Thursday, December 27, 2012

All I Want for Christmas is My Carpets Cleaned

All I Want for Christmas is My Carpets Cleaned

All I Want for Christmas is My Carpets Cleaned
And other Yuletide favorites…

Look at this blog post titled "Twas the Week Before Christmas" I found from TCM Restoration andCleaning in Palmer, Alaska. It’s just too funny not to share!  .

“Twas the week before Christmas when all through the house
The carpet was dirty, and so was the couch.
A throw rug was placed by the chimney with care,
In hopes it would cover the burn marks that were there.
The children were cleaning under their beds,
When millions of dust mites dropped on their head.

So Dad clipped a coupon, and hoped it was true.
Then he called to get carpet cleaned for $9.95 per room.
Then out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash.
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear.
Two carpet cleaners in a van finishing their beer.

The driver stumbled out, giving his cigarette a flick
Swearing under his breath, "Let's make this one quick",
They walked up the porch! Then knocked on the door!
No way was I letting these guys on the floor.
So we stayed real quiet and then they were gone.
All that was left was the beer cans on the lawn.
So I grabbed my computer and "carpet cleaning" I Googled,
Forget about coupons, It doesn't pay to be too frugal.

And then, in a twinkling, I picked up the phone.
I called TCM of Alaska to get the job done.
No sooner I hung up, and was turning around,
He pulled in the driveway; he came in with a bound.
He was dressed in uniform, clean cut and neat.
And his clothes were all pressed and booties on his feet.
A neat bundle of hoses he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a professional ready to unpack.

He was friendly and smart, and one by one,
He made sure I was happy with each room he had done.
He worked real fast and with great style
So I asked him also to clean all my tile.
The house was now clean and allergen free mostly
The only thing left was for him to clean the upholstery.
So he finished his work and the house smelled so clean,
and everything sparkled like the lights on our tree.

He packed up his van and as he drove away,
'There's still some time for you to call us today!’”
Wishing you the very best in the New Year from the Carpet and Rug Institute:

Anthony, Bethany, Bob, Jeff, Jenn, Joy, Linda, Louise, Pat, Pat, Ryan, Susan, Werner

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Holiday Spot and Stain Removal for Your Carpets and Rugs

Holiday Spot and Stain Removal – Or, How to Avoid the Ghosts of Christmas Parties Past on your Carpets and Rugs!

All of a sudden (or so it seems), the holiday season has arrived at my house. Overnight, my little empty-nester condo has been filled with the Christmas spirit, in the form of three grown-up sons (two mine, one I lay claim to) who have come home for the holiday break, bearing gifts and dirty laundry.

For me, the very best part of Christmas is being together as a family. With the comfort and joy provided by plenty of good food and a carefully-chosen present or two, my clan will spend Christmas day snuggled up at home, happy as possums in a pouch.

Problem is, of course, that all that happy family wallowing in good fellowship and cheer can make quite a mess. So, as my gift to you this season, I offer some fantastic advice on how to keep holiday spills from lingering, or reappearing like the Ghosts of Christmas Past come spring.

The following article was written for the CRI Blog by my friend, carpet cleaning expert Jeff Bishop.   Thank you, Jeff – you are definitely on my nice list this year!  

“Ahhh . . . the holiday season is upon us.  Fun, family, food . . . but wait a minute!  What about all the tracked-in soil, and spots and stains that are left behind?

Well the good news is that life as you know it doesn’t have to be over.  You can enjoy the holidays with a few simple tips from me and some help from the Carpet and Rug Institute.

First, what about all that tracked-in soil from outside? 

It’s as simple as vacuuming your carpet and rugs - even hard flooring - with a quality vacuum.  Need a replacement for the old worn out vac?  Visit the CRI web site and see the latest in CRI Seal of Approval (SOA) vacuums.  There are about 200 listed and they’ve been tested for soil removal, filtering capability, and for their ability to maintain the texture and appearance of your carpet, long-term. 

Several rules for purchasing vacuums:

1.      Not the cheapest, rather the best for durability and performance. 

2.      Use a high-efficiency filter bag or collection system to prevent aerosolizing soils. 

3.      Unless the vacuum has a floating head, be sure to set the pile height adjustment properly to avoid damage to carpet or rug pile yarns. 

So what about holiday spots and stains, including food and beverage spills, many with artificial coloring added?  

Foremost, don’t hesitate to access your carpet’s manufacturer for advice on maintaining their products.  Most have very informative web sites with lots of good information. 

