Debunking Top Tile and Grout Myths

If you have tile floors in your home, you want to keep them looking bright and shiny, and prevent the grout from yellowing over time. In pursuit of clean tile floors, you may have run into some questionable maintenance advice.

As Western North Carolina’s top tile and grout cleaning experts, we’ve seen and heard plenty of horror stories about damage caused by these common tile cleaning mistakes. Don’t fall victim to these top tile and grout cleaning myths!

 

  1. All you have to do is mop it! Of course, regular mopping is essential to keeping tile floors clean, but to keep them looking their best in the long term, a little more maintenance is required. Periodic deep cleaning can prevent grout from becoming yellowed or old-looking.
  1. Acid cleaners are best for cleaning tile and grout. Acid-based cleaning agents are great at cutting through years of caked-on dirt and grime. The problem is they are also great at corroding tile and grout. If you do choose to use an acid-based cleaner, make sure it is in a very low concentration and that you rinse it off quickly, before it has a chance to eat away at your tile.
  1. Abrasive brushes and powders are the way to go. Wire brushes and scouring powders are another thing that’s very effective at removing dirt, but can also damage your tile and grout. Using these materials, you run the risk of scratching the tile surface or creating minute holes in grout, where adulterating particles can seep in.
  1. Sealed grout doesn’t need maintenance. Sealants can go a long way toward protecting grout, but even sealed grout requires periodic maintenance.
  1. Just soak it in soapy water. Soap molecules can actually settle into the tiny surface holes in grout and attract dirt and grime. In addition, certain types of soap can create a veneer of “soap scum” on your tiles that can be difficult to remove.
  1. Bleach is safe for use on tile and grout. Never use bleach or bleach-based cleaning agents on tile and grout. Over time, bleach causes deterioration of grout, and it can also damage the shiny glazed surface of many types of tile.

 That about covers it! If you are in the Asheville, NC area and are looking for top-notch tile and grout cleaning professionals, look no further than Five Step! For more information, drop us a line or give us a call at 828.231-3237.

Best of the Five Step Blog – DIY Edition

We’ve published some great how-to articles over the years. It is always our goal to help our customers, even if the best help we can offer is to tell them how to complete a small project on their own. In fact, we’ve written on many diverse How-To topics, such as ‘how to get poop off carpet’ and ‘how to get a bad smell out of a wool rug’!

So we thought it would be neat to curate some of our very best How-To articles into a single post to help all the DIY-ers out there with their flooring and upholstery projects. Below are our top eight.

Click the image to view the full article!

 

how to clean a fabric couch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We hope this helps you in all your DIY flooring and upholstery endeavors. But if you get stuck, or just decide you don’t have the time or energy to go it alone, don’t hesitate to give Five Step a call at 828.237.3237 (or drop us a line via our contact form.) We’ll be happy to help!

How to Get Tomato Sauce Stains Out of Carpet and Upholstery

how to get tomato sauce out of carpet

Tomato based stains may look tough, but they’re actually not hard to remove! Whether it’s pizza, marinara, ketchup, or soup, here’s how to get tomato sauce stains out of carpet and upholstery.

Your half-eaten slice of pizza slips off your plate and lands, upside down, on the couch. You pick it up quickly, only to reveal that the pizza sauce has already done its dirty work: there’s a stain on your upholstery!

When it comes to carpet and upholstery stains, the tomato-based type are among the most feared by homeowners. It can take many forms, from pizza sauce to marinara sauce to Bloody Marys. But the good news is that, although tomato-based stains certainly do look bad, they’re actually not difficult to clean in most cases.

As always, try to clean the stain as soon as it occurs. If you don’t, you’re giving those tomato juices extra time to set into the fabric or carpet fiber and dry, making your job more difficult. But even if you don’t notice the stain at first, it’s still possible to clean it after it’s set in. It might just take some extra effort.

Here are the supplies you’ll need:

  • A butter knife
  • A bucket
  • Warm water
  • Dish soap
  • Two clean cloths or towels, one for wet-blotting and one for drying.
  • A spray bottle
  • White vinegar

Follow these steps to remove the tomato sauce stain from your upholstery or carpet:

  1. Use the butter knife to gently remove any excess sauce from above the carpet or upholstery surface. This is better than using a cloth or paper towel, which can spread and smear the sauce into the fabric.
  2. Add a squirt of dish soap to four cups of warm water in your bucket and mix it.
  3. Wet one of the towels in the dish soap-water solution and rub at the tomato sauce stain, allowing the stain to absorb into the towel.
  4. When the stain is gone, blot dry with the second towel. If you’ve gone through steps 1-4 two or three times and the stain is still there, move onto step 5.
  5. Spray undiluted vinegar onto the stain using the spray bottle, and let sit for about twenty minutes.
  6. Use a clean towel to blot the vinegar-treated stain.
  7. Repeat until stain is gone.

