How to Maintain Healthy Clean Carpets
A professional teaches you how to protect your carpets including
~Safe solutions and techniques to remove spots from carpet
~Tips on how to prolong the life of your carpets
~Advice on maintaining a healthy home environment
~The best kind of carpets to buy for your needs

Chapter 1

Thank you for choosing and trusting Power Clean Carpet Cleaning. The information in this book has been compiled to assist you in maintaining the appearance, health, and longevity of your carpets.

Power Clean has 34 years of experience professionally cleaning carpets in Anchorage Alaska. The information in this book is a guide. We can not know any particular situation unless we are there to inspect it. If you have questions or are unsure in any way, please feel free to call us and ask us for advice.The information in this book is a guide. We can not know any particular situation unless we are there to inspect it. If you have questions or are unsure in any way, please feel free to call us and ask us for advice.
Topics this booklet will cover:

Chapter 2- How to maintain your carpet’s appearance, health, and longevity 
Chapter 3- Rules of spot removal 
Chapter 4- Steam cleaning 
Chapter 5- How to treat urine stains 
How to treat other types of stainspage 7
Health issues, such as mold, bacteria, dust mites and 8
How to choose new carpetspage 9
Valuable couponspages 13, 14 & 15

Chapter 2  How to maintain your carpet’s appearance, health, and longevity
The number one, without a doubt most important action you can do to maintain your carpets is vacuuming. When soil is up on top of the carpet fibers, it is easy to remove. Once soil travels down into the base of the fibers and eventually into the backing of the carpet, cleaning becomes much more difficult. Wear and tear on carpet fibers occurs when miniscule pieces of sand and grit damage and even cut the carpet fibers. Vacuuming traffic areas at least three times per week will add years to the life of your carpets. Vacuuming all of your carpets at least once per week is also important. How often you should vacuum really depends on your environment. If you take off your shoes, don’t have pets, and have very little carpet traffic, then you could vacuum much less often. The more people in your home, the more shoes on your carpets, the more pets coming in and out, and the more sand, grit, and oil being brought in from outside of your home, then the more often you need to vacuum. In some cases I would recommend vacuuming the traffic areas every day.
The vacuum cleaner you use is vital. You should use one with a beater bar and has hepa filters. The vacuums I recommend because they meet these criteria and they are easy to use are the Oreck and the Dyson.
How To Properly Vacuum Your Carpet
Vacuuming -- it’s a simple task, that is true. Most people, though, do not know how to properly vacuum their carpets. Most people just go over the carpet as quickly as possible and then throw the vacuum back in the closet. 
Proper Vacuuming
The common ‘W’ pattern that most people use is very inefficient. When you push the vacuum forward, it is not vacuuming very efficiently. The backward stroke is when most debris, dirt, etc. is pulled out of the carpet. The vacuum is most effective on the backwards stroke. What you want to do is expose all of the carpet to a backwards stroke. To do this, pull the vacuum straight back and then push it forward to the next area and pull it straight back again. You are not vacuuming on the forward stroke; you are only positioning the vacuum.
Using the end of the hose or an attachment, the carpet along the edges of the walls should be vacuumed periodically. This is particularly true if you have forced air heat in your home.
 Vacuum Maintenance
You need a properly running vacuum in order to vacuum efficiently. Check the bag often. When the bag gets half full, replace it or empty it. The suction power of your vacuum is severely reduced when the bag gets over half full. Check the belts and make sure that they are in good condition to spin the brush properly. If your vacuum has a height adjuster, make sure that it is adjusted correctly. It should be set so that the brushes just barely touch the tops of the carpet fibers. If it is too high or too low, it won't work properly.

