How to Remove Hard Water Stains

hard water stains, calcium deposits, scale, lime rust

Spots and stains, no matter where they land, are unsightly and ugly, and you work hard to remove them.

A spot is easy to remove, because it’s a deposit of substance that sits on top of a surface. Examples include chocolate, milk, or ketchup. A stain is a different challenge altogether, as it means the substance has penetrated or is strongly attached to a surface. Examples include mustard, curry, or Kool-Aid.

Hard water stains are common occurrences, and often challenging to remove. If you don’t get to them quickly, they can become even tougher to tackle.

What are they?

Hard water stains, often called lime deposits, are basically limestone, calcium and magnesium, among other mineral substances. They all come from ground content. The more minerals in the ground, the harder the water.

Certain areas of the country have more mineral content than others, and without a water softening system in a home or business, the result is a buildup of hard water stains anywhere water stands and dries, such as around sinks, underneath water fountains, and on bathroom floors.

They can also be a problem in toilets and other receptacles that hold water. Mineral deposits can also affect appliances, such as coffee pots.

If you have ever washed dishes, your car, or other shiny surfaces, and the water is hard, you can easily see the issue. White “scales” of minerals are a problem.

How to remove them

Obviously, the best way is prevention. Wiping up water from surfaces before it dries keeps water stains at bay.

But when they do occur, you need to consider which type of cleaning product will react with the mineral stains.

The most common mineral stain cleaning product is white vinegar, which is acidic. Since mineral stains are alkaline, like rust, an acid-based cleaning product is required. White vinegar is safe, easy-to-use, and effective for most mineral deposit issues. Use it as you would any cleaning product. Apply, allow a minute or two of contact time, and wipe away.

But if the mineral deposit is heavy, and white vinegar doesn’t do the trick, then a formulated product from your department or hardware store is your next choice. These are stronger acid products and you must follow directions when using them. Applying them to certain surfaces can damage those surfaces so be sure to read the fine print.

Always wear protective gloves and glasses; skin and eye contact with any cleaning product can be hazardous.

And, as you know, when you have cleaning questions or need professional cleaning services in your home, do the smart thing. Call your favorite cleaning company. After all, it pays to call Diablo Carpet and Flooring Restoration!

Protecting & Maintaining Your Hardwood Floors

maintaining your hardwood floors, hardwood floor cleaning guide, hardwood flooring maintenance San Ramon, CA

Within your home, the floors are one of your biggest investments. Whether it’s carpet, tile or hardwood floors, the impact of properly maintaining them can be dramatic. Today, we’ll focus on the hardwood floors in your home.

Protect Your Hardwood Investment:

Before you can adequately maintain & protect your floors, you need to know what type of flooring material you have and the type of surface coating. This little knowledge will greatly assist you in fighting the 5 biggest enemies that cause premature and possibly permanent damage to your beautiful floors.

  • Is the hardwood a solid wood material, engineered flooring, or laminate?
  • Is the top finish urethane, oil based, waxed, or photo/laminate?

It’s not exciting. You may not want to spend time researching it, but spending a few minutes to read the manufacturers warnings and maintenance guidelines is critical. This will give you understanding of warranties, guarantees, and limits of liability. If you don’t have the owner’s manuals, contact the installation contractor or retail store that you worked with when buying your floor, or ask Diablo Carpet and Flooring Restoration for help.

Your Floor has 5 Natural Enemies

Dirt:

Foot traffic is how dirt gets on flooring. Limit dirt by using area rugs, walk-off mats, and vacuuming regularly. Microfiber mop/dusting will also reduce the likelihood of dirt abrasions, scratching and premature wear in high traffic areas. Yes, dirt is just like tiny sand. It’s abrasive and damages floors.

Dust:

It’s not possible to prevent floors from getting dusty. If you have animals, it’s worse. It’s an appearance issue, but can become a health issue for people with allergies too. Regularly vacuuming and dusting the floors and changing HVAC filters is a must. Area rugs, runners and walk-off mats help with trapping dust and dirt.

Spills:

Spills are inevitable. The quicker you absorb or remove them, the less likely they’ll cause damage. Hot drinks and pet urine/feces are especially damaging. Spills can cause discoloring or heat damage that affect surface appearances. The first step is to immediately absorb or remove the spilled solution with a clean damp cloth. Then, depending on the size of the spill, you may need to contact a professional cleaner to clean or treat the affected area.

