Should You Wash Cushion Covers?

It’s a very easy thing to do… you notice your sofa cushion covers are a little dingy, which is perfectly normal with kids, pets and normal usage.

So you decide to do-it-yourself and wash the cushion covers. They come out looking nice. But you also notice a little problem. The colors aren’t as bright as they used to be, and it takes a lot of effort to get the covers back over the foam cushions themselves. In fact, for one cushion, you can’t even get it zipped up all the way.

The reason is that these casings are not designed to be washed like normal laundry. “But it has zippers!” you exclaim. Well, that’s for the convenience of the furniture manufacturing company or the upholsterer.

Keep these points in mind if you’re tempted to wash cushion covers:

  1. When you wash the cushion covers, there is some danger in fabric shrinkage and dye loss. If this happens, not much you can do to fix it.
  2. Shrinkage typically occurs in the drier, so if you are tempted to wash your own cushion covers, hang them to dry (but remember there is always risk).
  3. Dyes are funny things. The dyes on your favorite t-shirts are pretty tough and durable and last a long time, but on upholstery they can bleed or fade. 
  4. Putting cushion covers in the laundry can also cause problems with the integrity of the fabric, such as any latex backing that could be present; delamination, or the separation of the face fiber and backing, can occur.

So while you may do this, remove your covers for laundering, keep these points in mind and be very careful with your valuable furnishings! Do your furniture and all upholstery fabric a huge favor: Call Diablo Carpet & Flooring Restoration, your upholstery cleaning professionals, today!

Cleaning The Shower: Fast, Cheap and Easy

shower cleaning, clean your shower

The job of your shower or bathtub is to keep you and your family clean… yet you might have noticed that the shower or bathtub themselves are in need of attention from time to time.

The problem is a common one. You combine soap residue with hard water and the resulting challenge is a build-up on the walls of the shower, the fixtures and more. It can be an ugly, difficult-to-clean mess! Sometimes, the shower and bath seem to be dirtier than you…

The solution is also a common one, pretty easy to accomplish, if you have the right tools.

A somewhat misleading concoction some think works for cleaning shower stalls and bath fixtures is to mix vinegar with ammonia and add a few other ingredients. The problem with that is the vinegar and ammonia cancel each other out because of their respective acidity and alkalinity. Remember that the “crud” on the tile and tub need acidity to remove… thus the idea of using a vinegar or acidic solution.

Use This for Cleaning the Shower

Create your own cleaning agent using vinegar, a drop of Dawn Dish Soap (or similar product) with super-hot water. You will need a trigger sprayer or small pump-up sprayer. Apply the home-made concoction liberally over all the areas that need to be cleaned. Allow at least 5 minutes of contact time (the more the better) and then rinse.  You may need to repeat the application of vinegar, dish soap and hot water.

Using vinegar is safe. Don’t use a harsh acid (such as a rust removing product) in place of vinegar. The chemical reaction and resulting residue from using a strong acid can be harmful to your skin or the skin of your family.

Don’t forget that a little elbow grease may be necessary to get the job done right. The soap scum and mineral deposits can be very tough to remove. But with the right amount of cleaning solutions along with your own scrubbing efforts, your shower dilemma will be over.

Of course, for all your cleaning needs, from carpet to upholstery to tile floors and more, call your Diablo Carpet and Floor Restoration!

Cleaning Wool Carpet and Rug: Good News? Or Baaaad?

wool carpet, sheep wool, care and maintenance

DID YOU KNOW that choosing a wool carpet or rug for your home is both good news… and sometimes bad?

The good news is choosing wool, which is a high quality fiber but not really that popular because of the higher price, means your carpet or rug will last longer, look better and retain value.

The bad news is choosing wool means you won’t see as much dirt on it, and so you may not vacuum or clean it that often — which means your nice, wool carpet or rug may prematurely wear out.

Why is that?

Most consumers base their cleaning frequencies on appearance. That can be dangerous for any carpet or rug, or any surface, for that matter. With wool, the physical makeup of the fiber has the characteristic of hiding dirt, especially those tiny, gritty particles that wear on the fibers. You might compare this to putting sand on a piece of Plexiglas and walking on it. The sand will act as an abrasive, damaging the surface.

