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Avoid these 5 Potential Pitfalls of Do-it-Yourself Carpet Cleaning

It is a common practice to clean the carpet of a newly purchased home. After all, you don’t really know how well the carpet has been maintained…or what spills or stains the carpet might have encountered. This is especially true if the prior owner had pets. Plus, it is a lot easier to clean the carpet of an empty home, before furniture and other belongings are set in place.

Many homeowners hope to save money by cleaning a dirty carpet themselves. Though carpet cleaning may appear to be an uncomplicated task, it actually requires a great deal of knowledge and experience to perform correctly. Inexperience might actually lead to permanent harm, which could render the carpet in need of repair or replacement.

Even if you consider yourself to be a jack-of-all-trades or jill-of-all-trades, it is important to be aware of the various drawbacks associated with do-it-yourself carpet cleaning. Below are five potential pitfalls…

1) Lack of Experience

Without the proper training, stains could become worse, the color could be altered, the carpet backer could delaminate, and so on. Since not all carpets are the same, carpet cleaning techniques are not all the same. What may work wonders on some fibers or colors, may ruin others. The cost to repair damage to the carpet could easily outweigh the cost of hiring a professional in the first place. Furthermore, a professional carpet cleaning is almost always backed by some form of guarantee or warranty.

2) Improper Stain Removal

In most cases, spots on the carpet require a pretreatment with a stain remover. Before applying any stain remover, it is recommended that you first test the cleaner on a discreet area, such as the carpet in the back of a closet. This will help ensure the remover is not going to bleach, discolor or otherwise harm the carpet. Also, do not scrub or wipe a stain as that could untwist the carpet fibers and lead to permanent and unsightly fraying. Scrubbing or wiping could also spread the stain or push it deeper into the carpet.

3) Inadequate Equipment

Most of the machines available for homeowners to rent or purchase are designed for portability rather than power. These machines may be easier to lift and more convenient to transport, but cannot compare to the function of a commercial carpet cleaner. A homeowner-grade machine just can’t generate the soil extraction power necessary to clean and sanitize as thoroughly as a professional-grade machine.

4) Excessive Cleaning Solution

Those new to carpet cleaning have a tendency to use a higher concentration of cleaning agent than is recommended, or to continually disperse the solution into the carpet in an attempt to remove additional soil. Using an exaggerated amount of solution does not improve its cleaning ability, it just makes the removal of the cleaner more difficult. The more soap left in the fibers of the carpet, the more sticky residue there will be to attract new dirt. This leads to rapid re-soiling.

5) Saturating the Carpet

Another concern is the use of too much water when attempting to rinse the shampoo or cleaning agent from the carpet. The carpet fibers can only hold so much moisture. Once the fibers become saturated, the remainder of the rinse passes through the carpet and into the pad below. Needless to say, soaking the carpet and pad will prolong its drying time. Without proper ventilation, the carpet could remain wet for days, which could foster the growth of mold, mildew and bacteria. Stains from the feet of furniture might also occur if they are placed directly on the carpet while it is still damp. In addition, moisture that has been allowed to penetrate through the carpet and into the pad can cause deep stains to wick upward as the carpet eventually dries.

Before attempting a do-it-yourself cleaning, get a few estimates from reputable carpet cleaning companies. You will likely find the quotes to be very affordable, especially when you take into account the safety and effectiveness of a professional cleaning.

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3 Reasons to Consider Having your Home’s Ductwork Cleaned

A deep house cleaning is generally high on the list of priorities for new homeowners.  After all, everyone wants their living environment to be as clean as possible.

Windows, light fixtures, cabinets, countertops and floors are all obvious things to clean…but what about things that are not so obvious? What about the air ducts? Should you have your ducts cleaned too?

The ductwork of a home circulates air from the heating and cooling system into and out of each room, multiple times per day. This is the air that fills your living environment and the air that you and your family breathe, so of course you want it to be clean.

Some residential duct cleaning companies use marketing tactics to play on the fears of homeowners that they are breathing filthy air or that a build-up of debris is restricting the air flowing through the ductwork. However, the EPA has found there is little evidence to support these claims.

Studies have shown that household dust within the ductwork generally stays put and does not disperse into your home…and rarely is there a build-up of debris so extreme that it hinders the flow of air. Hence, duct cleaning is generally not necessary for the majority of homes.