Water/Moisture:

Like any liquid, water can cause damage to hardwood floors. This is especially true in high water exposure areas like bathrooms and kitchens. Moisture can cause floor boards to swell, cup and contract. If you have pets, periodic inspection of litter boxes, area rugs, runners, mats, and other pet favorite areas is a good idea. Water damage can be very expensive to correct, so prevention is key. Regularly check under area rugs, mats and runners to ensure there’s no moisture present.

Sunlight:

If parts of the hardwood floor are consistently exposed to sunlight, they can become discolored. To protect your hardwood from sunlight, use drapes or blinds on windows. Cover areas of the floors that get exposed to sunlight with rugs, mats or even furniture.

 

hardwood floor cleaning guide

Protect Your Hardwood Floors

Now you’ve identified the type of hardwood floor material and the manufactures recommendation for regular cleaning and maintaining, right? If you haven’t yet, spend a minute reading the manufacturer’s and installer’s recommendations. There is normally a “curing” period for new hardwood floor installations that can take upward of three months. Once you know about all that, we’re ready to begin good maintenance practices.

The Cleaning Kit to get you started:

We recommend the following supplies for your basic hardwood floor maintenance:

  1. Bona- Bona has a series of supply kits and cleaning supplies to help you with all of your hard floor maintenance. Many of these can be purchased either through Amazon or at your local home store retailer. If difficult to find, contact a local floor cleaning company for more information. We recommend:
    1. The Professional Bona Hardwood Floor Care Kit. This package has a mop handle for micro fiber products, micro fiber mop, Micro fiber Duster, and Bona Hard floor cleaner.
  2. If you have Oiled or Wax sealed floors you will want to use a cleaning solution designed for this surface. Behlen products are designed for the cleaning and protection of sealed and oiled wood flooring.
  3. Costco distributes a Whole Home Surface Protection Kit, that includes felt pads and furniture movers. This is a wonderful and affordable 268 piece kit.

Regular Cleaning Goes a Long Way

A light wiping of the floors with a microfiber duster or mop is the easiest and best way to maintain the cleanliness of the floor without damaging the wood surface.

Weekly vacuuming, with a non-beater bar style vacuum, goes a long way for the removal of dust and dirt.

Inspecting rugs for moisture related damage, such as pet urine or spills is also wise. Sneaky moisture can be deposited on are area rug or mat and unknowingly leak to the underlying floor. The sooner you find the damage, the less costly the repair.

A note of caution: when applying a cleaning or “spotting” solution to an area rug place a piece of plastic or cloth between the rug/runner/mat and the hard wood floor. Do not trust that a rug pad will shield the moisture from the hard floor. It won’t.

Prevent Scratches

Aside from dragging furniture across our floors, our four legged friends can be the next biggest culprit in scratching hardwood floors. Keeping their nails clipped short and filed smooth will reduce the likelihood of deep scratches. Their claws can really ding up wood floors, especially if it’s a large or heavy breed dog. Cat claws can cause damage to your flooring as well, so consider using claw caps to prevent this from happening. This protects your furniture too.

Placing felt pads on the bottom of chairs, sofas, and tables will also help. This prevents scratches and scuffs that happen when furniture is moved or shifts. Felt pads are available in stick-on versions or tap-in style, and they are an easy and inexpensive way to protect your floors. When moving furniture, try to lift up to move instead of pushing or dragging. This prevents deep scratches.

If it’s too late and the scratch has happened, you can try commercially available color-match pens or crayons. For people who are a little more risk-averse, allow professional flooring restorers to handle it.

 

hardwood flooring care, maintain hardwood floors

Choose the Proper Vacuum for Hardwood Floors

Choosing a vacuum designed with a feature for cleaning hardwood floors is essential. There are some vacuums on the market that do a good job cleaning carpet and hard surfaces. Carefully check the specifications and features of any vacuum cleaner you consider, especially the safety features provided to prevent damage through scratching. Consider vacuums that come with attachments for cleaning underneath furniture. This minimizes the need to move furniture, minimizing scratch risks, too.

Choose Cleaning Products Carefully

When cleaning your hardwood floors, you’re not actually cleaning the wood, but the top coat of finish on the wood. Remember that you can’t permanently change the wood’s top coat appearance through maintenance processes. Waxing, top refresher coats, and other promoted chemical coats are at best a temporary solution. It we want more or less luster or shine, you should consider sanding and refinishing.

