Archive for April 2015

Window Safety

Window Safety
The windows in your home protect you from the elements, but you do need to take care when opening and closing them. Here are some basic precautions to take with the windows in your house.
}} Do not push on the glass to open the window, as this can cause the glass to break and cut your hand and arm.
}} If there are children under the age of ten, install window guards.  These will keep a young child from falling out of an open window.

}} Don’t depend on window screens to keep a child safe. These screens can pop out easily and are not designed to withstand the weight of a person.
}} Make sure that your windows can open and close easily. Because windows offer an escape route in an emergency, you should be able to open them with ease.
}} Windows can be manufactured with laminated glass. This will not keep them from being broken when struck with a stray baseball or rock, but it will keep the glass pieces from falling into your home. The plastic interlayer is also puncture resistant, which can offer some protection from home intruders.

More Than One Way To Clean Carpet

There’s more than one way to skin a cat, and there’s definitely more than one way to clean a carpet. So be sure to ask your prospective hire this: “What Kind of Systems Do You Use?”

There is much debate about whether you should go with “dry cleaning” or “steam cleaning” for your carpet. And as usual, this is only a tiny part of the picture. In this section, you will learn about cleaning methods and, more importantly, what steps are required for maximum soil and spot removal without over-wetting the carpet or leaving a sticky residue behind.

Also, you want to know what kind of customer service systems the company has in place. Our world-class customer service means we will show up on time in a clean, lettered vehicle. Our technicians are clean-cut, in uniform, and ready to serve. They will treat you, your family, and your home or office with the utmost courtesy and respect.

We will communicate with you throughout the cleaning process and do our best to answer any questions you have after the job. In fact, we will call you a few days after the job to make sure you are 100% satisfied.

Money Tips for Summer

Money Tips for Summer
Looking to save some cash? Summer is the perfect time to squeeze some extra savings out of your budget. Here are some ways to keep more of your hard-earned money in your pocket.
1. Vacation closer to home.  One of the most expensive parts of a vacation is the cost to travel to and from your destination. Instead of traveling across the country,vacation in your own or in a neighboring state. You can cut the expense of air travel or a long road trip by traveling less than a day away.
2. Get outside and save some dough. Pack a brown bag lunch and eat outside at lunchtime instead of buying lunch at a restaurant. Instead of heading to a movie theater, catch a free outdoor movie night in your community. Rather than heading out for drinks with your friends, have them over to hang out on your patio. Let everyone bring their own drinks and food for the grill and you’ll have a great time with little expense.
3. Save on grocery costs by planting a garden. You will have healthy, pesticide-free food that costs less than the grocery store. For every $5 you spend on vegetable seeds, you can expect several hundred dollars in produce. Even if you don’t have a large area to garden, you can still save money by planting in container gardens.

Certified Cleaners

Our industry provides courses in carpet cleaning, repair, fabric cleaning, marble and tile cleaning, area rug cleaning, customer service, marketing, management, and other related subjects.

Many of the organizations offer certification programs that involve testing and ethics requirements. There are trade publications, websites, bulletin boards, and a variety of other opportunities to stay plugged in.

We attend every course we can in order to bring you the very best. Many of these courses require travel across the U.S. and can therefore be quite costly. However, we believe, as fiber technology changes and as floor coverings become more complex, proper education becomes even more important.

The bottom line is that you have a tremendous investment in your textiles and flooring systems and it is our duty to know how to best care for them. Understanding cleaning technology at the highest level helps to reduce cleaning residues and creates a healthier indoor environment by eliminating invisible germs and bacteria. It also empowers the cleaner to remove more soil, thereby creating a longer-lasting fabric or floor.

The Truth About Spots and Stains

The Truth About Spots and Stains
You may have seen some of the commercials on television that show a bottle of spot remover that can quickly and easily remove stains from carpet and upholstery like magic. Red wine, ketchup, coffee, fruit punch, spaghetti sauce, grass stains and more are removed in seconds with no rubbing or scrubbing. Just spray and blot! If only it were that easy!  The truth is that advertisers are not being completely honest with you. The spots are usually on new carpet that is most likely olefin or polyester- two fibers
that are difficult to stain. They choose spots that are easily removed by the chemistry of their spotter. The same cleaner on a dried mustard on a three year- old nylon carpet would produce less than stellar results.  In reality, the ease or difficulty of spot removal will vary depending on fiber type, age and condition of the carpet, age of the spot, the type of stain, and even the cleaning agents and methods previously used on the carpet.  The first step is to identify the spot.  Sometimes you can’t be sure what
it is, so with unknown spots, we play “detective”. Using clues like the color, location, texture, odor and shape we figure out what it might be.  The next step is to categorize the spot.
There are four categories of spots:
Category 1-Water-soluble
Water-soluble spots respond to water based solutions. There are several spotting agents that fit into this category.  Acid spotters work best on alkaline soils.  Alkaline spotters work on common acid based soils. Enzyme spotters break down protein spots like blood, milk, eggs and grass.
Category 2-Solvent-soluble
Solvent-soluble spots are best treated with solvent-based spotters. This category includes tar, petroleum grease, lipstick, ink, dried paint, gum and adhesives.
Category 3-Insoluble spots
Insoluble spots include substances that cannot be dissolved with water or solvent spotters. Some examples are graphite, carbon, fireplace ash and powdered copier toner.
Category 4-Specialty treatments
Specialty treatments include strong acids, oxidizers, reducing agents and specialized chemical reactions. Rust, food dyes, urine stains and mustard fall into this category.
First things first.  Before applying any spotting agent we determine the fiber type. It is important to be sure that the spotting agents and cleaning method will not harm the fiber.

