It’s been a long winter. Of course, it is always a long winter. During the cold months our windows are closed, houses are tightened up to be energy efficient, and we spend a lot of time indoors. Did your family suffer a flu outbreak? Maybe you spent a few nights on the sofa because of not being able to sleep. Did you binge watch some Netflix shows? If so, you spent a lot of time in one room then didn’t you? Let’s face it – we are either in hibernation mode or fighting hibernation mode in the winter months. The result? Carpets and upholstery that need to be cleaned!
As the weather warms and the ground thaws it makes the air smell better. As the sun gets higher in the sky we want to open our homes up and air them out. It is also an excellent idea to have your fabrics cleaned, whether carpets or upholstery. Think about this: If you were sick and spent some time in sweat pants and sweat shirts, what did you do with them when you felt better? You got them in the wash! We want to get rid of any remnant of sickness as soon as possible. But what about the sofa or chair you slept in? What about the carpet in the bedroom you were sick in? Time to clean it!
Make us a part of your spring cleaning routine. You will feel better about your home and it will actually be better. Call today!
Has this happened to you? You decide that your room needs some changes; furniture needs to be moved around. You begin by pulling out the recliner and it pops out at you like a red blinking light. A worn spot in front of the chair. You begrudgingly slide the chair back, grumbling as you do, realizing that rearranging the furniture will have to wait till…never. Why do wear spots appear? The answer may seem obvious but understanding the reason can help preserve your investment.
First we need to get technical. Do carpets really “wear?” Not really. Wear is what happens to the brake pads on your car. The material is literally worn away and is gone. This process is not generally the source of the dark spots on your carpets that are in your hallway or by your chairs. What is really happening is the carpet is a process referred to as abrasion. This is the damaging of the fibers not the loss of them.
Look at the picture. Do you see all the little fibers? Each one is a smooth piece of nylon. What happens when soil is introduced and not removed? What happens when feet walk over the area grinding the soil in? The fibers become damaged. They are no longer smooth but have abrasions on them – cuts, scrapes, etc. The result is twofold and both are negative.
The most obvious consequence is that the fibers no longer reflect light as they did when they were new. Imagine taking a fine sandpaper over the paint on your car. The paint would no longer shine, not because it was dirty, but because the light is not being reflected but rather is being diffused. This is a prime reason that heavily used areas on your carpets begin to darken.
The second consequence is that your carpets soil more quickly. Why? Think of your nonstick pans in your kitchen. When they are new, nothing sticks to them…NOTHING! It’s amazing. But what happens months or years later after countless uses? The finish begins to wear and things start to stick. The same process happens with the abrasion on your carpets. Those nice smooth fibers that nothing seems to stick to when new get cuts, nicks, and scratches that begin to hold soil. This process accelerates with poor maintenance; a vicious cycle.
What can we take away from this? First, you need to live in your house. Abrasion and wear are part of life. Second, there is no set time for the process. In other words, how fast this takes place is entirely up to you! Vacuum your carpets regularly! There are no shortcuts here! Also, have your carpets professionally cleaned with hot water extraction, the type we use here at Reliable Maintenance. No other method will clean your carpets more thoroughly. Your carpet is a big investment. Take care of it!
This blog post is from a guest contributor: Paul Denikin from the website DadknowsDIY.com. Check it out after reviewing these reminders!
When summer turns to fall, the days get shorter and to-do lists get longer. Not only will you have to clean up, take down and store your summer-only gear, but you’ll also have to work hard to get your house ready for fall and winter. Here’s a checklist of tasks to consider as you transition from the dogs days of summer to winter’s long, cold nights.
Clean your gutters.Leaves, sticks and small debris can turn into big problems if left in your gutters. Clearing out the trash will help keep your gutters safe when the winter snow and ice piles up. Gutters should be cleaned regularly, but as the leaves keep falling you may need to increase the frequency. As you examine your gutters, you might want to also consider upgrading to seamless gutters or installing gutter guards to help reduce clogging and increase safety.
Secure your windows. Inspect your windows for gaps where the cold winter air can seep in, making minor caulking repairs when necessary. You’ll want to know before winter settles in if sealing gaps doesn’t fix the problem, that way you have plenty of time to hire installers to bring in replacement windows before it gets too cold. Since the days are getting shorter you might also want to consider window treatments that really maximize natural lighting, as well as replacing screens, blinds and curtains where needed.
Seal your outdoor wood. Your decks, fences, porch furniture and other outdoor wooden items need to be protected from winter’s harsher elements. At the start of summer you probably threw on a coat with UV inhibitors to protect from fading in the sun. For the winter you’ll need to apply a sealant stain and check the deck’s overall stability. Prepare for vulnerabilities that can arise during a wet winter with freezing temperatures.
