Spring Cleaning: Closets

spring cleaning closets, organization, closet cleaning

Although traditionally a spring cleaning chore, cleaning and organizing a closet can be done any time of year.

And no, keeping the door shut isn’t the best solution to a messy, disorganized closet, although it may give you moments of sanity that quickly disappear when you venture inside for that favorite pair of pants you haven’t seen in months.

Here are a few quick tips on organizing and spring cleaning closets:

Empty the closet. 

Take everything out. Put it in organized piles according to type, such as a pile of shoes, shirts, pants, sweaters, etc.

Clean all surfaces in the closet. 

This means a bucket of soapy water and a sponge, some paper towels or cotton cloths. This is a good time to clean the walls, shelves, every surface you can reach.

Inspect what needs to go back in. 

Take a close look at those piles of shoes, shirts, pants, sweaters, etc. Do you need all of them? Are there some items you might discard or donate to charity? Now’s the time!

If you are a seasonal organizer, this could be an opportunity to store away, perhaps in a basement, items you won’t need for the near future.

Restock the closet. 

Give this some thought. Hanging as many items as you can on thinner hangers saves space. Have areas in the closet where you keep items you wear more frequently and other areas for items that you wear occasionally.

Consider garment organizers.

They’re helpful in keeping items separate for seasonal use, or for specific types of events, such as formal occasions. And remember the floor space, which can be used for shoe organizers.

Closets are very important real estate. Take advantage of them and keep them all neat, clean and organized. Imagine… going into a closet that doesn’t scare you as you select your favorite sweater to ward off a cold evening chill. Nice thought, right?

Why Baking Soda is an Amazing Homemade Pet Stain Remover

cleaning carpets with baking soda, cleaning floors, carpet stains
Baking soda (not to be confused with baking powder) is sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3). You can easily buy it in any grocery store.

This article is probably not the first time you’ve heard someone singing praises for baking soda. It’s not a miracle, in the strictest sense, but it sure can seem like it when used as a homemade pet stain remover.

This inexpensive white powder can help neutralize acidic substances, remove odors, and absorb wet messes. It’s not dangerous to your carpets or your pets when used on floors. It’s simultaneously more affordable and safer to use than many store-bought cleaners, yet highly effective.

Things Baking Soda Won’t Do:

  • deteriorate the color of your carpet
  • create moisture damage to your floors
  • cause any harm to your pets unless ingested in large amounts
  • cost you a lot of money

How to Use Baking Soda to Clean Up Urine

When you find a wet mess in your carpet, grab a box of baking soda and sprinkle it onto the wetness thickly. If your can, rake/spread the baking soda into the carpet fiber as opposed to saturating it. Allow the soda time to absorb moisture and wick the urine or moisture from the carpet fibers. There should be enough soda to absorb the mess fully. Do leave it until it’s dry. This may take 24 hours.

While the baking soda sits there, it’s both absorbing moisture and having a chemical reaction that uses its base Ph to neutralize the acidic urine. This is why the smell goes away. The acidic Ph of urine can also discolor or damage the color of your carpet or rug, but quick action with baking soda can prevent or minimize this affect.

Once the baking soda has dried, use a flat tool to scrape off the chunks of dried soda. This can be a spatula, putty knife/scraper, spoon, or similar item. Try to get all the large pieces off and leave only crumbly soda. Do not scrub or become overly aggressive with the tool.

The last step is vacuuming up the last bits of baking soda. If the baking soda is fully dry, this should work easily and look great. If you have a wet/dry shop vacuum, use this first. Then use a regular carpet vacuum with or without a beater bar.

If you find yourself with spots or marks on your carpeting that your homemade pet stain remover or other efforts don’t resolve, then give us a call. We’re always happy to serve as your full service carpet, rug, upholstery, tile and hardwood floor cleaner!

How to Compare Area Rugs: Know Quality When You See It

compare area rugs, shop for area rugs, how to choose an area rug, carpet restoration

 

Area rugs can be an extremely important part of your overall aesthetic in a room. It’s the area rug that tends to tie in all the colors in a room, provide a soft welcoming feeling, and soften sounds. If your rug is going to be central to your decor and the tone of your room, you should invest wisely. To do this, you’ll need to be able to successfully compare area rugs.

 

Rug Shape

When you compare area rugs, you’ll find quality differences show themselves in shape. Some square rugs are actually squares, while cheaper ones can be parallelograms or irregular rectangles. Some area rugs are round, and others are actually ovals that are trying really hard to be round. This in itself may only be a problem as much as it’s noticeable. But even if the imperfect shape is understated, it’s a sure sign of poor quality craftsmanship.

 

How it Lies

A high quality rug will lie flat. If it’s been rolled up a long time or up until recently, there may be some curl to it when you first see it, but this curl must be minimal and even. A rug that has irregular raised areas or wavy edges is not high quality. In fact, if it’s truly well-made, the rug seller wouldn’t store it rolled up for any length of time anyway. Always see a rug flat before buying it.

