Battling Tobacco Product Odors
For those who use tobacco products, they may not notice the lingering odors that hang around in the air and stubbornly invade porous materials such as carpet, upholstery, fabrics and more.
But for non-smokers, those lingering odors are a nuisance, and many valuable hours have fruitlessly been spent on attempting to remove them. Smoke odors from cigarettes, cigars, and pipes are tough to remove because microscopic smoke odor particulates embed onto and into everything. Over time, these carcinogenic residues release odors.
These steps will help eliminate, and may totally eliminate, odors from tobacco products, depending on how much time and effort is spent on restoring surfaces back to pre-smoke condition.
Fresh air brought into a home or building naturally helps remove foul odors from the air. Keeping the furnace and A/C filter clean is important.
Thorough cleaning and washing of surfaces is an important process. If you can launder items, that will flush out residues. Using detergent helps the water you use for cleaning to penetrate surfaces, which means better cleaning.
Open containers of baking soda or charcoal are known to absorb malodors, so having them in your home will help. Be sure to refresh them by mixing or replacing every few days. There are professional grade absorption products you might obtain from a cleaning and restoration supply house.
After cleaning, applying a smoke-odor deodorizer will help destroy more odor-causing residues that you might have missed.
For surfaces that you can paint or seal, this will lock in odors from tobacco products. Painted walls will hold residues that cleaning may not penetrate deep enough to remove.
One complete and proven method for removing smoke odors from any source (once cleaned) is by using ozone. Ozone machines remove odors by chemically changing the structure of odor-causing molecules, oxidizing them and destroying them so no more odors are released.
Ozone can be dangerous if used in occupied spaces, so be sure to do your research and be completely safe if you choose to use this option to remove smoke odors.
Most ozone treatments are handled by professional restoration companies, although you can buy or rent small units.
While smoke odors from residues is tough to remove, your favorite cleaning and restoration company has professional solutions that really work. Ask them what they can do for you. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Wax Your Way to a Beautiful Floor
No matter how beautiful a surface in our home might be, the natural tendency is to improve it, especially when it comes to hard floors.
Hard flooring can be manufactured from many types of materials, from expensive natural stone to hard wood to synthetic blends, and more. You choose them based on your own tastes, your preferences, and no doubt by doing some research in what is best for your home.
One natural chore you may consider is actually an old term. You may want to “wax” your floor. Many years ago, natural wax was used, and it still may be used in some applications today. But the vast majority of products you would use to apply to and protect flooring is actually a synthetic floor “finish.” But for the information here, we’ll use the old term, “wax.”
Think before you wax
Not all flooring types need or require waxing. Some can even become damaged if you wax them, because of incompatibilities of substances. So do your research. Make sure that the flooring type you have installed in your home requires or can benefit from a coat of wax.
Tips for successful waxing
Before doing any type of waxing, it’s important to clean your floor completely and remove any old wax as well. A floor stripping product is required, follow directions completely, wear appropriate personal protective equipment (which may include gloves, face mask, etc), and be thorough in the process. Rinse all residues and dry the floor.
With your new floor wax product in hand, review the directions. Make sure you know all the steps to take because when you begin the process, it’s not easy to stop.
Use a new wax applicator or a new mop, applying the wax as directed, and work slowly and carefully to get an even application, spreading the product with your applicator or mop. Keep it manageable by working in sections and be careful not to work yourself into a corner. Allow the product to dry completely and apply second and third coats if the directions indicate additional applications.
Let a pro do it
As with many home projects, consulting a cleaning professional is a smart idea. And why not just let them do the job? You may avoid frustrating issues if you do. After all, it pays to call a pro!
When Bathrooms Flood
It happens, and not at the most opportune time. You push the flusher, and then it all happens. The toilet overflows. You panic, you might scream…that’s just one simple issue, and with bathrooms there are many issues….
A clogged toilet may overflow when flushed, or a water supply line leaks under a bathroom sink, or someone (possibly you) starts filling a bathtub and forgets—any of these can turn the water loose in the bathroom. Not a good scenario at all.
When this happens, it’s may seem it is all over, and you can’t fix what’s happening. However, there are some things you can do to fix some serious issues.
Control the flow
It may be a simple concept, yet when you can’t find the shut-off valve, panic can attack. Don’t delay – look for the shut off values now and be ready for what’s going to happen eventually.
Watch the electricity
Where there is water, and electricity, there is danger. Mark your power supply so you can find the breaker that turns off the power to your bathroom.
Start mopping or extracting
Standing water is not a good thing. While a fresh leak is one thing, if given time that water can start to seep into areas that can create costly damage. With the first inclination of water intrusion, start extracting.
Of course, the best thing is to call your favorite water damage restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
The Smelly Mattress
Mattress cleaning, due simply to the bulk of what needs cleaned, is not an easy task. Yet it is one that must be done occasionally. There is nothing worse than putting your sleepy head into the mattress and be woken up.
Besides the typical use of a mattress, which to everyone who loves to sleep is very important, you still want to keep things healthy.
There are all types of issues with mattresses, from pet accidents, food and drink spills, dust mites, and more.
So here is what you want to do.
