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.

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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.

29 Apr

Wet or dry, removing egg from a carpet is best accomplished using an enzyme based product.   There are many types of enzymatic digesters on the market that clean various types of stains so make sure to get one specifically designed for cleaning food protein.

It is a good idea to consult the manufacturer information before starting any cleaning.   Check to see if they provide cleaning instructions or that you are not voiding your carpet’s warranty.   Consult a professional carpet cleaner should you need to have the stain protector reapplied after cleaning.

Dry egg can be gently scraped using a spoon from the kitchen drawer to remove any excess solid matter.   The dull rounded edge will help prevent you from causing more damage.   Move on and skip the next step

Fresh wet egg can be blotted or scooped up using a clean white towel working the spot from the outer edge toward the center.   This will prevent you from making the spot larger.

Read the directions on the spot cleaner you have decided on using keeping in mind these basic spot cleaning methods.   Never rub always blot, if you have to tamp or scrape use a spoon and always pretest any cleaning agent in an inconspicuous area first checking for adverse reactions

After cleaning I highly advise rinsing the area by misting a small amount of water on the carpet and blotting with your white towel.   Please read the instructions on any spot cleaner you choose because some products require a dwell time and should not be rinsed immediately.

Be sure and check out my other spot cleaning tips.

Keeping Simple Household Items at Arms Reach Prevents Costly Damage

26 Apr

The old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” may be the difference between a disaster and an inconvenience.   When you spill or drop something on your rug, carpet or upholstery, having some simple household items at arms reach will cost you nothing and could save you a costly repair bill.

Most of my carpet spot cleaning advice employs the use of a clean absorbent white towel.   White will not transfer dye into your spot causing more damage, will show if color is migrating from your work area and serves as your primary method of soil extraction.   Designate a flat heavy object such as a stack of old books that you can easily place on top of your towel when needed.   Always blot and never rub.

A clean and empty spray bottle is good to have handy.   When tending to a spill, stopping to look for spray bottle just might give any dyes or other matter time to stain your rug or fabric.   Using a spray bottle allows you to moisten an area without over wetting, saves on cleaning solution and prevents you from soaking the carpet backing.

An ordinary hair comb can be used as a grooming tool and is ideal for gently working spot cleaners into a carpet without being abrasive.  The larger end of a plain men’s hair comb is ideal for setting carpet pile after rinsing a freshly cleaned spot or spill.

Use a spoon from the kitchen drawer to remove solids.   In the case of chocolate, gum, candle wax and similar problems use the dull rounded edge to remove as much of the excess material before applying a cleaning agent.   Avoid being harsh and abrasive so not to disturb the twist and lay of the carpet in the affected area.   Causing microscopic scratches in the carpet fibers will result in visible damage.

Having these simple but effective tools handy in an emergency will make cleaning up a mess less stressful and less costly.   There are many different cleaning products you can buy and magic potions you mix yourself but the basic tools needed to apply and remove them will always be the same.   Visit http://www.procleaner.biz/blog/spottips/blog.html for more “How To” spot cleaning tips.

How to Remove Gum from Carpet

16 Apr

Spring is in the air and the White Haven and Pocono Mountain area of Pennsylvania will soon experience an influx of tourists.   From hotel housekeeping to retail stores the amount of gum on the floors will definitely increase.

Removing gum from any carpet or area rug can be achieved with the proper tools and a little patience.   There are several ways this can be done.   As with any spot or soil removal attempt you don’t want to cause more damage than you already have.   So don’t rub, always blot, work the spot from the outside toward the center and pre test any cleaning solution in an inconspicuous area first to see if there will be an adverse reaction with the carpet or rug.

One of the two methods that can be tried are freezing the gum and lift or chipping away the pieces.   I don’t usually recommend this approach as there is too much of a chance to disturb the face yarns and cause abrasion of the area being cleaned.   However if the wad of gum is large enough this method can be employed to remove a good portion and then you can proceed with the second method.

Freezing the gum spot on your rug can be accomplished by applying ice cubes directly to the gum until it becomes hard and workable.   You can also purchase a can of spray refrigerant from an electronics repair store which usually comes in an aerosol can.   The contents are normally used to cool down electronic components for troubleshooting but will freeze the chewy goo quickly.

The other method which I use and recommend is the application of a jelly like citrus solvent commonly referred to as gel solv or citus gel.   This may need to be purchased from a janitorial or specialty supply company.  Using a gel prevents the active ingredients to remain on the surface without quickly running through the primary backing.

You will need to use a dull object such as a spoon to try to remove most of the substance that has not attached itself to the fibers.   Carpet cleaners carry a specialized tool known as a bone scraper.

Apply enough gel to cover the wad and gently tamp with the back of your spoon then let it sit for about five minutes or so.   Work the outside of the gum toward the center checking to see if the piece will start to lift off or if it can be worked into a slurry.

After converting the lump into a slurry you can use a white absorbent towel to extract the mess from the yarns.   If needed you can repeat these steps but rinse the area with plain water between attempts.   Your final step should be a fresh water rinse with a dab of dry cleaning solution to ensure the removal of any soapy residue.

For more helpful tips visit my blog at http://procleaner.biz/blog/spottips/blog.html.  Have a specific question, drop me an email at info@procleaner.biz and we just might blog about it.

How to Remove Red Stains From Carpet

6 Apr

With the Easter Holiday approaching, many ethnic groups enjoy eating a variety of cultural food and beverage.   Some of these items include red wine, pickled eggs and red beets to mention a few.   As a resident of Drums PA I experience a wide selection cultural dishes.

The best spotting tip I have is prevention.   Take the prized wool oriental rea rug out from under the dining room table.   Wool is very dye absorbing and red dyes are especially difficult to remove.

I don’t advocate concocotions but a half and half mix of peroxide and ammonia can be sprayed of the affected area.   A steam iron is used to extract the dye into a white towel.   Please note this can be dangerous to your health and may cause permanent damage to your rug.

I highly recommend calling a professional cleaner.   I can be reached  at http://www.procleaner.biz/.   Myself or my staff can recommend the best course of action.

Have a joyous holiday season and enjoy.  And don’t forget to call Services Etcetera for your spring cleaning needs.