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Power Clean Blog

Three myths of carpet cleaning

by Michael Carlson on 11/20/12

Carpet cleaning technology has changed radically over the years. With the evolution of cleaning solutions and techniques carpet cleaning has become much easier and more effective. Many of today's myths actually begin as truths back in the days of low technology carpet cleaning.
Over the past 35 years here are the three questions I get asked about the most that I would consider myths.
Myth #1- Once you clean the carpets the first time they begin to soil more quickly because of "soap" left in the carpet fibers.
Truth- In the old days this was often true because detergents used in cleaning were more difficult to rinse out. The equipment used for removing residue  was also much less effective. This residue did attract soil to the carpets. However today, cleaning solutions are specifically designed to not leave residue behind. Rinsing and extraction equipment and processes are much  improved so that if you are using a reputable cleaning service this is not something to be concerned with.
Myth #2- Steam cleaning your carpets will over wet them and cause problems.
Truth-  In the early days with poor extraction methods this was sometimes a concern. Today extraction processes and equipment is so much more effective that over wetting only happens if  they equipment is not working properly or the cleaning company you choose is inept. Again choosing a cleaning service with a good reputation, with experience and that use modern and well maintained equipment is the key to knowing you will have a good result.
Myth # 3- You should not walk on carpets when they are still damp.
Of course if you have dirty feet or shoes you don't want to walk on still damp carpets. Wearing clean socks ore being barefoot is fine. The only time this might be an issue is if you have had a heavily soiled traffic area and are concerned that soil may still be in the padding under the carpet. Pushing the carpet down into the dirty padding would be unwise. Any good carpet cleaning company has  processes that will help eliminate soil embedded in the padding in heavily soiled areas. This usually cost a few extra dollars because it is a separate  and additional cleaning process.

Cleaning mold from carpets .

by Michael Carlson on 07/05/12

I've been a carpet cleaner for  long time and I have seen and cleaned up some pretty bad stuff. Some times it amazes me how bad people will let a situation become before they do something about it.

One of these situations is mold or mildew in the carpets, padding and sub flooring.

Mold is not harmful to everyone but it has been shown that children and people with either allergies or with respiratory conditions are susceptible to illness because of mold. I know over the many years of carpet cleaning that people tell us that they and their children begin to have cold like symptoms that would not go away after they had had some flooding  or noticed a musty damp odor in their home. For some people with mold allergies mold can be a serious health issue.

Certain areas are most susceptible to mold and mildew. In areas were there could be water leaking, in basements bathrooms and in areas that get damp and do not have good light or air circulation. One area most people might not think of is at the base of sliding glass doors. If there is not a tight seal, water could be getting under the carpet.
If you have ever had a flooding problem even a small one such as a toilet over flow you may have problems if you have not properly cleaned and dried the area. Many times people will just get the carpet dry and think the problem is solved. The bigger problem is the padding under the carpet which is basically just a big sponge. You have about 35 hours to have the carpets, the padding and the sub floor completely dry before mold will start to develop. If the flooding is from a dirty water source such as sewage, washing and dish washing machines it is even more important to clean and dry the area quickly. With a dirty water source not only are you needing to dry the area but you need to disinfect it as well. With dirty water it is usually best to pull up the carpet and and remove the padding. The padding is the most difficult thing to disinfect and to dry.
If you walk into an area of your home and you can smell that dank stale musty smell then you need to take actions to find the affected area.
One tool that could be helpful is a moisture detector. If you find moisture where it should not be then that is an area to clean.

My area of expertise in mold removal is in removing mold from carpeting. If you have mold in other areas I would recommend you research how to remove mold from your affected surfaces. Going to a professional source is much better than than learning what the average non experts recommends. It seems that there is often just as much bad advice as good advice in some of those "how to" websites.

For removing mold from carpets the first step is to decide if the carpets are worth saving. A long standing mold problem will mean that more than likely you will need to simply remove that carpet. If this is an area that will potentially be susceptible to flooding or staying damp in the future you might want to consider an alternative to carpet in that area. If your carpets are black with mold or the carpet is damaged and falling apart it is better to replace that piece.
When working with mold be certain to use all appropriate safety precautions such as rubber gloves, masks and safety glasses. Take a minute to research what safety precautions to use. One of the most commonly used household products that is used to remove mold is bleach. Bleach works great at a one cup of bleach to one gallon of water ratio for the hard surface areas but if you get it on the carpet it may bleach the color from the carpets. I would suggest that you go to your local carpet cleaning supply store and ask for a product that removes mold from both carpets and hard surfaces. This will be much easier and safer to use.
Follow the instruction that come with the product that you purchase.
The most important actions that need to be taken are.
Remove padding and throw away.
Apply mold remediation product.
Extract as much mold from carpets and sub floor as possible.
Reapply mold remediation product. Allow to dry.
Repeat these steps as seems necessary.
Seal sub floor.
Install new padding.
Often times the tack strip will need to be replaced as well.
Thoroughly clean carpet.