While wool fibers won’t damage as quickly as other fibers, such as nylon, polyester or olefin, any type of dirt or soil on them isn’t good news at all.

What you should do is talk to a cleaning professional about cleaning based on frequency, not appearance. Get your cleaning scheduled on a regular basis, and remember that not every situation is the same. Your home may not need as frequent cleaning as another; that’s why a professional opinion is smart.

Yes, wool is good… or baaaad… depending on how you treat it.

Floor Cleaning Basics

Floor Cleaning Basics, how to take care of your floors

 

Floors. You can’t avoid walking on them. You can’t avoid looking at them, either.

The condition of your floors really affects the appearance of your entire home. When you have visitors, they notice … whether your floors are clean and tidy and in good condition, and if they are soiled and dirty and in need of repair.

There are all types of flooring in homes today, from carpet and rugs to ceramic tile, luxury vinyl tile, natural stone, wood and more.

Carpet

It’s generally accepted by most that carpet and rugs are easy to care for, regarding routine maintenance. Regular vacuuming does the trick. As a basic rule, vacuum your heavy-use areas once per week per occupant. Yes, your pets count as occupants. That means if you have a family of five with a dog and a cat, you would vacuum every day. Not the entire house, so don’t panic, but perhaps the living room and any other common-use areas that are trafficked each day. The other rooms can be vacuumed perhaps twice per week.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is also easy to maintain. It needs swept and mopped frequently to avoid soil build-up. Use neutral cleaners and follow directions. If you notice any streaking after you clean, follow your normal cleaning with a clear water mopping and get it as dry as you can.

Luxury Vinyl Tile

Luxury vinyl tile, or LVT, can be cleaned like ceramic tile, but consider a two-bucket system. One with neutral detergent and another with clear water.

Wood Flooring

Wood flooring is another matter. Be safe and obtain an approved wood cleaning product from the manufacturer, or you can inquire of your favorite cleaning service as to what you should use. After cleaning, you may need to do a light buffing with a soft cloth, especially high traffic areas. Wood is a bit more sensitive than other flooring types, but small surface scratches can often be buffed out. Larger scratches and damage might need to be professional repaired.

There are other flooring types, of course, and each one will respond well to proper cleaning. Floor cleaning can be challenging, as well as hard work. Why not leave it to the pros and spend your valuable time doing something else you enjoy?

Call Diablo Carpet and Floor Restoration today.  After all, it pays to call a pro!​

How to Take Care of Your Outdoor Gas Grill

There’s nothing more enjoyable to food lovers everywhere than firing up the gas grill and creating some delicious meals, whether steaks, burgers, bratwursts or healthy home-grown vegetables.

Keeping that gas grill in good shape is, therefore, paramount to happy outdoor barbecues and family gatherings.

And here’s something we all know: Outdoor gas grills don’t clean or take care of themselves. It takes determination on your part to keep them working for you, meal after meal after meal.

Here are a few easy steps to keeping your gas grill in good shape.

Step 1: 

After cooking your favorite treat on the grill (after removing all the food to a platter, of course) keep the grill on. In fact, turn it up a bit, and let all the bits of meat and drippings burn to a crisp so after everything cools you can scrape them off the grill grate. If you don’t do this, the next time you fire up the grill means you will be dealing with the remnants of the previous meal. That’s not tasty.

Step 2: 

Look underneath… no matter the quality of your grill, if you have a storage area for pans, spatulas and the propane tank, food drippings and debris can quickly create a problem. Clean out that storage area on a regular basis, keeping everything neat and ready for the next meal.

Step 3:

Don’t ignore the exterior of the grill. Washing the outside of the grill with warm, soapy water keeps grime from building up.

Step 4: 

When not in use, keep everything covered up. Some feel that with warmer weather, they can leave the grill exposed to the elements. Hey, it’s meant to be outside, right? Yet keeping the grill under a quality grill cover can add years of life to your trusty outdoor cooking partner.

Of course, with outdoor grilling comes greasy spills that can spot and stain your carpet. Nearly everyone has dropped a burger or a hot dog on the floor when bringing the food inside. Even worse is when your tasty treat is covered with mustard or ketchup. Do your carpet a favor and call Diablo Carpet and Floor Restoration when that happens.

The Myth of Vacuuming

the myth of the vacuum, vacuuming is not enough, is vacuuming enough?

