Archive for May 2016

How to Make Cleaning as Easy as “Pie”

How to Make Cleaning as Easy as “Pie”

We have all sorts of materials in our homes. Wood, glass, tile, metal, carpet, fabrics, stone, plastics and more. They all have one thing in common. Sooner or later, they all need to be cleaned.  Fortunately, even with so many materials, there are only four basic principles you need to know in order to clean any of them. Don’t shout it out… C.H.A.T. it out!  The basic principles of cleaning can be easily remembered by the acronym, C.H.A.T. The four letters stand for Chemical, Heat, Agitation and Time. Proper application of these four principles is important for effective cleaning.

The word chemical doesn’t always mean toxic; technically, even water is a chemical. Everyone uses soap to wash themselves, shampoo to clean their hair and various detergents to clean the dishes they eat on,  and the clothes they wear. All of these cleaning agents are chemicals, and properly used, they are harmless.

There are different cleaning agents designed to remove a variety of soils from all kinds of  surfaces. A product designed to work on tile and grout floors would likely damage carpet or wood. A wood cleaner would not do an adequate job of cleaning glass. To work well the right chemicals must be matched to surface and suitable for the soil that you are trying to remove.

Hot water cleans better than cold water. In situations where it is safe to do so, adding heat to your  cleaning solution will increase chemical effectiveness, and decrease overall cleaning time. When you are dealing with heavily soiled surfaces, heat is especially helpful. Grease and oil are broken down by heat, so using hot cleaning solution and hot water to rinse will yield excellent results.

Scouring pads, brushes, coarse cloths, and even high pressure water are some methods used to achieve agitation.  Agitation helps by distributing your cleaning agent, dislodging soils from surfaces and  suspending them in the cleaning solution to be rinsed away.

We all know that the longer you scrub and rinse something, the cleaner it gets. While that is true, it’s not the best use of time. When  you are cleaning, dwell time of your cleaning agent is important.  Dwell time means that you allow the product time to work, breaking down and dissolving soils. The amount of dwell time will depend on the type and quantity of soiling, the surface being cleaned and the strength and concentration of your cleaning solution.

Easy as Pie
Think of all of the four principles (chemical, heat, agitation, time) as four slices of a pie. If you slice the pie evenly, everyone gets the same amount. But, if someone wants a bigger slice, you will have to decrease the size of one or more of the other pieces of the pie.

Here’s how it works in cleaning:  If you have to use a very mild cleaning chemical, you’ll need to increase dwell time, agitation and/or temperature. If you can’t use hot water, you will have to use more chemical, more dwell time, or scrub more aggressively.

If you can’t use agitation, you will need more time, heat and/ or chemical action. Increasing temperature by using hot water is usually the best way to improve cleaning efficiency and save time.  Hot water reduces the amount of chemical you need to clean, suspends more soil, and rinses better. Temperatures over 130ºF begin to kill microbes on surfaces, providing sanitizing benefits. If you apply The 4 Principles of Cleaning, you can be more successful cleaning just about anything.

Of course, when it comes to cleaning your carpet, upholstery, rugs and tile, Hansen Steam Way technicians are the experts at applying the 4 principles of cleaning. That’s why we produce the best results every time, guaranteed.

Part 2 Have you ever wondered why spots return after having your carpet cleaned?

Have you ever wondered why spots return after having your carpet cleaned?

Part 2

There are two reasons spots return.  Here’s the second.

Reason 2: Re-Soiling

Re-soiling is caused by a sticky residue that has been left behind. The residue may be from the spot itself, the cleaner that was used, or both. Some common residue causes are over-the-counter carpet cleaners purchased at the grocery store. Avoid using these cleaners altogether. If you have to use one of these cleaners, or you have to use dish washing detergent, use as little as possible and rinse with water thoroughly.

