6 Tips for Hiring a GOOD Upholstery Cleaner

Hiring a good upholstery cleaner can pose a difficult choice, to say the least. Since upholstery cleaning is something most people only do when the need arises because of stains, it can be hard to maintain a relationship with your upholstery cleaner like you do with a mechanic or lawn care service. And with so many options on the market, it’s hard to know what type of service to go with.

To make matters worse, many upholstery cleaners make it nearly impossible to find out basic information through their website or promotional materials, such as whether they use bleach or soap products in their cleaning solutions. And then there are always those horror stories about perfectly good pieces of furniture getting completely ruined by incompetent cleaners—or, even worse, a child or pet becoming ill from exposure to the upholstery fabric after cleaning.

Thankfully, there are ways to limit the possibility of something going horribly wrong when you are hiring a upholstery cleaner. It’s a fairly simple matter of doing a small amount of homework before making your decision. Here’s a quick list of items to check up on for each company you consider.

  1. Find out how long the company has been in business. While a shorter length of time in business shouldn’t necessarily disqualify an upholstery cleaning service (everyone has to start somewhere), it is important to determine how much experience the company has. You don’t want to be taken in by a fly-by-night company that will clean your armchair today and go out of business next week. If the company you’re considering has been around for less than a year or two, find out what experience the owner and employees had prior to the company’s opening, and check online for reviews and testimonials.
  2. Learn what type of equipment and cleaning solutions they use. There are all types of upholstery cleaning systems and equipment. You should be able to fairly easily determine what kind your prospective carpet cleaner uses by looking on their website. If they don’t have a website, that might be a warning sign. If the information you’re looking for isn’t readily available on the website, the owner or representative should answer your question when you ask without hesitation.
  3. Pricing considerations. There are a lot of things in life that you can skimp on, trying to get the absolute lowest price. But upholstery cleaning is not one of them. An incredibly low price usually means incredible incompetence. On the other hand, if the price seems way too expensive, you would probably do well to keep shopping. Do the math. Does it seem reasonable that a company could stay in business charging the price that you were quoted, without cutting corners?
  4. Make sure the company is bonded and insured. No matter how good an upholstery cleaning service is, no one is immune to accidents. As with any service provider doing work in your home, make absolutely sure the service you choose is bonded and insured…just in case.
  5. Check Reviews. It’s the age of information! If you can’t find reviews of a service company online, chances are they’re either brand-spanking new, or they are going to great lengths to keep reviews off the internet. Good, honest businesses LOVE reviews. Even if there’s an occasional nasty one, the good ones more than make up for it by bringing new and repeat clients to their door. Free sites like Yelp! and membership sites like Angie’s List will show you reviews of all the relevant service providers in your area. But Googling the name of the company you’re researching is also an effective way to find reviews.
  6. How do the company representatives treat you? Even if a company passes all five of the tests above, you want to make sure they’re going to treat you with respect and consideration. When you call or email the company, do they get back to you within a reasonable time frame? Are they friendly and courteous? Do they answer your questions honestly? If the company passes this final test, you’ve probably found yourself a keeper.

We hope this list helps you through the sometimes frustrating task of choosing an upholstery care company. If you live in the Asheville, NC area, you are welcome to put us to the test! Peruse our blog and website, and feel free to call us at 828.237.3237 or get in touch through the contact form with any additional questions you might have.

WNC Cigarette Smoke Odor Removal

cigarette smoke odor removal

As WNC’s top source for carpet cleaning, we’ve received a lot of calls over the years from ex-smokers. They’ve made amazing improvements to their health and quality of life by making the choice to quit smoking, and following through on that choice. But their houses still smell like the inside of a 1970s dive bar. For someone who has just recently quit smoking, it doesn’t take long before that odor becomes unbearable, and that’s when they give Five Step a call.

Years of indoor smoking can (and invariably does) leave behind strong, unpleasant odors that just won’t go away no matter how much the house is aired out with fans, or the carpets deodorized. Even worse, it is now known that exposure to this “third-hand” cigarette smoke can pose severe health risks, even after months of not smoking in the room. Infants and young children are especially susceptible. Studies have shown that even small amounts of third hand smoke exposure can be associated with respiratory diseases and developmental delays.

If you’ve accomplished the momentous feat of quitting smoking, congratulations! Give yourself a big pat on the back. You’ve made a smart decision, and your hard work and commitment to quit is commendable. Your next step should be to rid your home of the stinky and harmful odors and residues left behind by your former habit.

One thing a lot of homeowners will do after quitting smoking is to repaint the walls. This is a crucial step! But just as important, if not more so, is doing something about your upholstery, carpets, and rugs.