If the stain is very large or well set, you may want to call in the professionals rather than devote all that time to cleaning it yourself. In that case, we’d love to help! Give Five Step Carpet Care a call at 828.237.3237 or get in touch via our contact form.

Persian Rug Cleaning in Asheville NC

oriental rug cleaning, asheville nc

If you’re looking for top notch, professional Persian rug cleaning in Asheville, read on to learn how Five Step can help, and how you can protect your Persian rugs between cleanings!

Characterized by their beautiful, handwoven designs, Persian rugs are works of art for your floor. The elaborately detailed patterns of Persian rugs make them highly sought-after, and furnishing a home with them can represent a sizeable investment. In order to maintain that investment, it’s recommended that you commit to a Persian rug cleaning schedule of one professional cleaning every 18-24 months.

In between professional cleanings, you can maintain your Persian rug through regular vacuuming and rotating. Placing a pad underneath can also help to extend the life of your rug. To prevent fading, keep your rug out of direct sunlight. Inspect the front and back of the rug every so often, looking for small stains, wear and tear, or the presence of insects, which sometimes try to make themselves at home in between the fibers of a rug. Spot-cleaning can be done easily at home. It’s a good idea to spot test the cleaner you choose on an inconspicuous corner of the rug to ensure it doesn’t cause bleaching or color running.

When it comes time for a professional cleaning, make sure the company you choose has experience with fine rugs and doesn’t use chemicals or processes that can damage your Persian rug.

If you live in the Asheville NC area, you can’t go wrong with Five Step Carpet Care. We clean Persian, Oriental, and other fine rugs using a gentle, safe, and non-toxic process in our local facility. Our cleaning agents contain no bleach, harsh chemicals, or enzymes, and our work speaks for itself. We also offer a convenient pick-up and drop-off service for rugs, so you don’t have to lift a finger.

Ready for a professional cleaning service for your Persian rugs? Give Five Step a call today at 828.237.3237 for a free estimate!

Five Step Carpet Care is Hiring!

carpet cleaning asheville nc

Five Step Carpet Care is hiring one person!

Carpet, Rug & Floor Cleaning Technician

Part to full-time position available with Asheville’s premier carpet, tile, upholstery & oriental rug cleaner. Must be available to work days, evenings, and some Saturdays. Must have clear, valid driver’s license. Must be hard-working, self-motivated and good at communicating with clients. Must be willing to submit to background check and drug test. Must be clean-cut and professional in appearance. No experience necessary. Must be detail oriented and be able to take repetitive direction. Serious inquires only – PLEASE!!!

JOB DESCRIPTION INCLUDES BUT IS NOT LIMITED TO:
Primary duties involve driving a customized company-owned Five Step van to and from numerous customer stops in the Asheville area, as well as lifting and carrying the sanitizing equipment (weighs 75 lbs) into and out of customer accounts. The selected candidate will also be required to lift and move customer items such as chairs and tables in order to clean the floor. Additional duties of the Service Representative include ensuring customer satisfaction by responding to inquiries and requests and pro-active problem solving. He/She is also responsible for cleaning, maintaining, and sanitizing the equipment and interior of the vehicle. Specific routes and customers are assigned, in order to build a rapport between Floor Cleaning Specialist and the customers being serviced.

JOB REQUIREMENTS:

  • Cleaning carpet, tile, wood floors, upholstery and oriental rugs.
  • Applicants must have a clear driving record and a valid driver’s license and SS card.
  • Applicants need to have great customer service skills. Be clean-cut, polite and able to conduct themselves in a professional manor. Ability to speak with clients, making them feel comfortable letting you into their home.
  • Experience is a plus, but not required. Previous customer service experience, preferably in an industrial or service industry.
  • Must be able to lift 75 lb. up a flight of stairs.
  • All applicants will be subject to drug screenings.
  • All applicants will be subject to a background check and prescreen medical check.
  • High school diploma or GED preferred.
  • Applicants must be non-smokers during the work day. Except breaks away from customers and never in any of the Vans.
  • Work is normally Monday through Friday 9 am to 6 pm, or until the job is finished, occasionally Saturdays and nights for commercial accounts.
  • *** Must have a willingness to learn the trade. There will be a lot of repetitive direction.
  • Must like to work.

