Keep Dirt Outside

All through the year we track various soils into our homes. Not only that,
pollutants from car exhaust, pollens, pet and human dander, and just plain old dirt can
damage surfaces in your home including carpet, tile, wood, upholstery and fabrics. Soil
control is an important part of keeping your home clean and healthy.

You can control soil by limiting the entrance and buildup of contaminants inside your
home. The best way to control soil inside your home is to prevent its entry.

They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; it takes 12 times more
effort, time and money to remove soil as it does to prevent it from ever entering inside
a structure. Remember that whatever is outside tends to come in, so consider the
following:

Keep walkways, steps and porches clean and free of dirt, mold, moss and algae.

Maintain garage floors in order to prevent oil, road grime and other contaminants
from being tracked indoors.

Place doormats both outside and inside all of the entrances to your home.

Outdoor mats should be a water resistant, synthetic, non-absorbent fiber such as
olefin or polypropylene and be textured to scrape heavy soils off your shoes. Avoid
natural fibers which tend to mold and rot creating a new soil source for your home.

Inside doormats should be absorbent like nylon, cotton or wool. Vacuum and wash it
periodically to remove built-up soils.

Remove shoes when you come indoors, but don’t make the mistake of going barefoot
all the time. The skin of our feet contains oils that attach to
carpet and attract soil. Instead of going barefoot, wear clean house shoes, socks or slippers indoors.

Normal daily activities generate a variety of dust and residues that settle on just about
every surface inside your home.

Vacuuming is the most effective way to maintain your carpets. 74-79% of soil in
carpet is dry, particulate soil that can be removed by vacuuming. You should also
vacuum your upholstered furniture, drapery and blinds for the same reasons.

When you dust your furniture, do so gently, preferably with a duster attachment on
your vacuum cleaner. If you use a duster, go slow and allow dust to settle for an hour
or so and vacuum the floor last. Your carpet can last a long time if properly cared for.

Annual professional cleaning is recommended in most homes. Busy homes with
children and pets require cleaning twice a year or more.

Don’t wait until your carpets, rugs and upholstery look dirty to have them cleaned by
a professional; by the time fibers have reached a visibly soiled state they are
already damaged.

Call A Cleaner Carpet Cleaner to learn more or schedule your next cleaning.

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Why Spring Cleaning?

Have you ever wondered why we are annually seized by a sudden urge to air out the house, banish dust, organize closets, clean out cabinets, scrub floors, wash windows and organize our garages, attics and basements? It turns out that there are biological, social and psychological reasons for the spring cleaning ritual… and that’s a good thing.

In the winter time days are shorter and melatonin production (the hormone that produces drowsiness and enables us to fall asleep) is increased, making us want to relax and sleep more. We spend more time indoors. Our mood tends to be more subdued and energy levels are lower causing our housekeeping habits to slip. Various soils and contaminants begin to build-up in our homes as a result.

Then, the first day of spring comes in late March, and when it arrives most of us are ready. Days are getting progressively longer and nights are getting shorter. The additional daylight suppresses production of melatonin. The more daylight we are exposed to, the less melatonin we produce and the more alert, energetic and active we feel.

Once the winter doldrums pass, we become more aware of the less-than-ideal condition of our surroundings. The energy and optimism of spring prompts us to improve our environment. It’s easier to be enthusiastic about cleaning and organizing in the springtime.

Cleaning and organizing are tasks that have an obvious goal or conclusion. You feel a sense of accomplishment upon completing a task. Your self-esteem increases. Endorphins are released in your body, increasing your sense of wellbeing. In addition, you feel pride of ownership when your home is clean and organized, further improving your mood.

The history of early America also provides a basis for the spring cleaning custom. In the winter, fireplaces, oil lamps and wood stoves created a fine layer of oily soot, ashes and dust on floors, walls, ceilings, rugs and windows.

As temperatures increased and days got longer, use of these heat and light sources decreased. Spring became the perfect time to fling open windows and doors and clean everything. Rugs were beaten and aired out. Walls, ceilings and floors were swept and scrubbed.

Spring has always been a time of change. Americans tend to have two distinct wardrobes: one for warm weather and one for cool weather. Since closet space is limited, we often clean and organize closets this time of year. The type of work and play activities change, so we put away winter toys and tools and get out the ones for warmer weather. Now we need to clean out and organize our garages, basements and attics.

