- Muscle and joint pain
- Headache, anxiety, depression, memory loss, and visual disturbances
- Immune system disturbances and fatigue
- GI problems
- Shortness of breath
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It’s an interesting question. The last thing you need is an expensive carpet shrinking after it has been cleaned – thus rendering it, well possibly useless! You may want a carpet cleaned for health reasons, the visual aspect – or even after decorating a room?, and why not – it’s a sensible thing to do, but disasters can happen! On a professional level we have seen many shrunken carpets, and we usually hear that they cannot contact the cleaning company who carried out the cleaning, which isn’t good. So to avoid the stress, anger and worry of this phenomena we need to know why this is all happening.
What carpets can shrink?
There are general 2 types of carpet that can shrink: Axminsters & Wiltons. An genuine axminster carpet will have a wool face fibre (the bit that you walk on) and a jute backing yarn (the woven bit on the back) that interweaves with the wool fibre. It’s pretty hard to shrink an Axminster but when the jute becomes wet through poor cleaning, then the backing could shrink.
The wiltons that can shrink are what we call Belgian Wiltons because traditionally a lot of these are made of a polypropylene face fibre – with a jute backing, just like the axminster (this is opposed to a good quality wilton which is made of wool). But because the polypropylene cannot hold on to hardly any moisture, it goes straight to the bottom of the pile into the backing, and shrinks the carpet. To check if you have a belgian wilton, peel back your carpet, and see if the pattern is duplicated and visible on the back – the same as the face pile. It’s not a 100% check because you may not have a polypropylene pile fibre – but if you do have this, get the cleaning company to double check prior to cleaning.
Why Do They Shrink?
The main reason why they shrink is down to poor cleaning. What I mean is, it’s either underpowered equipment or just bad technique. If the cleaning machine is cheap (and thus small) it cannot extract enough water out of the carpet, which means the carpet may then shrink. Bad technique could just be down to cleaners applying too much pre-spray cleaning agents, and too much water in the rinsing action. The physical action of why the carpet shrinks is the jute backing (I call it backing but it is the base to which the face fibres weave on to) when wet, essentially swell up and expand, thus needing more space and causing stress on the structure. It’s this action that causes the shrinkage.
How Can You Avoid Them Shrinking?
Well if you have a belgian wilton then it could still be cleaned – but it needs to be done properly and safely. But there lies the problem, how do you know how to get it done – without it shrinking? By choosing a cleaning company that has extensive training on these issues is a good indicator of reliability, but one who also uses the most powerful machinery possible will usually ensure your carpet is safe. Don’t forget, if a good, highly professional cleaning company are ever in doubt about shrinking a carpet, they will check first to see if it is cleanable. If there is suspicion that it will indeed shrink, then it should either be left, or a low moisture clean undertaken.
Author: Kevin Loomes
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Wool rugs are woven to last HUNDREDS of years. In our industry a rug today is not considered to be “antique” unless it is woven before 1900. They are made to last, and many of them do when properly cared for.
However, you put a rug in the wrong conditions, with the wrong bugs, and you can lose that rug in under a year. Eaten away by moths, carpet beetles, or other bugs feeding on other contaminants the rug fibers are holding on to.
This 8’x10′ Turkish rug was completely eaten away while in storage several years. Rugs must be CLEANED and with protective treatments before placing into storage. Worms and waste cover this once beautiful rug.
Storage is the place where the worst damage occurs. This makes sense because the bugs like dark, undisturbed places to make their meal.
In homes, with rugs in use, this bug damage will be found under large furniture. Moths and carpet beetles love to eat under a sofa that is never moved to vacuum under it. And damage will be found UNDERNEATH the rug on the back side.
Here is a video that shows you what the damage looks like, and where to look:
The damage from the top side can be relatively easy to spot.
Emerging moth larvae is eating away the wool fibers. Damage like this occurs underneath furniture in dark, undisturbed places.
Damage where the worms are not visible, and the bugs have left (due to cleaning or treatment), leave behind bald areas where the wool has been eaten away completely, and only the cotton foundation fibers remain.
Carpet beetles ate away the wool in this area and left behind only the cotton foundation fibers (grey and white).
On the back side, you can see damage again as white bare areas with the foundation peeking through:
Bugs eat away the wool and leave the bright white cotton behind. On the front pile side you can see some divots in the wool, but the back shows a clear cotton grid.
