Author Archives: admin

Tips for Choosing Your Carpet Cleaning Company from the IICRC

“Carpet cleaning companies have a major responsibility when a homeowner hires them. These technicians must be able to eliminate more than stains. They must be able to remove pet dander and other allergens and any organic debris that may cause microbial growth. Without the proper training and certification, these professionals will not have the best methods and equipment available to them. For this reason, consumers should only select technicians that are certified through a respected agency. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, or IICRC, is the most reputable organization in the industry. Its certification process ensures the technician is able to provide effective service to any consumer.

The IICRC is focused on more than just carpet cleaning companies and also provides education for other technicians. If a homeowner needs carpet repair or needs to have fire or water damage fixed, they should consider hiring a professional who is certified in these areas through the IICRC. During the certification process, the technician will learn directly from an IICRC approved instructor and will have to pass a skills test. During the course, professionals learn the best methods for soil suspension, removal and extraction, as well as grooming and drying. Technicians will also be introduced to the best methods for using absorbent pads and compounds in addition to the best technologies for shampooing, steaming, and dry foaming.

Professionals that receive certification in this area can also pursue advanced designations in a certification track. After achieving journeyman or master status in carpet cleaning, fire and smoke restoration or water damage repair, these technicians are experts in their field. While this is helpful to technicians that want to improve their standing in the field, it is most beneficial to consumers who are able to hire talented professionals as a result.”

Information sourced from: http://www.iicrc.org/blog/cleaning-companies-092413.html

 

“Searching For Local Carpet Cleaners”

Prior to hiring local carpet cleaners there are a number of factors to consider. Thorough research and recommendations from previous customers can determine who is the most qualified to do the job. Carpeting is a significant investment in the structure and interior appearance of any home or business. As a result, it must be properly treated by frequent vacuuming and spot cleaning. Over time foot traffic, eating and even pets can leave a build-up of unwanted contaminants that is best removed by a certified technician that is knowledgeable and experienced in the process.

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is the non-profit body that oversees the instruction and training of professional technicians. The organization requires that individuals and companies wanting to obtain or preserve certification must attend subject related courses, perform on site training, and pass the necessary exams.

With so much competition in the industry, it is imperative that customers know what questions to ask prior to making a final selection. They should determine the type of estimate and agreement, the equipment utilized, and the services offered under each rate. Additionally, factors such as the company’s duration in the industry, training, methods used, and the license and insurance they carry must be determined. Locating the IICRC logo on a company’s website as well as testimonials and reviews from previous clientele will also present a clear picture of the quality of services they can be expected to render.

Online research along with prior customer reviews will help consumers discover the most qualified of the many local carpet cleaners in an area. Equipped with this information they will maximize their initial flooring investments and their carpets will look their very best!”

This information was sourced from: http://www.iicrc.org/blog/local-carpet-cleaners-102313.html

Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings

“Table 1: Water Damage – Cleanup and Mold Prevention

Table 1 presents strategies to respond to water damage within 24-48 hours. These guidelines are designed to help avoid the need for remediation of mold growth by taking quick action before growth starts. If mold growth is found on the materials listed in Table 1, refer to Table 2 for guidance on remediation. Depending on the size of the area involved and resources available, professional assistance may be needed to dry an area quickly and thoroughly.

An Adobe Acrobat PDF version of this table is available here (PDF, 1 page, 209 K, about PDF)

Go to Table 2 | Go back to Investigating, Evaluating, and Remediating Moisture and Mold Problems