You may have received advice from well-meaning friends and relatives along the lines of “there’s no getting that smell out—you’ll just have to replace the carpet!” But that isn’t true. Good, professional carpet, rug, and upholstery cleaning CAN eliminate both the unpleasant odors and the harmful residues left behind by years of cigarette smoke and tar.

In addition to helping out ex-smokers, we’ve also cleaned carpets for homeowners who purchased a house in which the former occupants smoked cigarettes, and for landlords whose tenants smoked in the house. Whatever the reason, if you’ve got a lingering cigarette smoke odor problem in your carpets, rugs, or upholstery, we can help! If you live in the Asheville, NC area, give us a call at 828.237.3237 or get in touch via our contact form today!

 

Risks of DIY Carpet Cleaning

diy carpet cleaning risks

In order to save money, many homeowners choose to handle household maintenance tasks on their own, rather than hiring professionals to do the work. These days you can find a tutorial on the internet for how to DIY just about anything—from pest control to small engine repair and yes, even carpet cleaning. It may be tempting to save a few dollars by renting a machine and cleaning your own flooring. But is doing it yourself worth the potential risk to your carpet or area rug investment?

Do-it-yourself carpet cleaning is often discouraged by carpet and rug manufacturers because improper techniques and inappropriate cleaning solutions may cause problems that could void the carpet’s warranty. Common issues that may arise from improper DIY carpet cleaning include mold and mildew growth, backing separation, and fading or discoloration.

The most prevalent of DIY carpet cleaning mistakes is overwetting. If you use too much water in your cleaning efforts, the carpet will take much longer to dry, which can potentially lead to fungal growth or even water seepage into your subfloors. The problem is it’s not always self-evident to the homeowner how much water and/or detergent to use, or how long to leave a steam cleaner in position. A blunder during this phase of the carpet cleaning process can be very costly indeed, which is why the majority of homeowners choose to hire a reputable carpet cleaning service.

Another culprit behind DIY disasters is improperly formulated carpet cleaning solutions. Cleaners and detergents that are not formulated correctly for your carpet may strip it of its stain-resistant treatment. Worse, some solutions contain bleach or optical brighteners that literally dye your carpet to cover up the stains instead of removing them. Some improper formulations can also destroy the fiber of your carpet or rug, leaving it looking matted or frayed.

Consumer Reports has found that when it comes to carpet cleaning, pros do it best. Although a professional cleaning may be a little more costly than renting a machine from your local supermarket, the benefits that you get from having someone experienced do the work far outweigh the extra cost.

The message here is “DIY Your Carpet Cleaning at Your Own Risk!”

If you do choose to clean your own carpets, you should take the time to do your research before beginning. Find out exactly what type of cleaning is recommended by the carpet manufacturer, and the follow the directions of the detergent and/or steam cleaner precisely. Always spot-test an out-of-the-way corner of your carpet before cleaning it, to prevent discoloration issues. And if you will be renting steam cleaning equipment, ask the rental provider to demonstrate its use before taking it home. During the demonstration, listen closely for out-of-the-ordinary clunking noises and check the test carpet for fraying and loose fibers.

If, on the other hand, you decide to go with the safe bet, give your local professional carpet care expert a call. If you live in the Asheville, NC area and are looking for quality carpet cleaning services, look no further than Five Step Carpet Care. Give us a call at 828.237.3237 or use our contact form to get in touch with us today. You might be surprised by how much you can save by hiring professionals to get the job done!

A Dog Owner’s Guide to Clean, Healthy Carpets

It’s often said that carpet and dogs don’t mix, but that’s not necessarily true. While some pet owners eschew carpets and rugs because of the inevitability of pet stains, there are actually several benefits to having carpets in a dog-friendly home.

With carpets, you don’t have to worry about scuffs and scratches on the floor from doggy claws, like you would with wood floors. And carpet provides a slip-free surface that keeps puppies and elderly dogs from losing their balance and slipping down the hall. Another great benefit is the sound-muffling quality of carpet, which is great if your dog likes to make midnight security rounds. Otherwise you’ll probably get used to being awoken by the clickety-clack of claws at an indecent hour of night.

It’s true that attention to detail with regards to vacuuming is more of an issue with carpets than hard floors. While you’ll likely be vacuuming the same amount regardless of what type of floor covering you choose, carpets need a bit of extra care to ensure that all of the dog hair and dander is lifted out of the carpet pile.

