Carpet Cleaning and Maintenance Myths That You Shouldn’t Buy Into

Vacuuming carpetCarpeting is one of the biggest purchases made for a home, but yet, many homeowners fail to learn how to properly care for it. There is quite a bit of information floating around about carpet cleaning and maintenance, and it’s often easier to believe whatever you hear rather than do your own research to find out the actual truth. This is what has allowed numerous misconceptions on the subject to continue to build and get passed around from person to person, misguiding carpet owners on the right way to achieve long-lasting, fresh floors. Below are some of the most common myths that need to be put to rest.

Myth #1: New Carpeting Doesn’t Need to be Cleaned For a Few Years

When people have new carpeting installed, a normal assumption is that it won’t have to be cleaned for a few years, but this couldn’t be more wrong. From day one your carpet fibers will start to attract and trap soil, dust and whatever else is tracked in or floating in the air. If you wait until your carpets are visibly dirty, chances are, deterioration has already begun. The standard manufacturer recommendation is to have carpets professionally cleaned every 12-18 months, no matter how spotless they appear or how new they might be.

Myth #2: A Rental Machine Will Be More Efficient and Affordable

The majority of homeowners want to pinch pennies wherever they can, so they come up with DIY methods for many household tasks, but when it comes to carpet cleaning, this is not the time to skimp. Renting a machine is not the efficient, affordable solution people think it is. They don’t have the same power as the equipment used by professional technicians or the ability to reach down deep into the fibers where all the dirt, dust and allergen particles have settled. There is also the likelihood that inexperience will lead to mishaps with too much water or cleaning solution, which can seriously damage carpet.

Myth #3: The Dampness Left By Steam Cleaning is Bad For Carpets

Steam cleaning is generally the preferred method of carpet cleaning by technicians and manufacturers, but over time, people seemed to get it stuck in their minds that it’s harmful to their carpets because of the water it uses. However, this is just simply false thinking. Also known as hot water extraction, this technique provides a very thorough cleaning when handled by an experienced professional who also knows the proper protocol for drying, making concerns of shrinking and mildewing unwarranted. Not to mention, dry cleaning still utilizes water so it isn’t really “dry” after all.

Myth #4: Deodorizers and Vacuuming Are Good Enough to Keep My Carpets Fresh

There are still some homeowners out there who believe that it’s enough just to vacuum weekly and keep some deodorizer sprinkled over the carpet, but this, too, would be inaccurate. Vacuuming is a big part of the effort to keep carpets fresh and clean, but it only touches the surface and can’t eliminate all that has accumulated within the fibers. So, to really be effective and improve the indoor air quality, a deep cleaning must take place periodically. Deodorizers can cause more harm than good as they are difficult to fully vacuum up and may result in staining after a carpet cleaning.

An investment as large as carpeting deserves to be taken care of in a way that maximizes its performance and longevity. Getting down to the truth about carpet cleaning and maintenance is sure to make you happier with your investment in the long run.

Vacuuming Does NOT Count As Carpet Cleaning… Seriously.

We like to think we can keep our carpets clean on our own, thank you very much. We just need to vacuum every month or so and blot when there’s a stain… right?

Wrong. What you’re likely forgetting (or, if you’re like us, what you never knew) is that almost all carpet companies require you to professionally steam clean your carpetevery 12 to 24 months, to keep your warranty valid.

In other words, vacuuming is not enough. Neither is steaming carpets yourself. Professional steaming is, like it or not, legally the only way to protect your carpet in most cases. And it’s also a way to protect your health.

“Indoor air quality can be eight to ten times worse than outdoor air quality, if you don’t clean your flooring, clean your drapes and let air inside regularly,” says interior designer Robin Wilson, who specializes in allergy-free housekeeping. When millions of Americans suffer from indoor allergies, air quality is a huge issue.

Wilson — and the other experts we spoke with — says that to keep the air in your home clean, it’s important to follow a few carpet-cleaning rules. Namely:

Call professionals to steam your carpet, more often than you think you should.

Many carpet companies won’t honor your warranty unless you hire professional cleaners every 12 to 18 months, says Carolyn Forte, a director at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute. In some cases the requirement may be 24 months — check your carpet’s warranty for specifics.