All of these biological, psychological and social reasons mean that we are basically hard-wired for spring cleaning. However, it is easy to become overwhelmed with all of the things you want to clean and organize. Don’t try to do it all by yourself.

Call an experienced cleaning company to help you with the big jobs. A reputable company can clean your carpets, upholstery and more.

Call A Cleaner Carpet Cleaner to learn more or schedule your next cleaning.

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Protect Your Home From Allergens

Regular vacuuming is the most effective way to prolong the life of your carpets. By removing dry particles, you help prevent premature wear caused by abrasive soils
grinding away at carpet fibers. A good quality vacuum cleaner does more than prevent abrasive damage to your carpet. The right vacuum also helps remove pollutants and
contaminants from your home.

All vacuum cleaners use some kind of motor to turn fans that produce air flow. This airflow carries soils into a collection a canister or bag. The air must then be filtered before it is exhausted back into your home’s environment. This is the basic function of all vacuum cleaners. But not all vacuums are created equal. Some are better at filtering small particles
than others.

Particles are measured in microns. A micron is one millionth of a meter. The smallest particle that the human eye can see is about 25 microns in diameter. Some vacuum cleaners filter particles as small as .3 microns. Many vacuum cleaners allow much larger particles to get through. This is a problem, especially in homes with sensitive persons with allergies or asthma. The smallest particles are able to be breathed deeply into lung tissue where they cause irritation and inflammation. Coughing, wheezing and sneezing are the result. In some cases, full blown asthma attacks can happen. What is in the dust that creates such big problems? Pollutants include mold, human and animal dander, dust mite feces, insect parts, air pollution, lead dust, carbon, cooking
residues and more.

Pollutants are captured and filtered out by high quality vacuum cleaners featuring “true HEPA” filtration. HEPA, or High Efficiency Particulate Air filters, are tested and
certified to trap 99.97% of all particles down to .3 microns.

A true HEPA vacuum cleaner actually cleans the air while it cleans the carpet. But be careful and do your homework. Just because a vacuum cleaner has a HEPA filter
does not mean it is “true HEPA”.

Less efficient vacuum cleaners do not clean the air. Rather, they have the effect of expelling the smallest pollutant particles into the breathing zone where they can remain
suspended for hours.

To get the most out of your vacuum cleaner it is important that it be properly maintained. If it has a replaceable bag, it should be exchanged when about half full.

Check the belts and make sure that the brushes or rollers are in good condition. It is best to take your machine in for an annual tune-up to keep it operating at peak
performance.

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LOVE Your Clean Carpet

On the surface, carpet cleaning seems pretty simple. Rent a machine. Fill the tank. Pour in some detergent. Flip a switch and start cleaning. Before long, your carpet is clean and fresh. However, as anyone who has actually cleaned carpet knows, there’s more to it than that. Here are some interesting facts about carpet that affect cleaning results.

Some of the most common questions asked about carpet cleaning are, “Will the spots come back?”, “Will the dents from the furniture come out?”, “Will the traffic areas look better after it’s done?”, and “Will these stains come out?”

The answers depend on several factors that we consider when we clean your carpet.

Carpet can be made with a variety of fibers, each having its own cleaning characteristics. Every fiber responds to traffic differently. Spills that are easy to remove from one fiber may permanently stain another. Various styles such as loop pile, friezé, shag, Saxony and velvet plush all respond to traffic in different ways. The quality and density of the cushion is another factor that determines how well a carpet performs in traffic areas.

Even the way the pile yarns are twisted and how tightly packed they are in the carpet backing makes a difference in durability and cleanability.

An experienced cleaner will assess the condition of your carpet, asking questions such as, “How old is the carpet?”, “How was it cleaned in the past, and how often?”, “Was protector applied during the last cleaning?”, “How old are the spots, spills and stains, and have you tried anything to clean them?”

With all of these variables, it’s not an exact science. BUT there are some things we know about carpet, fibers, soil and stains that give us a clue as to what we can anticipate from the cleaning process. The most important consideration is the type of fiber.

Wool carpet has excellent resilience, so those crushed traffic areas and furniture indentations have a good chance of coming out. Wool is more easily stained by proteins than other fibers, so some foods, pet urine and other protein sources like blood will be difficult to remove.