Other residue causes are oily spots, duct tape, body oils, lotions, and other sticky or oily substances. If the entire oily residue is not removed, it will attract soil as the carpet is walked on. Even quality professional cleaning may not remove all oily residues the first time.


Cheap carpet cleaners use cheap products that are loaded with optical brighteners. Optical brighteners create an illusion of clean that causes the soil or spot to appear to be removed. The spot is still there. The soil is still there. Optical brighteners create a film that reflects light so that the carpet looks incredibly clean. It’s an optical illusion.

A stark illustration of this can be seen at a flea market or home show. Someone will be demonstrating a miracle cleaner on a small rug. The rug is saturated with motor oil. The salesman then scoops off just the foam of the miracle cleaner and presto, the motor oil is gone! This is physically impossible. Notice that the salesman has several bright lights shining on the demo rug to create the illusion.

Have a Safe Memorial Day Weekend

Have a Safe Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day marks the beginning of the summer recreation season. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be a time for accidents. Make sure you and your family are safe this Memorial Day weekend by remembering these safety tips.

Play Safely
If you are going to be spending time near or on the water, don’t forget to be safe. If you will be on a boat, wear a life jacket, follow all boating rules, and don’t operate a boat while drinking. If you will be swimming, remember to swim with a buddy, swim only in safe water, and never dive into shallow water.  All children should be supervised at all times around any type of water. If you will be spending  any time in the sun, don’t forget to use sunscreen and wear a hat.

Drive Safely
More people will be on the road on Memorial Day weekend, making for congested roads and highways.  Don’t forget to always wear your seatbelt and observe all posted traffic signs and speed limits. It is especially important for children to be in proper child safety seats in your car. And never drink and drive.

Have you ever wondered why spots return after having your carpet cleaned?

Have you ever wondered why spots return after having your carpet cleaned?

There are two reasons spots return.  Here’s the first.

Reason 1: Wicking

Many times, the spot that is being removed has seeped into the backing of the carpet. This is common with pet urine, beverages, and anything spilled in “volume.” The material dries in the backing and in the cushion (pad) of the carpet. When the spot is cleaned, only the material in the “pile” of the carpet is removed. However, moisture is introduced into the backing of the carpet. As the spot dries, the material in the backing of the carpet “wicks” back into the pile of the carpet much like wax into a candlewick.

Even traffic area soil that is embedded can wick back. This is especially common in glued-down carpet that is heavily impacted with soil. When the carpet is cleaned, it looks good. When it dries, the spots and traffic area soil come back. This also could be “Shading” this is where the embedded fibers have actual fiber damage and will never catch the light the same and will always have the “shaded” look.  On time, regular maintenance cleaning prevents this fiber damage.  Once it happens cleaning will not fix this.

The good news is if a spot actually wicks back, it can be removed. When you spot clean, place a folded white terry cloth towel over the spot just after you clean it while the spot is still moist. Place a heavy object on top of the cloth. Be sure to use a non-porous object that won’t transfer color onto the carpet. For example, a paper book cover could transfer color. Use a brick, a planting pot, or something like that.

When you have your carpet cleaned professionally, be sure to point out spots that have wicked back in the past, so they can be treated properly.

Stay tuned for the second reason you can’t beat always those spots!


How to Clean Up a Spill

A good carpet cleaning company will give its customers that insider advice to keep their carpets clean and attractive.   Here’s a little something you’ve always wanted to know!

How to Clean Up a Spill


Cover spill with a WHITE napkin or paper towels. DO NOT use colored paper! It might transfer onto the carpet. Be sure to use a THICK stack to absorb as much of the spot as possible.


Blot by stepping on stack of towels.



Apply spotting agent. Warning: Do not use over-the-counter spot removers! They can leave a sticky residue that attracts soil and may discolor your textiles. Instead, call us to find out what spotters we recommend. Always apply spotter to a damp towel not directly to the carpet and rinse out the spotter.