Once we have selected the correct spotter and qualified the fiber content, spot removal will follow 5 basic steps:
1. Remove excess material with scraping or blotting.
2. Apply the appropriate spotter to the spot. Do not over saturate the carpet.
3. Agitate gently. Never scrub or rub the carpet.
4. Rinse.
5. Blot with a clean white towel.
These are the basic steps. Our techniques, tools and processes will vary depending on your unique situation. Any remaining discoloration after the spot removal is a stain, and will require more expertise and specialized methods.  Hansen Steam Way technicians are experts at identifying, categorizing and treating the spots and stains that other companies can’t. Call us today if you have questions or need help removing spots, odors and stains from your carpet.

Cleaning has historically been viewed as a commodity

Cleaning has historically been viewed as a commodity—a menial task that anyone can do. Long before sophisticated textiles and complexly-built indoor environments were created, cleaning may have been a simple task, but that is no longer the case.

Complex flooring systems, sensitive fabrics, and new-age soiling conditions have created a need for advanced education in the cleaning industry. Unfortunately, many cleaners (and consumers) have not understood this concept. We still see ads for $6.95 per room for carpet cleaning and sofa cleaning for $45.00. The cleaner puts the ads out, never intending to clean for those prices, and the consuming public gets the idea that cleaning should be cheap.

These so-called “cleaning” companies also happen to be the ones that don’t educate themselves or their employees. The result is that carpets and fabrics are being ruined every day by uneducated, uninformed, and sometimes downright unscrupulous carpet cleaners.

They are facing soiling conditions they have never seen or heard of due to a lack of education. Or worse, they create a situation on a carpet or fabric that they have no idea how to fix. One example: they leave sticky residues in the carpet that cause the carpet or fabric to re-soil rapidly or to discolor.

Top-notch education is readily available in our industry. There is no excuse for cleaners to not educate themselves (and provide useful education to their clients). Part of the problem is since they have fallen into the trap of viewing cleaning as a commodity themselves, they can’t afford to educate themselves. Education is expensive, but the result of not getting the necessary knowledge is much more costly.

Our company invests a great deal in education. Not only do we spend thousands of dollars per year on education, we are heavily involved in our industry, making us well connected with our industry leaders.

This way, if a unique situation arises in the field, we have experts that we can call on, thereby bringing the cutting edge of cleaning technology to you.

Spring Safety Tips for Your Pets Part 4

Spring Safety Tips for Your Pets

Part 4 of 4

Keep identification current.
A microchip is the best way to find a lost pet. Be sure to update your information if you’ve moved since your dog or cat has received a microchip. Even if your pet is microchipped, it is still good to have a sturdy collar and a tag. Make sure the tag has your address and cell phone number on it.

Trial & Error….. “What Kind of Training Do You Have?”

Trial and error is a part of the learning process, but when it comes to the care of your carpets, you don’t want a cleaning company to experiment on yours. So be sure to ask your prospective carpet cleaning company this: “What Kind of Training Do You Have?”

The number one reason for poor carpet cleaning is technician error. Would you be surprised to learn that most carpet cleaning companies have no formal training? That they are not required to be licensed? That there is no requirement to have any certification whatsoever? Is training and certification important? After all, isn’t carpet cleaning a “menial” task that anyone can perform?

Actually, a carpet cleaning professional is working with one of your most valuable assets. Should it be trusted with just anyone? Unfortunately, our industry is full of “rogues” who only care about how much money they can get from you, and who care nothing about the life of your carpeting. They do not care about the industry in which they work.

Have you ever noticed that in many states, air-conditioning companies, plumbers, and pest-control companies are required to be licensed? Not so for carpet cleaners. Fortunately for you, and for me, there are many fine people in the carpet cleaning industry who realize the standard must be raised. Those of us in that process help to police our own industry. In order to do this, associations and certification organizations were created.

One such organization is the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). This organization provides certification courses and exams for the carpet cleaning industry. By attending these courses, carpet cleaners are taught about fiber identification, carpet construction, cleaning chemistry, cleaning methods, and professionalism.

In this training, technicians learn the technical aspects of cleaning that assist them in using the proper methods for cleaning specific types of soil from specific types of carpet. A certified firm knows the right way to apply cleaning procedures and chemistry. A certified firm is working together with other certified firms to raise the standard of carpet cleaning in general, therefore providing you with a higher-quality product.

Special Note: Never use a carpet cleaner that is not certified by the IICRC.

The IICRC is just one entity that provides training. There are many opportunities for advanced training and learning. Be sure to ask questions about the specific training the company has.

Our company is certified by the IICRC and is heavily engaged in training in our industry. We are thoroughly trained in each area of service. Be sure to ask us about our designations and certifications.