Before there gets to be those white bare areas, you will see moth casings in the stage before the larvae hatches and begins to eat and eat and eat. These casings look like “sticky link” and webbing, and sometimes small cocoons, based on the type of bug.
The beginning of an infestation looks like sticky lint and webbing. This rug can be saved if it is treated by a pest specialist and then washed by a rug specialist.
Other bugs not known for eating wool (silverfish, termites, and other creepy crawlies) can eat wool if there is something spilled on the fibers that they find appetizing. The wool is just the “holder” of the meal for them, and gets eaten away in the process. This is why it is always very important to clean up spills quickly, so that the residue does not soak into the cotton interior fibers.
Insects find dirty rugs much more appetizing than clean rugs.
This is one of the reasons why the industry recommends that rugs are cleaned every 1 to 3 years, depending on the quality of the fibers, the quality (and frequency) of your vacuuming, and how much use a rug gets (feet and paws).
This video shares what to do in order to help keep the bugs away from your rugs:
At our rug shop we send reminders to our clients to wash their rugs at least every two years if it is noted as an “active” area rug. If the owners have pets that have had several accidents, then we remind them sooner, because for some unknown reason, moths in particular LOVE urine soaked wool fibers. They will eat at those areas first.
Quick clean up of pet accidents helps lessen that risk. Having a fiber protector applied on the wool fibers also can help you to clean up more effectively because it helps to “suspend” the urine longer for the clean up. It does not bulletproof the rug, but it does help lessen the damage and make the clean up more successful.
(By the way, Pet urine causes severe fiber and dye damage to your rug over time. If quick clean up has not happened, then you need to plan for a wash in the near future. A combination of pet urine and moth activity will be a rug disaster if that happens. Those bugs usually eat the rug from the back side, so that is where to inspect.)
UC Davis published a study on the preventative care of rugs and wall-to-wall carpeting in order to keep the bugs away from your home.
Here is their page on carpet beetle management => UC DAVIS – Carpet Beetles
Here is their page on clothes moth management => UC DAVIS – Cloth Moths
Both discuss the importance of regular cleaning and vacuuming as the best way to prevent an infestation.
If you are not sure whether your rugs are dirty, or whether you are vacuuming “properly”, here is my post on exactly that topic: How to vacuum wool rugs.
It is important, especially with your investment wool and silk rugs, to have a routine for their care to keep them in great condition for this generation, and the next, and perhaps the next.
And if you have any rugs in storage. If you did NOT store them very soon after washing, then plan to get them out of storage to have them cared for right away. The most common damage that we see rugs disposed of over is improper storage. And it is always heartbreaking when it happens, because most people put their rugs into storage in order to protect them, and yet, it usually is the reason why they end up losing them.
Moths in a storage unit made a meal of every rug belonging to this client, numerous Navajo and South American rugs were destroyed. Tribal rugs are more at risk for moth damage. They were also wrapped in plastic, which led to mildew. Wool rugs should NEVER be wrapped in plastic.
If after watching the videos, you inspect your rugs and discover bug activity, then the first call is to your pest control specialist to treat the rug for you (and kill the bugs). The second call is to your rug specialist in order to wash the rug, and to have them give advice on other treatment the rug may need to protect it in the future.
The best protection though against bugs causing harm to rugs is a regular vacuuming and washing routine. And the more often you vacuum, the longer you can stretch in between needed washings.
If you have any questions, or need to find a rug cleaner in your area, shoot me a message => CONTACT LISA
All my best to you and your rugs!
P.S. Those of you who are professional rug cleaners, I am currently in the process of selecting companies for our next team of Textile Pros to train. This is a six month on-line and hands-on curriculum, and we only select 20 companies to work with at a time. It is advanced training for those who want to be the best at this craft, and we have worked with true beginners, and also those who have been in the craft for many decades. If you love to learn the latest about fibers, dyes, rug construction, and tackling the trickiest of textiles, then you will love the program. Shoot me an email if you want the specifics => CONTACT LISA And of course, Happy Rug Cleaning!
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Fire season has arrived early to my region (San Diego) and we have been inundated with calls from last week’s devastating fires in our county. Thankfully our incredible fire crews saved many homes, buildings, and certainly lives.
Now the clean-up begins.