Wilson, meanwhile, recommends even more frequent steamings in the interest of a dust-free home: she says to call in professional steamers every six months, and every four to six WEEKS if you have a pet. (Keep in mind this applies to carpets, not area rugs).

Regardless of how often you choose to use them, our experts agree that professional steam cleaners are hands-down necessary — you shouldn’t attempt to steam carpets yourself. Only steam can effectively lift dust from deep within your carpet, Wilson says — if left there, it will wear down and rip the carpet’s fibers. But only professional machines can truly zap all the steam’s moisture from the carpet when you’re done cleaning. The results of trying to do it yourself can be sickening.

“I’ve been on job sites where you pull up the carpet and see a mold patch,” Wilson says. When you steam clean yourself, “you turn your house into an incubator for mold growth,” Wilson adds.

Between steams, vacuum at least weekly (or much more often with pets).

Of course, vacuuming remains the easiest way to keep carpets and area rugs clean between steams — our experts recommend vacuuming once per week, to keep those abrasive dust particles out of carpet fibers. Ramp up the frequency in high-traffic areas or if you have pets — these spots might need daily vacuuming depending on how much debris you notice, according to Merry Maids Training Manager Debra Johnson.

And take area rugs out for spring and fall cleaning sessions.

Area rugs vary in their care instructions, so check yours for its ideal cleaning schedule. Generally, Wilson says, you should vacuum rugs with the same frequency as carpets, then deep-clean them every six months with a good old-fashioned broom-beating. Take rugs outside, shake them out, beat them with an actual broom (ideally while wearing a mask to protect your face), and let them air outside for a day.

Many area rugs can also be steam cleaned — if yours allows, you might steam it once per year, Wilson advises.

Another secret? Vacuum slowly.

“One of the most common errors people make when vacuuming is that they do it too fast,” Johnson says. “Vacuuming slowly allows a vacuum cleaner to do its best work by vibrating carpet fibers and containing dust in the vacuum.”

Blot carpet spills immediately — do NOT wait.

Rubbing a stain will spread goo around and can distort the carpet’s pile, or fluffy shape. And waiting to clean a stain lets moisture seep deeper — Forte recommends cleaning spills the instant they happen.

Spray carpet cleaner on a cloth and dab the stain, working from the outside to its center. Rinse with a clean cloth the same way, and then blot dry. To absorb leftover moisture, pile on a stack of paper towels and place a heavy pot or vase on top. Leaving it there overnight will ensure all wetness is fully zapped.

Pick a carpet that’s not a dust magnet in the first place.

To prevent dust buildup in the first place, choose a low pile, Wilson says. This means picking a carpet or area rug with short fibers — high layers of fluff or shag will trap more dust (not to mention mite carcasses… ew). Wilson recommends natural, durable materials like wool instead of synthetic ones like nylon. Carpet tiles are a stellar alternative to wall-to-wall carpets, she says — when there’s a spill, you can pull up the tile and clean it on its own, and you can remove them completely when you’re ready for a scene change back to hardwood floors.

…and if you keep it clean, you can keep it forever! (Well, almost.)

“You can keep a rug for a lifetime, if you keep it clean,” Wilson says. Carpet lifespans, however, range with quality — some well-made varieties are made to last up to 15 years if kept dust-free, she adds.

…It’s just a little more motivation to summon the steam machine.

3 Jacksonville Carpet Cleaning Mistakes You’re Unknowingly Making

A girl using a laptop on the carpet while her father looks onSome homeowners are vigilant housekeepers and make carpet maintenance part of their daily cleaning ritual, while others fall on the opposite end of the cleaning spectrum and only occasionally get around to pulling out the vacuum. Although carpet care is one of the most important household chores to tend to since it affects a home’s indoor air quality as well as its appearance, many people are unaware of proper carpet cleaning practices.

Even if you are dedicated to some type of carpet cleaning routine for your Jacksonville home, you could still be making a few big mistakes that will counteract all the effort you’re putting into preserving your floor. Without using suitable techniques and equipment, you could be hurting your carpet more than you’re helping it. Find out below if you’ve been unknowingly causing damage that could be prevented.

