Carpet Care Basics

Most homeowners think they’re caring for their carpets adequately if they’re hiring a professional carpet cleaner periodically and vacuuming now and again, but many don’t know that a few simple steps could help their carpets last longer.

 

“Whether it’s the wrong carpet spotter or forgetting to vacuum often enough, there are a number of steps homeowners can take to make their carpets last longer between pro cleanings,” says Eric Moe, owner of Alpine Specialty Cleaning, a family-run business that has been cleaning carpets around Seattle since 1969 and which specializes in chemical-free cleaning processes.

 

These days, when Alpine Specialty Cleaning comes to clean a home’s carpets it uses a rare chemical-free de-ionized water system from a high-suction truck to draw out impurities from carpets. But working on a carpet that has been well maintained always helps lay the foundation and maximize the results of a good professional clean.

 

Here’s a look at how to keep your carpet in good shape.

 

Use a high-quality vacuum

 

If you’ve got wall-to-wall carpet in one or more rooms of your home, you need to play a role in keeping it shipshape between professional cleanings. To do that, you’ll need a high-quality vacuum with maximum suction, preferably at least 245 AW (air watts). There are several other suction measures to know when vacuum shopping, so familiarize yourself with them and look for the higher end of the spectrum when shopping.

 

Vacuum high-traffic areas daily

 

If you’ve got carpet, you’ll need to vacuum at least weekly. But for high traffic areas – front door entries, halls leading to kitchens, family rooms – you’ll need to vacuum daily to keep your carpet from marinating in future stains and damage and to maintain fibers’ pluck and firmness.

 

Use pads beneath area rugs

 

Many homeowners use accent area rugs atop wall-to-wall carpeting. But those who choose to do so should place rug pads beneath these carpets to prevent two common problems – dye transfer, and carpet-surface erosion. Unpadded area rugs can seep dye into surfaces beneath them, and their scratchy backing can act like sandpaper and erode the wall-to-wall carpet’s pile.

 

Rearrange furniture periodically and doctor divots

 

Carpet wear and tear is often directly related to furniture positioning. Sofas and chairs in permanent locations create natural foot-traffic patterns and dirt patterns (where snacks and drinks spill, where toddlers or pets romp), and the furniture legs planted on carpet surfaces can eventually damage carpets if not moved (even a few inches) periodically. If your carpet has divots, place ice cubes in a plastic baggy and rest the baggy inside the divot. The cold from the ice will force carpet fibers to swell, restoring their resiliency and the carpet’s surface.

 

Use a proper stain spotter

 

“If you use a harsh store-bought stain spotter, it will remove the carpet’s stain resistance, allowing more stains to soak into the fibers,” Moe says. The principle is similar to overwashing hair so that it’s stripped of natural oils, and thus becomes oilier more easily. Once applied and allowed to sit, stain spotter should be thoroughly removed. Alpine offers free stain-spotting solution to its clients for between-cleaning spotting, as well as tips on how to remove common carpet stains using household remedies and products.

 

Know when it’s time to replace carpet

 

If your carpet is old and damaged, there are certain signs that cleaning alone won’t restore the carpet to its old luster – and only replacement will do. If the carpet’s pile is worn down or has “bald spots,” if the carpet is heavily soiled, or if it has begun to delaminate or separate from its backing (so it’s no longer stretched tight to the floor beneath it), it’s time to replace rather than clean the carpet.

 

Got new carpet? Get in a cleaning routine.

 

If you’ve moved into a home with new carpet or are replacing old carpet with new, that’s the perfect time to get into an established cleaning routine. How often should you clean carpets? Moe says that most homeowners need professional carpet cleaning at least annually – every six months if pets, crawling babies or toddlers, or allergies or respiratory sensitivities are present. Another tip for new carpet: Make sure to use blinds or curtains so constant direct sunlight doesn’t fade or change carpet colors.

 

Alpine Specialty Cleaning was founded in the Seattle area in 1969 by Maurice Moe. Eric Moe and his wife, Bobbie, continue the “Tradition of Quality” and “5 Star Experience” that Alpine has been known for over the years.

5 signs it’s time to clean carpets and ducts

Seattle-area residents are known for living “green” lifestyles, striving to use cleaning products that leave a minimal environmental footprint and that don’t worsen allergies or medical conditions. But even the most diligent homeowners don’t always know how to recognize signs that a home needs serious duct or carpet cleaning rather than the usual once-over with off-the-shelf cleaning products.

