Archive | May, 2012

Remove Memorial Day Barbeque Sauce Stains

31 May

With Memorial Day come and gone the cookout season has officially begun and that means plenty of BBQ sauce stains in the carpet.   Before attempting any spot cleaning consult my short YouTube video for basic spotting tips.

If you can get to the spot while it’s still wet, you should wipe up as much as possible with a white absorbent towel.   If the stain is dry then use a spoon to gently scrape the excess away.

In a spray bottle mix a teaspoon of liquid dish detergent with 8 ounces of water and lightly moisten the area.  Use a white towel to blot the mess and see if you have any transfer of the sauce.   Continue to blot and moisten until the spot is removed or until there is no more transfer.

If the spot still remains sprinkle enough baking soda to cover the stain.   Using your spray bottle apply a small amount of white vinegar to produce a bubbling reaction.   Let the area work for a minute and try to blot again checking for transfer.

Rinse the area thoroughly by spraying on some plain water and blotting dry.   Always remember to pre test your cleaning solutions in an inconspicuous area first.   If the spot still refuses to move, call an IICRC certified carpet cleaner to asses the situation.

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Would You Remove Fingernail Polish from the Carpet with a Blowtorch?

20 May

This week I took a look at some internet sources for cleaning dry fingernail polish spots from carpets and I was horrified.   In 5 out of the 6 sets of instructions they tell you to pour and rub, rub and rub harder.   I’ll show you an easy way to do it with Hair Gel. 

Here is what you need.    An all purpose spotter that claims to remove oil and grease, a teaspoon, white towel, spray bottle with clean water and hair gel.

Carpet Cleaning 101 folks, never pour and never rub.   Blot and be gentle!  I can burn the nail polish out with a blowtorch too but you will always see the spot.   To see an actual demonstration please visit this video by Services Etcetera Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning in Hazleton, PA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcgCf_lkokE.

The option to pouring is a gel type cleaner the professionals use for spots that require some dwell time.    Pouring liquids directly onto your carpet can result in damage to the backing adhesive and more.   A gel will allow the cleaning solution time to work and still remain toward the surface.

In a small bowl, mix up a teaspoon of your all purpose spotter with a heaping tablespoon of hair gel.   After mixing the 2 very well you have a gel you can apply to your spot.   Using the back of a teaspoon tamp some of the goop into the problem area and make sure the spot is covered.   Let this set for about 5 minutes and try to gently try to scrape the outside edge toward the center.

Look to see if the polish is starting to break down by blotting with your white towel.   You should continue to blot and scrape as long as you see transfer.   You can also introduce a little water into the mix with a spray bottle.   This may help some of the dye to flow into your towel.

After the spot is removed you can apply some denatured alcohol to a clean towel and blot over the area to remove any residue you may have left behind.   If the spot refuses to move you may need to call a knowledgeable carpet cleaner.

How to Remove Ink from Carpet

13 May

Removing ink from a carpet can be accomplished with a little time, patience and preparation.   It’s a good idea to have a few items on hand before starting.   Gather up a teaspoon, a few white cotton or absorbent towels, lighter fluid or denatured alcohol, white vinegar and some liquid laundry detergent.

Before putting anything on the carpet its best to pre test for potential damage or discoloration in a small inconspicuous area.   Ink can be water or solvent based and I find it best to try and attack the stain with a dry cleaning solution first.

If you are using lighter fluid apply a few drops to the spot using the tip provided on the container.   If you are using denatured alcohol apply a half teaspoon to a small area.   It’s important to watch for the ink to disperse or start to spread.   Also blot the fluid up with a white towel and check for any transfer of the ink.   Continue the process applying and blotting until there is no more transfer.   Blot up as much of the solvent as you can and let dry.

If the solvent has little or no affect you can treat the ink as a water base spot.   In a small bowl mix up 2 ounces of water, a quarter teaspoon of laundry detergent and 2 ounces of white vinegar.

Moisten the area with the mixture by using the teaspoon to avoid over wetting.   It’s important to watch for the ink to disperse or start to spread.   Some dwell time may be needed and you can use a hair comb to gently work the detergent into the carpet yarns.  Again blot the liquid up with a white towel and check for any transfer of the ink.   Continue the process until there is no more transfer.   Blot up as much of the cleaning agent as you can.

Rinse the area with some plain water and blot dry.   If you require the assistance of a professional carpet cleaner the www.iicrc.org is a great resource for locating qualified firms in your area.

A Lesson Learned About Wool and Reducers

10 May

Everyday there is something new to learn and this week I learned a valuable lesson.   While cleaning a gorgeous oriental wool rug of unknown origin I applied a reducing agent onto a what looked like a coffee stain.

And yes I did pre test and I monitored the spot for just over three hours checking for fugitive dye and adverse reactions.   Everything seemed OK until I went to the shop the next day.   I had plenty of white residue from the reducer which I did anticipate but there was a violet/purple hue around the area I moistened. Oh no, a carpet cleaners worst nightmare.

After vacuuming the residue it was apparent that the halo was still there.   I knew the product I used was acidic, somewhere around a PH of 5, but I decided to use a mild acidic rinse to flush the area with my extractor.   I then called the best guy in the industry I know, Jim Pemberton.    I’ve had the pleasure of being his student for several IICRC courses and miscellaneous functions.

Jim instructed me to try a peroxide solution and possibly reverse the effects of the reducing agent.   The rinse I performed did remove about 75% of the purple nightmare and the peroxide spotting did the rest.   That plus a little ink.

The lesson learned is that reducing agents work over time and this was more than 3 hours after the application.   Thankfully I was able to correct the problem I caused.   Unfortunately the customer rubbed the stain when they attempted spot cleaning and there was irreversible pile distortion.