Thursday, December 12, 2013

All Pre-Sprays Are Not Created Equal

All Pre-Sprays Are Not Created Equal


You’ve probably heard a carpet cleaner say, “the price includes a pre-spray to remove your spots.” Did you respond with “That’s great, sign me up”?  WAIT! Not all pre-sprays used in professional carpet cleaning are right for every job. There are a few more things you should know.

Pre-spray is one of the first steps in cleaning carpet. The pH of a cleaning product plays a major role in the quality of a carpet cleaning job, and it is important that the cleaner understands how it works. The pH scale ranges from 0-14, with neutral being 7. The lower end of the scale is acid, and the higher end is alkaline.

Generally, choosing a cleaning formula with a pH opposite of the soil type’s pH produces the best results. For example, acidic soils such as fruit juice spills should be cleaned with an alkaline cleaner. It is important to choose the appropriate cleaning formula, as using the incorrect pH for the fiber type, or strong pH levels in either direction, can destroy fibers and negatively affect dyes.

Most cleaning chemicals for synthetic fibers are alkaline (high pH) in nature, since soil removal happens best at alkaline pH levels. High pH (alkaline) cleaners work well on olefin, polyester, nylon, and acrylic fibers.  It also works well to remove protein stains, oils, and grease from fibers. Wool is a protein, and requires cleaning chemicals with mildly acidic pH levels.

 While high pH or alkaline cleaners can be the best cleaning option for many textiles, and the outcome can be sparkling, they leave the fibers prone to re-soiling quickly and can leave the carpet with a sticky or crunchy feel. This is why it is important to neutralize pH.

The natural pH of most carpet fibers is near neutral (7). For wool, the natural pH will be between 5.5 and 7. For the life of the fiber and to keep from attracting soils, we should leave the fibers as close to possible to their natural pH when we have finished cleaning. Treating the fibers with an acid rinse agent accomplishes this.

So, ask what pre-spray formula is best for your carpet type, and make sure the company is neutralizing the pH following the cleaning. If you are having natural fibers such as wool or silk cleaned, make sure the company is taking precautions to protect the fibers and dyes.

Our cleaning products are chosen specifically for every job. Our technicians are trained to determine the type of fibers he is cleaning, and use the appropriate formulas. He will also attempt to identify each type of stain to determine the appropriate cleaner to remove it, and will neutralize the pH of the carpet once finished using our fabric softening rinse.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How to Choose a Carpet Cleaning Company

Not all carpet cleaning companies are created equal. While most companies promise quality service for a low price, that is not usually what you get! Using the tips below, and asking the right questions, will help you select a professional carpet cleaning company that will provide the most value for your dollar.

Training and Certifications

Ask what types of professional training a company's technicians have received. A professional carpet cleaning company should employ people that hold the Carpet Cleaning Technician certification by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC, also known as the Clean Trust). This is the most common and well-known training school for the cleaning and restoration industry. Other certifications to look for include Upholstery and Fabric Cleaning Technician, Rug Cleaning Technician, Carpet Repair and Reinstallation Technician, and Water Damage Restoration Technician.

Experience and Customer Feedback

Knowledge comes not only with education, but experience. Ask how long a company has been in business, and check social media sites, search engines, and places like Angie's List for customer feedback. Also, ask your friends and neighbors who they have used in the past and their experiences with the company. One or two bad reviews do not necessarily mean you shouldn’t use a company, but many poor reviews should raise a red flag. You can also ask the company for references if the information is not available online.

License & Insurance

In many cities, small cleaning companies come and go rapidly. Ask the company you call if they are licensed with the state you live in. You can also check for this online on local government websites. A cleaning company should also carry insurance related to the services they offer. It is also a good idea to ask if the company runs background checks on all their employees.


If a price sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Typically, you get what you pay for, and price should never be the main reason for choosing a carpet cleaning company. Always read the fine print on advertised specials.

Cleaning Method

The IICRC defines the five main principles of carpet cleaning as:

Dry Soil Removal: Thorough vacuuming helps to remove dry soils from carpet fibers.

Soil Suspension: The application of the proper pre-treatment agent to loosen soils from carpet fibers. There are four characteristics of soil suspension: application of chemicals, use of heat or temperature to speed up chemical reactions, agitation of carpet fibers to aid in distribution of chemicals, and dwell time to complete chemical reaction, or CHAT.

Soil Extraction: The most common method from removing soils from carpet is the hot water extraction method, also known as steam cleaning.

