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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.

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.

Germiest spots in the kitchen

Signs of spring are showing up in the Pacific Northwest and it has us thinking about some pic girl surgical maskspring cleaning. Thrive Market recently posted a blog piece on how filthy the average refrigerator is and it is worth a quick read (click here). They pointed out that the produce drawer is incredibly germ-laden (as in worse than a toilet seat) and that those germs can get into your food. Their article got us thinking about additional kitchen germ hot spots that are often missed and we have listed them here along with some cleaning suggestions. Be sure to remember these spots in your spring cleaning routine, and once you see how easy they are, keep them up year round to keep the germ count down in the kitchen.

Light switches– one of the dirtiest places in the home because of frequent use. At least once a week, wipe them down with a paper towel sprayed in household cleaner or rubbing alcohol.   In addition, stove knobs, cupboard and drawer handles and microwave buttons would benefit from a quick wipe down.

Kitchen Sink- a real hotspot in the kitchen full of germs from meal prep, hand and produce washing, rinsing chicken, etc. The sink should be cleaned nightly with a green household cleaner and don’t forget the faucet, handle and sprayer. If some scouring is necessary, baking soda works well.

Sponges and Dishcloths– these hold a ton of germs and should be frequently washed or replaced. Microwaving wet sponges and dishcloths on high for 30 seconds kills most bacteria. Dish scrubbing brushes also require daily cleaning and can be run through the dishwasher. Dishtowels also hold a large number of germs, especially if they are being used to dry hands. Dishtowels should be changed frequently and household members should be encouraged to dry their hands on paper towels instead.

Countertops- these hold quite a few germs, especially when you consider how many miscellaneous items are placed on them (grocery bags, food, dirty backpacks and handbags, etc. Click here to see how dirty your handbags and backpacks really are!). Additionally, if counters are being wiped down with a dirty dishcloth or rag, they can be really nasty. Be sure to clean regularly with a green household cleaner and always with a clean rag or paper towels.

 Garbage Can- even if you use a bag in your can, meat juices, food, etc. can build up. Weekly, take the garbage can outside and hose it down. Fill partially with vinegar and water and scrub it down. Allow it to soak for 20-30 minutes to disinfect. Rinse and allow to dry completely before bringing it back inside.

 Cutting Boards- experts usually agree that meats, seafood and poultry should be cut on a separate cutting board from produce to avoid cross contamination. Clean cutting boards with hot soapy water and let air dry completely. Plastic boards can usually go through the dishwasher.

 Blender gasket– any appliances that should be disassembled to be properly cleaned can harbor germs if they aren’t cleaned correctly. If your blender is dishwasher safe, put the blender, blade and gasket in the dishwasher after each use.   Otherwise use hot soapy water on the disassembled items and dry completely before reassembling and using. For those that use a Vitamix, cleaning instructions are available here.

Reusable Grocery Bags- these carry loads of germs! USA Today reported on a study that found 99% of reusable bags had bacteria, about half with coliform bacteria and some with E. coli indicating fecal contamination. The report also mentioned that a Norovirus outbreak amongst a soccer team in Oregon was traced to a reusable shopping bag. It is recommended that reusable bags go through the washing machine at least weekly.

 Can Opener- these can carry germs from our hands and from the various foods in which they come into contact. If appropriate, run through the dishwasher after each use. If washing be hand, pay special attention to the blade and be sure to use hot soapy water. Dry thoroughly.

 Food storage containers– these should be thoroughly cleaned after each use to avoid mold and yeast. Wash in the dishwasher, or if washing by hand, pay careful attention to the grooves in the lid and the seal.

Salt and Pepper Shakers- these can harbor bacteria and viruses, including the common cold, and should be frequently wiped down with a green household cleaner or rubbing alcohol.

Fridge Ice and Water Dispenser- these have been found to hold some nasty germs. For regular day-to-day cleaning, wipe down the buttons and housing with rubbing alcohol or household cleaner. For a deeper clean that is recommended monthly, ehow.com offers instructions to clean the germs out of the tubing here.

Knife block- these hold a number of germs that are transferred from knives and dirty hands. Monthly, remove all of the knives and turn the block upside down to shake out debris. The block can be washed in hot soapy water. Also, diluted hydrogen peroxide can be used to sanitize the block. Ensure that the cleaning solution is in contact with the knife slots for one minute, then rinse thoroughly and dry upside down. Ensure that knives are clean and completely dry before being placed in the block.

Pet Food Bowls- these should be washed daily in the dishwasher, or by hand in very hot soapy water. They can be disinfected weekly by soaking in vinegar. Rinse thoroughly and allow to air dry.