Why Are Household Odors So Hard To Remove?

household odors in carpet

Removing stubborn household odors is one of the greatest challenges facing the cleaning industry. Odors from cooking, smoke, pet odor, urine, spills, mold and dust can linger in your home long after the source of the odor has been removed. Scented candles, air fresheners, and deodorizers may do little to counteract or cover the smell. Here we look at what makes removing home and pet odor so difficult and how professional cleaning can help.

Why Removing Stubborn Odors Is So Difficult

Lingering odors and unpleasant smells are a common problem in many homes. The reason that removing odors is so difficult is that airborne odors are often quickly absorbed into the furnishings and structure of the home. Once this happens it is difficult to target the source of the odor and remove it completely. Odors such as from cooking, smoke, or mold are rapidly absorbed into carpet, soft furnishings, upholstery and even the walls of your home.

On the other hand, urine, vomit, and pet odor originating from other spills can soak deep into carpet layers where the odor remains long after the stain is removed. Addressing the source of rapidly and professionally is clearly essential to avoid odors settling into your home.

How To Make Odors Easier To Remove –

Identify The Source

The most essential aspect of lasting odor removal is identifying and mitigating the source of odors. If you are aware of the source of your home’s odors, take action to reduce their impact. For example, you could request that any smokers in your home only smoke outside. When cooking, make sure your kitchen and home are well ventilated to remove cooking smells.

If the source of odor in your home is an old spill or stain, have a professional carpet cleaning company inspect the stain and provide professional stain removal. If you notice a bad odor in your home but can’t identify the source, it could be helpful to have a professional cleaning company inspect your home. Odors like mold and must are sometimes difficult to pinpoint to a particular source, but may actually be within the walls or under the flooring. An inspection can help you appropriately identify the source of the odor and counteract it directly.

Target Spills Rapidly

Any spills in your home particularly those of strong smelling liquids like urine, need to be rapidly cleaned up to prevent those pet odors pervading your home. If the strong-smelling liquids are allowed to penetrate the carpet or upholstery, they could reach the deep padding where they are very difficult to remove. As soon as a spill occurs on your carpet or soft furnishings, blot off the excess immediately and call your carpet cleaner to provide expert stain removal.

Conduct Professional Deep Cleaning

Airborne odors can absorb into soft furnishings and carpet over time, causing smells to linger in your home long after the source is gone. Professional carpet cleaning and professional upholstery cleaning deep clean the absorbent fibers of these furnishings to remove odor particles and freshen your home. Professional odor removal can help you target any particularly stained or smelly areas in your soft furnishings.

Wash Or Refinish Hard Surfaces

Tiles, hard surfaces, walls, and windows can also host odors if not cleaned regularly. Absorbent grout in tiles can particularly be a source of odor accumulation. Professional tile and grout cleaning can deep clean grout, while deep hardwood cleaning can also assist odor removal from wooden floors.

Shifting stubborn orders can be frustrating as they seem to linger no matter what you do. But with a professional approach to deep household cleaning you can target odors at their source for lasting odor removal and a fresher scent in your home.

Don’t Touch Another Carpet Stain Until You Read This!

The scenario is all too familiar. You’re sitting in the living room, entertaining friends, and someone has a spill on your carpet. You spring to the rescue to try to blot up the excess …but now what? Do you dab, blot, put vinegar on it, bleach it? The moments just after a spill and your actions could be what determines whether your carpet is left with a permanent stain. Remember, staining is influenced by many factors and no carpet is completely stain proof.

What you need to know:

What type of fiber is the carpet made from? Knowing the type of carpet fiber greatly helps you when selecting the type of spot and stain removing solutions you want to use. Most carpet (60%) sold in the USA is Nylon or Synthetic Fiber. This type of fiber is fairly stain resistant and many of the cleaning/spotting solutions sold through your local retail stores are made for these carpets. Wool/Natural fibers are more sensitive to stains and over the counter cleaning products. Yes, there are variations and brand names that will confuse this issues, but what you really care to know is if the carpet fiber is a synthetic (man-made fiber) or natural.

What was spilled?

Knowing what was spilled on the carpet will help you determine what approach and the types of spotting or stain removing solutions you might select to remove or reduce the likely hood of residual staining or permanent damage.

Spot Removal Steps:

Blot: Never scrub carpet fibers, as this can cause permanent damage to the carpet fibers. If you have solid or semi-solids in, scrape/remove them up with a spatula or spoon. Blot up the liquid with a dry, white, absorbent cloth or white (no print) paper towels. We suggest fold the cloth/ towel(s) to increase the absorbency. (Hint: Applying downward pressure to the cloth/towel will improve absorption. Step or the cloth/towel will help with downward pressure. Change to dry cloth/towel frequently).

Pretest any spot removal solution in an inconspicuous area to make certain it will not damage the dyes or carpet fibers. (Hint… Closet or hidden corner)

Apply a small amount of the cleaning solution to a clean white cloth/towel, and work the solution in to the affected area….gently. Work from the edge of the spill to the center to prevent the spill from spreading. If the spill is large, work with a small portion of the stain and test the result.  Let the spotting solution sit for about 10 minutes and blot-transfer the spill to a dry clean white cloth/towel. Be patient, as the removal or the spill may require repeating the same step several times.

