Archive for February 2016

Internet Tidbit: Project Alexandria

Internet Tidbit: Project Alexandria
Avid book lovers sometimes wonder which book to read
next. Project Alexandria, found at projectalexandria.net,
helps readers find a book that will be interesting to them.
Their team has analyzed over one million books, looking at their
genre, descriptions and complexity. They then connect books that
share similar styles and subjects. You’ll get a host of suggestions for
that next book to read just by entering one book title.

More Carpet Cleaning Methods

More carpet cleaning methods you should consider. A great cleaning service will tell you your options and make a recommendation that meets your needs!

Method 2: Absorbent Pad

Also known as bonnet cleaning, this method employs a round pad that spins across the surface of the carpet, absorbing the soil. A solution is applied to the carpet or the pad to aid in releasing soils. This is a method that some may classify as “dry cleaning” although water-based products are used in almost all “dry cleaning” systems; therefore the term dry cleaning is not technical and would not be desired. Absorbent pad cleaning is not a deep-cleaning method. It should only be used to clean lightly soiled carpet and upholstery.

Method 3: Dry Compound

This method uses a powder that has been treated with detergents, water, and solvents. The powder compound is sprinkled on the carpet and a brush with cylindrical brushes is used to work the powder into the carpet pile. The solution in the powder releases the soil. The soil is then absorbed into the absorbent powder. This method should only be used to clean lightly soiled carpet and upholstery, and for maintenance cleaning.

Method 4: Shampoo or Dry Foam

In this method, a shampoo or foam is generated and worked into the carpet with a rotary brush or cylindrical brush machine. The shampoo or foam releases the soil. The soil is then vacuumed with the machine or allowed to dry and removed with a conventional vacuum cleaner. When using shampoo, great care should be taken to avoid leaving a sticky residue on the carpet. This method should only be used to clean lightly soiled carpet and upholstery, and for maintenance cleaning.

Method 5: Encapsulation Cleaning

Encapsulation cleaning is a low moisture cleaning performed with a Brush Pro and special encapsulation cleaning agent.  I believe it is the safest for the fibers and gives the best results for low moisture cleanings. It is the latest technology and actually suspends and entraps soil for easy removal during cleaning.  Then slows re-soiling by leaving a special encapsulating polymer behind. It attaches to the carpet soils and vacuums away with each vacuuming.

Our company is experienced in all methods of carpet cleaning. Give us a call to consult with us about your needs.

Should you go with “dry cleaning” or “steam cleaning”?

Should you go with “dry cleaning” or “steam cleaning”?

Let’s get technical, shall we? We’re about to tackle some serious stuff when it comes to carpet cleaning techniques.

Should you go with “dry cleaning” or “steam cleaning”?

Is one method better than the other? Are these even the right terms? Well, as usual, these terms only hint at part of the issue at hand. Both “dry” and “steam” are incomplete and inaccurate terms. Neither are technical terms that properly describe carpet cleaning methods.

There are actually four methods of carpet cleaning approved by the IICRC, the world’s most recognized body of certification for carpet and upholstery cleaners.

Method 1: Hot Water Extraction

Otherwise known as “steam cleaning,” hot water extraction is the process most people are probably familiar with. Hot water extraction is the correct technical term, not steam cleaning. Actual steam is not used at all. A hot water solution is produced and immediately recovered, creating a “flushing” action on the carpet.

The smallest portable machine rented at the grocery store could be called a “steam cleaner,” but a powerful truck-mounted machine is obviously more capable of doing a thorough cleaning job.

However, the biggest and most important difference is in the person cleaning the carpet. A trained technician will know what pressure to use, what cleaning products to use, and how to get maximum soil removal and maximum spot removal without over-wetting the carpet or leaving a sticky residue behind. The horror stories of carpet being wet for days are due to operator error, not because “steam” or hot water extraction caused it.

Hot water extraction applied properly will remove more soil than any other method. Further, anything that has seeped into the backing such as coffee, other beverages, or urine can be “flushed out” with hot water extraction. This method can also be used in lightly soiled and maintenance situations, as it is very versatile.

More methods to come in our next blog!

