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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. 

We Love Generation Z

What does generation Z want from the businesses they choose?

 Generation Z – those born after 1995 – are growing into the position of most-sought-after consumers, with $44 billion dollars in buying power already. So what does this new generation want from the businesses they choose?

Internet Presence

GenZ has grown up in an online society; their first means of discovering something new is seeing it online, in an ad, on social media, in a blog. They are used to being able to click away to something that better meets their requirements quickly, so businesses need to grab their attention in 8 seconds or less. This is not about a short attention span as much as it is that they have had to learn to filter enormous amounts of information. Once their attention is caught, they can be incredibly focused. Your company internet presence needs to have high-value information to avoid being filtered out.

GenZ is used to ordering and paying for things online. They want to have a variety of ways to pay for services and goods available right on your website, and they expect that process to be seamless and efficient.

Good Value

GenZ is very careful with money. Even at their young age, they are saving, planning for retirement, and carefully choosing what they spend their money. They grew up in a recession, and have seen their parents and families struggle with money. They expect good quality and high value, and they have strongly negative reactions if something breaks or goes wrong. They avoid debt and try to keep risks low.

They avoid debt and try to keep risks low. They do research before making purchases. They look at online reviews, they check with friends, they ask about companies and products on social media. They expect good quality, high value, and have strongly negative reactions if something breaks or goes wrong.

Customized Products and Service

GenZ seeks individuality and being able to make something “theirs”, so they look for the ability to customize or personalize what they get. They want to have options from which to choose and to have the feeling that what they are getting was specialized just for them.

They want interactivity and responsiveness from their businesses. They expect a business to be loyal to them, as the customer; if they don’t sense that, they won’t have loyalty to the business and will move on. As the first generation that has grown up connected, they are well aware there are always other options if they are unhappy.

Speed

GenZ is used to quick gratification – remember the ‘one click away to something better’ mindset? They expect things to be delivered quickly and promptly. They are very impatient with lateness or delays.

They put a very high value on being able to find what they want quickly and easily. If one business’ website is difficult to navigate, slow to load, or has a complicated checkout process, they’ll just go to a different one.

GenZ has many things in common with the generation that grew up in the Great Depression, but with a highly individualistic, high-tech twist. Businesses need to be able to meet the unique needs of the up and coming generation of customers.

 

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.

Why Use Deionized Water For Cleaning?

To understand the benefits of cleaning with deionized water, first we must understand what exactly it is. Deionized water is water that has been processed through a filtration system that removes nearly 100% of all elements other than the hydrogen and oxygen that form the water molecule. Essentially, it is completely pure water, with a purity degree four times higher than that of distilled water.

When water is deionized, it draws in other minerals and elements, such as those found in dirt and contaminants. Since most of its mineral content is removed, it’s very “hungry” to acquire other components. It aggressively tries to compensate for the loss of its ions by taking them away from its surroundings. Because of its ability to easily remove “gunk,” it makes a great cleaning agent for a variety of surfaces such as windows, table tops, wooden surfaces, mirrors, baseboards, and even CARPET CLEANING. Since there are no minerals in deionized water, it leaves behind no residue, spots, or stains on surfaces. For those who are not using deionized water as a primary cleanser, it is an excellent second-stage rinsing agent highly effective in removing all trace amounts of cleaning solution left behind.

Using deionized water to clean with is a relatively new method. It uses no chemicals, as they are replaced by the water. When it comes to cleaning, deionized water is much more efficient than tap water. It’s environmentally friendly, due to its purity, making it one of the most note-worthy new trends in green cleaning.

If you’re interested in learning more or would like further details on our deionized natural cleaning methods, contact us at Alpine Specialty Cleaning today.

Are your shoes making your family sick?

 

We have all heard about the benefits of removing our shoes before entering our homes and perhaps some of you are ahead here because you already implement this strategy. For the rest of us, however, it seems a tedious prospect especially considering how frequently the members of our busy households are coming and going. Perhaps on occasion we even roll our eyes at the ever-vigilant friend that insists everyone remove their shoes before entering. However, if you knew that by taking off your shoes every time you enter you were reducing your home’s bacterial and toxic load significantly, would you consider it?

It turns out that besides the soles of our shoes being inherently gross (because, well, they are shoes), they carry all manner of disgusting stuff. For starters, think of the places your shoes have been throughout the day. Perhaps to the doctor’s or dentist’s office? Maybe to the hospital to visit a friend? Did you use a public restroom or take your dog for a walk? Maybe just through a parking lot on the way to the grocery store? Though the areas you have been throughout the day appear clean, there are countless germs in all of these spaces, to say nothing of bird droppings, dog waste, herbicides, fertilizers, fuel and pesticides, that the soles of our shoes pick up. Researchers at the University of Arizona conducted a study and found on average 421,000 different bacteria on shoes. Specifically, coliform bacteria (from feces) was found on 96% of shoes and E coli on 27%. Some of the bacteria found in the study are responsible for urinary tract and respiratory infections and unfortunately all of these bacteria and toxins transfer to our home’s flooring surfaces. As if this isn’t bad enough, Men’s Health says that carpet already contains about 200,000 bacteria per square inch making it much dirtier than your average toilet seat.

While many of us vacuum our homes frequently, vacuums simply aren’t able to reach the bottom of the carpet where the bacteria can thrive and even feed on the human skin cells, pollen, pet dander, food and dirt from daily living. Every time the kids sit and play or anyone walks on the surface of the carpet, the bacteria (including colonies of E. coli, salmonella and staphylococcus) is disrupted and brought closer to the surface. (Maybe a good time to rethink the 5-second rule?)

What can be done about this biohazard brewing in our homes? Besides leaving those shoes at the door, get your carpets steam cleaned. The University of Arizona researchers found that steam cleaning removes the various types of bacteria described above. (If you are interested in getting those shoes clean, too, they found that washing them in detergent worked.) Men’s Health recommends hiring a company at least once per year to do a deep steam cleaning, though others recommend greater frequency especially if allergies and respiratory disorders are an issue. (It should also be noted that some carpet companies will not honor your warranty unless professional cleaners are hired every 12-18 months, so be sure to check those warranties.)

As you prepare to have those carpets steam cleaned, be sure to hire a company that does not utilize harsh soaps or carbonated chemicals, which can introduce additional toxins to your home. Environmentally savvy companies, like Alpine Specialty Cleaning, use truck-mounted steam cleaners with 100% natural detergents, like BioKleen, providing a safe, non-toxic environment for your family and pets. And don’t limit yourself to just carpet since bacteria can flourish in hard surfaces including tile and grout.

Lastly, what to do about having friends remove their shoes when visiting your newly cleaned home? According to a variety of articles and websites, the leading suggestions are to mention in the invite that shoes aren’t worn in the home so guests can plan accordingly. A few others suggest providing slippers or socks to make guests comfortable.