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!