Not Dusting Correctly

Dusting may seem like a pretty simple task to grasp, but if done incorrectly, you could actually be adding to the amount of dust that settles within your carpet fibers. Using a microfiber cloth will help to catch and hold the dust particles you’re trying to eliminate, unlike other dusters, which just push the dust around and eventually allows most of it to fall and come to rest on the floor below. Dust buildup directly affects not only the look of your carpet, but its structural integrity as well, causing the fibers to deteriorate faster. It’s also best to avoid dry dusting, and don’t forget to regularly replace your vacuum’s filters so that clogging doesn’t become a problem.

Not Using the Right Vacuum

Not all vacuums and carpets are created equally. The type of vacuum cleaner you should be using will depend on the fibers that your carpet is made up of. People frequently purchase the most expensive vacuum or most well-known brand thinking they’re getting the best equipment on the market without realizing that it may not be the best choice for their particular flooring. You already know that consistent vacuuming will have a great impact on how long your carpet thrives, but it’s important that you don’t waste your time and risk irreversible damage by using a vacuum cleaner that isn’t appropriate for your carpet’s construction.

Not Hiring a Professional Carpet Cleaner

The last thing to keep in mind is that though you might believe you’re getting your carpets nice and fresh by renting a steam cleaner every few months, you aren’t really doing your carpet any favors. Most homeowners don’t know how to correctly use a rented machine to begin with and end up creating a bigger mess for themselves with too much shampoo and water. Not only that, but you just won’t get the same results as you would with a professional carpet cleaning, which gets down deep into carpet fibers where most of the dirt, dust mites and other allergens have accumulated. There’s no doubt that depending on a rented steam cleaner as your only source of carpet cleaning will leave you extremely dissatisfied.

If you recognize that you’ve been making some or all of these common mistakes, put an end to it now and begin a new carpet cleaning regimen that will serve your Jacksonville home in a much more rewarding manner.

How to Choose a Pressure Washing Company in Jacksonville

Power-WashingWhether you’re a home or business owner, there are so many things to take care of around your property that pressure washing might not be too high on your list of priorities. However, this is an important maintenance task and failing to recognize it as one can cause a decrease in your real estate’s value, lead to costly rot and mold damages and have a negative impact on energy consumption. Even knowing all this may not inspire you to go out and purchase your own pressure washing equipment and learn how to operate it, but that’s why professional pressure washing services in Jacksonville really come in handy. Before you just pick the first name you see out of the phone book, consider the following criteria when choosing a company.

Check Out Referrals

With any kind of company you hire, you want to make sure they are reputable and provide a service that previous clients would actually recommend. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals and contact them to get a first-hand account of their pressure washing experience. Conducting an internet search for reviews can also give you a good idea of how others feel about a company in particular and whether or not they are spoken highly of.

Verify Certification and Tools Used

Pressure washing is a job that requires training, knowledge and experience in order to work skillfully in the trade. Just because a company claims to be proficient doesn’t mean you should take their word for it. The only way to know for sure if someone is qualified is to verify their certification, otherwise, you could end up with expensive repairs due to the improper use of equipment. Though anyone can go out and purchase a pressure washer, you want to make certain that the company you select is using higher grade tools and the latest technology in the industry to get the job done as efficiently as possible.

Get Estimates

It’s understandable that price will be a factor in your decision as well, but choosing what seems to be the best deal doesn’t always turn out to be so. Get a few different estimates and a detailed explanation of what the services include before committing to a company. This will help you avoid becoming the victim of misleading advertising or succumbing to pushy salespeople.

Don’t get cheated out of the quality service you deserve because you neglected to do your research and keep all these elements in mind. Use the steps above as a guideline for finding a pressure washing company in Jacksonville that you will be completely satisfied with.

4 Reasons to Think About Pressure Washing Your Property

Pressure Washing Jacksonville FLThere are many homeowners out there who pride themselves on keeping things orderly and immaculate when it comes to the interior of their living environment but neglect to really consider what the outside looks like. Aside from trying to preserve your home’s attractiveness, there are many reasons to put more focus on maintaining its exterior. One of the easiest ways to spruce up the outside of your property is with a pressure washing service in Jacksonville, and here are some of the benefits.

