How to Clean & Protect Your DIY Area Rugs

little girl cleaning area rug in bedroomThe do-it-yourself revolution has led to an uptick in homemade area rugs. A Google search will reveal pages upon pages of projects that save homeowners money on what was once considered an expensive luxury item. However, creating your own area rug is only the first step. Once you are finished you will need to keep that DIY project clean while also protecting it from damage. Keeping your new area rug in good condition will depend largely on what material you used in its construction.

1. Burlap

A fun and easy project for caffeine addicts is the burlap coffee bag rug. The main tip to protecting your favorite burlap sack is to use it in areas of low humidity and moisture because it will mold easily. Gentle hand washing in cold water is preferred in order to keep it from fraying. Stains should be blotted, not scrubbed, and burlap should be dried flat.

2. Cotton

Those traditional braided rugs are usually made from clothing remnants. Those made from 100 percent cotton can be washed as usual in a normal, warm water cycle and tumble-dried on low. However, those made with cotton blends may require a different approach so be sure to check the garment labels before starting your project.

3. Canvas

Most people would love to have a zebra-skin area rug in their home, but have no desire to use a real skin. Therefore, the latest DIY projects include the use of canvas painted with zebra stripes. For best results, a simple wipe down with soap and water is sufficient, but be sure to keep the rug flat to avoid warping while drying. Also, priming the canvas with gesso before starting your project will make your future area rug cleaning efforts easier.

4. Cork

Cork mats are easiest to keep clean if you can spot clean them regularly. For more difficult marks you can use sandpaper to scrub the area and then blow off cork dust and wash with warm soapy water. Be mindful to dry cork thoroughly as these mats will easily grow mildew if left damp. This is especially true when storing the mats between uses.

5. Felt

The colors used in traditional wool felt are likely to bleed if not washed properly and should only be hand washed in cold water and laid flat to dry. Newer felts, such as those made from recycled plastics can be machine washed, but most crafters still recommend that you avoid using the dryer.

6. Paint

If you have created a painted rug, such as the aforementioned zebra-skin, the paint itself will require a different process of cleaning than the canvas on which it exists. First, you should dust the surface well before cleaning. New spots can usually be cleaned with plain water or you can use a mild soap solution in circular motions with a barely damp sponge or cloth for more resistant stains. Then be sure to rinse the area with plain water and dry it thoroughly with a towel.

7. Remnants

Carpeting made from polypropylene and other synthetics, including nylon and polyester, are quite stain resistant and easy to spot clean. If you vacuum these rugs often, they are less likely to need deep cleaning. Depending on the severity of the stain, you can use warm water, a mild soap lather, or vinegar solution. Just be sure to blot – not rub – spots to get them clean.

8. Rope

The nautical-themed, twisted nylon rope rugs look amazing in bathrooms and kitchens. For effective maintenance, use a mesh bag in the washing machine with cold water. Woolite is usually sufficient for light cleaning or you can use regular detergent for dirtier mats. The rope’s softness can be revitalized by simply placing it in a bucket with fabric softener overnight, and then rinsing it clean before hanging it out to dry.

Don’t let your hard work go to waste. Keeping your area rugs clean is easy to do as long as you do it in such a way that will not damage your project. However, it is highly recommended that larger area rugs are professionally cleaned at least once a year.

The Right Materials Make Area Rug Cleaning Easier

Cute Labrador dog on gray carpet, closeupShopping for a new area rug can be overwhelming for most homeowners. There are so many materials, colors, and designs, so how do you choose? Of course, finding the appropriate shape and size is easy, but they are available in every conceivable material. You may have active, outdoorsy children that drag dirt and mud through your home. Or you may need extra water-resistance for placement in your kitchen. The following is a quick breakdown of the easiest to clean, and keep clean, area rugs on the market.

What it’s made of.

Not all rugs are created equally and their price does not have much effect on the cleanliness of carpeting. For example, wool rugs offer a natural, insulating feel that repels water stains, but these are also some of the most expensive rugs on the market. On the other hand, a polypropylene flatweave rug is a less expensive option that is just as easy to keep clean. The nature of this manmade material makes it stain resistant and easy to spot clean. Also, dirt cannot penetrate the tight weave and vacuums can easily pass over the surface because there is no resistance from the pile.