As far as pet stains go, our advice is to keep young, not-yet-potty-trained pets kenneled or kept in hard-floored areas of the house when not supervised. Same goes for elderly dogs who may be more accident-prone. But with dogs, accidents are inevitable. Whether it’s urine stains, muddy paw prints, or broken potted plant, eventually a dog-related stain will happen. And when they do, rest assured Five Step Carpet Care can get them out at a reasonable cost and without harsh chemicals that pose health risks to your furry companions.

Our unique five step cleaning process eliminates stains and odors all the way down to the mat of the rug or carpet. And we do it without the use of bleach, detergents, perfumes, dyes, or enzymes. So if you live in the Asheville, NC area and have dogs in your home, you’ll probably want to keep our number on the fridge!

(By the way, it’s 828.237.3237.)

Western NC Tile and Slate Cleaning

Five Step Carpet Care is the top choice in Western NC for tile and slate cleaning!

(That’s right—we clean more than just carpets!)

Do you have tile or slate floors in your home, or tile walls in your bathroom or laundry area? Then you know that they can start to look dull and dirty after a while, even though you clean them regularly. Tiles lose their sparkle and grout becomes stained, yellowed, or aged-looking. It’s necessary to treat your tile and slate to periodic deep cleaning in order to keep it looking new, but doing the work yourself can leave you with bloody knuckles and aching knees. Not to mention that it can take a lot of time without specialized equipment!

Instead of going it alone, give us a call! Our professional crew will make your tile shine and your grout gleam!

We can handle cleaning any surface, including:

  • Bathrooms- tubs, showers, and floors
  • Kitchens- floors, backsplashes, counters, and walls
  • Outdoor areas- terraces, decks, patios, pool areas
  • Traffic areas- foyers, hallways, and staircases.

As always, our cleaning process is green, sustainable, and non-toxic. And we conserve our precious waterways by using just a fraction of the water resources our competitors use. Just one more reason to choose Five Step!

If you have dirty tile and grout or slate in your home that needs some TLC, drop us a line today or give us a call at 828.237.3237. You’ll be glad you did!

 

Best Upholstery Cleaners in Western NC

Looking for top quality, professional upholstery cleaners in Western North Carolina?

Here are five reasons you should give Five Step Carpet Care a call first.

  1. We CAN get the stains out. You might be surprised how many companies out there represent themselves as upholstery cleaning experts, and then they show up and tell you they “can’t”. Your upholstery is too fragile, the stain is too heavy, the color is too light. Basically, a bunch of excuses. We hear stories like this all the time from customers who tried to go with another company before they called Five Step. Rest assured, when we say we can clean a piece of furniture, we really CAN.
  2. Strong odors are no match for our cleaning process. Got odors in the fabric of your furniture? Whether it’s pet odors, a musty odor from a chair or sofa sitting in the basement too long, cigarette smoke, or just about any other type of offensive smell, we can get them out. Even if the odor is coming from deep inside the cushions of your furniture, our process will extract it!
  3. Our staff is friendly, professional, and hardworking. We are really proud of our team! In our opinion, we have the kindest and most hardworking pros in the business working for us. They are polite and treat every customer with respect. They take the utmost care not to cause damage to our customers’ homes or furnishings, and they get the job done right, and on time. We’re sure you’ll feel the same way about our amazing team after you give Five Step a try.
  4. We’re locally owned. Our roots are here in WNC, just like yours. We don’t answer to corporate shareholders in some other city. We answer to YOU, the customer. That’s why it is so important to us to provide the best service we possibly can.
  5. Our cleaning methods are 100% non-toxic, green, and sustainable. We care deeply about the health of our customers, their pets, and the environment. The cleaning agents we use are free from all health-damaging toxins, and we use WAY less water than our competitors. That means a visit from Five Step doesn’t mean you have to worry about the health of your kids or pets, or about any negative impact on the environment. If you are concerned about conserving and protecting our precious natural resources, there’s no better choice for upholstery cleaners in Hendersonville than Five Step.

To give you an idea of the quality of our work, here are some before and after photos of a sofa we cleaned!

asheville upholstery cleaning

asheville nc upholstery cleaning

If you live in Asheville, Hendersonville, Weaverville, Arden, or elsewhere in Western North Carolina, and you’re looking for the best upholstery cleaning service in the area, look no farther than Five Step Carpet Care! Give us a call

at 828.237.3237 or drop us a line today!

See What Customers Say About Five Step Carpet Care!

Every once in awhile we like to devote a blog post to all of the great five star reviews we receive!

We love to make our customers happy by providing the best carpet, rug, wood floor, and tile cleaning in the Asheville area, and our Google reviews are a mark of our success! Take a look at what customers have to say about Five Step Carpet Care.

