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A: Carpet cleaning by a professional certified firm should take place at least once per year. For heavy traffic areas, cleaning may be required more often. If you have light colored carpet and there is visible soil showing, it is time for your carpet to be cleaned. Dirt has an abrasive effect on carpet fibers and opens new dye receptor sites and accelerates wear. Many carpet manufacturers require professional carpet cleaning every 12 to 24 months and will void your warranty for excessive soiling or failure to have periodic professional cleaning and spot removal.
A: New carpet is usually treated with a soil resistor such as DuPont Teflon or 3M Scotchguard. After 2 to 3 years, much of this carpet protector has worn off, depending on foot traffic. At this point you should consider having carpet protector re-applied to your carpet after a professional cleaning. Re-applying carpet protector will help the soil slide off the carpet easier when you vacuum. Spots will be easier to remove and you will keep your carpet at a higher level of appearance with frequent vacuuming.
A: You should vacuum carpet at least once a week or more often if your carpet has high foot traffic. Be sure and focus on the high traffic areas. If ground in soil is not removed on a regular basis, the traffic areas will begin to wear excessively. Dirt is extremely abrasive against the fibers of the carpet as you walk on it. Vacuum your carpet before the carpet looks soiled.
A: Pet urine can cause permanent damage to your carpets. When urine is deposited into carpet, it is in an almost neutral state. It is easier to remove when it is fresh. Once it dries, it becomes alkaline and becomes more difficult to remove. If left for days or weeks, depending on the type of carpet fabric, it will permanently change the dye structure, therefore causing permanent staining. Even if the soluble deposits are removed, the damage to the dye structure may already be done. This means that no one can guarantee complete removal of all urine spots. Many times the spots are significantly lighted and will fade over time with exposure to UV light. BMS has urine treatments that are effective providing the carpet is not excessively contaminated or a long length of time has transpired.
To prevent permanent staining in the future, clean urine spots immediately by blotting with a white terry towel or plain white paper towels until no moisture is transferred. To clean the spot, mix 1 part white vinegar to 2 parts water and massage (don’t scrub) into the spot with a white terry cloth towel. Once you have flushed as much of the urine out as possible, blot with dry cloths until dry to the touch. If you have a small extraction machine or a wet/dry vac, flush with fresh water until the spot is removed.
A: Cleaning existing urine spots will not necessarily remove all odor associated with it. When urine dries in carpet, it is the urine salts which remain in the carpet and padding. Humidity in the air can often times activate the urine salts that remain in the carpet. People often times notice urine odors more in the spring and fall when the air is often more humid and their home is closed up. Basement rooms also are more humid in homes and people frequently notice urine odors in them.
Often when urine spots are professionally cleaned and neutralized, the water used in cleaning will activate the urine salts and increase the odor in the air space for a temporary period of time. If your carpet is urine affected in a large area of a room, it maybe more cost effective to remove and replace the pad and carpet. If you opt to remove and replace, BMS recommends sealing your sub-floor with Kilz before you install the new pad and carpet.
There is a right way and a wrong way to cleanup accidental spills on your carpet. What you should not do is as important as what you should do. Today’s new carpets resist spots much better than those manufactured even a few years ago. However, they are still susceptible to spots and should be treated quickly to avoid a permanent stain. Try these easy steps to remove a spot yourself:
- Blot up as much of the spill as you can. Make sure you blot – don’t scrub. Scrubbing will only work the spill deeper into the fiber. Use a white paper or white cotton towel to blot. Fold the towel and press into the spill. Rotate the towel often so a clean surface is always against the carpet. Continue to blot until no more of the spill transfers into the towel. Remove any solid material with a rounded spoon or the edge of a dull knife, working the material from the outer edge to the center of the spot.
- Cover the blotted area with a fresh white towel. Weight the towel with something that will not transfer color to the carpet or towel. Leave this in place for 15-20 minutes to remove any remaining spill. Should the carpet remain stained, go to step 3.
- Spotting the remaining stain in your carpet requires care and patience. You cannot apply most household cleaners to the stain without further damaging the carpet. Many common cleaners contain dyes that will discolor the carpet or chemicals that will permanently set the stain. If you can locate the literature you received when you bought the carpet it should contain the spotting procedures for you to follow. If not you can attempt to remove the spot with the bottle of neutral pH spotter that BMS Carpet Cleaners leaves our customers. This neutral pH spotter may not remove all spots, but it will not set a spot either. If you cannot remove a spot with our spotter, please call our firm for advise as to how to proceed.
If you do not have any of the BMS neutral pH spotter, you can attempt to remove most common household
spills with the following procedure. Mix a teaspoon of colorless, mild detergent in a cup of lukewarm water.
To test the safety of the solution, apply several drops in an inconspicuous area (closet, under a sofa) and blot with a clean white towel. Do not proceed if the carpet color transfers to the towel or if the carpet color changes. Try an alternate cleaner or call a professional. If the test is successful, spot the stain by alternately applying a few drops of cleaner followed by blotting. Always blot, never scrub. Work from the outer edge of the stain to the center. Continue this process until the stain is gone or no more spot color transfers to the white towel. The final step is to gently rinse the area with clear water, then absorb all the remaining moisture with absorbent towels.
- Should the stain persist, contact BMS Carpet Cleaners immediately and keep the spot damp with a wet towel over the affected area. If possible, do not let the spot dry. BMS may be able to offer further advice over the phone, or if necessary, we will schedule a technician to work on the spot.