Home Value

Being that a home is probably the biggest investment you’ll ever make, you definitely don’t want to see its value decrease, especially if you ever plan to sell. Before putting your property on the market, you want to make sure you’ve done everything you can to get the best offer possible, which includes removing surface stains and other unappealing factors. Curb appeal is critical in making a positive first impression on potential buyers and can make a big difference in the price you’re able to negotiate, so pressure washing can go a long way in giving your home a visual boost.

Insulation and Energy Use

We all know how important proper insulation is and how much it impacts a home’s energy consumption. It may be news to you, though, that all the elements that stick to the side of your home, roof, walkways, etc. can directly affect how well your insulation is working. Periodically pressure washing those areas of your property will help your insulation to do its job more effectively and cut down on energy use.

Deterrent From Damages

Pressure washing should actually be seen as a regular preventative maintenance task for your home. Without it, many homes are vulnerable to damages from rot, mold and mildew growth and other environmental conditions that can lead to costly repairs. The lifetime of your deck, siding, roof, driveway and any other outside surface can significantly be reduced if not taken care of and allowed to build up with contaminants.

Health and Safety

Whether you realize it or not, you and your family are more than likely breathing in any toxins that have accumulated on the exterior of your home, which can have serious repercussions on your health. There is also the chance of mold spores and other bacteria being tracked inside, causing additional health risks. Furthermore, when footpaths containing oil, algae, dirt and mildew residue get wet, they become slippery and unsafe to walk on.

If you want an environmentally friendly, affordable and quick solution to cleaning up the outside of your property and protecting its appearance as well as your health, a pressure washing service in Jacksonville is the way to go.

Carpet Cleaning, Painting and Other Tips For Jacksonville Residents Looking to Spruce Up Their Rentals

Exciting-Red-Painted-Bedroom-ModernJust because a rental property may not be a permanent place to live doesn’t mean you can’t make it feel like home as much as possible. Many people end up staying in their rental for years, and it should reflect as much of their personality and style as if they owned the place. Your residence should be peaceful and comforting, and there are many ways to customize an apartment, condo, home, etc. to bring you the happiness you deserve, whether your name is on the title or not. For those looking to spruce up their Jacksonville living quarters, a few tasks like painting, getting a good carpet cleaning and organizing are sure to do the trick.

Paint the Walls

People often assume that because they are renting they can’t alter the place in any way. The truth is, many landlords allow walls to be painted as long as they’re painted back when the tenant moves out. This may not be worth the effort if you only plan to stay for a year, but if this could be a long-term residence, painting the walls can change the whole appearance of a room for the better. Staring at white walls day in and day out may drive you crazy, so go out and pick a color that speaks to your taste and decor and will instantly brighten your mood at the end of a long day.

Trim the Windows

Most rentals these days come with cheap, plastic blinds that aren’t exactly stylish. Consider carefully removing and hiding them until it’s time for you to move on to somewhere new. Installing bamboo blinds, screen-printed panels or floor-length curtains can liven up a room and accent the rest of your decor nicely.

Get Your Carpets Cleaned

Wall-to-wall carpet can easily become the focal point of a room because of how much space it takes up. That means you want it to appear as spotless as possible at all times. A lot of renters don’t think to schedule a professional carpet cleaning since they didn’t originally invest their own money in the carpet purchase, but this is actually a great way to freshen and revive your living environment.

Add Plants

There can be great value in adding plants to your interior design plans. One of the most beneficial things about them is their ability to help improve indoor air quality. The roots and leaves of houseplants will absorb common indoor pollutants and eliminate them from the air you’re breathing in every day. Plus, plants are a simple way to complement any other kind of furnishings you have.

Organize and Utilize Storage Areas

If you’re renting an apartment or smaller condo, you may have the same complaint as numerous other renters – that there isn’t enough space for all your belongings. Being surrounded by clutter can make you constantly feel like you can’t breathe, and you won’t be too happy with your surroundings. Dealing with tighter space just means learning how to be better organized and creating a space that works for you.

Making a rental feel like home doesn’t have to be a challenge. Painting, decorating and hiring the services of a Jacksonville carpet cleaning company can make a world of difference.