What to Avoid:

  • Stay away from vinegar, even if it’s diluted with water. Vinegar is an acid and can etch the top coating of your hardwood.
  • Avoid use of vacuums with beater bars.
  • Don’t use oil-based cleansers.
  • Don’t use wax, polish or strong ammoniated products, which can dull your floor’s finish.
  • Stay away from steel wool, scouring powders or other abrasive cleaners, which can scratch or damage your floor’s finish.
  • Avoid washing or wet-mopping the floors with soap, water, detergent oil-soap, or any other liquid cleaning material. This can cause swelling, warping, delamination and joint-line separation. The residual of water/moisture will damage the surface and edges of the wood and likely leave water spotting and a dull hazy finish.
  • Don’t use of any type of buffing or polishing machine.

To Successfully Maintain Hardwood Floors:

  • Use a soft cloth to blot spills and spots as soon as they happen. Always avoid allowing liquids to stand on your hardwood floor.
  • Sweep, dust or vacuum the floor regularly. If vacuuming, use a hard floor attachment to avoid scratching or dulling your floor’s finish
  • Only use cleaning products that are recommended by the manufacturer or installer. Know for sure what cleaners are safe for your floors, or contact a floor cleaning professional in your area to get help and advice on what kind of cleaners would be best for your home.
  • It’s important to always be cautious about what cleaners are used on your wood floors. There are a number of products that claim to be safe for hardwood floors, but can actually damage floors instead, by stripping off the finish and dulling the shine of your hardwood.

Implement a Maintenance Schedule

Wood floors need regular maintenance to keep their luster, shine, and durability. Aside from cleaning hardwood regularly and properly, you should also plan on lightly sanding and recoating floors with an additional layer of finish every 5 to 7 years. Hardwood floors with a protective layer of wax will likely need to be stripped and a new layer of wax applied once a year or so.

When cared for properly, hardwood floors can last for generations as a beautiful addition to the home. If a house cleaning service is used, make sure they’re provided with instructions and products to properly clean and maintain our floors. Being cautious about how we clean our floors, careful about how we treat them day-to-day, and consistent with a cleaning maintenance schedule can help prolong the life of our floors and keep them looking bright and new.

Whenever you’re not sure what to do to care for your floors, contact Diablo Carpet and Flooring Restoration for help.

Germs in the Carpet

Do it Yourself

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!

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!​

Sensitive to Mold and Other Allergens?

allergens, household irritants, clean home

DID YOU KNOW that even the healthiest of individuals can still feel negative effects in the presence of some common things around the house?

It’s not something that necessarily has to start growing in the basement of your house after a flood. It’s something that can “just happen” and it’s not good news. But it can be easily fixed.

First of all, what are we talking about?

New old stuff brought in

There are some items that can come into your home that can trigger your allergies or other sensitivities. These can include cardboard boxes, packages and other items sent or brought to you. The worse of these would be old stuff, things that have been around a while, gathering allergens.

Old ‘normal’ stuff

We’ve all been to a library and sniffed old books. OK, maybe not all of us, but those that remember books and libraries can relate. These old books and documents can be allergen triggers, so be sure to remember this before checking them out or taking them into your home.

Old decorations

Sure, the holidays are a time when you use ornaments and stuff, and this is just a few times a year… but you have to store them, right? Remember that they can bring in allergens. It might be best to give them at least a wipe-down, if not a complete cleaning, before putting them into the attic.

Old mattresses

Ick. This is a tough one, and sometimes a sensitive issue. Sure, it’s OK to pass on mattresses from one generation to another (what is family for?), but what are you getting when you inherit an old mattress or other bedding from someone not close to you? And don’t be tempted by that new-looking mattress at your neighbor’s garage sale. You just don’t know what you are getting into. Did you know that everymattress has dust mites?

Old rugs and carpet

Rugs and carpet are very important to you, but be sure to have them inspected by your carpet cleaning pro before bringing them into your home. These are items that can collect all types of allergens and other contaminants that can affect you and your family.

Don’t be afraid to throw old stuff out. Remember, it’s your home and your family’s health. Protect it!

Just make sure that what you bring into your home is safe for any allergy or asthma issues you or your family may have.