 2-7 mm long.While the presence of some adult beetles does not necessarily mean that larvae will be present, castings of the shredded larvae skins is a sure sign.
Regular thorough vacuuming of your carpet should be all that is needed to thwart off any attack by carpet beetle. As mentioned earlier, the chances of infestation are slim, but should you notice any small bugs lurking in a quiet corner of your carpeted home, a light spray with insecticide and a thorough vacuum should be enough to eradicate them.
Should you be particularly concerned, the processes of prespraying cleaning solutions and hot water extraction involved with professional steam cleaning services will eradicate the presence of carpet beetle larvae and eggs.