Then, consider the principles of spotting that professional cleaners use:

1.      Respond quickly.  Generally, the longer you wait, the more complex the problem becomes. 

2.      Remove the excess: Do the easy things first.  Using white paper towels, blot beverage spills; scoop up semi-solids (ketchup, mustard, gravy); vacuum up powdery residues (e.g., flower, sugars).

3.      Dissolve: Many foods and beverages contain substances that can be dissolved: sugar, salt, many starches are easily dissolved with plain warm water.  There are many CRI SOA spotters (detergents) that do a great job in this area as well.  Even oily spots (from toys or foods; or just tracked in–oils from the garage) can be dissolved (emulsified) with well-formulated spotters. 

4.      Suspend: For spot components that can’t be dissolved, use an approved spotter that’s designed to lift and suspend pigment in carbon.

5.      Rinse: Just apply a little warm water and rinse.  Even quality spotting agents can leave slight residues than can attract soil. 

6.      Dye removal: With olefin Berbers, or polyester or triexta friezes or plushes, staining simply isn’t a problem.  However, if a stain (added color) remains after spotting nylon or wool, it may be best to call a professional for help (; or 800.835.4624 on weekdays).  Certification is your assurance that the cleaner has specialized training in spot and stain removal, as well as overall cleaning. 

OK.  You have a good spotter that’s CRI SOA-approved or one that’s recommended by your carpet manufacturer.  Now, what about spotting technique?  Several rules to remember:

1.      Again, get up the excess first.  Blot, scoop, vacuum.  This avoids spreading spots.

2.      Drip-apply spotters; don’t pour them on.  That wastes spotter (and money) and potentially, it can damage backing adhesives.  With dry solvents for grease, apply the spotter to a clean, white cloth and dab the spot to remove it progressively. 

3.      Tamp (up and down) spots, never scrub (back and forth) with spotting brushes, or even towels! 

4.      Apply the spotter and blot; then observe for transfer to a clean cloth.  As long as the spot or stain transfers, keep repeat the process. 

5.      When transfer stops, blot the spot thoroughly; then sprinkle on a little warm water and blot some more.

6.      Get the area dry.  Not only does this prevent soil attraction, it also prevents a potential slip/fall hazard. 


1.      Ammonia has a pH of about 12 - too aggressive for most nylon and wool.  Also, it can remove the stain-resist treatment applied to carpet during manufacture. 

2.      White vinegar won’t do much that plain water can’t accomplish.  Same for white wine - although if you drink it, that may improve your attitude while getting up the spot! 

3.      On nylon or wool, avoid bleaches (e.g., chlorinated, peroxide or anything with “oxy” on the label), which can easily remove color from most nylon or wool, or they can damage wool fiber.

4.      Sometimes a spot or stain can re-appear or wick from backings to the surface of pile yarns.  When this happens, simply repeat the spotting process (apply, blot, observe, rinse) until completely removed. 

The CRI recommends that you follow these spotting tips for a happier, less stressful holiday season.” 

Thank you, Jeff, and season’s greetings one and all!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Kaye Gosline Discusses Flooring Color Trends 2013

Kaye Gosline Discusses Flooring Color Trends 2013
The first time I became familiar with Kaye Gosline was in 2005, when I read her book, “About Color: a journey into light,” in which she talked about the effects of color and light on the city of Paris. I had never encountered anyone so passionate about color, and it changed the way I looked at the world.

Kaye’s enthusiasm for color and her reputation as an expert on color trends is well-known in the flooring industry. Consequently, I was thrilled when she agreed to write an article for the CRI blog on flooring color trends for 2013. 

“Color is one of the most personal choices we make when it is time to decorate. It sets the tone in so many ways and expresses the style or mood of the home owner. With all the uncertainty in the economy and particularly the housing market, consumers might be bolder in accessories or paint, but flooring remains a long term purchase not subject to whimsy. There is more emphasis than ever on trends but some things like stainless steel appliances and neutral carpet are constant. Soft hand, texture and easy maintenance are still top of mind. Less clutter, fewer but better quality furniture pieces and hand crafted accessories work well in today's environments that seek to balance function and comfort. Natural light and rooms that flow from indoors to outdoors make the home appealing across all regions.

While I don't see more than subtle shifts in neutrals, the accents are definitely taking some interesting turns. Just a touch of gray takes the oranges, reds, purples and yellow into interesting territory. Spice colors and organic earthy hues can be mixed with grays or beige. Blue is on the horizon but for now green remains far more malleable as a natural mixer.