Grooming, as necessary: Grooming of carpet helps eliminate matting of carpet and distribute cleaning agents.

Drying: With normal temperature and humidity conditions, carpet should take no longer than 24 hours to dry. Use of air movers, ceiling fans, and, with the right conditions, the outdoor environment (opening windows) can speed the drying process. The ideal dry time for carpet should be around 6-8 hours.

A professional carpet cleaning company should follow these steps, at a minimum, on all cleaning jobs.

Other Important Questions to Ask

What is included with the cleaning service? At a minimum, the cleaning should include the five principles of carpet cleaning listed above.

Does the price quoted include specialty treatments? This includes treatments such as enzyme for pet stains, high traffic area treatment, carpet protection application, etc. Many times these are done at an additional cost.

Will you move my furniture? Typically, furniture moving is not included in the price of carpet cleaning unless you ask for it.

Will you finish the cleaning with a low or neutral pH treatment? Many companies use high pH cleaners on carpet. While they clean well, it makes your carpet a magnet to dirt, allowing it to re-soil easily, and can have a sticky or crunchy feel. This can damage the carpet’s fibers and shorten its useful life. Ask if the carpet's pH will be lowered or neutralized following the cleaning to help it stay clean longer.

Do you guarantee your work, and for how long? A good carpet cleaning company should offer some type of guarantee. Sometimes stains come back, or other issues occur, so you want to know if you have options should this occur. Also, ask about the time frame for the guarantee so you can be sure you call in time if there is a problem.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Water Damage - Preventing Loss and Choosing a Restoration Company

Water damage comes in many forms; from bursting pipes, to roof leaks, to sewage back-ups, and more. Did you know YOU have the right to choose a restoration company after a water loss, fire damage, or mold intrusion, NOT the insurance company? It is important to choose a company that is experienced, competent, and insured.

Preventing Water Damage
There are things you can do to help prevent water damage, or limit the extent of the damage should water damage occur.
Install Water Alarms
You can purchase alarms that will sound when they come into contact with water. Place these alarms near water sources such as dishwashers, washing machines, and toilets. These alarms will help minimize damage by alerting you to a probem early, and can be purchased at hardware stores or online.
Shut Water Off
When you plan to leave your home unattended for a period of time, turn the water supply off at the street. Often, the worst water damage situations occur when pipes burst while a homeowner is out of town.
Leave Pipes Dripping When Temperatures Drop
Freezing temperatures can lead to bursting pipes. Leave exterior pipes dripping when temperatures drop to help prevent this.

Three Types of Water Contamination
There are three types, or "categories" of water damage. The first category is clean water, which usually happens when a plumbing line breaks or from falling rainwater. Category two water is possibly contaminated, such as a washing machine or dishwasher overflow, or broken aquariums. Lastly, category three water, which is known as black water. This is highly contaminated water that may come from sewage backups, natural flooding, or groundwater runoff. Water may change categories due to time, temperature, humidity, and the materials it comes into contact with.
What to Look For in A Water Damage Restoration Company

Two major training schools, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) and the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors (NORMI), provide certification and set the standards for the cleaning and restoration industry. Choose a company that employs technicians with certifications in Water Damage Restoration and Mold Remediation from these organizations.
While some companies claim to be able to perform water damage restoration, they more often than not lack the expertise and the equipment to do a thorough job. Choose a company that specializes in water damage restoration.
Proper Water Damage Restoration requires the use of special drying equipment such as high velocity fans and dehumidifiers, moisture detection tools, and more. Ask the company what type of equipment they use, and ensure they will perform moisture detection.
Any company you choose should be fully insured for handling water loss situations and mold remediation. They should also have worker's compensation insurance.

A good reputation is extremely important. While not every customer will have good things to say about a company, happy customers say a lot about a company.
Do Your Homework
Make sure you've done your research and phoned around before deciding on a company to use. Chat with friends or co-workers, or do a search online to find out what others have been saying about the water restoration company of your choice. Make sure the company has the relevant certifications and insurance, along with friendly, highly-trained staff.

Get it Sorted Fast
Water damage is something that you can't wait too long to deal with. Water damage that is left alone only worsens, leading to mold infestations, disease, and even permanent damage to the structural integrity of the building. Do your research quickly. Better yet, when putting together an emergency contact list for your household, make sure a water damage restoration company is added to it, so, if you ever have the need, you can just make the call right away.