Chapter 3 Spots and stains
Next in importance is cleaning up spots as soon as you notice them. The longer a substance stays in the carpet fibers, the more difficult it is to get it out. Many stains will clean up with plain water if you blot them up immediately. Always use the proper type of spot remover on spots. Some spots will set in forever if you use the wrong solution on it. (See spot and stain removal guide for what to use).
Coffee, blood, and urine are three examples of stains that need to be handled properly to keep from setting the stain.
Some stains are dye stains from substances like Kool-Aid, candles, fingernail polish and etc. These types of stains often take a separate type of process.
The rules of spot removal
Remove as much as the spill as possible by blotting or scraping before you use any solution. The less you have to clean out, the better.
Use an appropriate solution for spot.
Use a clean white towel like a rag to blot out the stain.
Always work from the outside of the spot towards the center to keep the spot from getting bigger.
Do not scrub on the carpet, this damages the fibers.
Remember that large spots may have seeped down through the carpet and may very well wick back up to the surface after you have cleaned the spot. One thing you can do is to place a clean, absorbent white cloth over the spot after you have cleaned it and place a heavy object on it. This will cause the stain to wick up into the white cloth. You may have to treat a large spill several times.
Traffic area stains are caused by either not frequent enough vacuuming or oil being brought in from the outside, or both. By the time stains on traffic areas become noticeable, damage has already been done.
There is also a factor called ‘apparent soiling.’ This is where the carpet looks like it has a stain on it, but it has either suffered color loss or been abraded. Things that cause color loss include bleach, sun fading, long standing urine stains, and chemical reactions. When a carpet has been abraded, this means the fibers have been scratched up. You find this in traffic areas, particularly in what we call pivot points such as the top of the stairs, where people pivot their feet to turn the corner. It is much like if you were to scratch a clean window with steel wool and then thoroughly clean it. It would still look cloudy because it had been abraded. As we look at the glass, the light is reflected back into our eyes. Where the glass is scratched, the rays of light do not come back to our eyes in the same even pattern as it does with the unscratched portion of glass. This makes the glass look cloudy or dirty. The same is true of your carpet. The fibers can be quite clean but yet still look dirty.
Taking off your shoes and frequent vacuuming is what keeps these traffic patterns from happening.
Keeping soil from your carpets
Taking off your shoes is very important. Even your bare feet have oils on them that will get on the carpet and cause soil to stick. Wearing socks or house slippers is a good way to avoid this. Be careful if you have dark carpets; don’t wear white socks that leave little white fuzzies, and if your carpets are light, don’t wear dark socks that leave dark fuzzies. (Fuzzies is a technical term)! If you have dogs, even if they are indoor dogs, routine dog washes are a good idea because they have oils on their hair which, of course, gets all over the carpets. You might have noticed, if you have dogs, an even, uniform brown soiling across almost all of your carpets. This is from your dog leaving oil on carpet. Walk-off mats are great to put in front of entry doors. Be careful of putting rugs all over because after a few years, if you take those rugs up, the carpet could have irregular traffic areas. 
Fiber protection on carpets
Fiber protection does not mean that your carpets won’t get dirty, it means that most spills and spots will clean off easily. Poor quality fiber protection is pretty much useless, however, good quality fiber protection applied once per year to high traffic areas and once every couple of years to non-high traffic areas, does help. The only areas I would really focus on would be areas likely to have things spilled on them.

Chapter 4  Steam cleaning carpets
The carpet manufacturing industry agrees that steam cleaning by an IICRC certified firm is the best way to clean your carpets. The one thing that companies that use other methods say about steam cleaning is that it over-wets the carpets. Yes, the possibility is there, but any IICRC certified firm that is any good at all will never over-wet your carpets. Our drying time for steam cleaning is around 6-8 hours in most cases. The industry has set 12 hours as the amount of time carpets could take to dry.
Steam cleaning has the great advantage in that the water we use is from 190 to 250 degrees. The temperature needed to kill germs is 120 degrees. At nearly 250 degrees, germs are not going to survive. The same is true of dust mites. Hot water cleaning is the best defense against these critters. With van-mount steam cleaning, we do not leave chemicals in the carpets because the entire process of steam cleaning is to flush out substances from your carpet. The hot, steamy water and the powerful extraction of our van-mounted equipment flush-out and dry your carpets thoroughly and quickly.
How often should this be done?
Again, environment plays a part in determining this. Most carpets should be steam cleaned once per year. However, if you have a lot of traffic and a lot of spills, it certainly would be good to clean more often. If you have respiratory illness in your family, the carpets should be cleaned probably twice per year. In the case of carpets that less than five years old, most of them have a clause in the warranty for the stain guard that states that for the warranty to be valid, the carpet needs to be professionally steam cleaned once per year. Usually after five years the warranty runs out. If your warranty has run out and you don’t have that much traffic, then every couple of years is good.
Regular effective vacuuming, proper spot removal, good habits that keep soil out of the house, and once-per-year steam cleaning should keep your carpets looking good, being healthy, and lasting many years.

