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.

 

Why Customers Love Five Step

We couldn’t be more pleased. The five-star reviews just keep pouring in, and we love reading what our customers have to say about our service. From our punctuality to our ability to literally decrease the weight of area rugs, all of these customers hav found something to love about our service. Check out these reviews to find out what customers love about Five Step Carpet Care!

If you live in the Asheville, NC area and you’re in need of carpet cleaning, rug cleaning, upholstery cleaning, wood floor cleaning, or tile cleaning services, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 828.327.7233 or get in touch via our contact form. We’d be super pleased to give you a reason to love Five Step!

Best Wood Floor Cleaners in Weaverville, NC!

wood floor cleaners weaverville nc

Looking for the best wood floor cleaners in Weaverville, NC?

Even though you maintain the cleanliness of your wood floors through regular dust mopping and polishing, there will eventually come a time when your floors need a deeper clean. In order to maintain their original shine and luster, hardwood and pine floors require periodic polishing. Even engineered wood and laminate floors can benefit from occasional deep cleaning.

Our wood floor cleaning process is green and sustainable, and can restore the beauty and radiance of your floor, making it look as good as new. Our cleaning solutions contain no bleach, acids, enzymes, dyes, or colors.

And if cleaning alone isn’t enough to make your floor shine, we can remove old layers of polyurethane or wax coating and refinish your floor in a new gloss!

Homeowners in Weaverville and across western NC call us for their hardwood, pine, and laminate wood floor cleaning needs. Our reputation for top-quality, professional wood floor cleaning services can’t be beat!

Don’t believe us? Check out the photographic evidence! Here are some before and after pictures of our work.

If you live in Weaverville, Asheville, or anywhere else in western NC, and you’re looking for excellent wood floor cleaning with a smile, give us a call today at 828.237.3237 or get in touch via our contact form.

A Brief History of Wood Floors

wood floor

Humans have been building homes for at least 400,000 years, but it was only in the 1600s that we got around to making floors out of wood. Prior to that, the floors of most houses were made of bare dirt or stone.

The first wood floors in Europe were simple. Just a few rough-hewn pine planks supported by joists, or even split logs set into the dirt with the cut side facing up. These early wooden floors were nothing like the elegant, polished interiors we associate with hardwood flooring today. They were unfinished, and smoothing was accomplished through years of regular foot traffic, not by sanding and polishing. Think of how many splinters you might have gotten in your feet after installing a wood floor in your home if you lived in the early 1600s!

Soon artisans began to refine wood flooring. By 1625, wealthy Europeans could pay to have intricate parquet floors installed in their homes. These floors were made by hand-cutting pieces of wood into small shapes that could be arranged together in repeating geometric patterns.

The abundance of timber in the New World made wood floors much more commonplace. But most American settlers and pioneers did not have much use for the impressive, artisan-crafted designs used in wealthy European homes. Early American plank floors were simply the most practical option in a country full of old-growth forests. The floors tended to be simple, with the boards cut at random widths and lengths and no stain or varnish applied.

The innovation of shiplap joinery made wood floors more durable and less prone to developing gaps, through which cold air, moisture, and small objects could pass.

In the 1700s, people began to apply painted designs to their wood floors. These could range in complexity from simple checkerboards to ornate vining or flowering patterns. Stain and varnish did not become common until the late 1800s.

During the Industrial Revolution, the process of making hardwood flooring became much less labor-intensive. Whereas before each plank would have to be sawn individually by no less than two men, now steam-powered lumber mills and woodworking machinery could process more boards in a day than two men could do in an hour. The technology meant wood floors could be produced more cheaply, and the finished product would be more uniform and attractive.

Still, the installation process was much more labor-intensive until the invention of the electric sander. Prior to that, floors had to be hand-scraped or have loose sand rubbed over them.

The 1940s and 50s saw a decline in the use of wood for flooring, as carpets and other flooring materials like linoleum grew in popularity. But nowadays, people are turning back to hardwood flooring for its simplicity, durability, and beauty.

Who knew the history of wood flooring could be so interesting? The history buffs at Five Step Carpet Care aren’t just here to regale you with factoids, though. If you live in Western NC and are in need of professional wood floor cleaning services, give us a call at 828.237.3237 or drop us a line today!

A Brief History of Vacuum Cleaners

The ancestor to our modern vacuum cleaner was a “carpet sweeper” invented in 1860 by Daniel Hess of West Union, Iowa. The non-motorized machine used a complex system of bellows for suction, and spinning brushes to pick up dirt.

A slight improvement on the original design was patented in 1865 by Ives McGaffey of Chicago. His invention was hand crank-operated, which made it unwieldy to use, as one had to turn the crank and push the machine across the carpet at the same time.

In 1901, Englishman H. Cecil Booth invented a large machine called a suction cleaner. It was powered by an internal combustion engine that ran on gas, and the monstrosity had to be mounted to a horse-drawn cart, and later, an automobile, in order to be transported from place to place. Booth found a receptive clientele among British nobility, which inspired others to improve upon his design.