Though most of our clients were not in the those neighborhoods where homes burned down this time, many experienced the heavy smoke and ash that went airborne throughout our county with the strong winds, and we are all trying to get that acrid smell out of our homes. The fine fire particulate gets into the HVAC systems, and comes through our windows/doors, and will contribute to odor issues until those particulates are physically cleaned away.
And it is not just the irritation of the smoke odor. These airborne fire particulates can contribute to sore throats and coughing, bloodshot and irritated eyes, nose bleeds and other sinus issues. People with asthma need to be especially careful outside in this type of pollution. Those in the heaviest hit areas likely have to leave their neighborhoods to try to breathe fresh air again.
I tried to find some useful information to share on my blog for our clients regarding this type of clean up, and there are very few good resources that I could find. (If you see any great resources, PLEASE let me know.)
One page that I did find with useful information regarding fire damage and homes was on the IICRC website (the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification). Here are their guidelines on handling fire damage in a home or building. CLICK HERE => IICRC: Fire Smoke Damage Tips
Here are the tips that I am offering to our clients.
I live in Ramona, and when we had the devastating 2007 fires in our town, with so many homes lost, that odor was truly horrible. Not just ash, but the smell of burnt plastics and metals and every other item you can imagine incinerated.
Those who did not have direct fire structural damage requiring fire restoration/rebuilding contractors sought out professional cleaning companies to handle it all: air duct cleaning, ceiling and wall cleaning, carpet cleaning, hard floor cleaning, air scrubbers to get the air cleaned, and of course rug cleaning. Most insurance companies covered this type of clean up for owners and renters of homes/businesses.
The problem we experienced at that time was after a rush of getting indoor environments liveable again, we had another strong Santa Ana wind come in weeks later that picked up soot and ash and blew it all through our living spaces again. So we cleaned again.
My advice to clients (especially those in the San Marcos, Carlsbad, Bonsall, and Pendleton areas) has been to get everything cleaned quickly because the acidity of soot/ash harms most surfaces and fibers, but be prepared to do it again in the next month or two unless we get some rains to help prevent all of this soot and ash from getting airborne again.
With rugs, soot and smoke needs to be washed out of the fibers.
In situations where rugs have light to moderate smoke odor, a standard wash will take care of the problem by washing away the fine particulates that have grabbed onto the fibers and are carrying the odor with them. Afterwards regular vacuuming can keep your rugs in their best condition.
(For step-by-step how to properly, and safely, vacuum your rugs read my post on vacuuming rugs. That is the most common question I get, so I answered it in depth.)
Heavier fire damage requires some additional care.
In these situations, the rug requires washing, but also deodorizing with solutions formulated to help remove the odor source from natural fibers (wool, silk, or cotton).
Sometimes the damage is too extensive to save the rug, such as with this rug:
Burning embers damage the face of this wool tufted rug. Thankfully wool self-extinguishes, but the damage in this piece was too much to reweave.
One of the nice qualities about wool is that is has a high moisture content that results in it self-extinguishing flames in most cases. This is why you see wool carpet and fabric used in airplanes and also in many hotels.
Small fire damage burns in rugs can often be reknotted, so it is always worth determining whether a rug can be saved when it is part of a fire.
Most heavy soot and ash can be removed if a professional rug washer can get to the damaged rug sooner rather than later. The longer that acidic ash and residue stays on the fibers, the more damage that is caused to the rug fibers and dyes.
One rug owner did not think this rug would be salvageable.
This Turkish Hereke silk rug was on a table in a home that burned down. Comparing the back to the front.
This rug was one of the few items to survive this home fire, and because the work was performed very soon after the loss, the rug – and the memories from that trip to Turkey – were saved.
Often when a home is lost to fire, one of the few items that can be saved are the wool and silk rugs. It is not much… but it is something when everything you own may have been taken away in something devastating like this. Every rug usually has a “story” to it, so it is nice to help save a happy memory in the midst of an unhappy experience.
Our thanks go out to the fire crews who helps to protect our city last week, and my prayers and hugs go out to those who lost their homes in this disaster.
P.S. If you have any clean up questions, or if you need any recommendations of companies in the San Diego area to help clean up your home, please feel free to email me. I know many outstanding cleaning companies in our county, as well as professional fire restoration/rebuilding companies if your insurance company has not already recommended one to you. And of course, if your rugs need to be washed and held in storage while your home is put back together again, we are here to help. Good luck everyone on the big clean up to return us back to America’s Finest City again.