There are a few exceptions, however. Below are three circumstances where you might consider having your home’s ductwork professionally cleaned…

1) You have personally observed substantial amounts of dust or debris

If particles can actually be seen coming from the duct vents, the ducts likely contain a substantial amount of dust or debris. If the home has undergone a recent improvement project and the air vents were not properly covered, sawdust, drywall dust, fiberglass strands, or other particles could have been sucked into the duct system. Leaky ducts or inadequate filtration could also lead to an excessive amount of dust within the air ducts. An inspection with a flexible camera is often used to confirm the amount of dust and debris within the duct system prior to having a cleaning performed.

2) There are extremely unpleasant odors coming from the ducts

Some odors will just not go away until the ducts are cleaned and sanitized. For example, if any prior residents smoked in the house there could be a build-up of nicotine within the ductwork. Because nicotine is a sticky substance, it adheres to the interior walls of the air ducts. Cooking grease can also cling to the interior of the ducts and harbor foul odors. Also, the presence of mold within the ductwork is often detected by its musty odor. Similarly, if the ducts contain an infestation of insects or rodents (alive or dead), the ducts will require a thorough cleaning and sanitizing to remediate the problem.

3) You simply prefer a fresh start

Some homeowners just prefer that everything in the home be immaculate from the very start. Perhaps someone in the household has severe allergies or other breathing disorders that are triggered or worsened by dust particles. In this case, the ducts may be cleaned for peace of mind. Or maybe the new homeowner knows that people and pets are constantly sloughing off dead skin cells and hair, and wants to ensure that no remnants of prior residents are left within the ductwork.

If you do decide to use a duct cleaning service, be aware that the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) has issued warnings about unscrupulous residential duct cleaning companies that lure homeowners with a cheap price and then use aggressive tactics to upsell unnecessary services. When researching air duct cleaning services, always perform a thorough check of reviews and references to ensure you are dealing with an experienced and qualified company.

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New Homeowner Checklist - Closet Organizer System Featured Image

The 3 Main Advantages of a Closet Organizer

Despite what you may think, you are not stuck with the closet space you have. A closet organizer can expand the storage capacity of any closet in your home. Organizers divide a closet into practical compartments, which makes for more effective use of the available space.

There is never really a bad time to improve the storage efficiency of your closets, but if you are transitioning to a new home there is truly no better time. Installing closet organizers prior to moving in, or just after the move, will enable you to reap the benefits of well-organized closets right from the start.

Organizers are available in a variety of styles to fit any size closet or budget. Choices range from inexpensive do-it-yourself kits to lavish custom-designed systems.

Even though organizers are tremendously popular for use in bedroom closets, they can actually improve the efficiency of just about any storage area, including the coat closet, utility closet, or kitchen pantry.

Below are the three main benefits of having one or more closet organizers in your home…

1) Fit more into the space you already have

No matter the size of the closets in a home, it seems there is always a need for more storage space. Even though you can’t increase the width or height dimensions of a closet, a closet organizer allows you to increase the available storage area within the closet. By using practical design features and the concept of compartmentalization, a closet organizer is able to maximize capacity. What was once wasted space is transformed into usable space, enabling the closet to provide more functionality and convenience.

2) Save valuable time and energy

Nothing is more frustrating than having to hunt for a particular garment or other belonging, especially when you are short on time. A closet organizer allows you to find items fast without having to conduct a frenzied search for them. By providing a sensible approach to organization, a closet system ensures everything will be in its proper place. The things you use every day will be neatly displayed and you will know right where to look…even before opening the closet door.

3) Reduce clutter and improve well-being

There is no denying that “a mess causes stress.” Seeing a cluttered and disorganized mess every time you open the closet door can stir feelings of uneasiness and anxiety. Investing in a closet organizer not only makes the interior of the closet look more appealing, the contents of the closet can be accessed more quickly and easily. Also, having a proper place for everything means you are much more likely to put things away rather than leaving them in a pile or strewn about. The installation of closet organizers is a relatively simple way to achieve orderliness in a household, which helps promote tranquility and well-being.

A custom closet storage solution, whether simple or elaborate, can create extra storage space where you once thought was none. Virtually any closet can be outfitted with an organizer, which will enable it to hold more, be better organized, and provide easier access.

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