Olefin carpets don’t have the resiliency of wool, so high traffic areas tend to pack down and lose that fluffy texture over time. Olefin has excellent stain-resistance and color-fastness.

Stain-resist nylon has excel-lent resilience and good stain and soil repellency, so carpets made with nylon tend to be the best overall performers. How-ever, depending on how the fiber was dyed, Nylon may be bleached by some household chemicals or sunlight.

Polyester fibers have an affinity for oily soils, so food or petroleum grease spots will be more difficult to remove. But Polyester, like Olefin, is very resistant to stains and bleaching. The bottom line is that how the carpet looks after cleaning will depend on some factors that are out of our control. But with an experienced cleaner you can be assured of the best results possible for your carpet.

Call A Cleaner Carpet Cleaner to learn more or schedule your next cleaning.301.774.4455 or 410.730.1620 cleanercarpetcleaner@gmail.com

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11 House Cleaning Secrets

Soil control is an important part of keeping your home clean and healthy.
The Institute of Cleaning and Restoration Certification defines soil as any undesirable substance that is foreign to a surface. Practicing soil control means limiting the buildup of soil on surfaces. Limiting soil equals a clean and healthy home.

Here are 11 tips to help you practice soil control.

  1. Keep dirt outside by keeping all entry areas and garage floors swept and clean. Pressure wash walkways, porches and stairs leading to the entrances to your house. It takes 12 times more effort, time and money to remove soil from your home than it does to prevent it entering in the first place.
  1. Remove dirt before it enters the house with door mats. Again, the idea is to limit the amount of soil that enters from outside. Use water resistant door mats made of non-absorbent, mold resistant fibers outside every entrance to your home.
  1. Stop dirt at the door by adding another doormat just inside your home. This mat should be made of an absorbent material such as nylon, cotton or wool. Washable throw rugs work great, provided they don’t slide around or become a tripping hazard. Vacuum or wash the mat twice a week.
  1. Keep outdoor shoes out of the house. Take off your shoes at the door and wear indoor shoes, slippers or socks around the house. Don’t go barefoot all the time; the natural oils on your feet attach to the carpet and attract soil.
  1. Brush and groom your pets regularly – preferably outdoors.
  1. Change your furnace filter every 30 days when it is in use. Opt for a high efficiency allergen-trapping filter – it will be $15-20 well-spent.
  1. Keep your kitchen vent hood clean… and use it. These vents trap moisture, oils and odors that would otherwise end up in your carpet.
  1. Use a bathroom vent. Humidity in the bathroom can lead to mold growth. Let the fan run 10 minutes after you shower or bathe.
  1. Vacuum regularly.This is the most important step in carpet maintenance. 74-79% of the soil in typical household carpet can be removed by regular vacuuming.

If these dry soils are allowed to remain, some of them break down and oxidize, creating a perfect breeding ground for fungi, bacteria and unpleasant odors.

Grittier soils adhere to sticky or oily residues on carpet fibers, causing abrasion and permanent damage. Regular vacuuming reduces these effects so carpets last longer.

  1. Vacuum furniture. You should vacuum your upholstered furniture, drapery and blinds for the same reasons listed above. When you dust your furniture, do so gently, and slowly. It is best to do this with a duster attachment on your vacuum cleaner. Allow the dust to settle for an hour or so; then vacuum the carpet or floor.
  1. Have your carpets and upholstery professionally cleaned at least once a year, at a minimum. Homes with more people, pets and especially those with young children, should be cleaned more frequently.
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Carpet Cleaning in Winter? Really?

This is the time of the year when you may wonder if it makes sense to get your carpets cleaned. Great question! But first, let’s think about this logically… Does it make sense to clean your wood or tile floors in the winter? Does it make sense to clean your bed linens in winter? Of course. But for some reason, many people treat their carpet differently. It’s as if the carpet was somehow magically immune to soiling because the weather is cool. Of course, this is not true.

It’s what you can’t see that is the problem
It’s true that modern carpets do a great job of hiding soil. This may lead you to think you only need to clean your carpets once a year or when they “look” dirty. But according to the EPA, most households should clean carpets at least twice a year, maybe more depending on lifestyle and other factors.