 

Compare Area Rugs Finishes

Rugs made with low quality fibers tend to be unnaturally shiny or bright, or unusually washed out for a new rug. When shopping, take note of the luster of high quality and high priced area rugs. Recognizing the natural finish and color saturation level of wool and other natural materials can help you determine what kind of fiber you’re looking at.

 

How the Area Rug is Made

There are many methods for making area rugs. Some are machine made and can last about 20 years, but there are hand tufted, hand knotted and flat woven rugs that can last much longer. Although handmade rugs are often less “perfect” they have character a machine made rug can never match.

 

Knots Per Inch

Comparing area rugs with designs in them, the ones with low knots per inch have more pixelated lines and designs. Higher knots per inch means the designs look smoother and the rug will also feel more dense. Not as course as a low knots-per-inch rug. You don’t usually have to ask about knots per inch because you can tell by observing density and the clarity of the pattern.

Knowing your rugs can help you find the right piece at the right price.

Tile and Grout Floor Care

Tile floors are everywhere, and where there’s tile, there’s also grout to separate it all, keeping everything nice and even, with straight lines.

But a straight line may not always be so… clean. Dirt and grime and other contaminants build up over time and make what was once a beautiful floor look downright ugly. The grout is especially susceptible to soiling and staining.

Just as you would clean any surface, tile and grout floors need special attention. If you keep them clean, following a maintenance schedule, you won’t have to deal with the tough issue of restorative cleaning.

Here are a few simple tips for you to follow in order to keep your tile and grout floors in tip-top shape.

Sweep it

The first step is keep the floor swept. Sweep it daily, which will remove dust and debris and other contaminants that can eventually cause tough-to-remove soiling.

Mop it

Tile floors are very easy to clean and maintain. Use a clean mop and an approved detergent to clean the floor. Some prefer the newer flat floor cleaners. Doesn’t matter the tool, it is how you use it and the products you choose.

Some recommend the use of chlorine bleach, which acts as a disinfectant. The challenge here is remaining residues can create issues, such as being tracked off onto carpet, causing color loss. Be careful with the use of any type of bleach.

Grout issues

The toughest part of a tile and grout floor cleaning job is… the grout. It’s porous, even if sealed, and becomes an eyesore quickly. Purchase a heavy-duty grout cleaner and follow the directions. You will most likely be on your hands and knees, and it takes time to do this right. Apply the product to the grout, allow some reasonable contact time, and scrub – scrub – scrub! Repeat as necessary. Work carefully until the grout looks great again.

When everything is cleaned up, be sure to rinse with a neutral detergent, or just water, and let air dry and inspect. You will find areas need more attention. When you do… get back to work!

Tile and grout cleaning is no easy task, especially when it becomes really soiled. When you find yourself up against an impossible task, do the smart thing. Call your professional cleaning company. After all, it pays to call a pro!

What Can FEMA Disaster Relief Do for You?

A flood, fire and other disasters are devastating to families. Thankfully, there is assistance you can take advantage of.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides help to many of those in need; homeowners and others that need special aid when a disaster strikes.

What do you have to do to get assistance? Just ask for it. Here’s how.

Although the government and its workers are not always quick to respond, you can get the process started by visiting this link. You can also call the FEMA helpline at (800) 621-3362. You will enjoy an automated voice service but be patient and you should have your questions answered.

What’s next?

After you apply for disaster assistance, FEMA will mail you a copy of your application and a copy of a document entitled “Help After a Disaster.” This is especially helpful if you don’t have insurance coverage for the disaster event your family is facing. This happens more than you think.

Here is what FEMA says they will do for you, in part, according to the government website:

  • If you do not have insurance: An inspector will contact you after you apply to schedule a time to meet you at your damaged home.
  • If you have insurance, you need to file your insurance claim and provide FEMA with a decision letter (settlement or denial) from your insurance company before FEMA disaster relief issues an inspection.
  • There is an exception for damages caused by flooding; if you have flood insurance, FEMA will issue an inspection before receiving a copy of your flood insurance decision letter to evaluate your eligibility for temporary living expenses since these are not covered by flood insurance.
  • About 10 days after the inspection FEMA will decide if you qualify for assistance. If so, FEMA will send you a check by mail (or direct deposit) with an explanation of what the money covers (i.e. rent or home repair).
  • If FEMA determines that you are ineligible for any reason, you will receive a letter and a chance to appeal. Appeals must be in writing and mailed within 60 days of the determination. Read the letter carefully for the reason of ineligibility before filing your appeal.

But no matter what, when in need, your disaster restoration company can take care of you. Give them a call today!

Cold Weather Comfort

space heater safety, home safety, precautions

 

It’s coming. You can probably feel it right now. Space heater safety season!

That’s right. Brrr! For some across the country, this means trying to keep warm and snug in the home.

Some find comfort from their fireplaces. Others might use electric blankets. And others rely on space heaters, either gas powered or electric, to boost the comfort level their regular heating system can’t always provide, especially in sub-zero temperatures.