Chapter 5- How to treat urine problems.
The first step is if you have questions, call us and we will advise you. We spend a lot of time on the telephone teaching people how to take care of problems themselves. I feel we should be called into the home for the once-a-year cleaning or if there are more serious urine problems that would need professional attention.
If your pet begins to create urine problems, call us immediately so we can help you stop the problem.
When you first notice a urine spot, you need to see if it is still wet or if it is dry. Urine, when it leaves the animal’s body, is an acidic compound at that time. The use of a mild alkaline will easily take care of the problem.
After about 12 hours, due to rapid bacterial action, the urine changes into an alkaline compound which requires an acidic cleaner to remove. We also now need to kill the bacteria.
Wet spot- How to take care of your fresh urine problem yourself
Remove the majority of the urine by blotting with a clean white towel. Press down firmly to remove as much moisture as possible. Repeat until no stain appears on the cloth. Then apply 1 teaspoon mild liquid non-bleach laundry detergent (laundry detergent is alkaline, so it will neutralize the acidity in the urine) mixed with 1 quart water to the spot and continue to blot until stain is not apparent. Do not substitute with dish detergent, as this can leave excess residue. Try not to use more laundry detergent than what is called for, since excess detergent left in the carpet can cause re-soiling. Your next step will be to apply straight water to the spot to rinse out all detergent residues. When you do this, do not over-wet the spot. The last thing you want to do is drive the urine into the pad.
Dry spot-First you need to get rid of the bacteria. To do this, you can use a product available at Carrs or Fred Meyers called ‘Kids and Pets or a product called Natures Miracle, These products contains an enzyme that eats up the bacteria. You need to follow the directions carefully. If this does not remove the stain, try this next solution. Because with time, urine will change to an alkaline substance (ammonia), 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water will be your best spot remover if urine is already dry. The vinegar will neutralize the alkalinity of the urine to prevent any color loss to your fabric or carpet fiber.
Caution; If you use vinegar, do not use water over 150 degrees, because you could actually set the stain in.

Chapter 6- How to treat other stains
There is no one product that will effectively clean all stains. However, with just a few solutions you should be able to take care of most of the spots you come across.

If you would like, we can put together for you a small kit of solutions that we as professionals use. We would put a set of directions with it. It would consist of-

A general spotter used for the majority of spots.

An acidic cleaner used for old urine stains, coffee, tea and water stains.

A protein spotter to use on blood or wine.

A volatile solvent to use on gum, tar and some inks.

A combination urine stain remover and urine odor eliminator for urine stains.

Home remedies –

In place of the general spotter, you could use the following formula:
Mix one tablespoon of household ammonia in one cup of warm water. Blot the stain with this solution. Then mix one tablespoon of white vinegar in warm water and repeat this process. The vinegar neutralizes the alkaline in the ammonia.

For blood, wine or old urine spots, you can use ‘Natures Miracle’ which you can pick up in pet stores.
You could try ‘Kids and Pets’ from Fred Meyers on blood and wine. I believe it would work but I have never tried it. I know it works on urine.

For tar, gum and inks use ‘Oops,’ which you can get in the paint cleanup section at WalMart. Make sure you get the kind in a can that sprays. This is the volatile solvent, which you don’t need to rinse out of the carpet. Avoid prolonged breathing of fumes. Wear gloves.

For Kool-Aid stains there is a way. Call Interlink 349 -0911, ask  for a quart of red dye remover. Follow instructions. You will need clean white towel like rags and an iron. I would suggest getting one from Salvation Army so you don’t mess up your good iron. Choose one with lots of steam vents.

If you have any questions about getting any stain out of your carpet, please call us first so we can help you make the best choice about what to use. When using any chemical or solution on your carpet, always pre-test a small area of your carpet first. It is best to wait for 24 hours before proceeding. Always wear appropriate safety equipment when working with chemicals.

Chapter 7- Health Issues in Carpets

There are three main concerns with health and carpeting.
Mold and mildew - You will find mold and mildew in carpets where there has been water damage and the carpets have not been treated and dried properly, or when then is excessive moisture in a home and the carpets become damp.
Mold and mildew is the most serious concern and must be addressed. Normally healthy people can get very sick breathing in mold spores. For the young, the elderly, and those with respiratory illnesses, it can be very serious. 
If you decide to address mold problems yourself, educate yourself first. When doing this work, always wear appropriate safety equipment.
Power Clean is qualified to do mold remediation work in carpets.
Urine and bacteria- Bacteria can get in the carpets in many ways. The most common is from urine. Also, dogs track in traces of feces from the yard when they come in. 
Regular steam cleaning carpet cleaning takes care of bacteria very well.
Dust mites are only really a problem for those with respiratory illnesses or with allergies. Thorough, frequent vacuuming and steam cleaning the carpet once a year does a pretty good job of keeping dust mites under control. Dust mites feed on dead skin, so they are where people sit and lay down. Vacuuming your upholstery and washing your bedding once per week will help a great deal. If there are sensitivities to dust mites in your home, make sure that the forced air heating ducts are clean as well. 