If you live in the Asheville, NC area and are in search of high quality, professional carpet cleaning (or area rug, wood floor, or tile cleaning) services, give us a call at 828.237.3237 or drop us a line today!

Vacuum Cleaners: To Bag or Not to Bag?

When we’re out cleaning carpets, we often get asked about vacuum cleaners. Which type is best?

Last week discussed the pros and cons of different types of vacuum cleaners, but once you’ve chosen a type (unless you go with a robotic or stick style vacuum cleaner), you’re going to have to determine whether you prefer a bagged or bagless model.

Both options have their own benefits and disadvantages. Let’s go over the pros and cons of each.

The bagged model is the original vacuum cleaner—the one our mothers and grandmothers all used. Although bagless vacuums have become the most popular option for consumers since their introduction a couple decades ago, bagged vacuums still sell. That tells you that the bagless option is not necessarily superior in every situation. A lot of people still prefer a vacuum cleaner with a bag, and not just out of nostalgia!

For one thing, bagged versions are more hygienic than their bagless counterparts. This is mainly due to the fact that removing the vacuum bag and throwing it away releases a lot less dust and allergens into the air than emptying a canister. Bagged vacuums also usually come standard with HEPA filtration. (Many bagless models have HEPA filters, as well.) This means that fewer allergens will be released into the air, either through exhaust or when changing the bag.

The main drawback to bagged models is that you have to keep buying bags for them! But keep in mind that many bagless models require repeat purchases, too—of filters. And with a bagged vacuum, you will begin to notice reduced performance as the bag fills. Some people see this as an early warning system, but for others, it can be a pain.

Bagless vacuums have become the most widely used type of cleaner for home use in recent years. They tend to be less expensive than bagged, and even if they require filter changes, it ends up being a less frequent purchase than if you had to buy bags all the time.

Another advantage to bagless choices is that it is very easy to see when the dirt receptacle is full, since they are always made of clear plastic, easily viewable to the user.

Bagless is also the greener choice, since you aren’t putting all of those bags in the landfill year after year. But emptying the receptacles can release a lot of dust and allergens, so if you have asthma or severe allergies, a bagged model is recommended. If you do go with a bagless option, it’s better to empty the receptacle outside the home.

Hopefully this post helped you narrow down your preference between bagged and bagless vacuum models!

If you live in the Asheville, NC area and are looking for top-notch professional carpet cleaning, give Five Step a call at 828.772.1824 or write us a line today!

 

Pros and Cons of Different Types of Vacuum Cleaners

Shopping for a new vacuum cleaner? With all of the brands and varieties on the market, it can be hard to know what model is right for your home or business. As Asheville’s top choice for professional carpet cleaning, we get asked about vacuums a lot. What type is best for cleaning carpets? Hard surfaces? Drapes and furniture? Which kind is best for air quality? While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, all types of vacuums have their own pros and cons. Take a look at the list below to help you narrow down your options.

  • Canister Vacuums- Canister style vacuum cleaners have a vacuum head that is attached to the main unit by a long hose. The main unit, or canister, rolls along on the ground behind you while you vacuum. These models usually come with multiple attachments for different vacuuming jobs, and a retractable cord reel that saves you the trouble of having to wrap and secure the cord yourself. One of the main draws of the canister vacuum cleaner is that it makes it easier to clean in nooks and crannies, and behind or underneath furniture. The wand style attachment also makes it easy to clean drapes, blinds, and walls. If you have stairs in your home, this might be the vacuum for you, as it is very difficult to tackle stairs with most other models. While a canister vacuum may be lighter weight and better for maneuverability than an upright, it isn’t as good at cleaning carpet, and storing it might pose some extra difficulties. If you have a bad back, you might want to go with another option—using a canister vacuum involves more bending than other types.
  • Upright Vacuums- Uprights are the most popular vacuum cleaners on the market. Their large, powerful heads make cleaning carpets a breeze, and it’s easy to store them because most of the space they take up is vertical. Most upright vacuums come equipped with longer cords and larger dirt capacities than canister models, and they often have motorized bristles for more effective carpet cleaning. The upright style can be heavy and unwieldy for lugging up and down stairs, but for straightforward vacuuming, it’s easier on the back than a canister style. Many uprights are designed specifically for carpets, so if you have different types of flooring in your home, make sure you purchase a model that can handle all of them.
  • Robotic Vacuums- Robot vacuum cleaners are great for busy people who either can’t move around due to age or injuries, or don’t have much time to clean. These little units clean while you’re at work, or at night while you sleep! Having your whole house vacuumed without any labor on your part sounds amazing, right? But there are a few drawbacks. First, these units can be difficult to program, so if you’re not tech-savvy, call a friend who is (or your grandkids) to help you get started. Secondly, robotic vacuums can miss areas that a human wouldn’t. But the biggest caution goes out to pet owners. It’s probably not a great idea to let your robotic vacuum have free rein of the house if you have pets, especially if they are not reliably house trained. There are plenty of horror stories on the internet about what happened when the cute little robot vacuum cleaner rolled through a puppy accident in the middle of the night. It’s not pretty, believe us!
  • Stick Vacuums- Another good choice for those with bad backs or limited storage, stick vacuums are made to be incredibly lightweight and their slim design means they’ll fit almost anywhere. The dirt receptacle in most stick vacuums is designed so that you can easily empty the container into the trash without touching the mess. But with all of that slimness and lightness, these vacuums sacrifice power and versatility. They tend to not come with attachments for different types of cleaning jobs, and their motors are usually weaker than other types, which means that they won’t suck up as much dirt and debris, and may have a harder time tackling carpets.
  • Central Vacuums- While central vacuum units pose a greater expense than any other type, the investment can be a worthwhile one. Central vacs are quieter, cleaner, and more flexible than portable vacuums. Their dirt capacity is huge, and they can often pump exhaust outside of the home. They’re great for cleaning hardwoods and other hard surfaces, and they’re the easiest of all of the options for cleaning stairs. One drawback is that they require professional installation, and if the unit breaks down, it can be difficult to find a local repair service. But if you’re looking to add value to your home for a future sale, central vacs are often a good investment.