Inspect your siding. Take a close look for siding that’s bending, buckling or bulging, which can be a sign of bigger problems. As you close down the summer aspects of your house before to check your siding for holes. Insects might use holes to survive the winter, which can wreak havoc on your house.
Check your roof. Getting your roof ready for winter isn’t just about climbing up and having a look around. You’ll want to test your roof with all your senses—examining the integrity of the shingles. Look especially for curling shingles, or ones that are easily broken, or other signs that a roof replacement is on the horizon. While repairing or replacing a roof is never fun, it’s especially more difficult when it occurs in the shorter, cooler days of winter.
Clean and store your awnings. Before boarding up your awnings for the end of the warm season, give them a good cleaning. Be sure they have plenty of time to dry completely and air out before closing them up for the season.
Preparing your house for winter can be very exciting. As you box away your pool toys and barbeque equipment, you can reach for a cup of hot cocoa and get ready to relax.
Look at your windows. What do you see? Do you see the outside world pouring through? Unfiltered sunlight and color and joy? Or do you see reminders of past rains? Insect leftovers? Fingerprints and smudges? Nose and paw prints from pets? Sadness?
Fall is here and fall cleaning projects abound. Do not underestimate the effect that clean windows can have on the look and feel inside your home. Windows become dirty gradually and you may not even realize how much they need to be cleaned. They can dim the light in the home substantially and make things look dull. So, have you considered having your windows professionally cleaned? You might think, ‘Why pay? I can do them myself.’ You are correct. But consider a few reasons to have them done by us.
Time – There are only so many nice days each Fall. How do you want to spend them? Enjoying time with the family or cleaning windows? It can be a big job, especially if you are not used to doing it and don’t have the equipment, and can take many hours or a couple of days depending on how hard your windows are to access. How valuable is your time?
Quality – Most of the time we think of window cleaning with a squirt bottle and rag. This does clean the window, but do you get streaks? We have experimented with many types of cleaners from name brands to professional brands to home recipes. There really is a difference, but even the best of them still can leave streaks as you cannot completely remove all the cleaner. When we clean we wet the window with a window mop, scour it to get bug remains and other things off, and then strip the window with a squeegee. This leaves nothing on the window; you are left with a crystal clear piece of glass. It will stay looking good longer as well.
Safety – Cleaning windows inevitably involves ladders or step stools to reach the higher ones. How comfortable are you ladders? Some of us are, and some are not. If you are unsure on your feet or have a fear of heights, ladders are not for you. Even worse is when we don’t have access to the proper ladder or stool and we improvise! Standing on buckets, chairs, tables, etc. is dangerous. Having fallen off a bucket and broken my patella (kneecap) I can attest to this! Don’t risk it. We have the equipment and training to do the job the right way.
This fall, why not let us clean your windows? We can come out and do a free estimate. It will make your house shine and let the radiance of Fall and the fall colors flood your home.
The last article dealt with the importance of keeping an clean office. The hard part is now how to do it. Saying and doing are two different things! Granted, every office is different due to what type of work goes on, and every office environment is different due to the people in it. But here is an underlying principle: MAINTENANCE IS WORTH THE MONEY IT COSTS! Everything wears out eventually, but properly maintaining it will add many years to the life and it will look better during that time With that in mind, here are just a few general tips to consider that can apply across a wide array of circumstances.
1. Who is cleaning your office?
There are basically two options: hire a cleaning service or do it ‘In House.’ Each has advantages and draw backs. A cleaning service will cost you money and a good one will cost you more. But the benefit is that is will be done regularly and systematically. A good cleaning service is worth the expense!
Having your employees clean for you can save you money and they may be in a better position to clean as they know what needs it most. The down side is that often ‘In house’ lacks the quality and thoroughness needed. So if you are going to do it, first, make sure that your employees have the right equipment (e.g. well-maintained vacuum cleaners, quality cleaners and supplies, etc,) and instructions. Then, make sure you show your appreciation for the extra work it takes.
2. Preventive steps can mean less maintenance!
There are certain spots in the office that are always going to ‘take it on the chin’ so to speak. You can help your own cause with preventive steps. For instance:
Seriously consider a mat service. Entry mats will prevent a tremendous amount of soil from coming in from outside or from the shop… if they are clean! A mat service will make sure your mats are doing their job.
Make sure the coffee area is over an easily cleanable area, like tile. If that is not practical, put something under it to allow easy cleanup of spills, like an entry mat or chair mat.
Monitor plants carefully to make sure they are not over-watered. We clean a lot of stains from this and they are not easy to get out.
Use chair mats large enough to cover the work area. Chair mats that are too small will leave a ‘footprint’ around the edge, a place where feet and chairs go, that will not come out. (We will cover the pros and cons of mats in general in a future article.)