Homeowners today demand easy coordination and simplified choices. Flooring can be confusing and with big dollars involved, they want to be assured that their money is well spent. A palette of sophisticated neutrals in both warm and cool ranges with just a few well-placed pops of color offers her beauty with confidence.”

Having just finished a major (for me) redecorating project in my house, I can tell you that Kaye’s take on a woman’s inclination to blend neutrals with a few pops of color just about describes my new room.
Thank you, Kaye.


Friday, December 14, 2012

CRI Technical Bulletin: Flammability and Carpet Safety

CRI Technical Bulletin: Flammability and Carpet Safety
Updated Technical Bulletins from the Carpet and Rug Institute - Flammability and Carpet Safety
Did you know that the Carpet and Rug Institute has a wholelibrary of technical bulletins on its website?

That’s right - CRI has an entire section oftechnical bulletins, white papers and scientific research available for anyone with the time (and patience) to access. 

Eleven of these important technical documents have been updated in 2012. (See Carpet and Rug Institute Updates 11 Technical Bulletins.) Additional bulletins are scheduled for review and updating in 2013.

This week, we feature excerpts from the Flammability & Carpet Safety bulletin.

CRI Technical Bulletin: Flammability and Carpet Safety (04/12)

Carpet is manufactured for use as a floor covering, and installation on other surfaces, such as walls, is not recommended. Most carpet manufacturers will not assume any liability if carpet is installed on surfaces other than floors. Specific tests exist for interior finish materials installed on walls or ceilings.
Smoke Generation

Some regulatory agencies specify limits on smoke generated under specified conditions, although it is not referenced in the International Building Code. The most widely used test method is known as the NBS Smoke Density Chamber, *ASTM E-662.
The regulatory limit typically mentioned is a maximum of 450 with the test conducted in the flaming mode.

There have been no documented incidents known to the carpet industry in more than 3 decades where carpet has contributed to a fire.

Specifiers must always be familiar with local requirements and any special situations.
There is no need to include requirements for the “pill test” in specifications, as all carpet introduced into commerce in the US must meet this standard.

*American Society for Testing and Materials
** National Fire Protection Association

~ Bethany Richmond

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Carpet Recycling Needs Risk-Takers

The Carpet America Recovery Effort, otherwise known as CARE, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing landfill diversion through the reuse and recycling of carpet.

CARE provides market-based solutions to better the environment while creating economic incentives for recycling. Its members include independent carpet recyclers, carpet manufacturers, dealers, retailers, suppliers and non-governmental organizations.

In his November 2, 2012 column titled Entrepreneurship thrives in carpet industry in the Dalton Daily-Citizen, Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun talks about the value of entrepreneurs to the new industry of carpet recycling. More specifically, entrepreneurs like Ron Greitzer, who is president of the carpet recycling company LA Fibers

Enter Ron Greitzer of CaliforniaRon was someone who, a number of years ago, was willing to risk his family fortune, to risk everything, to create a business aimed at diverting carpet from landfills and salvaging some of its valuable resources.

He knew, as do other entrepreneurs associated with CARE, that carpet is an extremely valuable resource, partly because of the plastic it contains. This plastic, derived from oil, can be recovered from used carpet and reused for many purposes, including the manufacture of carpet pads or cushions and even new carpet fiber.

Ron wanted to be among those who turned “one man’s junk” into “another man’s treasure.” So he pursued this dream. As a consequence, he went through some very, very hard times, but he stuck with it and persevered. Now he’s on sound footing, successful in ways he’d only dreamed of before. He is likely one of the longest operating carpet recyclers in the world.

What’s unique about CARE is that it combines meeting our collective goal (reducing waste) and encouraging private enterprise (creating businesses) in a win-win partnership that benefits both the environment and the economy.

CARE is recognized as one of the first true industry/government voluntary partnerships. This is a perfect example of what the country should be striving toward: encouraging free enterprise while making great strides toward a “greener” tomorrow.”

Thank you, Werner.

