Remediation of Smoke Odors
One of the toughest odors to remove from any surface is from tobacco.
While smoke odors are always pesky and challenging to remove, cigarette and cigar odors are especially tough because they have a powerful odor and they tend to linger. The particles are small, and they cling to and embed into any type of surface, especially fabrics. In automobiles, there are an issue especially when a car is being sold.
One promising rule of thumb when it comes to removing tobacco odors is time. With fresh air and plenty of time, the odors dissipate on their own — for the most part. But many people don’t want to wait it out.
Cleaning the surface is the first step in smoke odor removal. If you can launder an item, that’s the best way to remove odors. But some fabrics, such as rugs, furniture, and of course the interior of your car, you can’t put in the washer. Professional cleaning is always best, but there are a few tricks you can implement in the meantime.
If you are cleaning countertops, wood furnishings, or other non-permeable surfaces, you are in luck. Those surfaces usually are easy to clean, and smoke odor removal is often successful. Simply use an approved hard surface cleaning produce you can find at any department or grocery store, wet the surface, allow several minutes of contact time so the product can work, and then wipe away with a clean cloth or paper towel. Repeat until you see no more soil transfer. Adding a little deodorizer afterwards, and wiping it off, adds a pleasant, lingering scent.
Now we are getting into the real challenge, removing odors from fabrics. As said previously, laundering an item is the best way to remove odors. It may take several launderings to get the best results.
While cleaning non-launderable fabrics is tough without proper equipment and experience, you can dry vacuum soils and that helps. You can also allow fresh air to do its magic. And putting a few drier sheets under cushions will help as well. You can stuff drier sheets in other areas, as well, such as in automobiles, to help with the odors over time.
The real way to get rid of smoke odors from fabrics? Call a professional fabric cleaning or disaster restoration company. Restoration companies are highly skilled at the task of smoke odor removal. They have the equipment, products, and expertise to thoroughly clean and deodorize odor-causing substances. They also have special processes designed to remove tobacco odors.
Do the right thing. After all, it pays to call a pro!
How to Remove Adhesive Residues
When something is stuck — and you don’t want it to be stuck — that can be a problem.
This is especially true when it comes to tape, glue, and other sticky stuff we use all the time in our homes and businesses. You can use soap and water, you can scrub, you can get red in the face… but when it comes to proper adhesive residue removal, there is a better way.
Scrape it off
If the adhesive residue is on a flat, hard surface, using a straight razor blade can remove the majority of the residue. It basically slices it off the surface. But be careful you don’t scratch the surface, especially wood and natural materials. If that happens, you have permanent damage. After scraping, you will still need a little dry solvent, such as rubbing alcohol or acetone, to remove what’s remaining. A few seconds of contact time is all that is needed.
Dissolve and remove
If the adhesive residue is on a soft surface, such as carpet, furniture, or clothing, you can’t scrape it off. You need to dissolve the residue and then blot or rinse it away. This isn’t easy. If you apply too much dry solvent (rubbing alcohol, acetone, etc) you can delaminate the fabric if it has a backing. You can also dissolve glues that are part of the fabric. It’s best to add a small amount of dry solvent to a white, cotton cloth that you can dispose of, and blot at the residue. Several applications will be necessary, depending on the type of residue.
The challenge is the adhesive residue does not dissolve in anything but a dry solvent. Yes, you can use high heat and hopefully soften the residue for removal, but that is problematic at best.
One big issue is when tape is used on carpet. Even if you remove the tape and clean the residue, over time, that sticky residue remaining will collect soils, such as from foot traffic. A dark line will form. Repeated cleanings will help, but this is an often-frustrating task.
The real solution is to get some advice from your favorite cleaning company. Carpet and furniture cleaning companies deal with adhesive residues every day and know what to do. Let them handle this for you.
After all, it pays to call a pro!
Electric Heater Safety Tips and Advice
You may have already detected a chill in the air. For some parts of the country, wintry weather will be here soon. For others, a milder but still chilly season is coming.
To help stay warm, some supplement their main home heating system with an electric space heater. While considered safer than fuel oil space heaters, they still require special care and consideration so you can stay warm and safe during colder weather.
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (EFSI) organization, safety should always be a top consideration when using space heaters. While being warm may be at the top of your list of creature comforts, a fire, electric shock, or personal injury must be avoided.
Here is what the EFSI suggests that everyone consider when using space heaters.
How to Find the Very Best Cleaning Company
Most of us are very busy people and must prioritize our activities. One necessary activity is cleaning our homes. Sometimes, we rush through it and don’t do the best job possible.
Life happens… but a lack of time doesn’t mean you have to put up with dirt, grime, and clutter. The best solution is to find a cleaning company to handle challenging cleaning issues you face, such as carpet cleaning, furniture cleaning, hard floor care, and more. Professional cleaners understand the proper procedures for disinfecting, as well.
When looking for a professional cleaning company, whether for regular housecleaning services or specialized cleaning, such as carpet or furniture care, there are a few specific strategies you should implement.
One of the best ways to find any company to do anything for you is by referrals, such as from family or friends. This process automatically filters prospective companies for you, as referrals are provided to you by those you trust and have similar interests.
After all, when you enjoy a nice meal at a good restaurant or have a great experience with a service company, what is your natural inclination? You want your friends and family to have the same, great experience. So you tell them about it, and they trust that what you are sharing with them is true.
Ask around. Inquire of your family and friends in your local area who they use for cleaning services and ask for their honest opinions. The information will be invaluable.
Second to referrals are reviews, usually online reviews such as with Google or Yelp. This is a proven way to filter out the good from the bad and find companies that usually treat their customers the way you want to be treated.