Other synthetic materials such as nylon, acrylic, and polyester are usually preferred over wool for use in long shag carpeting because they will not shed or mat together. They colors are also less likely to fade over time. However, seagrass is a very pliable material made from natural plant fibers that will not retain watermarks when cleaned and is considered the best option for layering. Likewise, genuine leather is not only soft and durable, but also stain-resistant and easy to clean. Just be sure to avoid placing leather rugs in damp or humid rooms in order to maintain their texture.

What it looks like.

Homeowners will often find that available designs are just as varied as the materials, but there are some things that can affect the cleanliness and durability of area rugs. To begin with, a busy design will hide dirt and appear to look better longer. This is a benefit for busy households because they require professional area rug cleaning less often than simple patterns and solid colors. Another good choice is a rug created with a multilevel loop pile. This weave offers the most versatility in design and pattern and is considered extremely durable.

Pile length is another consideration to be made when purchasing a new rug for your home. A rug’s pile is formed by rows of knots and carries the visible color, design, and pattern. A longer pile will require more work to keep clean than say, a cut pile twist. This weave construction is ideal for high foot traffic as it is very durable and maintains its finish well. Berber loop-pile is easy enough to keep clean, but this weave type will fray and develop a fuzzy appearance if a rotary vacuum brush is used so experts recommend using a suction-only machine. Adversely, cotton rugs attract dirt and are usually best in small sizes because they are more easily machine washed than their larger counterparts.

Being informed is the first step to making the right choices when looking to purchase a new area rug for your home. You wouldn’t want to spend more to keep a rug clean than you did to buy it in the first place. Just sure to examine the material and weave used in its construction in order to properly gauge the amount of time and money you’ll be spending to keep it looking like new.

Buying Carpet? Here’s a Quick Guide to Your Carpet Choices

Carpet rollsCarpets come in a myriad of colors and styles. When you’re choosing a new carpet, the choices can be overwhelming. This quick guide will help you identify which type of carpet you prefer for each room.

Berber

This is a loop-pile carpet, meaning that the carpet pile has no exposed tips. The loops are tightly weaved, which leads to some attractive features—stains have a tougher time settling in and vacuum cleaners don’t leave marks. Because of its durable and stain-resistant nature, this is a carpet style most frequently seen in high-traffic areas, such as offices, schools, patios, foyers, staircases, and hallways. Berber carpets, however, don’t mix well with pet claws. Make sure your pet’s claws are trimmed or removed!

Frieze

Frieze is a common carpet style in homes. It’s the modern interpretation of the old shag carpet style of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Frieze has long, loose fibers with a high twist, which hide dirt very well. This makes it very attractive to busy homeowners. It’s also soft and comfortable, as well as long-lasting. As a well-rounded carpet style, it can be installed in almost any room.

Plush

A plush carpet is luxurious. Some also refer to it as a velvet carpet, so named for its velvet-like appearance. If you’re into having an extra-soft carpet to sink your feet into or an elegant look for a more formal room, then you might want to splurge on a plush carpet. This carpet is a favorite for master bedrooms and formal living rooms, or even formal dining rooms, since it has a tendency to show stains, vacuum cleaner marks, and footprints.

Shag

If you want a room to have a retro look or you just want a contemporary floor covering that shows a little personality, the shag carpet might be just the thing for you. The pile in this carpet is so long it can’t stand upright—hence it’s name. Shag carpets come in all colors these days and have a reputation for being soft, cozy, and luxurious while managing to look sophisticated. Be aware, though, that all of these amazing features come with a caveat: the long fibers can get caught in the vacuum cleaner. You can avoid this by setting the vacuum height to high and scheduling a professional carpet cleaning periodically.

Choosing a new carpet is a fun experience—you’re getting a new look and a new carpet that is unsullied by stains, worn areas, pet dander, and dirt. Choose the style and colors that fit your personality and lifestyle.

Top 4 Websites for Carpet Cleaning Reviews

beautiful asian woman using laptop computerWith fake news stories permeating our online society it can be difficult to believe anything you read on the internet. Luckily, there are several reputable business review sites that do their best to reduce the biased opinions sometimes posted by companies and their competitors. They also protect consumers from disreputable online business practices.