“Many people in this region have pets and allergies, and more homeowners here are investing in air conditioning systems as summers heat up, which increases the risk of mold,” says Eric Moe, owner of Alpine Specialty Cleaning, a family-run business that has been cleaning homes around Seattle since 1969. “Without proper cleaning, these homes run the risk of accumulating and recirculating dirty air in ducts and developing unhealthy carpet conditions.”

As more homeowners use their forced-air heating system for heat in winter and to fan air in summer – or to circulate cooled air from an air conditioning unit – these ducts are in service all four seasons, Moe notes.

 

Is it time for a deep cleaning? Here are five signs.

 

  • Your home was built energy-efficient. Energy-efficient homes are sealed tighter than most homes, meaning air recirculates more frequently than in traditional-built homes. This makes duct cleaning more important, as a tightly sealed home with pets, kids or lots of wall-to-wall carpet may accumulate dust, mold or smells faster than in a home where outside air can leak inside more easily.

 

  • Carpets have black lines around their edges, matted fibers or numerous visible stains. If your carpet has black lines around its perimeter or where the carpet hits doorways, that means dirt is infiltrating through gaps in walls, beneath doors, or due to broken screens. Matted fiber may result from soil buildup. Heavy stains need treating for removal.

 

  • Dust has accumulated. If you clean and dust regularly but dust persists, it may be living in ducts and carpets that need a thorough cleaning. Additionally, if you need to frequently change furnace air filters because of dust or other accumulation, that may be a sign your ducts are dirty.

 

  • You’ve got allergies or respiratory health issues. If you’ve got asthma or other respiratory health conditions, or if you’re allergic to common substances like pollen, pet hair or other airborne particles, keeping carpets and ducts professionally cleaned can reduce exposure to irritants at home.

 

 

  • It smells! Smells may be a sign of mold, moisture problems, or soaked-in stains that need professional cleaning.

 

How often should you clean carpets? Moe says that most homeowners need professional carpet cleaning at least annually _ as often as every 6 months if pets, crawling babies or toddlers, or allergies or respiratory sensitivities are present.

Ducts typically need thorough cleaning every two to three years, but again, a more frequent cleaning may be necessary if pet hair or the above factors are present in the house. Moe encourages those in the market for a duct cleaner to carefully vet the outfit they hire, making sure that like Alpine Specialty Cleaning the company is certified by NADCA, a duct-cleaning association that holds member companies to rigorous standards.

“Most people clean their ducts first, then turn to their carpets,” he says. “September is typically our busiest month, as people prepare for fall when heating systems are turned on and rain begins. But you can clean carpets and ducts any time of year – they’re year-round systems, especially ducts which carry air for both heat, fans, and air conditioning.”

 

Alpine Specialty Cleaning was founded in the Seattle area in 1969 by Maurice Moe. Eric Moe and his wife, Bobbie, continue the “Tradition of Quality” and “5 Star Experience” that Alpine has been known for over the years. 

Those dark lines around your carpet edges are called infiltration

 

Have you noticed dark lines at the edges of your carpet?

Those dark areas are a sign of infiltration. Infiltration occurs when the air being forced into the room is escaping through small cracks under closed doors and wall frames. When this air is forcing its way through the carpet it is leaving behind small particles and pollutants that will eventually turn the carpet black. Common pollutants include cooking smoke, dust from uncleaned air ducts, and cigarette or candle smoke. Household Tips Guide says infiltration can occur no matter how much you vacuum It is not a sign of a dirty home, but it will be difficult to clean. 

Can infiltration be prevented?

According to The Spruce, changing the furnace or air conditioner filter by the recommended time frame can help. You could also consider sealing the gaps between the wall frames. This is usually done with a foam sealant. If the gap is too large the carpet will be pulled up and then re-installed after sealing. Cutting back on the amount of smoke in your home will also help. Burning fewer candles and smoking outside are steps in the right direction. Finally, having your air ducts professionally cleaned on a regular basis is the best preventative action that you can take.

Can those dark lines be removed?

The particles and pollutants causing the dark lines are very small and if they have become noticeable than it is time to call a professional cleaning company. A cleaning company will have all of the specialty tools and cleaning solutions to get the dark lines out of your carpet. 