Chapter 8- How to choose new carpets
This is, of course, from the viewpoint of a carpet cleaner. I know people like to choose carpet because it is pretty. But if a carpet is not functional for your situation, it may not be pretty for long.
Fiber is carpet’s basic component. The type of fiber used and the way the carpet is constructed determine how well the carpet will stand up to spills, pets, and daily traffic. Approximately 97 percent of all carpet is produced using synthetic fibers that are designed to feature style, easy maintenance, and outstanding value. There are five basic types of carpet pile fibers.
Nylon: It is the most popular and represents two-thirds of the pile fibers used in the United States. Wear-resistant, resilient, withstands the weight and movement of furniture, and provides brilliant color. Ability to conceal and resist soils and stains. Generally good for all traffic areas. Solution-dyed nylon is colorfast because color is added in the fiber production.
Olefin (polypropylene): Strong, resists wear and permanent stains, and is easily cleaned. Notably colorfast because color is added during fiber production. Resists static electricity and is often used in both indoor and outdoor installations because of its resistance to moisture and mildew. Used in synthetic turf for sports surfaces, and in the home for patios and game rooms. Many Berbers are made of olefin. 
Polyester: Noted for luxurious, soft "hand" when used in thick, cut-pile textures. Has excellent color clarity and retention. Easily cleaned, and resistant to water-soluble stains.
Acrylic: Offers the appearance and feel of wool without the cost. Has low static level and is moisture and mildew resistant. Commonly used in velvet and level-loop constructions, and often in bath and scatter rugs. Does not wear real well.
Wool: Noted for its luxury and performance, wool is soft, has high bulk, and is available in many colors. Generally, wool is somewhat more expensive than synthetic fibers. Wool is the most difficult to clean of these fibers. If you have kids and pets, wool is not a good choice.
Blends: A wool/nylon blend combines the superior look and comfort of wool with the durability of nylon. Acrylic/olefin and nylon/olefin are other popular blends, offering good characteristics of each fiber.
Of these fibers, nylon is the easiest to maintain because it wears well and cleans well. It seems to have the best properties of each of these other fibers without the liabilities.

There are also different styles of carpet.
Cut pile: Loops are cut, leaving individual yarn tufts. Still one of today's most popular constructions, its durability is achieved with factors including the type of fiber, density of tufts, and the amount of twist in the yarn.
Plush / Velvet -- Smooth, level surfaces; formal atmosphere, "velvet."

Saxony -- Smooth, level finish, but pile yarns have more twist so that the yarn ends are visible and create a less formal look. Minimizes foot prints.

Friezé -- In this cut pile, the yarns are extremely twisted, forming a "curly" textured surface. This informal look also minimizes foot prints and vacuum marks. 

Level loop pile: Loops are the same height, creating an informal look. It generally lasts a long time in high-traffic areas. Many of today’s popular Berber styles are level loop styles with flecks of a darker color on a lighter background.

Multi-level loop pile: Usually has two to three different loop heights to create pattern effects, providing good durability and a more casual look.

Of these styles, the type that holds up the best and is easiest to clean is the Saxony style.
The Frieze never seems to clean up very well. From a cleaning standpoint, stay away.
Berbers need to be vacuumed even more frequently than other carpets, so that the soil doesn’t become trapped beneath the loop.

Before purchasing carpet, you need to answer the following questions: How is the room going to be used? Will it have heavy or light traffic? Will the room be the center of activity for family and entertaining? Is there direct access from outside, or will the carpet be located away from entrances? Will the carpet receive direct sunlight?
Where there is to be heavy traffic (usually the family room, hallways, and stairways), choose the best carpet you can afford. When shopping for carpet, look for performance rating guidelines with various brands of carpet. This rating system offers guidance on choosing the carpet that will perform best for various traffic needs. Most guidelines will be based on a 5-point scale, with the number 4 or 5 rating being best for the highest traffic areas. A 2 to 3 rating is generally good for areas with less traffic.
From a cleaning standpoint, multi colored carpet is best. Tans, beige and brown stay looking the nicest for the longest time. Dark blues, dark greens and rose colors seem to hold up well. Light blues, grays, and white carpets show dirt very easily.
The perfect carpet from a cleaning standpoint would be a multi colored brown, beige, and tan nylon Saxany carpet.