What You Can Expect From Seminole Carpet Cleaning
We at Seminole Carpet Cleaning understand that experiencing a water loss of any size is a difficult and stressful experience. With over 20 years of industry experience, we have seen it all before! We specialize in water damage restoration and have an emergency response team available 24/7 for flood control service. 

You can count on our technicians to arrive quickly, help minimize the immediate damage water can cause, and develop a specific plan based on your scenario to get your home and life back to normal as soon as possible. Our IICRC and NORMI certified technicians are trained to adhere to industry standards, and we can work with all insurance companies to assist you with filing your claim.

Happy, informed customers say it all, and we have them! We believe it is very important to inform our customers about everything we are doing in their home during the restoration process. We provide a booklet that explains most of what we do for a typical water loss scenario, and why we do it, and our team is available to answer any questions you may have.

Below is a very basic description of what you can expect from us when we enter your home for a typical category 1 water loss situation:
  1. Moisture detection - We will use our specialized moisture detection equipment to determine the extent of water loss. Water may travel into adjacent rooms and into drywall or other porous materials. We will check surrounding areas and walls for moisture intrusion.
  2. Antimicrobial Application - We use and apply the appropriate antifungal, germicide, or antimicrobial treatment, depending on the source of water, to help inhibit the growth of microorganisms.
  3. Extraction - We will remove as much of the water from carpet, cushioning, and hard surfaces as possible using water extracton tools.
  4. Evaporation and Dehumidification - Once the excess water is removed, we must concentrate on changing water from a liquid to vapor form using evaporation. By using specifically placed air movers, we can maximize evaporation. We also must focus on removing the evaporated water from the structure through a drying system. This may involve using use of a mechanical, or closed, drying system through the use of dehumidifiers. Using specialized equipment and scientific formulas we can determine the correct amount of equipment to promote the most efficient drying environment.
  5. Daily checks - After the drying environment is set you can expect to see us daily until your structure has been successfully restored. We will keep accurate logs to track your progress and will show and explain these logs, along with any other questions you might have, at your request.
  6. We will assist you in any way possible during the restoration process. We can work with your insurance company to help you file a claim for large water losses.

Visit our website for more information on water damage restoration service

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Carpet Stains: When to Fight, When to Surrender

Recently, Service Magic posted an article about removing stains from your carpet with products that can be found in the home. We think it's great and would like to share that article with you!

If you're reading this, there's a good chance it's already too late and you need to call a carpet cleaning professional. Unless you had the insight to rush to your computer and haven't yet tried your own carpet stain removal, you probably have a permanent carpet stain.

What You Can Try
First, remove as much of the staining substance as possible. Then, using a clean towel or rag, put isopropyl rubbing alcohol on the towel and gently blot the affected area. If this doesn't begin to work, stop. If you rub the alcohol in too deeply, you may damage the latex backing.

Next, try a non-lanolin, non-bleach dishwashing detergent. Mix 1 teaspoon with a quart of water. Again, blot with the towel. Using a spray bottle rinse the stain and blot dry. Then, spray again lightly, this time allowing the carpet to dry under a weighted paper towel. If the stain still isn't gone, moisten the spot with a 3% mix of hydrogen peroxide and leave to dry for one hour. If that doesn't work, it's probably time to call a professional.

Have You Made the Carpet Stain Worse?
If you've already tried carpet stain removal and it didn't work or got worse, you may have inadvertently made the stain permanent. These are some of the activities that can cause a stain to set, meaning you need to call a professional:

+ Scrubbing the stain
+ Applying heat to the affected carpet
+ Ignoring the stain
+ Drowning the carpet in cleaning solution
+ Failing to remove any excess substance

It's also important to use a clean, dry cloth and you should always pretest the carpet in an inconspicuous spot. Apply the cleaning solution to the cloth, not directly on the stain.

Did You Ever Have a Chance?
Some carpet stains are created by compounds that irreparably change your carpet's color. When this happens, your only recourse is to call your service professional. More than likely, the stained area will need to be replaced with extra carpeting or a patch cut from an inconspicuous place in the carpet. Some of the compounds that issue this death sentence are fertilizers and insecticides, hair dyes, iodine, bleach, alkaline cleaners, acne medication, and acid toilet bowl cleaners. Pet urine can also cause color loss on delicate fibers such as wool, or when left on carpet for long periods of time.