 

 

 

Benefits of Cleaning and Sealing Your Tile and Grout

Are you using a shampoo bottle to hide a mildewy corner of your tile shower? Don’t worry – we’ve all been there. Just like any other frequently used surface in your home, grout and tile collect a lot of dirt over time. So if you’re starting to forget what color your grout used to be, it might be time to give it a good cleaning.

Cleaning grout is difficult, time-consuming work. Without a good set of knees, an old toothbrush, and several hours of back-breaking work, it is almost impossible to thoroughly clean soiled grout. If you have the elbow grease, go for it! Or, you can hire professionals to do a fast, thorough cleaning of your tile and grout for you.

Whether you choose the old toothbrush method or hire professionals, it is important to know how cleaning your tile and grout can improve the aesthetics and safety of your home. Tile can get slippery when wet, especially when water mixes with mildew from the grout. This is potentially dangerous for you, your children, and your pets. In addition to improving the traction on your tile, a thorough cleaning can completely change (and improve) the look of your entire room if your grout is in bad shape.

At Alpine Specialty Cleaning, we highly recommend sealing your grout after cleaning. Our grout sealing service is a great way to prevent the grout from mildewing, and it will keep your tile looking clean and new. Here are some more tips for preventing your tile and grout from re-soiling:

  • Sweep or vacuum before you mop. This will reduce most of the wet dirt that might gather in your grout when you mop.
  • Use gentle cleaners on your grout, especially if you have it sealed. Some cleaners can erode sealants and allow moisture and dirt to get into the grout.
  • Give your tile an extra rinse after you mop. This will help get rid of a lot of loose dirt that may remain.
  • Clean frequently. Nobody wants to mop every day, but even giving your floor a quick sweep on a regular basis can help keep your tile and grout looking squeaky clean.

Do It Yourself Home Cleaning Tips

Looking for a safe eco-friendly way to clean your home and save some money while doing it? On this article, we’ll be sharing six of the best cleaning tips for the home that will help you clean smarter not harder. These tips will help you have a clean toxin-free home while keeping money in your pocket. These are items that you can find in your kitchen and can be used to efficiently clean your home.

Vinegar

One of the best things to have in your home at all time is Vinegar. This is the most versatile product in the market. This is something that should be in the pantry at all times and it’s inexpensive. You can use vinegar to naturally disinfect surfaces, clean toilets, floors, clean coffee pots, steam clean the microwave, & even restore used paint brushes!

Arm & Hammer

A great way to go green is by switching out your laundry detergent for Arm & Hammer’s washing soda. Like all their products it is Phosphate and fragrance free which is a huge plus! Not only will this help you clean more eco friendly it will help you save money. This is another miracle product that you can also use to clean sinks, bathtubs, grout, and even stainless steel. Yes, I said stainless steel!

Micro Fiber rags

These are great for wiping down surfaces! And the best part about them is that they are reusable. No more unnecessary money on paper towels. Some places even carry rags that are resistant to bacteria. All you have to do to reuse them is to get them into the washer.

Air flow

You always want to keep a good flow of air coming and going throughout your house. Poor air quality leads to dust build up and toxins in the air.

Make your own cleaners

A really good way to make your house cleaning more eco-friendly is to make your own cleaners with everyday things find in your kitchen! Products like baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, dish soap, and washing soda will give you great cleaners such as:

Multi-surface cleaner: Empty spray bottle with a 1:1 ratio of water and apple cider vinegar then add a couple drops of pure lemon juice.

Window cleaner: Empty spray bottle filled with water, 1 drop of dish soap (I use Ajax), & 1 tbsp. Of apple cider vinegar.

Floor cleaner: One and a half gallons of water in a bucket, half a cup of vinegar, lavender essential oil.

A lot of eco-friendly moms use these three cleaners all the time, but you can make any cleaner you wish. You could also add essential oils for different scents and smells.

Laundry sponges

We love sharing this tip with people, we think it’s so cool. And it saves you a ton of money on dryer sheets. Buy a pack of four sponges, soak them in halfway in warm water (You want an index card container for this) and a half of a cup of any fabric softener and boom you’re good to go. No seriously, that’s all there is to it! Every time you need a “dryer sheet” grab a sponge out of the water, squeeze it out really good and throw it in the dyer.