 

You would be hard pressed not to find this noisy, electrical and often-underused mechanical device in any home, apartment or business.

What is it? The vacuum cleaner. You know, that silent sentinel in your closet that comes to life when you plug it in and push the power button, and it buzzes all over the carpet as you follow it around the house.

How Much Do You Trust Your Vacuum?

The problem with the vacuum cleaner is we trust it too much. No, we’re not saying you shouldn’t vacuum your carpet. You should vacuum once per week per occupant, on average, for the main areas. You might vacuum the bedrooms less frequently. We all know that proper vacuuming is important in caring for the carpet.

But some feel that vacuuming the carpet is equal to carpet cleaning. That’s a myth and it is simply not true. Professional carpet cleaning removes so much more than a vacuum can remove. Yet it has been reported that consumers feel that frequent vacuuming removes the dust and grime from their floors and they can either skip or prolong regular carpet cleaning.

That’s not the case.

It’s Not a Wash

A good vacuum, no matter how powerful or advanced, removes only dry soil. The stuff that is tracked in every day and should be removed every day, as well. Vacuums don’t remove the sticky, greasy soil stuck to the carpet fibers. You need professional cleaning to remove those soils.

Compare this to washing your car with a dry rag… or brushing your hair and skipping the shower and shampoo… or — well, you get the point. You need quality cleaning, deep carpet cleaning, to get your carpet thoroughly cleaned.

Do yourself a favor. Keep that vacuum cleaner working, use it all the time, but also use Diablo Carpet and Floor Restoration for your cleaning needs. We know what it takes to remove ALL the dirt!

Cleaning Air Conditioners

Mother and daughter enjoying air conditioning, cleaning air conditioners

It’s summertime. And if it isn’t that hot yet, it will be really soon. If hot weather isn’t in the forecast right now, give it time… it will warm up.

When hot weather strikes, most people work hard to be comfortable, and that means turning down the air in the home, using their trusty air conditioning system. For some, that means 80 degrees Fahrenheit. For others, 70. Others… like it even colder. It’s all about personal preference.

But when your air conditioner doesn’t perform adequately, or even worse, stops completely, panic strikes as the heat and humidity increases.

How can you avoid a sluggish or broken air conditioner? A few preventative maintenance steps can help tremendously. What do you know about cleaning air conditioners?

Keep it simple — and clean!

Any part of your air conditioning unit, whether it is a portable window variety, mini-split, or central air, it’s important to keep all working parts, filters, everything clean of dust and debris.

Cleaning air conditioners mostly means regular inspections, perhaps twice a month, and taking steps to clean dirty areas. If your air conditioner is portable and has a water collection tank, empty it regularly.

What comes in handy for removing dust and debris, especially from filters you can’t remove and aren’t washable, is a can of compressed air, such as you might use for your computer. But remember that when you blow dust off one surface, it will land on another.

And, if you aren’t sure about filter location or any aspect of your AC unit, ask a professional and take notes so you can refer to them in the future.

Call the pros for cleaning air conditioners

As with any electronic and complex piece of equipment, there are limits to what you can do yourself. Consider calling a professional heating, ventilation, and air conditioning company come in annually and perform an inspection. These are usually very inexpensive and, if you ever need repair service, they will respond faster if you are a regular customer (usually).

Once in a while, an air conditioning unit malfunctions or spills over, making a big mess. If that ever happens, it’s time to call your favorite cleaning company to take care of the issue. After all, it pays to call a pro!

How to Wash Dishes Right for Maximum Health

wash dishes, washing dishes, glasses in dish washer

To wash dishes may seem like a pretty easy chore. But many skip a few steps, thinking they can just get it done quickly. Washing dishes is a task that no one really enjoys.

Here are tips to make it easier & more effective when you wash dishes.

Scrape it:  

When getting ready to wash dishes, you do the obvious. You scrape off the excess. Get rid of all the extra “gunk.” The more you put into the garbage can before going to the sink, the better! This is especially true if you are using a dishwasher.

Soak it: 

Don’t think that cold or even warm water will do the trick. You need hot water. Depending on the dishes, perhaps hotter than your hands can handle. So fill that sink with super-hot water but be sure not to burn yourself. You can protect yourself with high-quality gloves.