Space heater safety is very important, as many suffer from accidental fires and burns annually from these necessary devices.

The first consideration is which type of space heater you will choose. Electric models are considered safer than those which use fuel, which can be overturned and quickly cause a fire difficult to extinguish. So be smart when shopping and consider how the heater will be used and if there are children or pets (or clumsy adults) that might tip it over.

Space Heater Safety features

  • Consider the size and shape of the heater. Lower-profile heaters are more difficult to tip over. Some space heaters are shaped like a tower, and can easily be tipped. Avoid those.
  • While all space heaters should have an automatic turn-off mechanism if tipped over, still do your research and ensure yours has one.
  • If you have children or pets, an outer grill safety feature should be mandatory. You don’t want accidental contact burns to occur.

General Fire Safety tips

  • Measure the area you wish to heat and make sure the device you purchase is sufficient for the space. An overworked heater can be dangerous. And one that is too large for a room can overheat the room and be uncomfortable.
  • When purchasing a fuel-fired heater, never fill it while the device is on. Open flames are dangerous. Use appropriate, approved containers to carry the fuel.
  • When purchasing an electric heater, make sure it is plugged into a three-prong outlet that is grounded. Any extension cords you use must be able to handle the current your heater will need. Be sure to ask an expert about this.
  • Common sense dictates keeping any flammable materials away from the heater, such as furnishing, draperies, etc.
  • When you turn the heater off, give it plenty of time to cool down before touching or moving it.

But if anything does happen, such as a fire or smoke damage, then it’s time to get some professional help. Call your disaster restoration experts. After all, it pays to call a pro!

Importance of Service

Three Steps to a Cleaner Home

clean homes, 3 tips for a cleaner home

It’s a never-ending chore, tasks that must be done each day, each week, each month, each year…

That’s right — keeping your house nice and clean and healthy for your family.

Keeping your home clean is much easier if you have an easy-to-keep schedule. Especially if you concentrate on “preventative maintenance.” If you think ahead and plan your cleaning tasks appropriately, you will find you aren’t stuck an entire weekend playing catch-up with house cleaning chores.

Here are a few tips to an always-clean home.

1: Keep the dirt outside

Be sure to have quality welcome/walk-off mats outside your front door and any other entry door you frequently use. A small — but polite — sign that asks visitors to remove their shoes is a huge step to keeping dirt and grime outside (or at least at the front door.)

2: Stop the stacking

In the kitchen, that is. It’s easy to let dishes and other mealtime items to pile and stack up, with dirty dishes slowly taking over the kitchen sink and nearby countertops. Instead, make it a habit that after mealtimes or snacks that everything is washed, cleaned and put away immediately. If you use it, you clean it.

3: Team effort

It can be challenging, especially when everyone is running all over the place trying to get to work and school, but if the entire family pitches in and spends just a few minutes on making beds, tidying up bedrooms, cleaning up after themselves, first thing in the morning… then the house is much cleaner for the entire day. Plan a short amount of time each week where the family all works together to “speed clean” the home. Pick up and put away items lying around, dust, vacuum, sweep and more together.

Wool Hides Dirt!

Taking On Holiday Stains

clean carpet spots, avoid holiday stains

It’s that time of year when you start planning for family and friends to visit and, since you are hospitable, you start thinking of all the delicious meals, snacks and beverages you will serve them when they arrive.

Despite the very best attempts of you and your guests to keep things on the plate, in the bowl, in the glass and on the spoon or fork, the inevitable happens: Food or drinks spill, and for some reason they always spill on the carpet. Usually white carpet.

There is no need to panic, but there is a need to gather your thoughts, keep your cool and not overreact to the situation. That is difficult when you witness a full glass of merlot splashing onto your white, wool rug in the middle of the living room.

Your first reaction might be to grab a random cleaning product from the collection underneath the kitchen sink. This can be a mistake. Some consumers have been known to use window cleaner, bathroom tile cleaners and other products on carpet.

Instead, keep things simple. Use these three, easy-to-remember steps:

1. Scrape and Blot

If the spill is food related, scrape up as much as you can. Then, using white, disposable paper towels or white, washable cotton towels, start blotting up the spill. Keep at it until the area you are working on is fairly dry and you have removed as much of the spot as you can. Then…

2. Add product

Using a flip-top or trigger sprayer application, apply small amounts of a product manufactured specifically for carpet fibers. The best products for this can be obtained from your carpet and furniture cleaning company. Blot in between applications, and when the spot is gone, use a little warm water to help remove the cleaning residue, blotting as you do so. Then…

3. Blot some more

When the job is complete, and you are happy with the results, blot until all moisture seems to be removed and then leave a white, absorbent towel on the spot with a weight on the towel, so any remaining moisture wicks up into the towel. Leave the towel in place for several hours.

But when the occasion occurs (and it will) and the spot just won’t come out, stop your work to avoid damage to the color texture of the carpet and “setting” of the spot or stain. Quickly call your carpet and furniture cleaning specialist.