Location: Asheville & surrounding areas

Compensation: $16 per Hour to start with the possibility of advancement and possibility of benefits.

Principals only. Recruiters please don’t contact this job posting.

Please call 828-772-1824. Be prepared to submit resume.

Please do not contact job posting about other services, products or commercial interests.

 

How to Clean an Outdoor Rug

Outdoor rugs are a popular addition to patios, decks, and backyard grilling spaces. They can provide extra comfort, a splash of color, and a sense of home-iness to any outdoor living space. But by their very nature, outdoor rugs are going to pick up a lot more dirt and dust than their indoor cousins. So, how to clean an outdoor rug? Read on to learn some tips.

 

Sweeping

Just like indoor rugs, outdoor rugs need regular maintenance to stay looking their best. Most outdoor rugs are woven with durable material, and you can sweep them. We recommend you use a soft-bristle broom to do this. Vacuuming is not the best solution when it comes to removing dust and debris from outdoor rugs, as too much vacuuming can harm the fibers.

 

Stain Removal

Barbecue sauce splatters? Beer spills? No problem. It’s fairly easy to remove most stains from an outdoor rug. Try to attack the stain immediately, if possible. Simply mix some mild detergent (laundry detergent or dishwashing liquid works well) in water and dab at the stain with a clean, dry cloth. For more stubborn stains, try club soda. Avoid using harsher cleaners on your outdoor rug. If you’ve tried all the milder solutions and the stain still won’t come out, it might be time to call in your local rug cleaning professional.

 

Hosing Off

Potting soil spill? One thing that’s nice about outdoor rugs as opposed to indoor ones is that they are made of tougher materials and can withstand a lot more in terms of traffic. This also means that you can simply hose them off with the garden hose to remove a lot of the dirt that they pick up. To prevent mildew growth while the rug is drying, make sure to hose off your rug on a day with low humidity and full sun. But go ahead and use the high pressure hose setting. The rug won’t mind.

 

Mold

If your outdoor rug has been subjected to very wet or humid weather and doesn’t get much sunlight, it might develop patches of mold. The first thing you’ll want to do in this case is to use white vinegar to kill the mold. Pour or spray it on full-strength and let it sit for a couple of hours. Then rinse with warm water and scrub clean with a brush.

To prevent mold from forming on your outdoor rugs in the first place, keep them in a sunny location or move to a sunny location for a day every couple of weeks.

 

Drying
Outdoor rugs dry just fine in the sun, regardless of whether it’s summer or winter. Spread it on the ground or drape it over a railing in full sun, then when the first side is dry, flip it over to the other side. If the weather isn’t cooperating, you can hang the rug up in front of a high powered fan for a few hours, then repeat on the other side.

If you live in the Asheville, NC area and need help cleaning your outdoor rugs, don’t hesitate to give Five Step a call at 828.237.3237 or drop us a line. We’ll be happy to help!

 

How to Prepare for a Carpet Cleaning

carpet-cleaning-extraction

Our customers sometimes ask if there’s anything they need to do to get ready for their scheduled carpet cleaning. We’re pretty self-sufficient, so there’s not much we ask you to do in advance of your cleaning. But there are a couple of simple things you can do to help ensure your carpet cleaning goes as smoothly and quickly as possible. Here’s a checklist that will help you with how to prepare for a carpet cleaning. 