Be sure to use companies that have several reviews, over a long period of time. A long track record is best.
Don’t be afraid to get a prospective company on the telephone or have them out to your home and ask questions, such as with any unique guarantees they might offer. Don’t look for the cheapest deal. Look for quality. Discuss with the company owner or manager what they can do for you. Let them know you are seeking out a quality company.
All of this takes time, but the end result is you will find the very best cleaning company for your home. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Should You Test for Mold?
Recently, we discussed mold that can be found in unlikely places, such as in the bedroom, bathroom, and the kitchen. After all, most report mold in basements or crawlspaces, but mold can actually grow virtually anywhere.
There is one thing we can all agree on. You do not want hidden mold growing in your home. If there is mold somewhere, anywhere, with the potential of causing health issues with your family, you want to know about it so you can remove it and keep everyone safe.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has much to say about the need for mold testing. “In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling is unnecessary,” according to a statement on the EPA website. And what the EPA says makes sense. If you can see the mold, you do not need to take samples and run tests because you know the mold is there. The professional restoration company that removes the mold will figure out what type it is and proper procedures for your specific case.
But what if you can’t see the mold but you feel something is there?
Then it’s time to engage mold sampling and testing. According to the EPA, surface sampling may be useful to determine if an area has been adequately cleaned or remediated.
Who should do it?
Sampling for mold should be conducted by professionals who have specific experience in designing mold sampling protocols, sampling methods and interpreting results. Sample analysis should follow analytical methods recommended by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), or other professional organizations, says the EPA.
Regulations and guidelines
Standards or threshold limit values (TLVs) for airborne concentrations of mold, or mold spores, have not been set. Currently, there are no EPA regulations or standards for airborne mold contaminants.
But if you have mold, you no doubt aren’t driven by regulations or guidelines, or lack thereof. You want to know if there is mold and if there is, what you can do to remove it.
One option is to purchase a do-it-yourself mold testing kit, something that you test surfaces with and send in for testing at a laboratory.
Another is to contact an industrial hygienist who is an expert with issues such as this, and have professional testing conducted.
No matter what you do, if you do have mold growth, do the right thing. Turn the work over to your favorite restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
The Often-Forgotten Vacuum Bag
Vacuum cleaners are an integral part of life for any family and a common tool used daily in commercial buildings.
While the vacuum hums along doing its job, picking up dirt, grit, debris, and potential contaminants, there is a part of the vacuum we might not think about that often.
You usually can’t see it… but it’s right there, inside your vacuum cleaner — the bag.
The vacuum bag is the repositor of all substances that the vacuum collects through the beater bar or suction assembly and hoses. Unless you use a bagless vacuum, and there are some on the market today, all air goes from the surface being vacuumed and through the vacuum bag. The air you breathe around a vacuum is partly the air that has passed through the unit.
You know you have a problem when you turn on the vacuum cleaner and notice a foul odor. What you are detecting is the result of organic and inorganic matter inside the vacuum bag that has had time grow microorganisms that create odors. A vacuum bag that has sat a long period of time without being changed or cleaned can produce significant bad odors.
While your vacuum cleaner manufacturer will have recommendations on the frequency of changing the bag, those are simply general recommendations. Professional carpet cleaners recommend changing a bag when one-half to two-thirds full.
Is that enough?
The nose knows
In addition to following a schedule, use some common sense. Remember that a vacuum bag in the dark that is stuffed with organic soils will quickly become an odor-causing source. If you vacuum every day, you may not notice it. But give it a week or two, and the odors become evident.
At the first hint of an odor, change the bag. Even if you vacuum once or twice, and put the vacuum away for several days, it may be good to change the bag before using it again.
Bags are cheap. Your health is not.
Professionals cleaners often change the vacuum bag and clean all equipment before going from one home to the next. The do this to avoid cross-contamination. Their basic principles of equipment maintenance keep you and your family safe.
When it comes to the absolute best cleaning of all surfaces, do the right thing. Call your favorite cleaning company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Mold in Unlikely Places
Many people have a fear of mold and what it can do to your health, especially if you have sensitivities or allergies to mold spores.
When you think of mold growth and contamination in your home, you assume it would apply to dark, damp basements and what can occur after a pipe breaks or other water damage situation. And you would be right, most of the time.
But there are other issues that can come up that involve mold, and it doesn’t have to be in a dark basement or after a water damage event. If you have moisture, a food source, and especially dark conditions, mold can grow.
As scary as it may sound, it’s true. Mold can grow on and even inside your mattress. As you sleep, you perspire, and that moisture can be all that mold needs to start to grow. While you can clean visible mold from the surface of your mattress, it is very difficult to get clean what is inside the mattress. A professional cleaning company may be able to help. But prevention is what you should concentrate on, and an appropriate mattress pad/cover will help.
Common areas that can experience mold growth are around the base of toilets, shower stalls or bathtubs, and under sinks, such as in cabinet areas. It’s no surprise when you spot some mold in those areas. However, mold can also grow on cleaning supplies that haven’t been used in a few days, and even on toothbrushes such as those left unused because of a trip away. Anything you use that involves moisture (brushes, scrub pads, buckets) and especially stored in a dark place, be sure to clean and dry them completely.
The kitchen is a mold playground, because of all the food sources combined with potential moisture. There are so many places mold can grow they can’t all be mentioned here, but obvious ones include inside and behind the refrigerator, under the sink, and in cabinets. Mold growth inside the refrigerator goes against logic that mold requires warmth – it is obviously not always true. Frequent inspections of dark areas where mold may grow unnoticed is important, such as under sinks and where there are pipes that can leak or simply have condensation on them.
If you do find mold, do the smart thing and call your favorite restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!