Water-Damaged Material  Actions
Books and papers
  • For non-valuable items, discard books and papers.
  • Photocopy valuable/important items, discard originals.
  • Freeze (in frost-free freezer or meat locker) or freeze-dry.
Carpet and backing – dry within 24-48 hours §
  • Remove water with water extraction vacuum.
  • Reduce ambient humidity levels with dehumidifier.
  • Accelerate drying process with fans.
Ceiling tiles
  • Discard and replace.
Cellulose insulation
  • Discard and replace.
Concrete or cinder block surfaces
  • Remove water with water extraction vacuum.
  • Accelerate drying process with dehumidifiers, fans, and/or heaters.
Fiberglass insulation
  • Discard and replace.
Hard surface, porous flooring§ (Linoleum, ceramic tile, vinyl)
  • Vacuum or damp wipe with water and mild detergent and allow to dry; scrub if necessary.
  • Check to make sure underflooring is dry; dry underflooring if necessary.
Non-porous, hard surfaces
(Plastics, metals)
  • Vacuum or damp wipe with water and mild detergent and allow to dry; scrub if necessary.
Upholstered furniture
  • Remove water with water extraction vacuum.
  • Accelerate drying process with dehumidifiers, fans, and/or heaters.
  • May be difficult to completely dry within 48 hours. If the piece is valuable, you may wish to consult a restoration/water damage professional who specializes in furniture.
Wallboard
(Drywall and gypsum board)
  • May be dried in place if there is no obvious swelling and the seams are intact. If not, remove, discard, and replace.
  • Ventilate the wall cavity, if possible.
Window drapes
  • Follow laundering or cleaning instructions recommended by the manufacturer.
Wood surfaces
  • Remove moisture immediately and use dehumidifiers, gentle heat, and fans for drying. (Use caution when applying heat to hardwood floors.)
  • Treated or finished wood surfaces may be cleaned with mild detergent and clean water and allowed to dry.
  • Wet paneling should be pried away from wall for drying.

* If mold growth has occurred or materials have been wet for more than 48 hours, consult Table 2 guidelines. Even if materials are dried within 48 hours, mold growth may have occurred. Items may be tested by professionals if there is doubt. Note that mold growth will not always occur after 48 hours; this is only a guideline.

These guidelines are for damage caused by clean water. If you know or suspect that the water source is contaminated with sewage, or chemical or biological pollutants, then Personal Protective Equipment and containment are required by OSHA. An experienced professional should be consulted if you and/or your remediators do not have expertise remediating in contaminated water situations. Do not use fans before determining that the water is clean or sanitary.

† If a particular item(s) has high monetary or sentimental value, you may wish to consult a restoration/water damage specialist.

§ The subfloor under the carpet or other flooring material must also be cleaned and dried. See the appropriate section of this table for recommended actions depending on the composition of the subfloor.”

Information sourced from: http://www.epa.gov/mold/table1.html

Hard Surface Cleaning

“In today’s home decor, hard surface flooring is playing an increasingly important role. Examples of popular flooring materials include stone, concrete, ceramic/clay, wood, resilient and specialty flooring. These materials appear to be easy to clean, maintain and restore, however, soils on hard surface flooring have a tendency to build up progressively, resulting in erosion. Sooner or later, it’s necessary to clean beyond routine dusting and damp mopping; that’s the time to call in a certified professional for help.

Certified technicians have the specialized training and experience it takes to select the proper cleaning chemicals, equipment, tools and materials in conjunction with the proper methodologies for maintaining or restoring hard surface flooring to its original beauty. Certified technicians can offer advice on how to clean and maintain the appearance of hard surface flooring and how to maximize your investment and extend flooring life.

xamples of popular flooring materials today include stone, concrete, ceramic/clay, wood, resilient and specialty flooring.

To protect and preserve the life and durability of your hard surface floors the cleantrust offers the following general guidelines for care:

  • Use Entry Mats. 80 percent to 90 percent of the soil found on floors is tracked in from outside.
  • Remove Dry Soil Often. Vacuuming is the most efficient method of dry soil removal.
  • Wet Clean Regularly. Use a neutral floor cleaner or one formulated for the floor surface you are cleaning. Note, when cleaning wood floors keep moisture to a minimum.
    • Identification is Key. There are six categories of hard surface floor covering: natural stone, concrete, ceramic/clay, wood, resilient and specialty. Within these categories are numerous classifications that require different cleaning methodologies. By knowing what the flooring material is, a proper floor maintenance program can be developed.
    • Use Walk off Mats. The number one enemy of flooring materials is soil because of the damage caused by eroding the surface of the floor, keeping it out is paramount to a successful program. Studies  indicate that five feet of walk off mat will reduce 33 percent of the soil  entering into a building, and 25 feet of walk off mat will reduce almost all of the soil entering a building.
    • Spot Mopping. Slip and falls are a significan challenge with hard surface maintenance. Spills should be removed as soon as they occur. When a spill occurs, cordon off the area with wet floor signs, placards, cones or tape, remove the spill with appropriate cleaning solution, wet mop, bucket and wringer and dry the floor completely with floor fan before leaving the area.
    • Daily/Routine Maintenance. Reducing or eliminating the soil that gets past the walk off mats on a daily or routine basis is the best way to reduce the damaging effects caused by erosion to the floor surface. This is accomplished with the dry service procedures (sweeping, dust mopping or microfiber cloth systems and vacuuming) followed by wet service procedures (spot, damp, and wet mopping) using the appropriate cleaning solutions in conjunction with mop buckets and wringers ,microfiber cloth systems or automatic scrubbing machines in large open areas.
    • Periodic and Restorative Maintenance. Professional floor maintenance technicians are the best choice for the periodic and restorative maintenance of hard surface flooring. Because of the number of categories and classifications of hard surface flooring available, mistakes can be made. A certified floor maintenance technician will know how to identify and provide the proper floor maintenance solutions.”

Information sourced from: http://www.iicrc.org/consumers/care/hard-surface-cleaning/

Carpet Color Repair

“Carpet receives the greater part of daily household abuse including pet stains, drink spills, food-stains, soil, sun-fade, bleach discolorations and a lot more. So before you chuck the old floor covering for a new one, consider an alternative that’s a lot easier on the pocket – professional color repair.

Carpet discolorations and stains can result from countless culprits such as acne medication, perfume, household bleach, insecticides, pet stains, coffee, plant foods, mustard furniture staining and more. Since the average “life” of a carpet is roughly 12 years, there’s bound to be some damage along the way. However, with the help of certified professionals, your aging carpet can gain extended life.

Certified color restoration technicians can perform for a variety of color repairs including those arising from:

  • Bleaching
  • Staining
  • Sun-fading
  • Pet stains and discoloration
  • Side-match correction
  • Traffic-related conditions, such as shading

—-

According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, 63 percent of U.S. households have a dog, cat or both. “Accidents” on carpet require quick cleanup to remove bacteria and odor. The cleantrust recommends these tips to maintain a clean and healthful home.

  • Extract the moisture. Place an inch-thick layer of paper towels on the area and place a color-fast, absorbent towel on top to absorb moisture. Leave it in place overnight.
  • Seal the floor underneath. Repeated accidents can lead to deep odor penetration into underlying concrete or wood. Treat under floors before installing new carpet. Thoroughly clean, disinfect and seal concrete floors. With wood floors, cut out and replace wood rot. Disinfect the stained area and apply wood sealer.
  • Enlist a certified professional. Without specialized chemicals and extraction equipment, pet owners may not be able to completely remove animal soiling from carpet. To remove stubborn odor and stains, the cleantrust recommends hiring qualified professionals for deep extraction cleaning and specialty stain removal.”

Information Sourced from: http://www.iicrc.org/consumers/care/carpetcolor-repair/

Carpet Inspection

“Residential and commercial carpet inspections are required when there are misunderstandings or complaints about carpet performance.

An IICRC-certified inspection is required by most carpet mills/manufacturers, and may be requested by anyone who is in the “carpet value chain,” including the retailer, installation contractor, end-user or consumer. The inspector’s job is to collect forensic evidence about flooring problems and express his or her observations and conclusions about that evidence in a clear and concise report suitable for use in a court of law.

Questions regarding carpet performance generally fall into one or a combination of the following categories:

  • Manufacturing
  • Specification
  • Installation
  • Maintenance
  • Misunderstanding of inherent product characteristics

Not only do cleantrust inspectors understand inspection, but they are also required to have training and certification in carpet cleaning, stain and spot removal, repairs and installation.”

Information Sourced from: http://www.iicrc.org/consumers/care/carpet-inspection/

IICRC: Why Should A Technician Be Hired For Odor Removal?

“While some forms of odor removal can be done by a homeowner without any technical experience, professionals will be needed for more stubborn, unpleasant smells. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, or IICRC, is the agency in charge of certifying technicians skilled in this field. Through training supervised by IICRC approved instructors, these technicians possess the best methods and products available for handling this problem. Their advanced skills allow them to eliminate smells caused by fire, smoke, mold, and thorough pet soiling. While homeowners have some tools available to help control these issues, professional help is usually required to eliminate them completely.