Businesses have limited control.

Since being founded in 2004, Yelp.com customers have written more than 115 million reviews. These “yelpers” write about everything from hotels and restaurants to contractors and carpet cleaning reviews. Business owners are able to post images and message customers, but Yelp does not allow them to change or reorder the reviews written about their company.

They perform background checks.

The most reputable review sites vett businesses and perform background checks to ensure they are qualified to get the job done right and safe enough to allow entry to private residences. Websites such as Porch.com and Angie’s List pride themselves on connecting customers with reliable and reputable, local businesses.

Customers are protected from lawsuits.

California’s Assembly Bill 2365, the Yelp Bill, would prohibit businesses from enforcing clauses in contracts that prevent customers from publicly sharing their experiences with a business. The bill will make it unlawful for businesses to threaten or penalize customers for making negative statements.

Review sites warn customers.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) “Scam Tracker” allows customers to inform the BBB of illegal or fraudulent business practices. In turn, the BBB will investigate and warn others of these disreputable businesses. Likewise, Yelp’s  “Consumer Alert” warns visitors if a business has issued legal threats against the writers of negative reviews.

“Before Angie’s List, selecting a service provider was like throwing darts blindfolded,” Nancy of St. Paul, Minnesota says in her review. This was more than true before the days of home computer and internet usage. Customers had only word-of-mouth recommendations and their local Better Business Bureau when looking for quality home service professionals. Fortunately, today’s customers are given a wealth of reliable information and reviews from others on the aforementioned review sites that are available.

Have you found any reputable business review sites not mentioned here?

How To Install Tile in Your Bathroom

New Tiled BathroomSo you’ve decided your bathroom needs a makeover? Tiling your bathroom is the first step. Maybe you have a vinyl or hardwood floor that’s not appealing anymore, or you just want a change in appearance. By following the steps below, you should be able to tile your bathroom in no time.

Determine What You Need

Determine what you’ll need in regards to how much tile, grout, and underlayment you’ll need before starting to lay tile. Measuring the dimensions with a tape measure will allow you to get the correct amount of tile from the start and eliminate possible mismatched tiles later on.

Get Underlayment Ready to Install

It’s best to use cement board when installing your underlayment to allow for an even surface when laying your tile. Be sure to cut holes that allow for the toilet and other accommodations to fit comfortably. Drill into the underlayment and space screws six inches apart for the best results. Go here for more help with installing your underlayment.

Lay the Tile Out

Lay contrasting tiles along the edges first before laying out the rest of the tile. Try to organize the tiles in a way that ensures the maximum amount of whole tiles are used and that you minimize the appearance of any tiles you may have to cut. Use dividers to keep the tiles distributed evenly.

Apply the Thinset Mortar and Lay the Tile

Apply a thin layer of mortar on the underlayment with a notched trowel. Start laying the tile in their designated positions a few at a time with spacers to keep everything aligned. When all of the tile has been laid, allow for the mortar to dry for at least 24 hours before proceeding to the next step.

Apply Grout

When the mortar has dried, mix your grout, remove the spacers, and fill the area in between the tile with grout. After all the grout has been spread, use a sponge to wipe off any access grout on the tile. Be extremely thorough when wiping down excess grout as grout left over can cause a hazy appearance on the tile that’s difficult to remove later on. After 24 hours, spray on grout sealer to keep it protected. For more information, visit this site about applying grout to your tile.

After your tile has been laid, visit our site for more information regarding tile and grout cleaning.