~ Bethany


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hard Floors Aggravate Heel Spurs

Hard Floors Aggravate Heel Spurs
Doctor says softer is better for those who suffer with foot and ankle ailments

Several weeks ago, I wrote an article titled Social Media Reveals Some Folks Miss Carpet and Soft Floors about the different reasons people missed having carpet. With the trend towards more hard surface floors going on for a decade or more now, many of us have had a chance for the shiny to wear off of our love affair with hard surface floors.
Take the day I was cleaning the top of a cabinet in my laundry room. My sleeve caught on the wine rack and tipped it down just enough to send three bottles of Rioja crashing to the tile floor. Tiles broken, grout dyed deep red – it was a mess. Now, I’m not saying that carpet on the floor would have kept the bottles from breaking – not all of them, anyway – or that carpet is the best floor covering for a laundry room, only that it would have been easier and cheaper to replace.

Most floors take a lot of punishment. And no matter what type of floors you have, it takes a lot of work to keep them clean.
On the flip side, our feet take a good deal of punishment, too, and the older I get the more I am aware of it. A comment I found recently on from a husband and wife who developed heel spurs a few months after replacing their carpets with hard floors made me wonder if there was a connection.

Will replacing carpet with hard surface floors cause heel spurs? The answer, according to Dalton, Georgia-based podiatrist Dr. Spence Misner, DPM, is yes and no.
Plantar Fasciitis (the medically correct name for heel spurs) is never a ‘one-issue’ problem. It’s a combination of factors: the shoe; whether or not the person is out of shape or overweight, and the surface –whether it is forgiving or not, and how much time the person has to stand on it.”

The more unyielding a surface is, he says, the more likely it is to be an aggravator of plantar fasciitis.

So, for anyone who has had problems with heel spurs (or Achilles tendons), Dr. Misner (who is an experienced marathoner) says the softer the better. He lists the types of flooring from hardest to softest as: carpet on pad, carpet on wood or concrete slab, resilient floors or LVT, wood on wood subfloor, wood on concrete slab, and tile or concrete.  

For any kind of foot ailment, carpet is better. It can help prevent pain, or lessen the exacerbation; for example, it can take pain from a level eight or nine down to a three or four.”
Thank you, Dr. Misner.
Anyone like to comment? My feet say yes to carpet!


Image Credit: The Running Institute San Diego

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Why I Love Carpet, Part Deux

“Living room with some of the furniture back in place.
One of my dogs Brandy is already enjoying the cozyiness”
Do you remember that I wrote about a blog article I found on the self-publishing site titled, “Why I love Carpet and Hate Hardwood Floors”?

Written by “Mrs. Obvious” (not her real name), a mother of two who works as a professional dog and cat groomer. The article was essentially about how Mrs. Obvious, who lives in a house full of hard surface floors, misses the comfort and warmth of carpet.

Here’s an excerpt:
“I am praying that Santa Claus brings me carpet for Christmas. The [hardwood] floors are cold, and hard, and uncomforting. Noise rings through the house unmuffled. Dust bunnies roll across the floor unabashedly like sagebrush in old west movies. The furniture slides across the floor like a clumsy hockey player on ice. If you actually laid on the floor, you could see the film of dust, and the areas that are swept and unswept by foot traffic moving through the rooms. I love to stretch out on the floor and roll around with my kids, wrestling and tickling. But who wants to lie on cold hardwood and bang up your knees and elbows playing?”  

The entire article is really interesting and I encourage you to read Why I love Carpet and Hate Hardwood Floor.

Sometime after her initial article, Mrs. Obvious published this update, complete with pictures of her new carpet - which you see in the image above.
My new carpet.  UPDATE: 3/16/11

“I just wanted to tell my Hubpages friends that about three weeks ago, I finally got carpet for my house! This has been a two and a half year goal, and I finally got some money to buy a whole house-full of carpet! It is the thickest, softest carpet I have ever lived with and the best money I have every spent. It is a coffee and cream color and has a multi-tonal quality to hide dirt well, plus it compliments everything in my home. I am in love with my house all over again. I have become a homebody lately just enjoying the way it looks, the way it feels on my feet, and how quiet it has been around here too. And yes, for those of you wondering, it is at least five degrees warmer in my house also.
I am so happy with the results and so are my kids, and the dogs.

 I will cherish my carpet thank you, and the little messes every now and then are worth the effort of cleaning. I really don't mind at all! We do have a couple new rules around here also, like 1. NO shoes on the carpet. 2. NO food on the carpet. Ironically, my family doesn't seem to mind the tradeoff.
You know those signs in store windows that say "No shirt, no shoes, no service"? The next house I buy, I'm telling my realtor, ‘No carpet, NO SALE!’

I'm not kidding.”
Well, she calls it like she sees it, that’s for sure! Can anyone relate?


Image credit: Mrs. Obvious.
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