This may surprise you until you think about all of the soils, allergens, oils,pollutants and contaminants that carpet traps.

In most homes, carpet is the largest filter, trapping soils, pollutants and pet and human dander(dead skin cells, which we shed by the millions every day and dust mites live for). So the fact is that, yes, winter is a great time of year to get your carpets cleaned for several reasons.

You’re worth it
One of the best reasons for cleaning in the winter is that you want your home to look great for visiting friends and relatives during the Holidays.Nothing makes your home feel clean and inviting quite like freshly cleaned carpets. And even if you don’t expect guests, you will be spending more time at home in the winter, so you want it to look nice for you,too.

Of course, there are far more important reasons to clean your carpet than appearance. In fact, if you wait until your carpets look dirty before you clean them, you have waited too long. Soil damages carpet,dramatically reducing its usable life. Can you imagine waiting until your clothes look dirty before laundering them? Of course not. That would be unhealthy and they would probably begin to smell before they looked dirty. Carpet is no different.

During the summer, pollen and other pollutants enter your home and become trapped in the carpets. In the fall, mold spores are more prevalent, again, becoming trapped in your carpet fibers. All of this just in time for you to close things up for the winter and spend more time inside… Not a pretty picture is it?

With clean carpet now,you and your family can breathe cleaner, healthier air all winter long. It’s bad enough that winter is the time when people suffer from cold and flu without adding poor indoor air quality to aggravate conditions such as asthma and allergies.

And some good news: Carpets tend to dry faster in the winter because the humidity is lower and most of us are using our furnaces. Warm,dry air is great for drying carpets!

Clean the winter blues away.
Remember that in winter, days are shorter. Darkness comes earlier and lasts longer. A clean, fresh, healthy carpet is a great way to help fight off the winter doldrums. A clean, neat home just makes you feel better. A Cleaner Carpet Cleaner is usually busiest during the Holidays; everyone wants a clean house for family and guests.

Call now to book your cleaning before the big rush!

Trivia question:
The U.S. EPA recommends having carpets cleaned:
a.only in winter to avoid mold
b.once every 18-24 months
c.about twice a year for most families
d.when guests start wiping their feet before leaving

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Food Spills on Carpet: A Few Do’s and Don’ts

You vacuum twice a week, like clockwork. You ask everyone to take their shoes off at the door, leave your muddy shoes on the garage stoop, and toss your throw rugs in the washer every weekend. You do your level best to keep dirt outside where it belongs and pollutants inside your home to a minimum.

But no family is perfect.

Despite your best efforts at keeping spaghetti in the kitchen and dirt in the garden, no matter how careful you are, sooner or later it will happen. Someone will spill food or drink onto your carpet. You may see it the second it happens, or you may not spot it until it has dried and set. Either way, you will panic. You will fear that your beautiful carpet is ruined forever.

And you will wonder what to do.

What you need to know is that whether a simple spill comes out or becomes a permanent stain depends just as much on what you don’t do as what you do. Here are a few recommendations to help increase your chances of a successful stain treating outcome:

DO NOT rub or scrub the carpet with a towel or brush. This will distort the face yarns and cause permanent damage to the surface, which will only amplify the look of any stain.

DO pick up any chunks and then remove the excess liquid by gently blotting or scraping up as much of the spill as you can. If it is a liquid, such as coffee, wine or soda, use a white towel and blot up as much of the spill as possible. Keep blotting until your towel stops absorbing liquid.

DO NOT spread the spot. When scraping up thick spills, such as spaghetti sauce, work gently from the outside edges of the spot toward the middle. Scrape up as much as possible before using any spot cleaners.

DO call a reputable professional cleaning company as soon as possible. Experienced carpet cleaners will have a specialty spotter for just about any type of spill. In addition, they will have the equipment to promptly remove the stain and flush it with fresh water. Prompt professional attention is your best chance to remove spills with-out damaging the color or texture of your carpet.

DO NOT use cleaning agents from the grocery store. Most often, these products are low quality and ineffective. But even high quality products still need to be used carefully. A cleaning product must be carefully chosen for the type of spot and the kind of fabric that your carpet is made from. If you try to use the wrong product, or use it incorrectly, you may make the spill more difficult or even impossible for even the most experienced professional to remove.

