Why Doesn’t My Vacuum Work Anymore?

To put it bluntly, your filters are clogged. Probably. There could be other problems, I can’t completely diagnose your issues from my comfortable seat in my office, but this is likely the case. Vacuum cleaners have filters. Every single one, most of the current bagless models have three or four. If a single filter clogs, the entire vacuum will stop working.

Finding your filters should be relatively easy, making sure you have all of them may be a bit trickier. You can typically find them by following the airflow from the intake to the exhaust. Most bagless vacuums have a pair of filters immediately after the canister where all the dirt collects. Go grab yours, take a look at those filters. One likely looks like a sponge, maybe like some folded paper arranged in a circle. If you have a sponge filter, pull it out and dust it off before running it under some hot water in your sink. Ring it out repeatedly until it stops lightening, then let it completely dry before replacing it. The crinkly paper looking filters can be knocked off outside, or cleaned with another vacuum.

By the exhaust of your vacuum, there’s another filter. This one is much more difficult to clean, and needs to be replaced. Keep an eye on it, and consult your users manual for cleaning instructions.

For the most recommended vacuum, please check out: http://bit.ly/1G1Yq3g

Andrew Mongeau
Field Manager
InstaDRY, Carpet & Tile Cleaning

Tile Grout: to Seal or not to Seal

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dirty tile groutThat is the question. Nearly every contractor or installer who handles tile grout will recommend sealing the grout in order to protect from staining and soiling. Seals come in either a membrane variety, which forms a protective layer over the top of the grout, or a penetrant variety, which enters the grout and makes it less porous. Tile is clean, stays clean, and saves you time. Right?

Not quite.

Seals can be effective, provided they are maintained. Something contractors don’t usually tell you, a seal only lasts so long. In particularly wet areas or places that get mopped frequently, like your kitchen, you may need to reseal the tile as often as every six months. If you’re willing to pay a contractor that often to keep your floors sealed, or have the DIY skills and time on your hands, by all means do it. If you don’t, sealing can cause nightmares when cleaning.

Imagine there’s a spot on your grout. You have your nylon brush, your baking soda mix, your lemon juice, all the things people recommend you use when scrubbing grout. You scrub the spot for ten minutes and realize nothing has happened. So you up the ante, and bring out some bleach. Ten minutes later, still nothing. You go further, and begin steaming the spot, hoping to shoot the dirt out of the spot. Another ten minutes of labor and there are still no results. Finally, you take out a metal brush and just scrape off the top layer of grout and call it a day. Not very healthy for your grout.
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This is a situation I’ve found on more tile cleanings than I’d care to mention. Seals are responsible, specifically seals that wear off. The same dirty mop water that will cause unsealed grout to discolor can penetrate a spot where a seal has worn off, and wick under the place where the seal remains. Then you have dirty grout with a protective layer above it. On top of that, grout discoloration can be due to soap residue, dirty mop water, grease spills, biological spills, mildew, any number of things that all require different materials and chemicals to clean.

As Mike Holmes of HGTV writes, “In my opinion, grout needs to be able to breathe, so that any moisture that gets in behind your tile is able to escape. If you seal the grout, that can’t happen. No matter what, moisture – steam and water – eventually will get through the grout, or through a crack in your tile. So, if your grout is sealed, how will that water evaporate back out? It can’t. And that will lead to problems. I’ve seen it hundreds of times.”

As a general rule, I don’t suggest sealing grout if you’re able to maintain your tile properly. Change your mop water often when cleaning, use either the suggested amount of soap or a vinegar mix instead, vacuum your tile before mopping, damp mop weekly and wet mop monthly, all these things will help keep your grout clean without sealing it. Please check out our care card: http://bit.ly/1LeX3S7

If you are going to seal your grout, make sure you have all the information available to you. Find out what type of seal is being used, how long it lasts in both high and low moisture areas, and how often you need to reseal. If you’re told sealing is required for a healthy grout, remember the ancient Romans and all the work they did with concrete; none of it is sealed, and much of it is still standing thousands of years later.

Andrew Mongeau
Field Manager
InstaDry Carpet and Tile Cleaning

Source: Seal your tiles, not your grout

Improving Indoor Air Quality with Carpets

 

Please check out the study at:   IAQ_research

We are launching a series on improving the overall indoor environment.  Please follow us to learn more!!

But did you know that carpets and rugs can be more healthy for your indoor air than hard floors?  That’s because your carpets and rugs filters up to 80% of your indoor environment.  It’s easy to tell the difference if your carpets and rugs are maintained properly. Please check out the study above for more information.

Clean of the Day by Bret! 04/11/2015

We were very impressed with the recent work by Bret over the weekend!!  Please call 407-476-8525 and ask for Bret!!

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Clean of the Day by Bret. 03/21/2015

We want to send a shout out to our field technician Bret for superb work!  If you see issues like this, then please call us at 407-476-8525 and ask for Bret!!

 

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Wet Vs. Dry Pt. 2

The other day, I posted some pics of results about wet vs. dry of an onsite comparison.  The following diagrams has the most ultimate description why it’s better to use the dry clean system for cleaning carpets.

Diagram pic of the difference in efficiency between wet carpet cleaning and dry carpet cleaning.
Diagram pic of the difference in efficiency between wet carpet cleaning and dry carpet cleaning.

 

 

 

 

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.

For more helpful household hints, please follow our blogs!

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.

Follow us for more helpful hints for the home.

 

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.