What to Do Next Time
Before another carpet stain happens, you should read the carpet manufacturer's manual on carpet stain removal. It's entirely possible your carpet should be handled in a specific way when it's stained to protect the carpet. Also, have a small amount of pre-mixed dishwashing solution, the longer you let the stain sit the harder it's going to be to remove.

Read more:

If you are unable to remove the stain at home using the steps above, we can help! Call our office at 850-222-5326 for assistance

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Effects of Urine on Carpeting and Upholstery

We love our pets, but sometimes the “presents” they leave us are not so lovable.  Below are some of the effects urine has on carpeting and upholstery, and reasons why prompt professional cleaning is imperative to removing the stains and odor, and preventing serious damage.

Stains and Odor

Urine is made up of several waste products of metabolism such as urea, cholesterol (lipids), and uric acid. Another component, called urochrome, gives urine the yellow color.  The exact make up depends on the animal’s diet, health, age, and other factors.  When urine leaves the body, it comes in contact with bacteria in the urethra, the animal’s skin, and microorganisms in the carpet.  The warm acid environment is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, which begin to flourish.  The bacteria give off gasses, which is one component of the odor we smell.

As the urine decomposes, it changes in pH from an acid to an alkali. Alkaline salt crystals from when the acidic urine reacts with the ammonia being created.  These hygroscopic salts draw moisture from the air and remain slightly moist and chemically active.  As long as it remains active, it will produce ammonia gasses.  Dried urine salts will give off more ammonia gas once re-moistened, which is why the odor is stronger on humid days or after cleanings.


Pet urine stains can have a permanent bleaching effect on some types of carpet depending on how they are dyed.  Over time, as urine sits in your carpet, it becomes highly alkaline, and can bleach out primary carpet dyes until you are left with a yellowish or white discoloration.  Bleaching may not become apparent until the carpet is cleaned, at which point the carpet dyes previously released by the pet urine are removed, and suddenly a light spot appears.  At that point, the only option to repair the damage is to re-dye the spot or patch the carpet.

It’s Not Just On the Carpet

Although a pet stain may look small on the surface, it can be 2-3 times the size underneath.  Just a few ounces of urine can quickly soak deep into the carpet backing, the padding, and even the sub-floor below.  Urine odors can permeate from the floor, be it cement or wood, from the tack strip, and even from the framework of the house behind the walls.  Cleaning the area as soon as possible will help prevent the urine from soaking through to the backing and pad below and avoid permanent bleaching.

Time Does Matter

Besides the obvious health and sanitary issues left untreated, urine causes difficult to remove yellow stains, or worse yet, dye loss.  The amount of time that these components remain in the carpet fibers has a great deal to do with the success rate of completely removing both the spots and the odor, and prevent bleaching or other damaging effects. 

We can help!

Our professional deep steam cleaning process with an enzyme treatment can help remove stains and odor from carpet and upholstery.  We also offer more extreme measures for old urine stains that have affected the subfloor, baseboards, or other areas of your home.  Call or go online to learn more about these, and other, services.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Choosing a Vacuum