While nobody can guarantee that every spot and stain will come out, by following these tips you will make cleaning up spots and spills much easier. You will be more likely to remove the stain completely, leaving your carpet looking good and helping your carpet to look good for years to come.

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Want to get tough dirt out?

Let us CHAT it out…

In order to be really good at a job, a person must first understand the fundamentals of that profession. That’s why A Cleaner Carpet Cleaner puts so much emphasis on training. Did you know that carpet cleaning is a profession based on scientific principles of chemistry and physics? It’s true. The ability to effectively clean anything—not just carpet—requires an understanding of the four basic principles of soil suspension; chemical action, heat, agitation and time. We remember these fundamentals by the acronym CHAT.

The first of the fundamentals is chemical action. Water is used in cleaning because of how it reacts with many soils. In fact, water does the majority of the work in cleaning. However, water alone is not very effective on oily or greasy soils. We need specialty cleaning agents to dissolve some of the more difficult soils like food, grease and petroleum oils found in things like makeup, shoe polish and ink. These soils would be difficult or impossible to remove with plain water.

It’s amazing how little of these cleaning agents we need to get great results. When we dilute our products, we are actually using about 99.9% water! If you find this hard to believe, consider how much bubble bath you need to make a whole tub full of suds. It’s not much is it? Similarly, we use just enough cleaning solution to break down soils and no more. This assures that we leave no unwanted residue.

Many uneducated cleaners subscribe to the “more is better” mentality, so they overuse cheap, harsh deter-gents and leave a residue. This is one reason why carpets get dirty quickly after untrained carpet cleaners do the job.

The second principle of soil suspension is heat. Heat helps cleaning agents work better and faster. Applying a heated cleaning solution makes cleaning more efficient, so we use less detergent. Heat also helps liquefy oily, greasy and sticky soils, suspending them into the cleaning solution for effective removal.

Agitation is the third principle of soil suspension. It makes cleaning more efficient by helping distribute cleaning agents for better penetration. By agitating the cleaning solution into your carpet, we suspend soils and lift matted carpet yarns for better cleaning.

Time is the fourth principle of cleaning and soils suspension. This is one area where many carpet cleaners drop the ball. In order for a cleaning agent to work well, it needs “dwell time”to penetrate into the carpet yarns and break down stubborn soils. When untrained cleaners rush this process, cleaning results suffer. We make sure we allow the product to work so soils are completely dissolved for removal.

All of this is why after A Cleaner Carpet Cleaner visits, you can expect fluffy, fresh-smelling carpets that stay cleaner longer. Once the carpets are completely cleaned, we can apply a carpet protector to help prevent stains and maintain that fresh, clean look even longer.

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How to enjoy better air quality at home

Fall is a glorious time of year. The weather is getting a bit cooler and the days a bit shorter. If you are like most Americans, your family is spending more time indoors as the outdoor activities of summer wind down. That’s why right now is a great time to think about your indoor air quality.

Air pollution is a major concern in the U.S., especially near heavily populated areas. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that indoor air is often 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air. How can this be? And can you do anything to help?

The amount of air pollution in your home is affected by several factors and there are many sources of pollution. Some of these sources come from outside your home. Other sources come from inside. Some you can control; others you can’t.

Outdoor pollutants and allergens enter your home by infiltration and ventilation, directly affecting the air in your home. Pollutants like car exhaust, pollen, smoke, insecticides, fertilizers and mold spores hitch a ride into your home on air currents, your clothing, shoes, hair and pets.

When these pollutants settle on surfaces outside, wind, rain and sunshine combine to neutralize, sweep and wash them away. Unfortunately, this is not the case inside your home. These same pollutants tend to accumulate inside your house on floors, furnishings, surfaces and in the air.

Because we live, eat, sleep, play and often work in our homes, we generate a significant amount of allergens and pollutants from inside our homes too. Did you know that you shed around a million dead skin cells every day? These dead cells are a food source for dust mites as well as other microbial life forms. Dust mite feces and dead dust mites are potent allergens and every home has millions of them. House pets also contribute to indoor air quality issues.

Then there are the sticky and oily residues from cooking gases that eventually settle on surfaces. Certain types of furniture, plastics and textiles also release gases that can affect indoor air quality. If you have a furnace that burns fuel such as gas, oil, or wood, by-products of combustion add to the problem.