Before, During and After Carpet Cleaning Procedures For Jacksonville Residents

Woman lying on carpetIf you’ve never hired a professional carpet cleaning service in Jacksonville before, you may be wondering exactly what you can expect from the entire experience. Selecting just the right company is the first, and probably most important, step of the process. Once that is out of the way and you feel good about your decision, you can focus on getting ready for the cleaners to come in and figure out if there is anything specific you’d like to see them accomplish. Every company will have their own cleaning procedure, but there are a few things you should do before and after to ensure you get the most out of your service as possible.

Prepare For Your Carpet Cleaning

Your carpet cleaning company should be able to come in and get right to work without having to wait for you to finish preparing. Your responsibilities will include dusting and then vacuuming to remove any loose surface soil, putting away valuables so the cleaner is free to move around without the worry of breaking something, moving furniture completely out of the way of areas to be cleaned, making sure pets are kept in a proper place away from the equipment and solution and being ready to identify any spots that you want special attention paid to.

The Carpet Cleaning Process

Once your cleaner arrives, it’s likely they will examine your carpet for any damages, pre-treat spots and stains and have a final discussion with you regarding cleaning method, special treatments and any other instructions or questions you may have. The preferred method of carpet cleaning for most homeowners, manufacturers and cleaners is hot water extraction. This process takes about an hour for the average home and uses water heated to a very high temperature combined with a detergent and powerful equipment to remove pollutants that have settled deep down in carpet fibers. Then fibers will be groomed back to their aesthetically pleasing position.

Carpet Cleaning Follow-Up

Though a professional carpet cleaner won’t leave your floors saturated in water, they will still be damp and require air movers to help speed up the drying process. It would also be a good idea for you to open windows and turn on ceiling fans as well. To make sure you don’t counteract the cleaning you just had, keep shoes, socks and furniture off carpets until completely dry and place outdoor mats at all entryways to preserve your freshly cleaned carpets for longer.

You’re sure to be much more satisfied in your living environment and notice a huge improvement in the look and feel of your carpet after your Jacksonville carpet cleaning.

Answers to Important Questions About Carpet Cleaning in Atlantic Beach

carpetIf you are considering hiring a professional carpet cleaning service for your home, you may have some questions about the whole process, what happens, and how much it may cost. We’ve gathered some of the most popular questions and provided the answers here.

Which Type of Carpet Cleaning is Best?

In the carpet cleaning industry there are basically two methods: wet and dry.

The dry method uses foam, powder, or dry cleaning substance that is applied to the carpet’s surface. The material is then rubbed into the fibers or left for a period of time to “soak” up dirt, oils or grime and is then vacuumed away.

While the dry method of cleaning a carpet means there is no drying time, as there is with the wet method, this process isn’t nearly as effective in removing dirt, stains, or embedded residue.

The most efficient, safe, and productive carpet cleaning method is through the water extraction process, sometimes called steam cleaning. This works by injecting a hot cleaning solution, mixed with water, deep into the carpet fibers where dirt and other debris is dissolved.

The dirty liquid is vacuumed away and a sparkling clean carpet is left behind in the process.

Professional carpet cleaning businesses often use specially modified vans that produce pressurized hot water and the strong vacuum power necessary to do a thorough job.

What Do You Need to Do After the Cleaning?

A freshly cleaned carpet will be damp to the touch, and although it may appear somewhat dry, the carpet fibers still hold moisture. It takes about 20-30 minutes to clean an average-sized room.

After your professional carpet cleaning service leaves, open the windows in the house, if possible, to allow the damp carpet to dry thoroughly. If you live in an area where it is dusty outside, you may want to skip this step and try placing fans around the house instead.

Some professionals recommend turning on the home’s central heating to assist in the drying. Normal drying times, depending on the weather, can take about six hours or more. During this time, try to keep off the carpets to avoid soiling them.

After the carpet dries, vacuuming weekly will keep your carpets looking fresh until the next scheduled cleaning. Dirt attracts dirt, so a clean carpet will remain cleaner if it is well cared for. The interval between cleanings is usually 12 to 18 months.

How Much Will it Cost?

Because each home is unique, and the size and material of carpets varies, the pricing will differ. However, according to customers on Angie’s List, the average price for cleaning carpets was between 30 and 50 cents per square foot. These prices may or may not include extra services such as moving furniture, special stain treatments, etc.

Check with your carpet cleaning experts at A&C Carpet Cleaning for a free accurate estimate in the Atlantic Beach area today.