We hope this list of pros and cons helped you narrow down the best vacuum cleaning option for your home or business! Check back for our next blog post, in which we’ll discuss bagged vs. bagless vacuum cleaners.

If you live in the Asheville, NC area and are looking for a professional carpet cleaning service, give us a call at 828.772.1824 or send us a message today!

 

What’s the Best Vacuuming Frequency for Your Home or Business?

There are many benefits to installing carpet in our homes and businesses. The most obvious one is that it beautifies our surroundings. Carpeting also reduces noise and vibration and keeps our feet warm in the winter.

But carpet serves another function—one that’s not as beneficial to the home or business owner. Carpet absorbs matter. It attracts and traps unwanted substances over time, whether these substances are visible or not. In other words, even though your carpet may not look stained or dirty, it can still hold pollutants as a result of normal use. These pollutants can include soils, fibers, and atmospheric dust, as well as allergens like pollen, fungi, mycotoxins, and mites. If you have pets, you can add pet hair and dander to the list, as well.

Fortunately, regular vacuuming is a highly effective way of removing most of these pollutants. (Bacteria and viruses can also hide in your carpet, but these are more difficult to extract with just vacuuming. See this post for more information.)

So, how often should you vacuum? Well, it depends upon a number of factors. The answer will vary, not only from home to home and office to office but even from room to room and season to season.

Once a week will suffice for a moderate-traffic room with no extra considerations such as pets, children, or high humidity. Light traffic rooms may need less, and high traffic rooms may need more. You can determine your carpet care maintenance needs by consulting the list below.

Some factors to keep in mind when deciding how often to vacuum are:

  1. Frequency of use: is the room a high traffic area, like a family room, waiting room or hallway? These sorts of rooms will need more frequent vacuuming than low traffic areas like guest bedrooms and conference rooms.
  2. Children: Do you have children living in your home, or does your business cater to a lot of children, like a daycare or an indoor entertainment facility? If so, you will want to vacuum more often, not just because children tend to be greater vectors for dust and debris, but also because they are more susceptible to illness than adults.
  3. Sick and Elderly: Does your business serve the elderly and/or infirm? If you are operating a medical facility or a nursing home, you will want to vacuum more often as well in order to protect the health of your vulnerable patients.
  4. Temperature, Humidity and Time of Year: Does the area get more traffic during the summer than the winter? Often, the carpet in homes will need more vacuuming in the warmer months because people spend more time outdoors and therefore bring in more dust and debris from outside. Humidity is also a factor: the moisture in the air can collect pollutants and then condense on the carpet.
  5. Pets: Have cats and dogs? You should probably double the frequency of vacuuming in the rooms where they spend the most time.
  6. Smoking, cooking and woodstoves: Smoke and ash can easily get trapped in your carpet, as can oils and other cooking residues.
  7. What floor is the room on? Ground level floors tend to absorb more matter from outside than upstairs floors.

We hope you found this post helpful and informative! If you are looking for professional carpet cleaning in the Asheville area, give Five Step a call at 828.772.1824 or shoot us a message.