How to Avoid Common Carpet Cleaning Pitfalls

Vacuuming very dirty carpetToday, most homeowners insist on professional services to avoid the problems that result from using the improper procedures. While DIY carpet cleansing does not void your warranty, experts can help you to avoid the common pitfalls and increase the longevity of your carpet. The development of toxic mold and mildew is one of the most common problems that homeowners encounter. The excessive use of detergents, as well as moisture damage, can affect the integrity of your carpet. Take advantage of the following tips if you are looking to get value for your money for decades:

Hot Water Extraction

Hot water extraction is one of the most popular carpet cleaning methods for a wide array of homeowners. While there are plenty of hot water extraction units in the market, homeowners should avoid the temptation to cut corners through the DIY methods. Even with a hot water extraction unit, the results will depend on the detergents you use and the amount of dirt on the carpet. If you have some stubborn stains, or some oily patches that generate grime, you require the assistance of a competent carpet cleaning company. Also, you do not want to remove the bristles and fibers in the process. A carpet cleaning company relies on high-quality detergents that dissolve the dirt quickly. With a pressurized pump, you can remove the stubborn stains while keeping the fibers intact. Avoid leaving the detergent on the carpet for lengthy periods. If the goal is to keep the carpet looking neat and tidy, allow the soap to soak for 6-7 minutes before rinsing. It is critical to clean the carpet in a dirt-free environment to avoid soiling.

Dry Powder Cleaning

Dry powder cleaning is also becoming increasingly prevalent in a vast array of homes. This technique takes advantage of the organic materials and powders. These powders are made of saturated dry solvents and detergents. Avoiding a prolonged duration of wetness is one of the reasons why professionals use this method. Wetness can encourage the development of mildew or toxic molds. Once you apply the powder, be sure to use a vacuum cleaner to agitate the fibers and eliminate the dirt. While using this method, you do not need a lot of water. Once your carpet is clean and tidy, you can use a rug drier to reduce the moisture content and allow your carpet to dry faster.

Avoid Cutting Corners

A dusty rug can expose your family to many respiratory diseases. In addition to the health problems, a dirty carpet can make your living room uncomfortable for your family and guests. However, having a sparkling carpet in your home offers a host of health benefits. By cleaning the carpet properly, you can prolong its lifespan significantly. If you cut corners when deciding on the right carpet cleaning regimen, you will have to replace it sooner than later.

You want your living room to look cozy. A professional carpet cleaning company will not only eliminate the dust with a vacuum cleaner but will also keep the harmful allergens at bay. Bugs, beetles, and other pests thrive in a dirty carpet, and a thorough cleansing exercise will eliminate these pests while keeping your house odor-free.

The History of Rug Making

Persian RugHumans have been using rugs for millennia. The oldest rug known to mankind is the Pazyryk Carpet, which was discovered in Siberia and was dated back to approximately 4500 BC. It had been frozen in ice and thus maintained its pattern, fiber, and rich colors. However, evidence of rug making dates as far back as 6500 BC. Rugs have continued to be a staple in homes everywhere, and interestingly, some rug making methods have been carried over into our modern age.

Ancient History

Ancient writings and archaeological discoveries reference the art of rug making. From the earliest days of history, animal hides were used for clothing, sleeping and sitting surfaces, and floor coverings. Reeds were woven together to make mats and rugs. From archaeological finds in Mesopotamia and Egypt, it’s been established that flat weave rugs (rugs woven on looms) and pile rugs (rugs with piled wool or looped weaves) existed more than 4,000 years ago. Rugs and animal hides were often prized (and valuable) possessions.

Nomadic Era

The nomadic tribes in Asia were primarily sheepherders and appear to be the first people who produced large quantities of rugs. This was likely a result of the plentiful supply of wool, procured as part of their profession. Probably in this way, wool became the primary fiber used for rug making.

Classical Era

It is thought that Persians developed the craft of weaving and rug making into the fine art of Persian rugs. The Spring Carpet of Chosroes, which belonged to the King of Persia and was dated around 550 BC, was an elaborate creation—made up of wool, silk, gold, silver, and precious stones. It measured 400 feet by 100 feet, was said to weigh several tons, and contained elaborate springtime scenes, including flowers, birds, fruits, and green meadows.

Medieval Ages

Around 1000 BC, trade routes from Persia, Mesopotamia, and Egypt brought the art of rug making to the European continent. Wool was the primary fiber used in medieval Europe, but linen and nettlecloth were used in rugs for the lower classes. Cotton came on the scene in the ninth century and silk came along after it. Silk had been used in Asia and the Middle East for centuries, but silk production and sophisticated silk weaving techniques weren’t adopted in Europe until about the 11th century.