Carpet Cleaning In Atlantic Beach: Beware of Scams and Cheats

Clean carpetsEveryone likes good deals or bargains, and if you are looking for a reputable carpet cleaning service in Atlantic Beach, the process of selection can seem a little confusing because there are so many to choose from. Some offer unbelievable prices, but how do you know if they are legitimate, scams, or worse?

Bait and Switch

There was a time when dishonest businesses would advertise a certain item in the newspaper that seemed so low that it was too good to pass up. But when customers would come in to buy it, the business would say they were sold out but could offer them a better item. Of course, this new item would cost much more than the item that was advertised.

This tactic is called “bait and switch.” The bait is the extremely low price on an item. The switch occurs when the customer is shown another item than the one advertised.

This scam is illegal, but some businesses continue to use this ploy to lure customers in. Unfortunately, this also occurs occasionally in the industry of carpet cleaning as well.

Carpet Cleaning Scams

A dishonest carpet cleaning business will try to fool customers into calling them for a visit by using the bait and switch scam. They place ad specials that promise to clean a room for some ridiculously low price such as $20 or even less.

When the carpet cleaning technician shows up, he’ll say the special won’t really clean the carpets very well, and that to do this professionally, it will cost many, many hundreds of dollars more. If you insist on the advertised price, he will usually walk out or say that it can’t be done.

If a company has to fool you into hiring them, what does this say about how honest they are and what sort of business they operate? These firms should be avoided at all costs because they not only have breached your trust, but hiring them will cost you much more in the end.

Good Guys

Honest and reputable carpet cleaning services charge reasonable rates that are based according to industry guidelines. No business can be successful by giving away their work by charging next to nothing. The old saying that goes, “You get what you pay for,” is very true when you hire a professional to clean your carpets.

Read reviews, customer testimonies, and find out if the company has won any awards for excellence; this will give you a better understanding of how good they really are.

For an honest evaluation and friendly, professional carpet cleaning service, give A&C Carpet Cleaning in Atlantic Beach a call.

Removing Mold in Carpets: How Jacksonville Carpet Cleaning Services Can Help

carpet moldMany homeowners in Jacksonville, at one time or another, have asked themselves if they should hire a professional carpet cleaning service. Is it worth it and how does it differ from DIY machines that can be purchased or rented at the local department store or supermarket? Hopefully, we answer those questions below.

What Is Carpet Mold?

A mold is a type of fungus. It is most commonly seen on food that has been left in the refrigerator too long but can appear on just about anything, given the right conditions.

Some molds are actually beneficial and are used to flavor cheese or produce antibiotics such as penicillin. But the majority of molds are unsightly at best and can become health hazards at worst.

Carpet mold thrives when two conditions are present in the household: humidity and dirt. Jacksonville’s weather is unique and is considered to be similar to humid subtropical conditions. However this great weather can also promote mold growth in carpets, especially carpets that haven’t been properly cleaned for a long time.

Mold and Health

The CDC (Center for Disease Control) states that mold can have negative health effects on some individuals. These health problems can surface in bouts of sneezing, coughing, or wheezing and other allergic reactions. If serious mold problems exist, it can manifest itself in long-term respiratory problems, headaches, or skin reactions.

Clearly, mold in the household is not very hygienic and the removal of these pathogens can help to produce a healthier environment in the home.

Extract the Mold Out

A carpet cleaning company is able to remove mold and dirt in carpets through water extraction methods. Professional equipment, powered by specialized vans, injects super-heated water and cleaning solutions deep into carpet fibers. Industrial grade carpet vacuum machines extract this dirty liquid and leave behind a clean, fresh smelling carpet that dries quickly in just a few hours.

Keeping Things Clean

Laboratory studies conducted on how mold develops in carpets produced interesting results. Mold seems to grow in humid conditions, but also takes hold when carpets are dirty. The combination of dirt and humidity means optimal conditions for mold to establish itself in carpet fibers.

Vacuuming a carpet regularly, in spite of its clean appearance, will get to the root of the problem of mold buildup and help your carpets to resist mold until the next cleaning.

Call your local professionals at A & C for Jacksonville carpet cleaning services to help your carpets look and smell bright and fresh.