What Are the Most Common Health Concerns Caused By Dirty Ductwork?

Indoor air pollution isn’t just what the outside air brings into the home through open doors and windows. The air inside your home or office includes the daily, monthly, and even annual build-up of dirt, airborne bacteria, and broken down debris from every facet of activity within a given building. Indoor air pollution tends to build up in air ducts, on air filters, and all throughout a ventilation system, which is why it’s so critical to regularly clean your air ducts and replace or clean air filters as necessary.

What respiratory problems and other health concerns can be caused by a dirty ventilation system?

  • Allergies: One of the clearest effect of dirty air duct or air filters is an increase in allergies. Dust and mold spores can build up and spread throughout the entirety of a building, and these hazard can increase give it a greater number of people pet and exposure to the elements outside.
  • Respiratory Infections: Viruses and bacteria can easily spread throughout the air even without direct person to person or hand-to-hand contact. Once these germs enter the ventilation system, they can easily grow and spread due to the dark, warm, and generally undisturbed environment. Mold often likes to grow directly on air filters, especially in damp environment near leaks or moist air. This buildup can lead to it penetrating the air filter or being recycled into the air, making respiratory infections are more common and harder to remove the root cause of.
  • Sinus Infections: Even if indoor air pollution is more dirt and debris than it is viruses and bacteria, the buildup of motes and obstructions in the air will come into contact with your nasal passages every time you breathe. This dirt and debris can inflame your sinuses which can lead to an infection even with the most benign of air particles. Having indoor air pollution of any sort can always increase complications with sensitive sinuses.

Whether you’re sensitive to allergies and sinus infections or simply want to breathe clean air in your home or office, regular cleaning of your air filters and ductwork is essential. Please contact us if you have any questions about the best way to make sure that your air is clean or want to learn more about our air duct cleaning process.

Why hardwood floor cleaning and preservation should be on your to-do list

Why hardwood floor cleaning and preservation should be on your to-do list

 Hardwood floors are not only beautiful and enduring, they add value to your home and compared to other flooring options, such as linoleum and carpet, are longer-lasting.

For most people, a simple sweep or vacuum, along with a damp mop and spot clean is as involved as care gets. It’s true that hardwood is easy to care for, but it’s also important to give it some extra TLC periodically to keep it looking good longer. Wood ages, just like people do. When it’s taken care of, it ages more beautifully. Your wood floors are subject to the elements of humidity, UV rays and of course wear and tear.

Hardwood Floor Cleaning And Preservation

A comprehensive, professional cleaning process will dramatically improve the look of your floor. It’s often surprising how much dirt and debris remains on your floor even when you clean it regularly. 

Not only that, but minor scuffs and scratches dull the surface of the wood, dulling its natural beauty.

The cleaning and preservation process not only removes deep down dirt, it also smooths out those minor imperfections. This is then followed up with a protective coating that keeps your floor safe from the effects of environmental damage.

Your floor will look amazing, but just as importantly, it will be protected and conditioned. When wood isn’t properly protected over time there is a risk of damage that needs repairs or worse yet, replacement.

By regularly maintaining your hardwood floors, you will not only keep them looking beautiful, you’ll keep them longer, saving you thousands of dollars in repairs and replacement.

Your hardwood floors will last longer with professional hardwood cleaning and preservation treatment. Schedule your appointment today.

 

Certified air duct cleaning matters

What is NADCA?

NADCA is the National Air Duct Cleaners Association. It is the professional organization for companies engaged in the inspection, cleaning, and restoration of HVAC systems. It provides advocacy, education, certification, standards, and marketing for its members. It maintains an anti-fraud division to uncover and root out both those who falsely claim to be HVAC technicians or vent cleaners, and those vent cleaners who are only pretending to do work.

Why Is That Important?

When done correctly and thoroughly, cleaning and maintaining your HVAC system can be beneficial to your health and to the efficiency of your system. However, there are a lot of scammers who will pretend to do something and leave your system in a mess, or even damage it. When you think about choosing an air vent cleaning company, it is important to find one that is conscientious. But if you are like most people, this is not an area in which you have a lot of experience. How do you find a good provider of cleaning services? That is where NADCA comes in.