Rinse: After the spill has been removed, rinse the affected area thoroughly with cold water and blot with a dry cloth/towel.

Spot/Stain Removal Guide: Go to www.carpet-rug.org. There is a published guide that can assist you in selecting the appropriate solution for removing various spots and stains.

Call a Professional Carpet Cleaner if you have any doubt or require professional assistance.

Spotting Solutions to have on hand: Make your own and save $$$$$$$$$$:

Detergent Solution: Mix ¼ teaspoon of clear Dawn liquid dish soap with 1 cup of warm water. Caution: Do not use dishwasher detergent, laundry detergent, bleach, as these cleaning products are not made for carpets and will affect the color and dyes.

White Vinegar Solution: Mix 1 cup of white vinegar (NOT WINE) with 1 cup of water.

Although it’s easy to overreact when a spill occurs and run for the bottle of bleach, avoiding cleaning a stain yourself could be the best thing you do for your carpet. If your carpet is an investment you want to preserve and protect, call in the professional carpet cleaners to get the best stain removal results and to extend the life of your carpet

3 Facts You Didn’t Know About Cleaning an Area Rug

With hardwood floors being a common feature of many homes, many homeowners have placed area rugs on their floors to add warmth and comfort, as well as style and atmosphere. Area rugs can be valuable and beautiful additions to your home, but it can also be difficult to know how to clean your area rugs according to their specific needs.

There are so many stunning area rugs available to homeowners today – Persian rugs, Afghan rugs, Pakistani rugs, Wilton rugs and Chinese rugs – and all of them require specific and detailed care in order to maintain their integrity and beauty. Here we look at 3 factors you need to consider when performing area rug cleaning in order to protect your investment and bring life back to your area rugs.

Material Matters

Many homeowners know that effective and specific oriental rug cleaning is important to keep valuable area rugs clean and in good condition. Unfortunately, many homeowners often don’t know what type of area rug they have or what cleaning method is most beneficial. Area rugs can be sourced from a variety of locations such as discount stores, department stores, online, from catalogs, furniture stores, carpet retailers, and fine Oriental rugs dealers, and the care instructions you receive when purchasing can vary. Area rugs area also made from a rage of different materials, including both natural and synthetic fibers and a combination of both.

Before cleaning your area rug, ask yourself whether you know exactly how to appropriately care for your specific type of rug. The best carpet cleaner knows how to identify each type of area rug, and what specific care is needed for each rug type. A professional carpet cleaner knows that blue weft yarns in Persian rugs can bleed, that Afghan rugs shrink like crazy, that many Pakistani rugs have post production side cords that can tear off during cleaning, that Stark wire Wilton rugs must be blocked because the jute foundation yarns shrink, and spot cleaning chemically washed 90-line Chinese rugs can cause color damage. Not being aware of any one of these carpet cleaning factors could spell disaster for your area rugs.

Inspection is Critical

As discussed above, the details that go into effectively cleaning each type of area rug often require the experience of a professional rug cleaner. In fact, carpet cleaning services will often require that the area rug undergoes a professional carpet inspection before rug cleaning is conducted so that the safest and most effective cleaning method can be applied.

Carpet inspections can provide crucial information when it comes to caring for your rugs. Not only can a professional quickly identify your type of rug and the best cleaning method for the rug, they can also diagnose any specific issues your rug may have and apply the best repairs and solutions for your rug’s needs.

Professional Is Best

Because of the amount of work and detail that goes into cleaning an area rug correctly, seeking the assistance of a professional carpet cleaner to clean your area rugs is often the best solution, particularly for heavy duty or in-depth area rug cleaning. While regular maintenance and vacuuming can easily be done at home, more thorough cleaning is best left to the professionals, especially for those more sensitive or precious carpets.

With these tips you can keep your area rugs clean and beautiful, while protecting your investment and creating a more attractive, fresh and healthy environment in your home.

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!

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!

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.

Clean It- Don’t Cover It

clean it, don't cover it! odor clean up, smell removal

 

Odors. They are everywhere. When pleasant, we might call them “scents.” When not-so-pleasant, we might call them malodors.

Odors are caused by a variety of sources. Some odors are pleasant, welcoming, such as from a fresh-cut batch of flowers or a nice, home-cooked meal. Others are not pleasant, “malodorous,” such as from an unattended cat litter box or rotting garbage left too long in a trash bin.

And when something is malodorous, you must do something about it. Sometimes, the urge is to just cover it up. That can be a very bad idea as odors just keep getting worse and worse and you eventually have a difficult situation to deal with.

You want your home to be neat, clean, and odor-free, except for odors (scents) that you introduce because they are pleasant and welcoming, such as air fresheners, perfumes, scented candles, etc. A rule of thumb is this: When it is clean and dry, there should be no odor.

Your carpet, furniture and other absorbent materials in your home, over time, become soiled and often collect odors. Normal “dusty” odors are part of life between cleaning, and routine chores keep them manageable. Yet odors from urine, feces, body perspiration, and other sources are offensive and must be removed.