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Broken pipes, heavy rain, and floods, oh my! These are just some of the many reasons why water damage occurs in homes throughout the world. Once the damage has been done, there’s nothing that can really be done to prevent it from becoming worse.
However, you can use this experience as a learning opportunity for the future, and lower the risks of it happening again. Here are some of the top causes of residential water damage to be on the look for.
Broken pipes. This is a very common problem in many of today’s households, and can be easily prevented if you know what you’re looking for. Walk through your home and give all pipes and hoses a thorough inspection. It’s important to look for any wear and tear that could lead to further damage and irreversible consequences. Water pipes and hoses may experience severe deterioration overtime, but you can lower the risks of any bursts or leaks from happening by replacing any old pipes and hoses with PVC piping, metal braided washing machine lines, and copper pipes.
Accidents. Pay attention to the water flow in your home when you are filling the bathtub or running the water faucet. It’s easy to become distracted and wander away from the kitchen or bathroom. Even if you are going to do something “really quick”, it’s much better to wait to leave the room until the water faucet stops. Keeping an eye on your water supply will also help to reduce your water bill, too!
Heavy storms. Living in Dallas, Fort Worth, and the surrounding area means never really knowing what to expect with the weather. However, whenever there is a storm, the DFW Metroplex seems to get a fair share of extreme weather conditions. And although we don’t receive as much rain as we’d wish for, there’s always a possibility of flooding whenever we do get some precipitation in the area. Flash flooding is rare in our location, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
If you experience any water damage in your home, it’s best to contact a professional water damage restoration service company as soon as possible. If you don’t take action, you’re putting your home, and your health, at risk. Put your trust in ChemDry for water extraction and damage restoration.
Cornerstone Chem-Dry is available throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex for water related emergencies around the clock. For more information about Cornerstone Chem-Dry and our complete list of services, check out our website at http://www.co2cleaners.com.
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Are you afraid to have guests over to your home because of the smell of your carpeting? Do you walk into your home and ask, “What’s that smell?” Unfortunately, carpet odors do not go away on their own. You must take action. We have some easy-to-follow steps for getting rid of carpet odors in your home.
Fresh air is good for all areas of the home. Start by opening your windows—make sure screens are in place—and air out your home for a few hours. You can try placing a fan or two around the home as well.
To maintain the quality of your carpeting, regular vacuuming is a must. You may have a chance at eradicating odors with a thorough vacuuming.
Rely on a cleaning deodorizer
Choose an all-in-one cleaning deodorizer that will cover up a number of smells, like musky smoke, bad cooking, pet odors, and other offensive smells found in homes or vehicles. Chem-Dry offers a carpet deodorizer product that is Green Certified and won’t leave any messy powders behind. To purchase our Professional Carpet Deodorizer, contact your friends at Cornerstone Chem-Dry.
Call a professional
If home remedies aren’t solving the problem, then you should hire a company that specializes in home carpet cleaning. You can also take advantage of special services such as pet-odor cleaning and carpet protection.
Cornerstone Chem-Dry has been helping homeowners keep their carpeting odor-free for more than 18 years. Our process is fast drying, meaning you can walk on your carpeting in about two hours. We are also green and eco-friendly. Our professional certified technicians will guarantee your satisfaction. Visit our website to learn about our special offers, and get your carpets smelling fresh and clean today!
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This is an ongoing debate in the carpet industry. The companies that promote truck mount hot water extraction or often referred to as “steam cleaning” claim that dry or low-moisture methods don’t clean as deeply as wet cleaning.
Companies who use the new low-moisture or dry cleaning systems often point out the fact that hot water extraction, or steam cleaning, typically over wets the carpet, penetrates the padding and leaves a soapy, crusty residue.
The Big Problem With Steam Cleaning or Hot Water Extraction
If you think about it, if dirty water is removed from the carpet, but the carpet is left wet, isn’t the moisture remaining in the carpet the exact same dirty water? Tests have proven that to remove the dirty water to an acceptable level with hot water extraction (or steam cleaning), the carpets would need to be thoroughly rinsed as many as 16 times.