REPEAT steps 1 and 2. If the spot does not come out, do NOT attempt any further action, as you may set the spot and/or damage your textiles. Instead, give us a call.

Do not over-wet the spot. Keep blotting until dry to the touch.

Is Salt Making us Overweight?

Is Salt Making us Overweight?

Too much salt can be bad for us. It causes increased blood pressure, an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart  disease. And now, researchers have found that high salt intake  might lead to the over consumption of fatty foods, increasing the risk of obesity.

Two studies discussing this issue were published by Australian researchers recently. The first study revealed that test subjects who ate more salt could not detect increases in the fat content of foods. Thus, the saltier their diet, the more likely they would eat fattier foods without realizing it.

The second study found that participants consumed less when their food contained low salt and high fat. But when given high salt, high fat foods, those same subjects consumed significantly more food. The researchers believe that excessive salt reduces the body’s ability to know when it is full.
These researchers have called for a reduction in salt in processed foods, believing it could have a major impact on rates of obesity.

Detect-a-Leak Week

Detect-a-Leak Week

Detect-a-Leak Week is held annually every May. This is the perfect time to give your home a once over, checking for leaks that may be costing you money. Even a small leak can add up to hundreds of dollars a year, and could damage surrounding fixtures, cabinets, or floors.

One of the biggest culprits is the toilet. You often can’t tell if your toilet is leaking simply by examining it. Place a few drops of food coloring, just enough to slightly color the water, in the main tank.  Let it sit for several hours, then check the toilet bowl. If you see the color in the bowl, you have a leaky toilet and it needs to be repaired.

Check for dripping faucets, pipes, and connections by examining all plumbing in your home. Use a lightweight cloth to wipe around each connection. If your cloth becomes wet, you have leaky plumbing that needs to be repaired.

Don’t forget to stop those leaks that you can control. Turn faucets off all the way, and don’t let water run when you brush your teeth. Don’t use your toilet as a wastebasket. Instead of throwing items such as tissues in the toilet and flushing, use a small wastebasket in your bathroom instead.

Easy Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Carpet: Part 2!

Easy Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Carpet: Part 2!


  1. Remove Spots Immediately

Spots that are not immediately removed can turn into permanent stains very easily. When a carpet is new, or has sufficient protector on it, plain tap water will remove many spots. However, for those spots you can’t remove easily with water, you must use a spot cleaner. Select a spot cleaner recommended by the carpet manufacturer or by your trained, certified professional cleaner. Most spot removers purchased over the counter leave too much soap residue and can cause yellowing. Avoid using foam carpet cleaners or any product not made specifically for carpet.

Apply spot cleaner sparingly to white terry cloth and gently massage the spot, causing it to transfer into the cloth. Never pour spot cleaner directly on carpet. If the product you are using seems to cause the spot to re-soil over a few-week period, discontinue use. For any spot that you are not able to remove, and for pet urine or feces, call your professional cleaner immediately.

  1. Have Carpet Protector Reapplied

Residential nylon stain resistant carpets are treated with stain resist properties and soil resistors known as Dupont Teflon or 3M Scotchgard™. After a period of two to three years, some of the soil resistor wears off. At that point you should consider having a professional carpet cleaner reapply the protector after professional cleaning. The soil resistor will help soil slide off the carpet more easily when vacuuming, spots will be easier to remove, and professional cleaning will be more effective.

Unprotected carpet soils faster, doesn’t last as long, and is prone to permanent staining.


What Causes “New Carpet Smell” and is it Harmful?

What Causes “New Carpet Smell” and is it Harmful?

Smell is the most primitive of the five senses. The fragrances of food enhance our sense  of taste. Pleasant scents create a feeling of calm and contentment, while unpleasant ones may be a cause for alarm. Unfamiliar odors can create anxiety, especially when the source is unknown.

