Deodorizers: Are they necessary?


There are two major categories of deodorizers: masking and counteracting.

Masking deodorizers are fragrances which are used to cover an existing odor, or provide a smell where there would otherwise be none.

Counteracting deodorizers can have different mechanisms of operation. No matter the mechanism, they actually eliminate odors from the environment. Some counteracting deodorizing products contain masking deodorizers. The addition of a masking deodorizer allows for immediate relief from the offending odor, giving the counteracting deodorizer time to provide prolonged relief.

We do not use masking deodorizers, which are often included as incentives by other companies. It is a common feeling that for something to be clean, it needs to smell clean. This is why these products can provide such powerful emotional manipulation and effective marketing. However, when something is clean it should have very little to no smell.

The first step in proper odor removal is removing the soiling that is the source of the odor. After as much contamination as possible is removed, only the relatively small amount of odor residue remaining needs to be counteracted.

When your textiles have a general and mild smell about them, a proper restorative cleaning process will remove the source of the odor and therefore the odor itself. There is no need to introduce additional unnecessary chemistry to your indoor environment; a masking deodorizer.

If you have an odor issue from pets, or another form of heavier contamination, a counteracting deodorizer may be necessary. Once the source contamination is removed the odor can be properly assessed and counteracted for permanent removal.

Over the Counter and DIY Spot Removers: Be Careful


It would be wrong of us to say that no over the counter or DIY spot removal methods work, of course some do. However, we often see situations where over the counter and DIY spot removal attempts damage the carpet or rug far worse than the original incident. With the right information you can be well equipped to deal with a broad range of situations. See our blog post How to be Prepared for Spills on Carpet for more information.

Over the counter products are formulated to remove stains, but often with a "by any means necessary" directive. This means they load their products to the brim with detergents, surfactants, oxidizers, etc. By creating their products with such powerful chemistry they increase the odds of spot removal, but they also increase potential for damaging fabrics and leave heavy residues behind. Even with professional equipment there are some over the counter products that we can't practically rinse from a carpet. In a major industry distributor's spot and stain removal guide there is a how to section for removing a popular over the counter product from carpet, the suggestion is dyeing or a structural repair.

DIY spot removal guides on the internet want you to play chemist in your home, its simply not worth it. Never mix any two products together. While it is unlikely, you never know when two things may interact unfavorably or dangerously. There are a few household products that can be helpful in cleaning your own carpets and rugs, they should be used alone and never mixed: isopropyl alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, laundry detergent, baking soda, and vinegar. Look for blog posts with specific examples of when you would use these products.

How to Prepare for an Appointment with Look'N Good Cleaning Service


Don't do this...

Preparing for your appointment with Look'N Good Cleaning Service is very simple. Read the list below to help make your appointment as efficient as possible.

  1. Parking - We need to be able to park immediately adjacent to your home. In some areas this is very easy with abundant street parking. If you live in an area with limited parking we ask that you leave us space to park in the driveway, if you have one. Once we are able to walk through the job we will ask you to relocate vehicles if necessary for us to access the home.
  2. Interior Access - Once inside the home we will need walkways clear to a width of at least two feet. We ask to have access to a sink for fresh water and bathroom to dispose of recovered water or unused product, if neccesary.
  3. Furniture - We attempt to move as much furniture as is practical. Larger pieces such as pianos, entertainment centers, china cabinets, etc. are not practical nor safe for us to move. If any piece of furniture is damaged or particularly fragile, please let us know so that we do not attempt to move it. If you choose to move furniture prior to our arrival please move it completely away from any areas being cleaned.
  4. Occupants - The occupants of the home do not need to leave the home during cleaning. For practicality and efficiency, we do ask that children and pets are kept out of any areas being cleaned. If children are in the home someone over the age of eighteen must be present.
  5. Additional Service Options - The best time to have additional services performed is when we are already at your home. You will save time, since you already planned to be available for the appointment. You will save money, since we are already at your home we don't have to worry about covering overhead costs such as travel time to your home since we are already at your home.