When beginning the process of buying a vacuum, you need to think about your cleaning needs. A vacuum can have attractive and innovative features, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for your household. Buyers need to look at price, type or model, and provided features. Then, find a vacuum that encompasses all three. Below are some tables that give a brief explanation of vacuum types and optional features to help you make an educated decision.
-Most popular
-More affordable than canisters
-Easy to store
-Provides a better deep clean
-Usually offers a wider cleaning path than canisters
-Noisier than canisters
-You have to drag the whole machine around the room to clean
-Can weigh 20 lbs. or more
-A two piece unit with a body for the bag and/or filter and an extended hose attached to the power head
-Good for cleaning upholstery, bare floors, under furniture & drapes
-You only have to move the hose & power head to clean
-Handles well on stairs
-Usually a quieter vacuum
-The whole unit is usually heavier than an upright
-Storage can be difficult because of the hose and power head
-Stationary unit allowing one hose and head to be hooked up through wall plug-ins
-Don’t need to be emptied frequently
-Comparatively quite
-You only move around the hose & head so they are lighter and more convenient to move
-Easier to use than a canister
-Require professional installation
-Due to a typical 30 foot hose storage can he a hassle
-No storage for cleaning tools while you’re cleaning
-Handheld electric models (power cord optional)
-Good for small and quick clean-ups on bare floors or short pile carpet
-Light weight
-Easy to store
-The capabilities and power are lacking compared to full-sized models
-Cordless models bring the hassle of making sure the battery is charged and/or replacing it
-Self-propelled, cordless and hands free sweepers
-Does the work while you relax
-Fill in between your normal vacuuming
-Good for people with mobility issues
-Tend to miss edges and corners
-Time consuming to set up and run
-Known to close doors behind them, becoming stuck in the room.
-Long thin body with handle and foot nozzle, usually battery powered
-Light weight
-Pick up quick messes
-Portable and absence of a cord allows for unrestricted vacuuming though out your home
-For the size, the stick vacuum is noisy
-The dirt bin has a small capacity
-Does not provide the deep cleaning of a conventional vacuum
Add-on Cleaning Tools
Most standard vacuum will provide you with 3 basic tools: an upholstery brush, a round brush, and a narrow tool for crevices. These 3 tools should suit your vacuuming needs. Other options such as a wall brush or combo tools usually go by the way side and are typically not worth the extra cash.
Attachment Reach
All this is is the vacuum’s manufacturer’s estimate of the total length of the suction hose and all the hose extension attachments.
Bags vs. Bag less
Usually holds more dirt
Less dust & allergens are released when the bag is changed
Reminds you when to change and/or empty the bag
Money is saved because you don’t have to buy bags.
But you do have to spend money on filters, which are usually more
expensive than bags. Consider purchasing a rinsable filter.
When you empty the bin you are exposed to more dust and allergens than with a bag.
You can see when the bin needs to be emptied.
The clear bin allows you to see what the vacuum is picking up and that it’s working.
Bare-floor options
An on/off switch for the brush in the head is a common option as is a bare-floor setting or a low-height setting for all your non carpeted floors
Brush Agitator
The roller in the head of the machine can have bristles attached to it. The purpose of these bristles is to agitate the carpet as the roller spins around allowing for the easy suction of dirt and dust. Some vacuums have on/off switches for the bristles to rotate for hardwood and tiled floors.
Carpet Height Adjustment
Manual or automatic switching of the vacuum’s height according to the carpet’s pile height allowing you to easily maneuver on your carpet.
Dirt Sensor
Not a common feature, but this senses when the vacuum is no longer picking up dirt.
Easy on/off Switch
When the on/off switch is found either at the bottom of the machine so you can control it with your feet or the handle because this is much more convenient that one located on the body of the vacuum.
The main job of any filter is to prohibit small particles the vacuum has sucked up from escaping back into the air. There are different kinds of filters and one of the most effective is a high-efficiency particulate-air or HEPA filter. Also, just because a vacuum doesn’t have a HEPA filter doesn’t mean it can’t perform just as well.
Edge Cleaner
This is a common feature on most uprights and canisters. It allows for the vacuum to pick up dirt and dust under the whole area of the cleaning head. This means that you can get all the dirt right up to the wall.
Full Container Indicator
An alert to let you know when the dust bag or container is full. A canister model usually does not have this feature because you can see in the clear bin.
This light at the end of the power head allows for better visibility under furniture and along dimly light walls.
Motor Protection System
This function stops prevents the blower’s motor from overheating or electrically overloading. This usually only happens when there is a jam.
Retractable Cord
With the push of a button or a slight tug of the cord, it will rewind itself back into the vacuum. Another feature for the cord is a release-clip. This allows for the cord to be release all at once, instead of one wrap at a time.
The transmission helps you push and pull the vacuum requiring less effort on your part; however this usually adds more weight to model. This added weight can be a hassle while cleaning the stairs.
Suction Control
You can have a heavy or light airflow depending what you’re vacuuming. Curtains don’t need as high of a suction level as carpet does.
Once you have decided what type works best for you (or who will be doing the majority of the vacuuming) and what features you can and cannot live without, go to the store and play around with it. Pick it up, push it, pull it, heck even ask if you can plug it in. After taking the vacuum for a test drive, comparison shop online. Find the cheapest price and ask the store if they will price match. Price matching is becoming more common with major retailers, plus you’ll save on shipping the vacuum to your house.

Remember, the key to keeping your carpets looking, feeling, and smelling fresh is to maintain them through regular professional carpet cleanings and vacuuming. Without the proper vacuum, you won’t be able to get the deep down clean you want. Do your research before you buy! Good Luck!


Welcome to our new blog!

Here, you will find lots of useful consumer information, tips and tricks for carpet maintenance, and information about our company and services. We hope you enjoy!