Protect Your Home from Burglaries

Protect Your Home from Burglaries

Most home break-ins are not through a busted down door or broken window. The most common way for a burglar to enter your home is through an unlocked door or window. Your best protection from home theft is to simply deter burglars from entering your home.  These tips will help keep you and your family safe:

– Lock all doors and windows, including your garage door. You should get in the habit of locking everything whenever  you leave your home and when you retire for the night.

– All doors leading to the outside should have a dead-bolt lock.

– Install peepholes in your doors leading to the outside.

– Keep trees and bushes around your doors and windows trimmed.

– Make sure you have good lighting on the outside of your home. Replace burned out bulbs promptly.

– Get to know your neighbors.  Start a neighborhood watch group to increase security in your neighborhood.

Our 12 Step Cleaning Program

Our 12 Step Cleaning Program

Step 1: Pre-Cleaning Inspection
The carpet or upholstery should be inspected and tested so the cleaner can inform you of the expected results and any potential challenges. This inspection should include identifying the fiber type as well as any potentially permanent stains.

Step 2: Dry Soil Removal
Up to 85% of soil in a textile is dry particulate soil that has bonded to the surface of the fabric. Household vacuum cleaners don’t always remove all of the dry soil. If not completely removed, it may “wick” back upon drying.

Step 3: Hard Floor Protection
Many times there are hard surfaces that need to be crossed to get to the carpet, protecting these hard surfaces from hoses and technicians feet is important.

Step 4: Use of Corner Guards
Corner guards are critical to protect your walls and baseboards from moving hoses.

Step 5: Pre-Conditioning Traffic Areas
In this step, a solution is applied that loosens the soil and spots for more effective removal.
Step 6: Pre-Cleaning Grooming
The carpet or upholstery pile is gently massaged to further loosen the soils so that aggressive, harmful cleaning is not needed.

Step 7: Extraction
Now that the soil has been properly “suspended,” it can be extracted without over-wetting or leaving a sticky residue behind.

Step 8: Specialty Spotting
Stubborn stains sometimes require specialty stain removal processes. Because many cleaners do not train themselves, they do not know about these processes. Those who do, sometimes gouge customers for these processes by offering a low price to hook you, intending to up the price by charging for “extras.”

Step 9: Neutralizing
A common problem is that some carpet cleaners don’t neutralize the carpet. Not balancing the pH can cause the carpet to be stiff and attract dirt like a magnet.
Step 10: Blocking and Tabbing of Furniture
Blocking and tabbing furniture that is wood or metal prevents wood stain transfer and rust spots.

Step 11: Post-Cleaning Grooming
The pile of the carpet or upholstery should then be “finished” so it dries and cures in the proper direction.

Step 12: Post-Cleaning Inspection
A thorough walk-through should be done to insure that you are completely satisfied with your cleaning job.

Prevent Cancer with a Better Lifestyle, Not Better Luck

Prevent Cancer with a Better Lifestyle, Not Better Luck

A new study published in the journal, Nature, suggests that up to 90 percent of cancer cases are linked to lifestyle choices that are usually avoidable. This study refutes a previous assertion that many cases of cancer are simply due to “bad luck,” those circumstances that are out of our control.

What are those lifestyle choices that can result in a higher risk for developing cancer? They include a poor diet, lack of  exercise, stress and pollution. You should also avoid smoking and excessive ultraviolet radiation to help lower your risk. Researchers are interested in these findings to help doctors find more effective preventative treatments for their patients. If a patient believes that improving their lifestyle choices will have little effect on their health because it is  mostly up to luck, they will have little incentive to work on those choices. But if doctors can show that cancer is due to many factors within their control, there is a better chance that improvements will be made.

The 12 Step Cleaning Program

The 12 Step Cleaning Program

Have you ever had a carpet cleaner race through your cleaning job? You wonder how he could have possibly cleaned the carpet in such a short amount of time!

It “looks” clean, but what will resurface in the near future?

We have identified 12 vital steps in the carpet cleaning process that result in maximum soil and spot removal without over-wetting the carpet or leaving a sticky residue behind. These 12 steps also insure that you are satisfied. Most carpet cleaners don’t apply even a fraction of these steps.

When a cleaner rushes through the job, insisting that his “super-duper” cleaning machine does all the work, soil that could have been removed is left behind. In the worst cases, a sticky residue that attracts dirt like a magnet is left on your carpet. And to top it off, it takes three days to dry! That means it is now susceptible to mold and mildew.