Modern Era

Of course, rug making was transported to America. Until the Industrial Revolution, rugs continued to be manually woven on handlooms. Thread spinning was the first thing to be mechanized, with the introduction of the Spinning Jenny in 1770. Then, in 1784, Edmund Cartwright introduced the concept of a weaving machine, which was finally adopted between 1805 and 1825, and power-weaving began. Synthetic dyes were introduced in the last half of the 19th century.

Today, we have rugs in every size, shape, style, color, and fabric imaginable, and almost every home as at least one rug somewhere. Keeping these rugs clean can still be a challenge, however. If you need professional area rug cleaning services to keep those beauties in stellar shape, just call A&C Carpet Cleaning and Restoration.

The Timeless Beauty of Wood Floors

Exotic decor featuring Mirage Breza Bali Coco hardwood flooringHardwood floors are a timeless classic. In colonial America, wood plank flooring became the norm. Until 1945, wood was readily available and ruled the flooring choices of the average homeowner—and it was only occasionally contested by linoleum and tile. After World War II, carpet became cheap because of the introduction of synthetic fibers and took over for several decades. But in the 1990s, wood flooring made a comeback and has grown in popularity ever since. Now, homeowners frequently remove carpeting to restore the wood floors in older homes or install solid hardwood floors in a new home.

Decorate in Any Style

Hardwood floors adapt well to all types of decorating styles. They are obviously well-suited to antique, rustic, or country decor, but they are not limited to that. They can create a beautiful backdrop for sleek stainless steel appliances, contemporary fixtures, and squarish furniture pieces. You can decorate your home in art deco, Victorian, traditional, industrial, Bohemian, Mediterranean, or really any style in the book—your wood floor can handle it. It’s all about the furniture, window treatments, and accessories you choose.

Add Touches

Hardwood floors are easily dressed up. Because they’re a neutral color, they look stunning when accented with beautiful rugs. Not only can a well-placed rug transform a room, but it can also provide a warmer reception for your feet in front of the couch or beside the bed. Start with the rug, then build the rest of your decor from that.

Also, because wood is a harder surface, consider adding touches of softness in the window dressings, couch throws, and the like. Create contrast by putting white cabinets with dark wood floors or bright-colored furniture with a medium-hued wood floor. At the same time, don’t worry about making sure that all the wood tones in a room match. You can use tans, browns, beiges, and various woods in the same room and get away with it.

Enjoy an Easy Cleaning Routine

Hardwood floors have a massively long lifespan, but that’s not all—they’re really easy to keep clean. Most of the time, they only require a quick sweep or vacuum and an occasional light mopping. As for the area rugs you use to accent the floors, an occasional rug cleaning by a professional will keep them, and your living area, in beautiful condition.

Carpet Some Rooms

Hardwood floors are beautiful, but you may not want to have them in every room of the house. Consider carpeting for bedrooms, entertainment rooms, and upper level rooms. Really, any room that needs some noise insulation or more cozy warmth is a good candidate for carpeting. Create a little variety in your home by putting (or restoring) the hardwood floors in the foyer, kitchen, dining room, and perhaps even the living room, and carpet the rest.

Hardwood floors have come full circle. From their rugged and humble beginnings in colonial America to their finished and polished regalness of today, wood floors are likely here to stay. Every home and every decorating style can benefit from the beauty that wood brings.

Rugs: Why You Need Them

Living Room with Decorative Area RugRugs have long been a favorite for covering floors. They’re used to bring ambience and style to rooms by decorators and interior designers everywhere. Rugs can bring definition to a scattered room, add warmth to an austere space, cover floor blemishes, or bring an exotic look to an otherwise ordinary room. Since tile and hardwood floors are in vogue, rugs are also in vogue.

They cover homely floors.

Does your floor have a tile that’s broken, a square of linoleum that’s peeling, or a section of plush white carpet with an unsightly stain? Is the hardwood floor looking worn? A well-placed rug can cover these problems or at least make them less noticeable. Because everyone will be looking at that fabulous rug.

They come in all shapes and sizes.

Do you have an odd-shaped area or a collection of mismatched furniture that needs some cohesion? Well, there’s probably a rug that will fit the occasion. Rugs come in all kinds of sizes and shapes—postage stamps, runners, rectangles, squares, circles, and more. Sometimes, animal skins are turned into rugs. Really, a rug can be any shape. Nowadays, you can even get custom-designed rugs made from your own drawings or artwork.