Soap it: 

Be sure to add the appropriate amount of dish detergent. Usually known as a “squirt”. This helps the hot water to penetrate and remove soils. Without getting too technical, what you are doing is reducing surface energy of the dish water, allowing it to get to work better. You are allowing the water to flow, doing its job.

Splash it: 

When you pull that now-clean dish out of the dishwater, rinse it off and set it aside to dry. When rinsing, if you use soft water, all the better. But if not, consider a special rinse additive to use when you are finishing up the dishes. This helps remove more residue, more hard water minerals and generally ensures a better looking (clean) dish.

Now it’s time to give the dishes some time to recover from the bath you just gave them, and then inspect them to ensure they are really clean. If they are, put them in the cabinet. If not… wash them again!

How to Remove Deodorant Stain and Scent

remove deodorant stain

It can be so embarrassing, especially at a business meeting or social event. When it does happen, you may wish you could crawl into a hole.

What are we talking about? When you raise your arm for something and show off an unsightly deodorant stain on your shirt. You know people notice because their eyes are drawn right to your armpit, and there’s never a hole close enough to crawl in to.

This type of stain builds up over time. When you perspire, some of the deodorant transfers to your clothing and each time you do the laundry, some of it sticks. However, to remove deodorant stain & odor can be accomplished with a few simple steps.

Plan ahead to remove deodorant stains

Before putting your clothes in the laundry basket, spray or rub areas of concern liberally with a product designed for treating laundry spots and stains. This way, your regular laundering will be much more effective.

Pre-treatments

Before laundering the offending garments, fill a sink, or if you have a lot of clothes, a bathtub with hot water and add a small scoop of laundry detergent. Mix it up until completely dissolved. Put the clothes in and let them soak for 30 minutes, and then launder them right away.

Color-safe bleaches

As you would do with pre-treating in a sink or tub, instead of using laundry detergent, add a scoop or two of a color-safe bleach, like OxyClean. Follow the directions on the package and allow plenty of dwell time for the oxidizing bleach to work.

Chlorine bleach

This is a last-resort attempt to remove a deodorant stain. Chlorine bleach, found under the name “Clorox” at your grocery store, is an oxidizer but very aggressive. Use with care. Follow directions on the bottle when you use this type of product either as a pre-treatment or in the washing machine.

And when you need something cleaned you can’t do yourself, such as your carpet, tile and grout, furniture or other surfaces, don’t forget to call Diablo Carpet Cleaning & Restoration. We know how to do it right!

The Dreaded Litter Box

Cute tabby cat using a red, closed litter box.

It’s part of the home that you try to hide. It’s one that you hope no one stumbles across and, of course, hope no one sniffs and notices it is there.

If you have cats, you know exactly what we are talking about. If you have cats, you either train them to go outside (unlikely) or use the toilet (as seen on YouTube) — but most resort to the standard litter box for their feline friends to do their “business.”

As much as you would like anyone else but you to take care of cleaning and maintaining the litter box, if you are the owner of the cat, it’s probably your job to do.

Here are some simple tips to do it faster — and better — and keep things a little more sanitary as well.

Keep it contained

One thing most hate is when the cat (or cats) leave the litter box and bring those tiny litter particles with them, tracking them all over the home.

Placing a cat litter mat under the cat box and some type of carpet remnant where the cats step out on helps reduce the amount of litter tracked through the home.

Protect yourself

Litter boxes are festering tubs of bacteria and other contaminants that need to stay right there in the box. But a cleaning must happen, usually every day, to keep the clumps from taking over and becoming difficult to scoop.

Wear a proper pair of gloves, and even a dust mask, to keep yourself healthy and safe when doing the scoopin’.

Fresh is best

Besides daily scooping, adding some litter every few days is smart. When the litter gets low, add a little more to keep the litter box sufficiently full so your cats can easily cover over their “deposits”. You don’t want to give them any excuse to skip the litter box for a more convenient area to use, if you know what we mean. And each month, empty and completely wash the pan, and add fresh litter.

The inevitable

One thing that cats may do from time to time is “miss” the litter box, creating nasty odors, especially in carpet. That’s when you need some real help, from your favorite cleaning service. Do the right thing. Give them a call today. After all, it pays to call a pro!