Most of the 12 steps are required by the IICRC, yet many cleaners ignore that fact, leaving you holding the bag. Up next, the steps!

Decorating Your Home for Valentine’s Day

Decorating Your Home for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day for many means cards and dinner out, chocolates and flowers. Even if you  are spending Valentine’s Day out, don’t forget to decorate your home for this lovely  holiday. Placing reminders of how much you love your family around your home is a great way to bring an atmosphere of love and caring into your living space. Here are some simple ideas to make this holiday more festive.

1. Paper hearts are an inexpensive way to decorate. You can cut them out of red, pink, purple and white paper or simply buy inexpensive paper hearts. You can string them in a garland over a fireplace, tape them to your windows, or use them as little love notes  placed around your home.

2. Candles are a romantic addition to any home. Use red or pink candles in clear candle holders.  In larger glass candle holders, you can partially fill them with Valentine’s jelly beans and then set your candles on top of the candy.

3. Decorate further with candy by using some fancy apothecary jars to store your holiday treats. You can place wrapped chocolates, jelly beans, or conversation hearts in these jars. They look festive and make the treats available for all your friends and family.

4. Flowers are fleeting, but silk flowers don’t fade. Use silk rose petals as an accent to your table setting and place some Valentine-themed flowers around your house.

How do Carpet and Fabric Protectors Work?

How do Carpet and Fabric Protectors Work?

You see it on television and internet commercials all the time, a glass of wine or fruit punch being spilled on a beautiful, new carpet. The guests are mortified, but the smiling hostess blots up the spill with a towel, leaving the carpet clean and spot-free. Disaster averted, the party continues.

But is this really the way it works?  Well, yes and no.

Modern Fabric Protectors
Virtually all carpets manufactured today feature some type of protector application. These specialized fluoropolymers have names like Permashield®, R2X®, Repel®, and of course, DuPont Teflon® and 3M Scotchgard®. In addition, almost all nylon carpets are treated with special stain blockers called acid dye resistors to help prevent permanent staining by common food and beverage spills.

When a carpet is new, the factoryapplied protectors perform extremely well. Liquid spills bead up on the surface of the carpet yarns. But as a carpet ages with traffic, vacuuming and even professional cleaning, the protection wears off and is reduced significantly, requiring reapplication from time to time.

How Protectors Keep Your Carpets Looking Good

You may wonder how these miracle polymers work. Well, they work partially through surface energy, which is similar to surface  tension. You may have heard of surface tension. In fact, you have likely seen a demonstration of this phenomenon in action when a glass is filled with water so that the water rises slightly above the rim of the glass without spilling over. If you are careful, you can actually float a metal paper clip on the surface of the water, too. This is due to surface tension.

Surface tension is used to describe what happens at the surface of liquids. But solid materials like carpet fibers have a property called surface energy.  Surface energy is not easily explained or demonstrated, so let’s just say that surface energy determines how well liquid can penetrate a solid. If a liquid is spilled onto a fiber that has high surface energy, it will penetrate easily. If a liquid is spilled on a fiber with low surface energy it will tend not to penetrate. Fluoropolymers work
by reducing the surface energy of a material.

Protectors not only shield your carpet from water-based spills, but also from oils, grease and dry particles. This means that you have more time to blot-up spills or tracked-in soils. Vacuuming becomes more efficient because dry soils are repelled. Oily and sticky soils are also repelled so they don’t attract dry soils. That is important because it is the dry, gritty particles that do the most damage to your carpets by scratching and dulling the fibers just like sandpaper. All of this means that carpets which are regularly cleaned and  protected last longer and look cleaner, brighter and newer.

Re-Protecting Your Carpet

Like any topical coating, carpet protectors wear away with age and use. Laboratory testing reveals that protection is reduced by 30% or more each year. Even professional cleaning, important as it is, removes a little bit of the remaining protector.

The fact is that your carpets are only new once. When the fibers have been scratched and dulled, they will never look as colorful and pretty as they did when new.  Protectors help to prevent this damage and keep carpets looking newer longer. That’s why major carpet manufacturers recommend annual cleaning and protector application on most residential carpets. Keep that in mind the next time you invite Hansen Steam Way to clean your carpets.

“What Kind of Systems Do You Use?”

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.