Members of NADCA are required to agree with and adhere to professional standards and ethics. Companies that are members of NADCA are required to have at least one NADCA certified Air Systems Cleaning Specialist (someone who has passed the NADCA Certification Examination) on staff, to maintain liability insurance, and to agree to clean according to NADCA standards and comply with the NADCA Code of Ethics.

The Code of Ethics includes requirements such as being honest and forthright in advertising, providing only necessary and desired services to their customer and not trying to sell them unnecessary services, staying up to date with equipment and training, and doing thorough work.

The United States Department of Labor’s Division of Occupational Health and Safety (DOHS) recommends using NADCA-certified HVAC professionals.

How Do I Find A Certified Company?

The best way to find out if the vent cleaning agency you are considering is a member of NADCA is to go to their website and use the “Find A Professional” tool. Current members in good standing within a particular distance of your search will be listed.

Alpine Specialty Cleaning is NADCA certified and qualified to provide you with excellent care for your HVAC system.

A Healthier Life: The Use of Plant Based Cleaners in the Home

Plant based cleaners are becoming increasingly popular for house cleaning, and for good reason! Whether you’ve transitioned your home to a green-clean home or not, it’s worth knowing that not all plant-based cleaners were created equally. In fact, some still contain harsh and irritating chemicals like alcohol and fake fragrances.

 

At  Alpine Specialty Cleaning  we use Better Life cleaning products, and we’d like to show you why that’s important and what it means for you.

 

Environmental pollution

Green cleaners for house cleaning are safer for the environment as less toxic chemicals end up in landfills, soil, and drinking water for animals. However, even some green cleaners are not biodegradable, safe for marine life, or safe for wildlife – which almost defeats the purpose of green products. Better Life is not only biodegradable and safe for wild and marine life; it’s also packaged using recycled materials that are manufactured using mainly solar power.

 

Dyes, fragrances, and additives

Many green cleaners still use additives that are found in traditional cleaners such as alcohol, dyes, artificial fragrances, sulfates, or other chemicals that may not only be damaging to your respiratory system but are also toxic. This could be dangerous for you, your family, pets, and wildlife. Better Life does not contain any of the ingredients above and is non-toxic for everyone in (and out) of your home.

 

Animal testing

Some green products still test on animals, which is counterintuitive to how one usually thinks of green products. Better Life never tests on animals – so you can rest assured that no animals were harmed for the sake of a clean house.

 

Safer for you and your family

Not only are the Better Life products that we use safe for the environment, animals, and the Earth – they’re also safe for you and your family.

 

Want to find out more about our process? Get in touch with Alpine Specialty Cleaning today to see how we can make your home a healthier, cleaner, and greener place to be.

 

Cleaning Your Dryer Vent Is Important

Cleaning Your Dryer Vent is Important

The vent for your dryer – that tube that goes from your dryer to the outside of your house – is not a thing that we think of cleaning very often. We clean out the dryer lint filter every load, but lint can also build up in the pipe to the outside, and even inside the dryer itself. There are many reasons why this is unsafe.

Risk of Fire

Lint is flammable, dryers run hot, clogged dryers even more so – the buildup could cause a fire. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are 2,900 dryer fires each year, causing 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and 35 million dollars worth of damage. Over a third of those are caused by dirty vents.

Decreased Efficiency

A clog in the dryer vent line can cause your dryer to be less efficient, requiring more time or even more than one cycle to dry clothes. Also, increased cycles and longer cycles cost more money in energy and in wear on the dryer and on the clothing.

Wear to Clothing

Clogged dryers may run hotter, causing more wear and strain on the fabric. Your clothes could wear out faster.

Longer Dryer Life

A dryer that has to work harder to dry clothes, and that runs hotter and longer, wears out faster. Keeping your vents cleaned out increases dryer life.

Mold

Dryers run with a lot of humidity at times. Clogged vents can have difficulty blowing all that moisture outside, and can even hold wet spots and puddles inside. Lint can soak up the humidity and get moldy. Soaked lint also compacts and sticks, and makes the clog worse and more difficult to clear.

It is important to make sure that not only your lint filter but also your dryer vent are clean and clear. As vents often have bends and wrinkles and connections that may not be clear, consider having them professionally cleaned at least once a year.

Alpine Specialty Cleaning specializes in dryer vent cleaning. Please click here: dryer vent cleaning for more information and a free estimate!