Monday, August 31, 2020

Do your wool carpets and/or rugs shed when you vacuum?

Are you worried that the carpet or rug is degrading. Don’t worry. This is a natural characteristic of wool carpets and rugs. 

Some pilling and shedding can occur with all wool carpets and rugs. This is a natural characteristic of wool carpeting because wool carpets are made from short “staple” fibers. A staple fiber is a short length of fiber generally ranging from 4 to 8 inches long which is then spun into a yarn comprised of these short lengths. As we all know, wool is sheared from sheep. The result is short lengths of fiber which is then woven into a yarn. Because the yarn is made up of millions of short fibers, there are millions and millions of ends of these fibers in the carpet. Kind of like split ends in a person’s hair. It is impossible to remove all of these loose ends in the construction process. The result is these ends come out or shed when vacuuming.

Once again, no need to worry. Wool carpets will not wear out from the loss of fiber. Over time from use and abuse, just like any type of carpet or rug, they can develop traffic patterns and “ugly out” but they won’t fall apart from the shedding.  Also, the thicker the carpet yarn, the more likely you are to see shedding. Once again, no need to panic. The shedding should diminish with time but it will never go away completely. There will always be some fiber in the vacuum canister. Remember, this is normal.

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Thursday, July 9, 2020

When Should You Clean Your Carpets?

     When I am cleaning, this is a frequently asked question which deserves attention. There are two sources of advice, that from the industry and that based my own experience in the “real world”.

Institutional Advice
     The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration’s (IICRC) standard reference guide for professional
carpet cleaning, recommends cleaning for normal soiling in a home every 6-12 months for high use areas and annually for the remainder of carpet.  Most carpet mills require carpet cleaning from 18 months to 2 years to maintain the carpet warranty. The Carpet
and Rug Institute (CRI) recommends deep cleaning either quarterly, every 6 months or annually depending upon traffic levels.
     As you can see, they are all over the place but they all agree that;
·  Proper professional cleaning will extend the useful life of the carpet
·  If carpet looks dirty, it is already past the time it should have been cleaned
·  Cleaning for health has a bigger impact on people’s lives than merely cleaning for appearance.
·  The carpet in most homes would benefit from cleaning more often than it is being cleaned now.

Our “Real World” Advice
Now for our advice, there are two primary factors to consider, vacuuming frequency and the environment within the home. If you vacuum at least once a week, consider cleaning every 12 to 18 months. If you vacuum less, maybe clean every 9 to 12 months. However, if any of the following home environment conditions exist,
consider professional cleaning more frequently. Home environment considerations would be smokers, pets, heavy use of kitchens and the family. For smokers, tobacco smoke lingers and poses a health issue for children. Pet stains and their odors get worse with neglect. Heavy cooking, especially with oil, gets into the air and settles at entrances to the kitchen. And, last but not least, a messy family or family member can impact the cleanliness of the carpet.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Dry Cleaning Upholstery

     I get calls where I am asked if I dry clean upholstery because the labeling on their furniture specifies “Dry Clean Only”. The fact is that very few fabrics actually require dry cleaning. While it is good that furniture manufacturers provide labeling for care of the upholstery, very few tags that recommend “dry cleaning only” actually require that type of cleaning. Contrary to the manufacturer’s label guidelines, most fabrics clean easily and safely with water-based cleaning solutions performed by qualified professional upholstery cleaners. My suspicion is that by putting “Dry Clean Only” on the furniture, the manufacturer removes the chance of a homeowner trying to clean it themselves, creating problems and then coming after the manufacturer to fix the problem.
     The reasons that fabrics may require dry cleaning are: Colorfastness, texture change, dimensional stability, or finish damage. However, a qualified professional upholstery cleaner should be able to identify when dry cleaning is necessary.
     The reality is dry cleaning will never clean a fabric as well as water-based methods. Water-based solutions are most effective when removing water-based spills and dry cleaning solvents are only effective on oily soils and spots. However, most furniture, when subjected to “normal use”, is exposed to more water-based soils and spills than ones that are oily in nature. Also, the oils from skin, hair and animals are removed more efficiently with a water based cleaning utilizing the appropriate preconditioning agents.
     If dry cleaning is required: The use of dry cleaning solvents present both health and fire

 hazards. Therefore, organic vapor respirators, solvent-resistant gloves and aprons, and protective eyewear are required to do the work. The work area must also have adequate ventilation to remove the fumes, and under no circumstances should building occupants or pets be anywhere in or around the rooms when this cleaning is being done.

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Friday, February 7, 2020

Sisal Rugs – The Do’s and Don’ts

Sisal Rugs are woven from natural plant fibers. They are strong, durable and due to their unique advantages, can be a lasting addition to a living room, bedroom, office or hallway.
However, sisal rugs do not like moisture and humidity. If a large amount of liquid is spilled on to the rug, the rug may actually shrink and distort. Also, the penetrating liquid can get absorbed into the sisal, resulting in a large stain. For this reason, a sisal rug should be used in a dry place which is unlikely to be subject to spills. It is also important to keep this in mind when you clean a sisal rug. Be very careful with the amount of liquid used.
If something is spilled onto a sisal rug, it needs to be removed immediately. To remove the liquid from a sisal rug, blot the rug with a dry cloth and keep blotting with dry parts until there is no more transfer of liquid to the cloth. Also, make sure not to rub the spill because this can drive the liquid into the fiber. If possible, you may find it helpful to lift the rug up and blot from the underside as well. If a staining liquid such as juice is spilled, clean a sisal rug with one-half white vinegar and one-half water solution. Dip a cloth in the solution, blot the rug, and then blot with a dry cloth. You may need to repeat this, but remember to use a small amount of water to clean a sisal rug so that the rug does not absorb the liquid. Even too much water can leave a stain.
For dry materials, you can scrape it off with a blunt edge, such as a wooden knife. Finally, the sisal rug should be vacuumed regularly to take up accumulated dirt. If you vacuum a sisal on a frequent basis, you will also prolong the life of the rug, since embedded dirt tends to damage its fibers.
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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Tips on Rug Care

Whether you have expensive oriental rugs or just good everyday rugs, here are some tips to take care of them and make them last longer.

  • Vacuum rugs at least once a week.
  • Turn or rotate the ends of a rug.  This should be done once a year. However, it is a must to turn
    them at least every two years. Turning prevents more wear in one area than in another. It also helps to prevent “traffic patterns” from occurring as in carpeted rooms.
  • Moth considerations for wool and oriental rugs. Rugs regularly vacuumed or located in well used rooms are less likely to have moth damage. Moths work in secluded, undisturbed areas such as under beds, skirted sofas, or heavy furniture. Move furniture occasionally when vacuuming and clean under it. Also, homes not well ventilated or rooms closed for long periods of time are more likely to have moth problems, so once again vacuum rugs regularly.
  • Sunlight considerations. Direct, sunlight will gradually fade a rug. To avoid this, cover windows with drapes, curtains or shutters and use them to block strong morning and afternoon sunlight. Also, consider window glass treatments and rug treatments for UV light protection.
  • Plants or flowerpot considerations. Live plants requiring water should never be placed directly on rugs. Dampness from the bottom of the pots will cause mildew and rot, gradually destroying the fibers of the rug and resulting in drastic damage. Plants should be in a stand, preferably on wheels. Also, there should be a space between the pot and rug for air to circulate. Use a container under the flowerpot to avoid water dripping onto the rug.

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