Have a cleaning station that is well stocked and easily accessible. Most people will at least attempt to clean up a mess you make the tools available. Make sure that you have the cleaners, towels, brushes, etc. in a convenient spot.
3. Have your carpets cleaned regularly.
We are not just putting this in because we do this (okay, maybe it is). As we have mentioned is previous articles, carpets have a subtle but noticeable effect on the space. When they are clean they reduce dust and other allergens and make the office feel brighter and happier. Having your carpets cleaned will often kickstart a new feeling of responsibility on everyone’s part in keeping the office clean.
If I were to ask you what the most soiled, least maintained carpets that we clean are, where do you think they would be located? Offices! Surprised? To be clear, I am not talking about a filthiness factor, just general soil and spots.
Many of you work in or manage an office. Look around at the carpet; are you pleased with what you see? We often hear complaints from frustrated people who work in offices that things are not as clean as they would like. Does it matter? Consider a few reasons why it should matter…
Your customers/clients/patients/etc. want a clean office! What do they see when they walk in and more importantly, what are they thinking? As humans, we are constantly picking up on nonverbal cues to understand the world around us. When we walk into a building we are immediately aware of, even if only subconsciously, the brightness or lack of light in the room, the colors on the walls and furniture, the decorating, the modernness or outdatedness of equipment, etc. We are also aware of how clean things are. The carpets and upholstery in your office or clinic may speak volumes about you before you even say a word. A clean office may ‘tell us’ that those in the building are more likely to be organized, reliable, and care. Dirty things ‘tell us’ that those in the facility may be less organized, not as dependable, and may not care for our concerns as well.
Your employees want a clean office! Do your employees show care and concern for the facility and it’s contents? Now, granted there is always going to be a variety of people with a variety of ideas in this regard, but, if things are not clean and maintained is there sufficient motivation to improve? Consider this: If you know that someone has just cleaned a floor are you more or less likely to be careful about keeping it clean? We may go out of our way not to leave footprints. Conversely, if the floor is clearly dirty, are you more or less likely to be careful on it? We may leave wet or dirty footprints and not even think about it. Although not an absolute, clean things are more likely to be maintained.
What about the environment that the staff is working in? Is it conducive to productive work or is it a distraction due to clutter and dirt? Does it lend itself to efficiency or to frustration? Is it healthy both mentally and physically? If your employees sense you care about them, they are more likely to care about what they do for you.
Whether we like it or not, clean spaces for work DO matter. Consider having your carpets and upholstery in your office cleaned and see what a difference it can make! Next time, we will share some tips on keeping things clean.
“How often should I have my carpets cleaned?” This is one of the most asked questions. What do you think? Every few months? Once a year? Once every two years? Only when absolutely necessary? Well, let’s examine what’s behind the question itself.
I’ve found that a person that asks this question usually has underlying concerns. Many times these are based on misconceptions.
Misconception #1 – Cleaning your carpets wears them out faster.
False. Wear in carpet does not come from any type of cleaning but actually from a LACK of cleaning. Soil is constantly being deposited in your carpet. This has a bad effect when it is walked on, much like sandpaper would have. You need to remove the soil, grit, sand, oil, etc. Vacuuming the carpets is a good start and is vital to long-term care. But you need to ‘wash’ out the deeper soil and especially the oils. Think about an oily spot on your counter. Doesn’t everything stick to it? The same thing happens on your carpet. Sand, grit, and other things readily stick to it causing further wear. You have to have it cleaned!
Misconception #2 – Once you clean your carpets they get dirtier faster.
False. This misconception comes from the days when you literally ‘shampooed’ your carpet. You soaped up your carpet, scrubbed it, and left it. It looked great for a while, but what do you think all that soap did? It attracted dirt. Time to scrub it again with more soap, and more dirt was attracted even faster. Do you see an issue? Today’s methods are far better. Hot-water extraction leaves very little detergent in the carpets. They will not resoil faster based on the cleaning.
Now it has to be said that cleaning can affect the factory protection. You need to replace this with Scotchgard protection. Often, though, the cleaning exposes the wear the carpet has endured. Worn carpet soils faster. Also, once clean, we are often sensitized to any soiling and it can appear that the carpet is soiling faster.
Misconception #3 – They don’t look dirty.
False. Carpets should be cleaned before they look dirty. When they look dirty, it is gone too far; damage is being done to the carpets and wear patterns are setting in. Remember, your carpets have depth. Soil does not stay on top for long. Where does it go? It works it’s way down into the carpet. Perhaps, out of sight, out of mind; but, it’s still there.
Sometimes, people using a combination of these misconceptions allow years, even a decade or more before cleaning their carpet. They are often quite surprised, even shocked, at the difference a cleaning makes. Don’t let it go this far. Regularly vacuum your carpet and have it cleaned professionally. Next time: How can I dry this carpet?