Tag Archives: PA

A Few Tips to Prepare Yourself for those Holiday Carpet Spots and Spills

12 Nov

Thanksgiving is upon us and on behalf of the staff at Services Etcetera Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning I would like to wish everyone a safe and joyous holiday season.   Preparation is the key to staying safe and enjoying the many functions you’ll be hosting and or attending this highly celebrated season, especially in the mountainous regions of Berwick and Mountain Top, Pennsylvania.

Keeping some blankets and a flashlight in your car, making sure your cell phone is charged and carrying some ashes in your trunk can be the difference between a long cold night and making it home.   Having a few simple household items on hand in the event of spill or splash on your carpet or furniture can be the difference between a minor inconvenience and a permanent stain.

In my opinion, the best cleaning tool you can have handy is an absorbent white towel.   Gently blot fresh spills to absorb as much of the liquid as possible.   Placing a folded dry white towel over the area and then placing a heavy object such as a stack of books on top will help remove the remaining moisture.

In the event you have a food spill you should use a spoon to carefully remove as much solid material as possible.   Use a spray bottle mixed with water and a slight amount of degreasing type liquid dish detergent along with your white blotting towel to remove the remainder of the spot.   Remember to blot and never rub.   Heavy agitation of the area will cause irreversible pile damage.   Go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyZR8fhipK8&feature=plcp for basic spotting procedures.

Consult www.procleaner.biz for a list of “DIY” YouTube videos and more specific spotting tips.   Learn how to remove food stains, grease, ink and other carpet spots yourself just like the professionals.   If you need a true professional, Services Etcetera Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning   offers free internet and phone estimates.   Have your concerns addressed by a certified Journeyman Textile Cleaner.

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What is “Batik” and how would you clean it?

11 Jun

I was reading a publication entitled Awake the other day and stumbled upon an article entitled, “Batik, Indonesia’s Fabulous Fabric”.   As a certified Journeyman Textile Cleaner, I’m always amazed by the construction and skill that goes into specialty and hand made fabrics, carpets and rugs.   I’m equally as curious on how to clean them.

Batik is a piece of cloth, usually cotton or silk, on which a craftsman draws intricate designs and patterns using liquid wax.   After the wax has dried, the fabric is dyed and the waxed areas keep their natural color.   At first, small copper tools were used to apply the wax but by the mid 19th century a copper stamp was being used.   Dyes are made from locally grown leaves, wood, bark and spices, although synthetic dyes are also used.   A brief video showing the stamping of fabric can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/12434053.

Nobody knows for sure when Batik was made for the first time but some fragments of Batik date back to 6th century C.E. in China.   In the 17th century there is evidence of Batik trade to and from Indonesia.  The fabrics are used in traditional garments and can be used for paintings, wall hangings, tablecloths, bedspreads, handbags, lampshades, sandals and more.

Before attempting to clean a piece of Batik I stress the importance of remembering the basics.   If possible, consult and follow the producers recommended cleaning instructions, gently vacuum away any dust or dry soils and pretest any cleaning solutions on an inconspicuous spot.   Since Batik can be made from cotton, silk, rayon or other material, it would be helpful to identify the type of fiber used in the construction of the fabric.

If the fabric is in a frame or a rack you should take a few reference photos prior to removing the piece from its mounting.   The pictures will come in handy when trying to remount.   Do not machine wash or tumble dry.   Hand wash and rinse items individually and avoid soaking for extended periods.   Use cool or lukewarm water with a mild detergent.   Never use bleach, chlorine or any type of brightener.   Specialty quilt and bedspread stores usually carry a less aggressive cleaning solution designed specifically for such applications.    When cleaning cotton and rayon you can add a tablespoon of vinegar to some lukewarm water in a basin and rinse first to help avoid color running.   Hang dry in the shade and avoid direct sunlight.   Note, some Batiks require them to be flat dried.

Be sure to consult my video on basic spotting tips and tools at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyZR8fhipK8&feature=plcp.   If you need assistance or have questions you can contact us through our website at http://www.procleaner.biz.

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.

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.

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.