There are three principles to follow when it comes to keeping your home clean and odor-free.

Remove the Source

When something is deposited, spilled, or has come into contact with a surface, the first step is to remove contamination. This means scraping, rinsing or otherwise removing any odor-causing sources. The sooner you do this, the easier the job will be. An example would be blotting and removing a fresh pet “accident”, as odors will quickly become worse over time.

Clean Affected Areas

Once the source is removed, there is still some contamination on the surface. A thorough cleaning is important to remove any residual matter that can cause odors. Using hot water is best, if the surface can handle higher temperatures. Some furniture fabrics are heat sensitive, for example.

Deodorize and Disinfect

Now it’s time to use odor-removing products, such as an approved deodorizer and/or disinfectant. This should be the final step in odor removal. Follow manufacturer directions exactly, as using too little or too much product can be counter-productive.

And never forget, Diablo Carpet and Floor Restoration know how to clean and tackle tough odors. Let us do the dirty work. It pays to call a pro!

Keeping Your New Hardwoods Lovely Despite Spills

protecting hardwood floors, protecting hardwoods, area rugs, rug pad, area rug care

 

You’ve settled in with new luxury hardwood floors, your furnishing plans are complete, and you found the perfect new area rugs. Everything is coming together great, and life is good. This place looks awesome.

So that’s it, right? Your area rugs will keep your new floors perfect, and your duty is done? Sadly, no. Maintenance is important, and knowledge of potential problems is essential. There are still a few emergencies you may have waiting in the future.

 

Threats to Your Hardwood Floors

Recently, we have had a number of calls about pet damage to area rugs. A cat that won’t chuck it’s hairballs on the vinyl or tile, she goes to the area rugs for comfort when she’s in distress.  An older dog likes to lay on the rug and has difficulty making it outside to relieve himself. A puppy that keeps going back to the rugs when the owners aren’t not there to take her out. If you have pets, this is something you should be ready for.

But it’s not only pets. We all have accidents where we knock over a hot coffee or a cool glass of Merlot. It’s just a matter of time.

In any of these spills, the moisture is absorbed by the rug, goes through to the pad, and possibly leaks to the hardwood floors. How much moisture gets through all depends on how large the spill is and what kind of pad we’ve installed. You do have a pad, I trust?

 

There’s an Area Rug Spill, Now What?

When you discover moisture or a wet spill on an area rug that covers hardwood or any hard surface, here’s what to do, step by step:

  1. Start with blotting up the surface spill with a white/non colored towel or microfiber rag. Remember: don’t scrub & do avoid using spot removers until you know what caused the damage, what type of carpet fiber you have, and how far/deep the liquid has gone.
  2. Pull back the rug and pad to inspect for damage. You’ll need to check the hardwood flooring, the pad, and the area rug backing (the fabric on the bottom side).
  3. If there is moisture on the hardwood flooring, immediately remove the wetness and clean the floor. After the floor dries, lay down a dry undyed or white cotton towel and some plastic sheeting before laying down your protective pad.
  4. Lay down your pad and check the backing of the rug. Usually you can see where moisture has penetrated the rug and gone to the pad. Note the boundaries of the saturation and where they touch the pad.
  5. Now the pad. Depending upon the type of spill, you can use a corrective spotter on the pad, clean it, or replace it. Remember, what goes into the pad will likely penetrate, so be sure you protected the hardwood floor as previously suggested with a sheet of plastic.
  6. Congratulations! Now you’re ready to respond to the top surface damage on the area rug!

Before working on the area rug spill damage, you need to put a protective barrier between the rug and the pad, like a dry white cotton towel and plastic sheeting. Notice that this isn’t the barrier under the pad from earlier, now it’s time for a barrier over the pad!

  1. Blot the spill with a non-colored cloth or microfiber towel. Do not scrub. For added pressure, you can step on the towel with your heel.
  2. Keep exchanging your wet towels with new dry towels. Double or triple fold the towel for more absorption. Do this until you think you’ve gotten all the moisture you can out of it.
  3. If you have a wet-dry vacuum/shop vacuum, you can use it to assist with this cleaning/rinsing process. We don’t recommend using multipurpose wet vacuums unless you can control the amount of water being dispersed.
  4. When applying any spot removing agent, apply the solution to the towel and transfer it to the area rug. This may take several applications. With each application, repeat the above suggestion for blotting the moisture. Remember, control the moisture so it doesn’t cause further damage to the pad and your expensive flooring.
  5. Completely dry the area rug, pad, and hardwood flooring before putting them back together.  You can air dry, or accelerate drying with a fan. You can even use a blow dryer to speed this drying process. Remember, the lesson is to not trap moisture and further damage the hardwood flooring.

Get Help with Your Area Rug Spill

If this seems like a lot of work to you, you’re right. It is! Professional services are available to help guide you and even take care of maintenance situations for you. If you need more help, call a professional carpet and floor maintenance service company that is IICRC Certified, like Diablo Carpet and Floor Restoration.