  1. Schedule your carpet cleaning for a day when you won’t need to use the room. Even if it’s after the cleaning crew is scheduled to leave, you’ll want to keep the room off limits for family and guests for at least a couple hours after the cleaning, so it’s best if you plan not to use the room that day.
  2. Pick up small items. Before the crew arrives, go through the room and do a quick pick-up. Move toys, magazine racks, sit-arounds, and other small items out of the room.
  3. Remove breakables. Our professional staff is very careful and cautious when it comes to the safety of your belongings. When using our equipment, we always try to remain conscious of our surroundings to prevent any mishaps. But, better safe than sorry! If you have fragile items hanging on the walls, for instance, it’s a good idea to get them out of the way before your scheduled carpet cleaning.
  4. Get cats and dogs secured in another area of the house. Our carpet cleaning solutions are non-toxic and totally safe for you and your pets, but dogs and cats can get in the way while we’re cleaning. Or they might be frightened of our equipment. So the best bet is to get your pets secured in another room while the carpet crew is at work in your home.
  5. Move heavy furniture out of the way. We will move smaller items or furniture that can be slid from one side of the room to another, but we do ask that you move all heavy items out of the room in advance of your cleaning appointment. Or, our strapping crew can move your heavy furniture for you for an extra charge.
  6. No need to vacuum. Vacuuming prior to our arrival is not necessary. We vacuum the carpet as part of our cleaning process.
  7. Prepare to be amazed! Your carpets are going to look great after we’re done. If you’re prone to knee-weakness when you’re pleasantly surprised, you might want to have a chair ready to collapse into!

And that’s everything. We’ll take care of the rest!

We hope you found this carpet cleaning checklist helpful. If you are looking for a professional carpet cleaning service in the Asheville, NC area, contact us or give us a call at 828.237.3237 today!

How to Get a Bad Smell Out of a Wool Rug

how to get a bad smell out of a wool rug

Wool rugs can be a lovely and durable addition to your home, but they are prone to taking on an unpleasant odor when they get wet. In this post, we’ll share some tips for how to get a bad smell out of a wool rug.

The sheep fibers in your wool rug, when exposed to moisture or high humidity, can start to smell like wet dog or barnyard animals, which is not a smell you want greeting you when you arrive home from work! It can be especially alarming since wool rugs can be quite pricey. You don’t want to have to dispose of something you invested a decent amount of money into!

But don’t panic. Removing the wet animal smell from your wool rug isn’t rocket science. Here is a simple method that works.

  • Make sure the rug is completely dry. Take swift action as soon as you notice the odor. The best way is to hang the rug outside on a clothesline in direct sunlight.
  • It can take more than one day for a wool rug that has gotten completely saturated to dry out completely, but be sure to bring it in at night (to prevent it from collecting dew) or when the forecast calls for rain. When you hang it back up in the morning, change the side facing out in order to give both sides a chance to dry.
  • If you live in a wet or humid region: If weather prevents you from hanging the rug outside, you can try hanging it indoors in front of a fan. Allow the fan to blow in the direction of the rug until all the moisture is gone, and don’t forget to reposition the rug after a while to ensure both sides get dry.
  • Sprinkle baking soda on the rug. Whether you dry the wool rug outside or in, when it feels completely dry to the touch, sprinkle a liberal amount of baking soda on it. Allow the baking soda to sit for at least an hour, then vacuum it up. Repeat this process on the other side of the rug.

That should do the trick! If you follow all of these steps, your wool rug should smell as good as new. However, if the unpleasant odor persists, there is still hope! Call a professional rug cleaning service. Customers in the Asheville, NC area will find Five Step Carpet Care’s rug cleaning service affordable and effective. We offer convienient pick up and delivery, or you can drop your rug off at our facility. Give us a call at 828.237.3237 or drop us a line for more info. Your wool rug will come back to you looking (and smelling) like new!

How to Get Stains Out of Grout

how to get stains out of grout

Due to its beauty, durability, and waterproof quality, tile is a great flooring choice for your home—especially in the kitchen, bathrooms, laundry area, and mudrooms.

Another nice thing about tile is that it’s super easy to clean. But over time, the porous grout in between the tiles can take on a dirty appearance, gathering cooking stains, dirt and grime, or even mildew. So how do you return your grout to its original, white brilliance? Follow these tips to learn how.

  1. Use a stiff-bristled brush to scrub. An old toothbrush or fingernail brush may do the trick, depending on how serious the stains are. But if you want something more specialized, you can find brushes specifically for cleaning grout at any hardware store. To start, try scrubbing with warm water only. If you find you need something stronger, continue on to the next step.
  2. Try a vinegar and water solution. Mix white vinegar and warm water in a 1:1 solution, then spray on the stained grout and let stand for a few minutes, then scrub.
  3. Add baking soda. To enhance the effectiveness of the above method, try spreading a paste of baking soda and water onto the stained area before spraying with vinegar. This will produce a foaming, bubbling chemical reaction that can help to loosen and lift the stain. When the foaming ceases, scrub the grout and rinse.
  4. Apply hydrogen peroxide. If none of the above solutions work to get rid of the grout stains, you can try spraying or pouring 3% hydrogen peroxide (the same kind you get at the drug store) directly onto the stains. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, then scrub.