According to a survey commissioned by the IICRC, more than 80 percent of homeowners state that how clean their floors are is a major factor in their family’s health. However, only 15 percent of homeowners have their carpets cleaned every year. Odor removal is a major component of preventing airborne contaminants from affecting the family’s health inside the home. Also, a lingering stench almost always comes from a source that is hazardous to people and pets. For these reasons, the problem should be treated as soon as it is noticed.

The best way for a homeowner to perform simple odor removal is with a readily accessible substance. Homeowners have been getting rid of foul smells with home remedies for decades. While these substances are easy to apply to the carpet and are effective for smaller jobs, they aren’t feasible for more extensive problems. Also, they don’t typically eliminate the cause of the scent but cover it up instead. This just masks the health hazard in the room and so it remains a threat.

Technicians trained in odor removal through an IICRC approved instructor are taught the four general principles of eliminating unpleasant smells. They first attempt to locate and destroy the source of the smell. In some cases, like during fire and smoke restoration, this may be too difficult to do before cleaning the area. Once the source is destroyed, the technician will thoroughly clean any surfaces or items that were affected by the source. While carpets are often a primary spot for odors to take root, furniture, clothing, and drywall may also take on the scent if they are exposed long enough. These surfaces must be cleaned to prevent the smell from coming back.

Technicians also have access to several odor removal products capable of penetrating surfaces to neutralize the unpleasant smell thoroughly. Every material has its own physical properties that determine which substances to use for effective odor elimination. Trained professionals can find the best product for each material, from carpet and fabric to wood and ceramic. Once the surface has been treated, trained technicians are able to seal the surface to trap what scent does remain. Foul smells are created by airborne particles that can be sealed away for good.

These professionals can handle odors caused by urine contamination, decomposition, mold, chemicals, and fire and smoke damage, among many other sources. Their expertise means they are prepared for any job, no matter the scope.”

Information Sourced from: http://www.iicrc.org/why-should-technician-hired-for-odor-removal-a-123.html

IICRC: Carpet Odor Removal

“Whether it’s the fault of a new pet who hasn’t been entirely housebroken, an old pet with failing health, or clumsy everyday spills, accidents that result in the need of carpet odor removal happen for a variety of reasons.  One of the rules for carpet odor removal is to act promptly, because once the stain has set in it will be harder to extract the visual and olfactory traces of it. An often overlooked cause of unpleasant odor is mildew that has resulted from the floor covering or the padding beneath it getting overly wet and staying damp. The growth of bacteria is a side effect of allowing a spill or accident to settle into the carpet fibers, but it is also something that can easily be prevented.

Some smells, like cigarette smoke, may not be pinned to a specific location on the floor covering. Sometimes scents linger long after the offending spot has been identified, soaped, blotted, rinsed and deodorized. A strong ammonia scent can overwhelm a room and lead people to search for the best method of carpet odor removal. A steam cleaning is usually the approach taken to combat lingering smells. Steam cleaning can result in a deeper cleansing than regular vacuuming or spot cleaning a spill and can be bought or rented for in home use. A steam cleaner uses water heated to the point of evaporation to penetrate the pile of the floor covering deeply.  The steam dislodges debris and dirt that are trapped in the fibers.  The steam itself is not enough to remove stains or odors though, and usually a cleaning solution is used in conjunction with the machine.

Baking soda and distilled white vinegar have been known to be useful additions to the stock of cleaning supplies used to tend to smells in the home. Allowing baking soda to sit prior to vacuuming can have a deodorizing effect.  When it comes to carpet odor removal, the do-it-yourself cleaning solutions pale in comparison to the work that can be done by a qualified professional service.  The most effective method of carpet odor removal is consulting a professional.  They have worked with all sorts of stains, textile materials, brands, and carpet constructions, and can put that knowledge to good use when determining the best method of treatment. Experts have the machines and experience to handle floor coverings that have been roughly and routinely used. Usually, their cleaning solutions are stronger than those that can be bought over the counter.  A spot that has been soiled repeatedly may have more than just dirty surface fibers, as the backing and the floor underneath may be contaminated too. A qualified professional knows how to take care of the entire problem.