After all of this, you may wonder if it is safe to stay in your home. Don’t be alarmed. There is a lot you can do to improve indoor air quality. Invest in high quality air filters for your HVAC (heat, ventilation, air-conditioning) system. These filters are rated based on their efficiency at trapping tiny particles. The rating is called MERV. The higher the MERV rating, the more effective the filter.

Professional duct cleaning helps to remove contaminants that accumulate on the inner surfaces of your HVAC system.

Use a vacuum cleaner equipped with HEPA filtration. HEPA filters trap the smallest particles including dust mite feces, dead skin, pollen and mold spores. Other vacuum cleaners simply spew these tiny particles back into the air, making matters worse.

Use bathroom exhaust fans and range hoods to remove excessive humidity and cooking gases that can con-tribute to indoor air pollution. High humidity encourages bacteria and mold growth.

Cleaning carpets, upholstery, and area rugs returns them to a healthful condition and improves indoor air quality by removing pollutants and allergens that bond to these surfaces.

Cleaning your carpets, rugs and upholstery right now makes perfect sense. You are going to be spending more time indoors. You and your family deserve a clean, healthy home. If you have guests visiting for the holidays, your home will look, smell and feel fresh and clean.

Call A Cleaner Carpet Cleaner today to schedule your fall cleaning. You and your family will breathe easier.

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Deodorization…

How the pros do it
“What’s that smell?”We have all had the experience of walking into a room or building only tobe greeted by an unpleasant odor. They may range from mildly annoying to downright putrid. Besides being embarrassing, malodors are also a cause real for concern. Unpleasant odors are sometimes an indication of a potentially infectious, hazardous or unsanitary condition. Bad odors can also cause psychological or emotional stress and even physical discomfort.

Spraying deodorants and perfumes simply masks odors temporarily. Odor masking is not effective for long-term deodorizing success. Effectively eliminating odors requires an understanding of the principles of deodorization. The type of odor neutralizer and application process must be chosen based on the source of the odor, type of materials affected and the degree of odor penetration. To avoid a recurrence of the malodor, we use the following procedures:

Step 1: Find and remove the source. Odor is an effect. Since every effect has a cause, our first challenge is to find and remove the cause. If the odor comes from a dead animal, you must find the carcass and remove it. If the odor is from a pet accident, we must first locate the deposit and remove it from the carpet and other surfaces before we can treat the offending odor. The same applies to odors from smoke, cooking, mold and mildew, etc.

Step 2: Clean the affected area to remove any remaining odor-causing residue. Actually, cleaning is just a continuation of source removal. Start cleaning in the source area and work outward until all residues are removed. Residues can be sticky or oily residues, crystallized materials or dust and soot. The type of residue and the material you are cleaning determines the cleaning method. For instance, removing soot from a brick wall requires different cleaning agents, tools and techniques than removing soot from silk drapes. Depending on the odor, source removal and meticulous cleaning may be all that is required. If not, we move onto the next step.

Step 3: Recreate the conditions of penetration. This is where specialized equipment is often required. For example, if the odor is from smoke, it may have penetrated into wood, fabrics, drywall and many other porous and semi-porous materials. Any deodorizing products we use must penetrate the materials in the same manner as the smoke odor penetrated in order to neutralize the odors. If odors have migrated into areas that are inaccessible, it may be necessary to specialized fogging equipment, electronic oxidation, or dry vapor equipment. Generally, odors caused by liquids such as urine or spoiled milk that saturate porous materials must be saturated with a suitable odor counteractant. In most cases, properly applying steps 1 through 3 will achieve the desired results. If there is still an odor, we proceed to step 4.

Step 4: Seal the affected material. Sometimes odors penetrate into materials to the degree that it is impossible or impractical to remove them completely. In these situations it is necessary to apply a topical sealant to encapsulate the odor causing molecules and prevent them from evaporating into the air. If the molecules can’t reach your nose, you won’t be able to smell them. The type of sealer we choose depends on the type of mate-rial, the nature of the odor source and the degree of penetration into the material. If you have tough odor problems and need assistance, please call A Cleaner Carpet Cleaner, and we will be happy to help.

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