The nose knows, as they say. But what about “new carpet smell?” For many, this odor is welcome as we enter a carpet store or have new carpet installed in our own homes. It smells like a new beginning. But is this smell hazardous?
Volatile Organic Compounds
The unmistakable odor produced by new carpet is caused by a volatile organic  compound or VOC. Volatile simply means it evaporates readily at normal temperatures. This volatility makes it easy for us to smell. VOC’s are present in many new man-made building materials including sheet vinyl floorcovering, wall coverings, floor finishes, adhesives and paint. VOCs are what create “new car smell”, “new carpet  smell” and the smell that you probably don’t enjoy so much after you paint a room.

There are many different types of VOCs but the one related to new carpet odor is  4-phenylcyclohexene (4-PCH), a by-product of the synthetic latex binders used to hold the carpet backing together. Although new carpet does produce this volatile organic
compound, emissions from carpet as measured during EPA studies ranked among the lowest overall contributors to indoor air quality issues. Most of the VOCs present in carpet dissipate within 24-48 hours after installation.  Ventilation during and after  carpet installation helps to reduce that length of time.

EPA Testing
Several years ago, as the EPA was renovating its Washington DC headquarters, some  employees complained that odor from the new carpet was making them sick with a variety of symptoms including respiratory irritation, headaches and general malaise. The EPA enlisted help from carpet and latex manufacturers to investigate the complaints.

Following laboratory testing and extensive government agency review, no connection  between 4-PCH and any kind of adverse human health outcome could be established. As a result, the EPA describes 4-PCH as an“unremarkable chemical.”

Many people have the belief that “new carpet odor” is caused by formaldehyde used in the production of carpet. Research conducted by the School of Textile Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology dispelled this widely held myth. Current industry standards are in place so that all new carpet produced is monitored for this chemical.  Formaldehyde has not been used in the production of carpet in the United States for decades.

Latex Issues
What about people who are allergic to latex? The latex used in modern carpet is  synthetic and not linked with the allergic reactions caused by proteins found in natural latex. All of the materials used in the manufacture of carpeting are primarily the same harmless materials found in clothing, furniture and bedding. Nylon, polypropylene, polyester and wool constitute the majority of the components found in carpet.

The conclusion is that there is no evidence that new carpet odor is a cause for alarm.  However, since odors can create different reactions in individuals, it makes sense to address any complaints to prevent discomfort. As mentioned earlier, ventilating the structure during and after installation is the best way to reduce the buildup of 4-PCH in the indoor environment.

Easy Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Carpet: Part 1!

Easy Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Carpet: Part 1!


  1. Check the Warranty

Copies of specific warranties from your carpet purchase may be available from your carpet retailer. Stain resist warranties can vary from 5 to 20 years. ALL STAIN RESIST WARRANTIES REQUIRE REGULAR CLEANING AND IMMEDIATE SPOT REMOVAL.


  1. Vacuum, Vacuum, Vacuum!

It is said that the three most important rules for maintaining carpet are vacuum, vacuum, vacuum. Vacuum your carpet often; once or twice a week at least. Vacuuming removes the sharp soil that can cut and slice the fiber, causing premature wear. Much of this soil is not visible to the eye. Remove any loose particles such as food, leaves, pieces of crayon, and bugs, as these items can cause a spot on the carpet. Be sure to use a quality vacuum cleaner that is well maintained. If you have any questions about what type of vacuum is best, please ask us.


  1. Have Your Carpet Professionally Cleaned Often

Most people don’t clean their carpet often enough, perhaps due to the cost or the hassle factor, or because they do not realize how important regular professional cleaning can be. For example, if your traffic areas are visibly soiled, you have already waited too long! Traffic area soil is somewhat oily and bonds to the carpet fibers, eventually staining the carpet. Once this has taken place, even though professional cleaning will make it look much better, the traffic pattern will still be visible. In addition, traffic area soil is sharp—like sandpaper—and it abrades the carpet fibers. To keep this to a minimum, clean your traffic areas before they look visibly soiled.