Most grout stains can be addressed through one of the four methods above. But if you find yourself struggling with stubborn stains, you might need to escalate the problem to a professional. If you live in the Asheville, NC area, Five Step can help! Give us a call at 828.237.3237 or drop us a line today.

 

 

 

How to Choose the Right Upholstery Cleaning Professional

how to choose the right upholstery cleaning professional

With so many options out there, it can be difficult to know how to choose the right upholstery cleaning professional for your home or business.

Good upholstery cleaners aren’t always easy to come by. And unlike hair stylists, car mechanics, or tax professionals, it can be difficult to maintain a relationship with the person or business you call to clean your upholstery. This is because most upholstery cleanings occur on an as-needed basis—just when stains appear or your furniture begins to take on a dingy appearance from long-term use. Most people don’t schedule monthly or even yearly upholstery cleanings in advance, and it’s probably safe to say you don’t have your upholstery cleaner’s number memorized!

How do you know which services actually deliver on their claims? Will the provider use equipment or cleaning agents that are harmful for your upholstery fabric, or toxic for your family and pets?

Luckily, you can limit the possibility of upholstery cleaning failure. It’s just a matter of doing a small amount of homework before making your final decision. Here’s a quick list of considerations to check off for each company you research

  1. How long has the company been in business? A shorter length of time shouldn’t necessarily disqualify a candidate (everyone has to start somewhere!), but obviously, the more experience, the better. A well-established company is much less likely to clean your sofa today and go out of business tomorrow, leaving you unable to contact anyone in case of error or questions. If the company you’re considering has been around for less than two years, find out what (if any) experience the owner had before launching the business. Look online for reviews and testimonials.
  2. What type of equipment and cleaning solutions do they use? There are a variety of different types of upholstery cleaning systems and equipment. You can often figure out what kind your prospective service provider uses by looking on their website. If they don’t have a website, that may be a red flag. If the information you’re looking for isn’t on the website, call the company. The owner or representative should be able to answer your question clearly and without hesitation.
  3. How much does it cost? Some purchases in life can be skimped on without much impact in terms of quality. But upholstery cleaning is not one of them. A very low price usually means very low competence. On the other hand, if the price seems unreasonably expensive, keep shopping elsewhere. Do the math. Does it seem like a company could stay in business charging the price you were quoted, without cutting corners? If you get a quote that seems much lower or much higher than the industry average in your area, ask the owner why their price point is so different. It’s possible they are running a special discount for new customers, in which case a very low price shouldn’t be a mark against them.
  4. Are they bonded and insured? No matter how great an upholstery cleaning service may be, no one is immune to accidents. As with any service provider who you hire to do work inside your home or on your property, you need to make sure the company is fully bonded and insured. Just in case.
  5. What do their customers think? If you can’t find reviews of a service provider online, chances are they are either a brand new company, or they are going to great lengths to keep reviews off the internet. Honest, competent cleaners LOVE reviews. Even if there’s an occasional nasty one, the good ones more than make up for it by bringing in new and repeat clients. You can find reviews of upholstery cleaning companies in your local area by checking out paid membership sites like Angie’s List, free review sites like Yelp!, on search engines like Google, and even on some social media sites like Facebook. If you don’t find many reviews on one source, check a second or even a third source to be sure.
  6. How are you treated? Let’s say a company you’re researching passes all five of the above tests. Great! Now it’s time to give them a call or write an email. This last step will determine how the company treats its customers. When you call, do they answer right away? If not, do they get back to you within a reasonable amount of time? Are they friendly and courteous over the phone or in their email communications? Do they seem to answer your questions honestly and without beating around the bush? If the company passes this final test, you’ve probably found yourself a keeper. Chances are high that the same friendliness and courtesy they showed you in your initial phone call or email thread will extend to the manner in which they treat you as a service provider in your home.

We hope this post helps you with the sometimes-frustrating task of how to choose the right upholstery cleaning professional. If you live in the Asheville, NC area, we welcome you to put us to the test! Peruse our blog and website, and feel free to call us at 828.327.7233 or drop us a line with any additional questions you might have.