How to be Prepared for Spills on Carpet


It's fairly simple to take care of many spills that might occur at your home, if you have all your ducks in a row that is. In this post we are going to talk about some items to have on hand to help simplify clean up.

I break down spill clean up into four steps: initial extraction, dilution, residue removal, and final rinse. Initial extraction refers to removing as much of the spill as possible before applying anything to it. Dilution is applying water and extraction until you no longer see visual improvement. Residue removal is where we use our chemistry to remove the remainder of the visual spot. Finally you want to rinse again with fresh water to remove any product that has been applied for spot removal. There are exceptions where one of more of these steps may be skipped, but these are the four basic steps to spill clean up.

Initial extraction can be performed in a few ways. For liquid spills you should have white terry cloth towels on hand or a small wet vacuum. Paper towels can be used, but on larger spills towels or the wet vacuum are the greener options. For solid spills a spoon is actually a very effective tool.

Dilution is ideally performed with a small sprayer filled with clear, warm water, and the same means of extraction used initially. This step removes the majority of the remaining contamination. Since most things you would spill are water soluble, water is the best thing to remove them. It is important to not completely saturate the carpet in this step as you do not want to push soil deeper into the backing of the carpet.

Residue removal, in many instances, can be performed with chemistry you already have in your home. Isopropyl alcohol and Hydrogen Peroxide should already be in your home, they work well on a variety of different spots and spills while also being safe on the majority of fibers. We do not currently recommend any over the counter products, see our blog post Over the Counter and DIY Spot Removers: Be Careful for more information. The terry cloth towels can be used in this step to agitate the carpet fibers as well. Note that you do not want to scrub natural fibers during spot removal, this includes wool, cotton, and silk, as they will fray very easily and leave you with a distorted, fuzzy area of carpet.

The final rinse is very similar to dilution, except you are making sure to also remove any chemistry you may have applied as well. It is very important to make sure that you leave any affected area as dry as possible at the end of your clean up so that the material is able to dry in a reasonable amount of time.

Laundry detergent can also be used in the residue removal step, but you want to be very careful not to overuse it as it can cause rapid re-soiling if the detergent is not fully rinsed. Laundry detergent is meant to be flushed with a large volume of water. If you are going to use laundry detergent you would want to mix just a drop or two per gallon of water, just enough to give the water a slightly soapy feel. This is an amount of detergent you are then able to fully rinse away, and if you need to you can simply perform multiple applications rinsing after each one.

*Please note that items are linked as examples and do not constitute a recommendation for a specific item.

Case Study: Staining of Sisal

The above pictures show a sisal area rug that was contaminated with pet urine.

Sisal, jute, and other cellulosic fibers are drastically different than synthetic or even wool carpet and rugs. Cellulosic fibers are made from cellulose, which is a long chain of glucose present in plants. Cellulosic fibers are very susceptible to moisture because they are extremely absorbent, due to their absorbency they stain very easily and swell when they become saturated. When cellulosic fibers swell they actually appear to shrink, this is because when one area swells, the adjacent area is pulled giving a wrinkled appearance that looks like shrinkage.

Given that cellulosic fibers are susceptible to moisture they are typically best cleaned with a dry compound; cotton often being an exception to this rule. A dry compound is an adsorbent material, meaning it accepts a thin film upon itself. Dry compound is brushed into and against fibers to transfer soil from the fiber to the dry compound. The dry compound is then vacuumed away. The first step in removing the pet urine from this rug was a dry compound cleaning.

After using the dry compound soiling was removed, but there was still some visible staining. At this point we were able to lightly apply just enough moisture to allow an oxidizing product to lighten the color of the staining, but not so much moisture as to allow the fibers to absorb moisture beyond the surface. The oxidizing process is followed by drying via high speed air movers. In this instance the oxidizing product was applied a second time, again followed by air movers for drying.

After the use of the oxidizer the staining was improved about eighty to ninety percent. The remainder of the stain removal process was color correction, which in this case was a lightening of the fiber. After this step we were left with the result in the second picture.

Cellulosic fibers are considered by many to be very attractive, but it is important to understand their limitations and susceptibilities.