They turn a room into something different.

Rugs have a way of adding flavor to a room. Perhaps your living room somehow ended up with everything in beige—walls, curtains, carpet, and couch. Placing a colorful rug in just the right spot can liven up the room in no time. Perhaps you’d like to bring some exotic flavor from another country into your home. Rugs are an easy—and budget-friendly—way to do that. With rugs, it’s also easy to change up your decor.

They protect your floor.

High-traffic areas wear out sooner than other sections of your floor. You can protect these areas from wear if you use rugs. Entryways, sink areas, mudrooms, and hallways are all places that need to handle extra traffic. For these areas, it’s best to choose rug colors that camouflage dirt.

They cut down on noise.

Perhaps you enthusiastically put a gorgeous hardwood floor throughout your entire house, but realized later that all the sounds in your house are amplified. Here’s where a quick investment in a few large rugs can solve the problem. Not only will rugs dampen sounds, but they will also create a softer, warmer place for your feet to land.

Once you’ve got that lovely rug placed in its spot, fulfilling its intended purpose, it’s important to keep it in tip-top shape. Many rugs require special cleaning techniques. You may need to get a rug cleaning professional to help you out.

7 Tips for Keeping Your Home Looking Pristine Clean

Floor dust mop for keeping your home cleanKeeping the house clean can seem like a never-ending task. With kids, laundry, pets, and dirty soccer clothes, the house can get dirty and cluttered in minutes. Perhaps you’ve gazed longingly at the magazine photos of beautifully decorated and clean homes, but resigned yourself to a perpetually dirty home. There’s no need to resign yourself to that fate—a clean house is possible. Here are some quick tricks you can apply that will get your house looking more pristine.

Cut the clutter.

Junk mail, coupons, flyers, instructions, notes, and other random pieces of paper can quickly pile up and turn into a looming mountain. Deal with these things on a daily basis. Throw away the junk, put time-sensitive coupons with your grocery list, and transfer the random bits of notes to your planner.

Curtail entryway chaos.

The entrance to your home, whether it’s a large foyer or a direct entry to your main living area, can become a collection of dirty boots, coats, backpacks, and sports paraphernalia. If you don’t have a closet, invest in some hooks and shoe shelves to handle the daily onslaught. If it’s too much (or too out of reach) for the little ones, you can set up a toy box for their coats by the door. And train everyone to take their shoes off at the door—it will cut your cleaning time by at least half.

Enlist the kids.

Start the kids on a daily routine of household chores. From a young age, they can help with things like putting toys away, folding laundry, taking out the trash, loading or unloading the dishwasher, and sweeping the floor. (This will pay off when they’re older too!) You can make cleanup time into a game or a race or create a fun prize system. Try ideas until you find one that motivates your kids.

Put it out of sight.

If you must collect junk mail or random glass jars or piles of laundry, reserve a spot for your collection inside a basket, drawer, or box, or behind a closet door. Then, make an appointment with yourself to tackle this project for at least a half hour every day until it’s resolved.

Wipe down one area every day.

In 10 minutes or less, you can wipe down a problem area every day. One day, you could wipe down the kitchen counters and cupboards; another day, you can give a few swipes to the bathroom sink and floor or a quick scrub of the toilet and tub; and on yet another day, you can vacuum the main traffic areas of the house.

Get the carpets cleaned.

Once a carpet has huge stain spots or unsightly discoloration, it’s more difficult to create the impression of a beautifully clean home. A professional carpet cleaning should be done at least once a year. Not only will this extend the life of a carpet, but it will also restore the aesthetic appeal of your home.

Clean bathrooms every week.

Bathrooms can quickly collect all kinds of germs, crud, soap residues, and more. If you clean these suckers every week, you’ll avoid the extra effort (and hours) of removing dried-on layers of grime. Plus, you’ll be proud to let your impromptu guests use the bathroom.

It’s true that it takes a little work to keep a house clean, but a little effort every day will translate to huge time savings and a happier you. Don’t let crud and dust bunnies take up long-term residence; tackle your house, one day at a time.