Hurt my thumb with the hammer again!

A recent customer just bought a new home.  We were there cleaning while she was hanging some paintings.  What struck me was she was using a comb to hold the nail while hammering.  I asked her what she was doing and she responded that since recovering from serious illness, her bones are very brittle.  Her quick thinking to do the work herself is a great helpful household hint.  A hair comb is a great tool to hold a nail to avoid getting struck by the hammer.  Give it a try yourself, I have found it to be very useful.

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Dang! The dog/cat was on the sofa again!

Let’s face it, pets can be just like kids.  They will be very good until you leave.  We had a dog growing up who was allowed on the couch until my father came home.  My father tried his best to enforce the dog was not allowed on the couch. This was very entertaining.   When she noticed my father’s car drive up the driveway, she jumped off the couch and pretended to be sleeping.  Then my father would be upset seeing the black fur on the beige fabric. But for some people, pets can really ruin their furniture or fine delicate rugs.

On some recent jobs, we saw a really cool trick to keep the dog or cat off of that really nice sofa or other areas of the house. Those disposable aluminum pans at the grocery store is an affordable great training aid for that purpose.  They are uncomfortable for the pets to walk on and the pans make an unpleasant noise. Some pets won’t take long to associate their experience in staying away from that area.

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I’m allergic to cats and friends who own cats!

We love finding tips from our customers.  One of our best customers is a doctor who specializes in Ear, Nose, and Throat.  He told us a really good fact about what causes cat allergies.

People tend to think that it is the cat dander alone that causes the allergies.  But think about how cats clean themselves.  They leave a protein from their saliva on their fur during their cleaning process.  So, the protein from their dander and saliva combined leaves an overabundant amount of allergens wherever they roam (furniture, clothes, etc.). This protein can take up to six months to dissipate no matter how good the clean is.

This helps explain a situation I’ve personally experienced in my life.  A friend of mine lost her cat a couple of weeks before having lunch. Another friend of mine who is highly allergic to cats joined us.  The cat owner was wearing fresh clean clothes (of course), and my other friend was dealing with puffy eyes due to her allergies. She was that sensitive to the allergies that she still had a reaction from the cat owner.

We use some of the best equipment on the market to clean homes.  These equipment are  either rated by the EPA or The Asthma & Allergy Foundation Of America.  We have had many customers who moved into a new place where the previous people owned cats.  The customers are allergic to cats and this is can be of some burden to them.  We have suggested for them to make sure and wipe down the walls and cabinets, not just the floors alone.  If allergic reaction still exists, then it can take up to six months for the protein causing allergens to dissipate.

Quickly.. Hurry… Get that before the stain sets!!!!!

Everyone has at one time or another an unfortunate spill or accident. Typically the first reaction is to go in the kitchen grab whatever you could and get that wet spill dry before staining sets. Timing is of the essence before you have a permanent ugly spot in your home. We here at InstaDRY has come across many customers who have bleached out a spot in their carpets when they were using the grocery store strain treatment products. Sometimes the stains can get permanently set from these products.

First off, remain calm.  I received this advice from a good friend a long time ago and this works very well. Many of our customers has used this advice and it worked very well for them.  For a wet spill, blot with a clean white towel. Then leave another clean white towel on the spill after you are done blotting.  Make sure the towel has been weighted down by an object (i.e. books or other flat items with weight).  A barrier like aluminum foil is preferred between the towel and object to prevent damage to the object.  If it is still moist in the morning, then repeat the process using dry towels.

There could be discoloration from that spot when it dries. If it does, then try the following:

(Be sure to work from the outside-in so you do not spread the spot)

  1. Mix a tablespoon of liquid dish detergent in a half cup of warm water. With your fingertips moisten a white towel and dab the spot lightly. Alternately dab, and then blot with a dry towel. If the color transfers in to the towel continue the process until color transfer stops. After color transfer stops use a damp towel to blot the area to remove any remaining detergent from carpet fibers. Then cover with dry towels using the overnight steps above.
  2. If color does not transfer, try the same “dab & blot” techniques using a half cup of white vinegar mixed in one half cup warm water. If the color transfers, continue the process as above. Then cover with dry towels using the same overnight technique.

If neither 1 nor 2 shows color transfer, call your professional carpet cleaner.


Dirty Tile Grout, How To Prevent It

Whenever I’m out giving estimates for tile great cleaning, I sometimes come across having to answer my customer the following question: “how often should I get my tile grout cleaned?”  Honestly, it’s hard to say how often one should get their tile grout cleaned.  There are few key causes for tile grout to get dirty.  It doesn’t matter how good the tile grout cleaner does his/her job, the life expectancy of a clean grout comes down to the routine cleaning practice of the customer.

I recently visited a household to provide a tile cleaning estimate.  The couple had their tiles custom installed a little over 12 years ago.  Since that time, they have yet to get their tile grout cleaned.  During that time, they raised three very active kids and a couple of dogs.  The tile grout was only slightly dirty and nowhere near the black color (from the dirt) that is commonly seen by our technicians.  Since this was fantastic to see, I asked our new clients their cleaning method.  Their response  was exactly like the advice that I give to all of my tile customers:

1) Do a good vacuuming or sweeping to ensure you get as much loose sand/dirt up before mopping.