Interestingly, a tactic some steam cleaners use in an attempt to prove that the previous steam cleaning company didn’t do a good job is a demonstration of this fact. They simply go back over an area that has recently been cleaned and show the dirty filthy water that came out the carpet. “Are you serious? We just had this carpet cleaned…!” is the typical reaction from observers. This demonstration is especially common in commercial carpet cleaning but the result is the same for residential carpet. You can prove it to yourself by renting a rug doctor at your local grocery store and re-clean an area that was steam cleaned just a day or two before. You probably won’t be happy with what you see.
In a national survey quizzing consumers about their most bothering issues when it comes to carpet cleaning, the overwhelming #1 complaint was that the carpets were left too wet and took way too long to dry. The #2 complaint was that spots and stains resurfaced after the carpet had finally dried.
Most carpet cleaning companies are still trying to clean carpet the “old way”, utilizing traditional steam cleaning (or hot water extraction). You’ve seen them with the big van out front with hoses running across the yard and into the house. Steam Cleaning (actually it’s really not steam – it’s just hot water) is a 40 year-old process that can leave the carpets wet for many hours (or even days).
It is an old system that relies on high water pressure, high alkaline detergent and hot water to clean. This process easily forces water, chemicals and dirt through the base of the carpet into the pad and even onto the subfloor. The water and detergent is then vacuumed out of the carpet (only 60-80% actually comes out), but because the pad and subfloors are so wet, it takes a long time for the carpet to become totally dry. This can cause wicking issues (spots and stains rising up the carpet fibers through evaporation), mildew and mold, odor problems and quick re-soiling – not to mention a total inconvenience. No wonder there are so many consumer complaints!
Not Environmentally Friendly
Hot water extraction or steam cleaning is certainly not an eco-friendly process. The equipment used for wet carpet cleaning is costly, heavy, noisy, high maintenance, large, complicated to use, burns a lot of fuel and puts out toxic exhaust fumes. It takes a lot of fuel to power the equipment and after cleaning, hot water cleaners have to find a place to legally dump the chemical laced dirty water – otherwise it ends right back in the city’s water supply. Not a pleasant thought.
The Advantage of Dry Organic Carpet Cleaning
The carpet cleaning industry has come a long way in 40 years. With modern low moisture carpet cleaning systems, carpets can be left thoroughly clean and completely dry in 30 minutes or less; stains will not come back, and carpets will repel dirt after cleaning, allowing your carpets to stay cleaner much longer. The equipment is far less expensive, light weight, quiet, maintenance free, easy to use, easy to transport, easy to store, and there are no freezing issues. There is no fuel consumed or smelly toxic exhaust, and there is no chemical laced water to dump back into the city’s water supply.
Dry (or low moisture) carpet cleaning systems also utilize eco-friendly green cleaning agents (chemical and residue free). Think about it. Would you prefer to be left with wet, gushy, icky carpet or totally dry, clean, soft and fresh carpet?
So which system is really the best?
More than anything else, it depends on the circumstances. For situations where there is water damage caused by leaking pipes, flooding, severe weather, improperly sealed windows, a leaking roof, overflowing sinks, improper drainage, as well as many other sources, truck mount hot water extraction is definitely what’s called for. It’s what we recommend 100% of the time for our customers that find themselves in this unfortunate situation.
But for routine residential as well as commercial carpet cleaning we feel dry organic carpet cleaning is the only way to go. Why? This system is eco-friendly, your carpet will be completely dry within minutes, and it does an AMAZING job of removing soils, spots and stains – even those left behind by the previous cleaner. We can’t always put the “new” back into your carpet, but what we do is amazingly close.
Experience & Training Is The Key
Just like any other process or tool, the outcome depends not on not only the method but on the training, experience and knowledge of the technician using the cleaning method.
Rest assured that your carpet is in experienced and professional hands when you call Southern Dry Carpet Cleaning. You’ll love it… We Guarantee It!
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Mold and Mildew
Another issue related to carpet cleaning is the potential for mold growth in carpets that do not dry quickly enough. Steam cleaning carpets can thoroughly dampen the carpet AND the pad underneath. In humid or poorly ventilated spaces, a steam-cleaned carpet is an invitation for mold spores to sprout. Once mold begins to grow in a carpet or its pad, it’s impossible to remove adequately. The spores and particles will be embedded and will, unfortunately, thwart any removal process. Even when mold is not actively growing, mold particles and spores can cause health problems, such as fatigue, headaches, allergy symptoms, asthma attacks and other breathing problems.
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