Even floor coverings that are not marred by stains or emanating smells require some routine maintenance to keep them at their best for longer. Regular care and upkeep results in a longer life expectancy of the floor covering, and provides an overall cleaner indoor environment. Although a professional may employ the same method of treatment for removing scents, the steam cleaner, their training and previous hands-on involvement usually yields a more satisfactory and thorough job than a DIY approach.”

Information Sourced from: http://www.iicrc.org/carpet-odor-removal-t-4_11.html

Rug Cleaning Tips from the IICRC

“Sixty-four percent of U.S. homeowners have rugs in their homes; found a survey by the IICRC, but only 40 percent clean them on a regular basis. Like carpets, rugs require proper maintenance to retain their appearance and durability.

Area rugs tend to be made of more delicate fibers, questionable dyes and woven constructions that can easily be damaged by do-it-yourself procedures or even professionals without adequate training and experience.

Certified technicians are trained to recognize different fibers, constructions and types of carpet and rugs, along with their potential problems. They have the equipment, training and experience to restore the beauty of carpet and rugs — improving the look of your home or business and protecting the indoor environment, as well as your investment.

Area rugs are more popular than ever with consumers today, thanks to the increase in hard surface flooring.  If you’ve purchased a high-quality area rug for your home, you may wonder how to protect your investment and maintain its beauty.

Fiber content and construction are the major factors that determine the appropriate rug cleaning method. The IICRC offers several tips for keeping your rugs looking like new:

  • Vacuum rugs on a regular basis. Fringe should be hand-vacuumed only.
  • When spills occur, scoop or blot-up the excess. Then dilute the area with water and blot – don’t rub – until no more color is visible on your clean, white towel.
  • Ideally, rugs should be removed from the home or office to be professionally      cleaned.
  • Rotate your rugs once a year to ensure even wear.

How often should your rug be professionally cleaned? The answer depends on its location in your home. Does it get heavy foot traffic? Are there any pets? Often, animals are drawn to rugs and can leave behind unpleasant surprises that require specialized treatment.”

Information Sourced from: http://www.iicrc.org/consumers/care/rug-cleaning/

Pet, Carpet, Home Odor Control

“Odor in homes and buildings arises from many sources that may include pet urine, disaster contaminates, moisture problems or just plain soil. Routine cleaning automatically removes the sources of general soiling odors.

Pet urine decontamination normally requires more specialized deodorizing techniques. To remove musty odor associated with moisture, ultimately it’s important to identify and correct the moisture (high humidity) intrusion problem. Odor associated with disaster contaminates (smoke, trauma events) requires highly specialized procedures and techniques.

Odor removal involves four general principles:

  1. Removing the source as possible
  2. Cleaning affected surfaces and materials
  3. Recreating the conditions of penetration with appropriate counteractants
  4. Sealing restorable surfaces as necessary

Certified professionals are trained and experienced in dealing with carpet-related odor. They have the detection tools, the specialized agents, the equipment and the experience necessary to deal with odors of all types and kinds.

Tips for a Fresh Home

 

A survey commissioned by the IICRC indicates that 81 percent of U.S. homeowners agree that the health of their family is directly related to the cleanliness of floors in the home. While a key component to improving air quality is eliminating carpet and rug odors, which in many cases requires regularly cleaning these surfaces, only 15 percent clean their carpet at least once a year.

According to the IICRC, the following four-step process is the best way to successfully remove odor from your carpet:

  1. Remove the source of the odor, as practical (absorb liquids, scoop solids)
  2. Thoroughly clean odor-affected surfaces and materials. Cleaning is basic to deodorizing
  3. Treat the odor source with an appropriate odor counteractant (sanitizer, disinfectant, enzyme)
  4. Seal restorable surfaces, such as subflooring, if practical

Many sources of odor, including pet urine and tobacco smoke, require specialized procedures and techniques and are best addressed by a certified professional.”

Information Sourced from: http://www.iicrc.org/consumers/care/odor-control/