2) Use less detergent in the mop water.  Too much detergent in the mop water can leave behind a residue that can attract more dirt.  This can cause the need to mop more often than should.

3)Try cutting down the use of detergent to once a month.  I know this seems crazy, but rinse mopping once a week can make a huge positive difference in the home.

4) DO NOT LET THE WATER GET CLOUDY!  The cloudy mop water is the true cause of the grout to turn black.  Changing the water more often can and will keep your tile looking new longer.

I’ve come across many other customers who mops their tiles this way.  No gadgets or hyped up cleaning methods, just staying simple with their cleaning methods. Their grout looks new after over a decade since it was last cleaned or installed.  People who uses excessive detergent or getting into hyped cleaning methods, tend to be looking at having their tile grout cleaned within 3 to 5 years.

So if you want to keep a clean and healthy home without breaking the piggy bank, try this cleaning tip for awhile and tell me what you think.

Feel free to contact us anytime for any comments, questions, or advice.

Premature Carpet Wear

Have you ever wondered why a carpet that has a 10 year warranty tends to start thinning  real fast within the first 5 years.  Then before the 10 years are up, you are looking at changing the floors because of the looks?

There are many factors that causes this to happen in a home.  One of the many reasons for the premature wearing can be caused by loose sand and dirt that the household vacuum is not getting. People are used to seeing the vacuum commercials saying that the vacuum has so much suction that it can pick up bowling balls, steel b.b.s, and bald baby heads (don’t try, sorry for the bad joke). The cleaning ability of this machine is not determined by suction, but by airflow.  Airflow is the vehicle for the dirt to ride on in from the vacuum in order to get eliminated from the carpets. Once the bags and/or filters gets clogged from the sand and dirt, then there is a significant reduction in the airflow of the vacuum.  Then the machine can only get light fluffy filth, but leaves the sand at the base of the carpet where the traffic pattern starts thinning out.

My favorite expert advise for my customers is to do some simple routine maintenance on their vacuum.  If you only have a bag on your machine, then you might want to change that bag more often than used to.  Even the vacuum instruction manuals say that the bags become clogged way before it appears to be full.  If you have filters, then you should at least brush clean your filters after every time you use your vacuum (check your manual on suggested cleaning methods).  By the way, DYSON VACUUMS DO HAVE FILTERS THAT HAS TO BE CLEANED!

We have some customers that even though they have kids and pets, their carpets are at least 15 years old and looks newer than most people’s 3 year old carpet.  I’ve asked them what their secret was and they all said they clean their vacuum after every time they use it.  They don’t just dump the filth out of the container, but they clean the filters as well.

The other part we have noticed is how fast people are tossing their vacuums out to get a new one because of the excessive filth.  A good portion of customers are getting new vacuums on an annual basis.  It doesn’t matter if you get a $50 Dirt Devil from Wal-Mart or a $3,000 vacuum from a home salesman.  Once those bags/filters gets clogged, then you have very minimal cleaning ability.  Taking this advice of adding a simple routine maintenance step can simultaneously save you money and improve the overall health in your home.

Even when our technicians starts cleaning on the job, they always start with a pre-clean of the area.  That involves a high power vacuuming to ensure that all the loose sand and dirt is eliminated out of the carpets before using the cleaning compound.  During this stage of the pre-clean, we would be shutting our machine off quite often just to clean the filters. That is how we know we are doing a true restoration clean for our customers.  Our pre-clean is a very important step in our cleaning process.

Feel free to contact us anytime for other questions, comments, or suggestions.

New Year’s Resolution Vs. New Year’s Motto

With the New Year upon us, the common action for everyone to get a fresh start is starting a resolution. It is very hard to stick to a list or one idea.  The most famous New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight.  Just like losing weight, almost all New Year’s Resolution winds up forgotten by March. Any gymnasium can vouch for that!

A very good advice I received a couple of years ago was instead of making a resolution, stick to a motto to live by for the year. It’s a different approach for the New Year & not as easy to forget as a resolution. Have you ever lost a list of things to do? How about this, have you ever forgotten a quote or saying that motivated you? It’s funny how a person who gets inspired or motivated tends to change for the best.  The list of problems on their New Year’s Resolution tends to naturally go away.  The resolution list usually contains anything from losing weight, to quite smoking/drinking, making better progress at work, or even spending more time with family.

So, why add more stress on yourself with a list to check off to better your life?  If you have been dealing with the crazy cycle of a New Year’s Resolution list for the past many years, then try doing a motto instead for the New Year.

Here are some examples quotes from friends who used them as a New Year’s Motto:

  • It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.

-Harry Truman

  • I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am in.

-The Bible, Philippians 4:11 (NASB)

  • In times like these it helps to recall there have always been times like these.

– Paul Harvey

  • The true measure of an individual is how he treats a person who can do him absolutely no good.

– Ann Landers

  • Many of the things you can count, don’t count. Many of the things you can’t count, really count.

-Albert Einstein

These examples have been translated to different mottos for different people. I’m sure you can come up with one for yourself.

I’ve stuck with following a new motto every year for the past few years & it has been fantastic! The changes in me have progressively made a positive difference. I recently read the famous 2005 Stanford University Commencement Speech from Steve Jobs. His inspiring quote was: “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.” Through that speech, the motto I’m sticking with for the year 2013 is “make every day count.”

What is the motto that would make your 2013 better than 2012? Please share!