These early vacuum cleaners did not appeal to the average consumer due to their bulky designs, loud operation, and the odor produced by their exhaust systems. But over the years, enterprising people from around the world fiddled with various suction-cleaning concepts, contributing to gradual improvements.

But then, a breakthrough! In the 1920s, an Ohio janitor named James Murray Spangler created a carpet sweeping contraption out of a soap box, a broom handle, a pillow case, and an electric motor. He then began to sell his machine to local housewives. One of these housewives was a woman named Susan Hoover. (You might recognize the name!) Her husband, William, invested in the mass production of Spangler’s machine and eventually purchased the rights to the design. He named his company Hoover’s Electric Suction Sweeper Company.

The first plastic vacuum cleaner was produced in the 1930s, and the precursor to modern central vac systems was created in 1952 by the Hoover Company, whose name was now synonymous with “vacuuming”.

By the 1960s, vacuum cleaners were much more lightweight and easy to use. The Oreck Corporation produced a uniquely portable model for the hotel industry, and in response to demand from hotel housekeepers, began marketing it to the public.

All of the designs since the first Hoover had used bags to collect the dust and debris suctioned away from carpets. But in the 1970s, James Dyson conceived of a different way of doing things. He thought the vacuum cleaner would benefit from dispensing with the bags altogether. Five thousand one hundred and twenty-seven prototypes later, Dyson unveiled his Dual Cyclone Machine in 1993. Bagless technology was a huge hit with the public. Fast forward to today, and the majority of vacuums sold are the bagless type.

But the bagless vacuum was not the last innovation to disrupt the household cleaning market. In 1996, the first robotic vacuum cleaner was manufactured by Electrolux of Sweden. This serviceable gadget captured the attention of consumers, but ultimately was discontinued because of the ineffectiveness of its early sensors, causing it to collide with other items.

In 2002 the first Roomba was produced by the iRobot company. This robotic vacuum can change directions to avoid colliding with household furniture. Its sensors can detect debris on the floor and keep it from falling down stairs. Only time will tell if robotic vacuums may someday replace manually operated ones, but one thing is for sure: the vacuum cleaner is still evolving!

 

 

 

 

Bagged or Bagless Vacuum Cleaners?

Image by kropekk_pl from Pixabay

What type of vacuum cleaner is best? Bagged or bagless? Both types have advantages and disadvantages. In this post, we’ll go over the pros and cons of each.

The very first vacuum cleaners were bagged models, and for much of the vacuum cleaner’s history, bagged models were all that was available. Bagless technology wasn’t introduced until 1993, but now they make up the majority of the vacuums on the market. However, bagged models still sell, which tells us that the bagless option is not necessarily superior in every situation. A lot of people still prefer a vacuum with a bag, and not just for nostalgia’s sake!

Below is a brief rundown of points you may want to consider when deciding between a bagged or bagless vacuum cleaner.

  • Bagged vacuums are more hygienic. Removing the vacuum bag and throwing it away releases less dust and allergens into the air than emptying a canister. It also eliminates all of the dirt—whereas the filter in your bagless model will hold onto a lot of that dirt until you change it.
  • Both bagged and bagless vacuums usually come standard with HEPA filtration. This means that with both types, fewer allergens will be released into the air, either through the exhaust or when changing the bag.
  • Both bagged and bagless models require repeat purchases. Vacuum bags have to be changed out more often than the filters on bagless versions, but the cost of replacement bags or filters usually works out to be roughly the same, since bags are much cheaper than canister filters.
  • With bagged models, be prepared to deal with reduced performance. With a freshly installed bag, these vacuums work great, but as the bag fills, you’ll probably notice that the suction is not as good. Some people see this as a positive—an early warning system. For others, it’s just a pain.
  • Bagless vacuums are less expensive to buy. But, as we noted above, they are about the same cost to maintain, with infrequent filter changes costing roughly the same as frequent bag changes.
  • With bagless options, it’s easy to see when the dirt receptacle is full. Most dirt receptacles are clear plastic canisters, easily visible to the user, so you’ll never have to wonder whether it’s time to empty the canister, you’ll just know by looking. Bagged vacuums do not have this advantage.
  • Bagless vacuums are the greener choice. The filters represent fewer pounds of waste going into landfills than vacuum bags, over the life of the vacuum.
  • Emptying the dirt receptacle on a bagless model releases a lot of dust and allergens. It’s highly recommended to empty the receptacle outside of the home. And if you have asthma or severe allergies, a bagged model may be the better option.

 We hope this post helps you choose between bagged or bagless vacuum types! Of course, vacuuming isn’t all there is to keeping clean and healthy carpets. Periodic deep cleaning is also highly recommended. If it’s been a year or more since your last professional carpet cleaning, give Five Step a call at 828.237.3237 or drop us a line today!