I hope this helps you to take care of your mold problems.
If you are sensitive to mold or uncertain in your ability to handle this problem yourself I would recommend you hire a professional carpet cleaner. You might want to Google mold remediation and hire a company with expertise in this area. Your average carpet cleaner may not have the knowledge to do this job properly. ,In Anchorage of course I would recommend you call us, Power Clean Carpet Cleaning at 907-346-4000. See our website at www.akpowerclean.com

The hardest stain ever to remove

by Michael Carlson on 06/05/12

Give me puppy poop, cat urine, India ink, mustard stains and even dye stains but please, please don't make me clean up an entire bottle of dis soap out of a plush carpet.

A little child had dumped an entire bottle of dish soap on this brand new very thick plush carpet. As you can imagine it dried to a thick stiff and sticky crust.
To battle a high alkaline ph like dish soap I knew I would need to use an acidic rinse of about a ph of four. There are two problems with getting out this much soap.
First is that it is super concentrated and for every cup of soap it was going to take about 20 gallons of water to flush it out. The other problem is that even after adding a lot of acidic rinse to kill the bubbles the soap still bubbled up so much that it kept shutting down our van mount machine. In the machine there are sensors that cause the machine to shut off of the waste tank gets to full. Well the waste tank wasn't getting full but the suds were building up and tripping the sensor. So about every 10 minutes I had to go out and add some de-sudsing agent to the waste water to kill the bubbles. I went through nearly 150 gallons of water and took over an hour before I could get no more soap from the carpets. The entire time I was working on my hands and knees.
I had to do this all very gently so that i did not damage the carpet fibers. What a job.

The most scary stains of all

by Michael Carlson on 06/05/12

Ink stains. Ink stains to me are the most scary stains.

They are scary enough because they can be the toughest to clean up. There are different kinds of inks. Ballpoint pen ink, India ink and ink for printers. India ink used mostly for calligraphy and art is the toughest to remove.

The thing that scares me the most about ink is that we can be going along cleaning the carpet and see no stain of any sort on the carpet in front of us and as soon as we pass over an area a great big blue ink stain suddenly appears. At some point ink had gotten into the root of the fibers and it wasn't until we wetted the carpet with our cleaning that it bloomed to the surface. The worst is when the customer insist that there was never a stain there and thinks somehow we caused it.We know we can get it out so that is not the problem. The problem is that we are going to spend the next 10 minutes on our hands and knees getting the stain out. Have you ever put dish soap in a narrow neck bottle and then tried to rinse it out? it takes forever. The suds just keep coming. That is the way ink stains are sometimes. We put on our solvent and we blot and blot and blot and blot and blot. We put on more solvent and we blot some more. It seems to never end. By the time we are done it seems as if we have blotted up enough ink for three pens.

The most fun carpet cleaning job ever

by Michael Carlson on 06/05/12

There are many times in carpet cleaning where we have fun. The work may be hard but the results are rewarding and we have met some of the nicest and most fun people.

Some of the most rewarding times is when there is a great big old ugly stain that the customer thought would never come out and they watch as our Rotovac power wand goes over it and the stain simply disappears. 
The most fun job ever was up by flat top mountain in a enormous and very beautiful home. They had the most amazing view overlooking Anchorage and the inlet with Sleeping Lady in the background. These people had the most interesting pieces of art work hanging every where. They were also Alaska history enthusiasts and had so many cool Alaskan artifacts. They were also extremely nice and as I went through the house cleaning the carpets they would tell me the history of the art work and of the artifacts. I enjoyed myself immensely just being there. To top it off the carpets were hardly dirty at all and easy to clean and they gave me a nice tip. 

After more than 34 years in the business in Anchorage, we have a lot of wisdom, information and even funny stories to tell.
The purpose of this blog page is to-

Educate you
Advise you
Entertain you