Strip the bed
It makes sense to strip the bed of linens and blankets. If you have a mattress pad, even better. Do this on a weekly basis, at minimum. Keeping a mattress pad on at all times is smart.
You must also consider the bulk of the material and do your cleaning accordingly. Sad to say, this may not be possible to do yourself, without much effort. One thing you can do is take the mattress outside and, on a nice day, allow the air to help refresh your mattress.
A natural disinfectant that not only make things healthier but that removes stains, peroxide is a great solution. It adds oxygen to the surface and removes not only stains but also odors.
Some say and claim that baking soda is a solution. The benefit of baking soda is it absorbs odors, much like what you experience with putting an open box of baking soda in your refrigerator.
Enzymes are great options that can help with stubborn stains, such as blood, urine, and more. They attack substances and remove not only spots and stains but also odors.
When in doubt, do the right thing. Call your professional cleaning company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Restoring Damaged Ceiling Tiles
Most of our attention is on surfaces or items at eye level or lower, such as on tables, or the flooring in your home. But when your eyes go up, you might start to notice something frightful… damaged ceiling tiles, and causing you to think “Oh, no, it’s mold!”
It’s probably not. Most likely what you are seeing are damaged ceiling tiles from some type of water leak or moisture intrusion.
Ceiling tiles are usually made from plants, minerals, gypsum, clay, other natural materials, so are very absorbent and show stains easily. Some are made from synthetic products and might not have as many stains from water leaks or moisture intrusion.
Here are a few steps you can take to restore those damaged ceiling tiles. But remember that replacement might be a final option.
Take pictures of your ceiling first, just to avoid the frustration of fitting them back, especially if some tiles are of different sizes. Vacuum your tiles, removing as much dirt and debris you can, which will be concentrated on the topside of them.
You have to be careful now. Over wetting is an issue. In a typical spray bottle, use warm water and a few drops of dish detergent. Mist the tiles until they are damp and use white cloths to clean the surfaces. Use more detergent on heavier deposits of soil. Allow the tiles to dry.
Set the tiles out that still have stains. What you are going to do now is bleach away those stains. Don’t use chlorine bleach. Get some household hydrogen peroxide, easily found at a grocery store or pharmacy. Hydrogen peroxide is a safe bleach that will slowly remove stains. Mist the peroxide, using it straight (no dilution) over the stained areas of the tiles, and with a soft brush, work the solution into the tiles. The remaining stains often disappear in a few hours. If you see some progress, repeat the process.
Besides replacement, painting your tiles is an option, but you may lose some acoustical ability, since some tiles are designed to absorb sound. It’s a decision you will have to make.
And, of course, for any restoration work, such as cleaning of items that are damaged by water intrusion, call your favorite restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
The Battle Against Refrigerator Odors
It’s no surprise when you notice a nasty odor from your garbage can, especially when it’s full.
But it might be a surprise when you get a whiff of a nasty smell emanating from your refrigerator, which should normally be a haven of delicious foods and enticing aromas.
Your refrigerator naturally fights off offending odors because of the cold temperature, which limits bacteria growth. Most bacteria growth is pretty slow and not as offensive as others. But depending on the source (meat, milk, proteins are quick to become offensive), the resulting odors can be powerful and require immediate action.
Simple and easy
A complete cleaning of the fridge with hot detergent and water naturally removes some odors. Get into those crevices where liquids from food might have invaded. You might have to wet those areas with hot water and detergent and let it dwell for several minutes. Many nasty odors can come from small amounts of contaminants.
For lingering odors, leaving a container, small cup or bowl, of white vinegar in the fridge will continue to neutralize bad odors. For this to continue to work replenish the vinegar every few days. Eventually, you can stop using the vinegar treatment. Some recommend wiping down all surfaces with vinegar as well.
And, of course, there is the proven method of leaving a box of baking soda open in the fridge, which absorbs odors. It does this due to the ability of sodium bicarbonate to attract odor causing molecules and holding onto them. Stirring the baking soda around occasionally or replacing the box is necessary.
You must also realize is that removing odors from a fridge in use is much different from one that has been sitting unused for a period of time. If odors are severe, such as from an unused refrigerator being put back in action, you might have to resort to ozone generation. You can buy or sometimes rent the equipment. Using them is simple. Put them inside the fridge, keep the door shut as much as possible, and let it run for the recommended period of time for that generator. The odor will most likely be magically gone!
Of course, the best thing to do for all your cleaning needs is call your favorite cleaning company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Dryer Vent Safety
Your washing machine and clothes dryer are valuable appliances, and they need maintenance from time to time.
One very important component to maintain and keep clean because of the danger of fire is the dryer vent system.
The vent system is the gateway for moisture-laden air to escape from the dryer to the outside of your home. The vent hose that enables this can be very short, perhaps just a foot or two in length, to several feet, depending on the distance from the dryer to the outside wall. The longer the hose run, the more lint that can build up in the hose, increasing the possibility of a fire.
Besides a visual inspection, pay attention to how long it takes your clothes to dry. If it seems it is longer than when you first purchased your washer/dryer, it may be due to lint buildup in the vent hose, restricting air flow to the outside. If you have to restart your dryer because your clothes are just not drying, that should signal an inspection and cleaning of your vent hose.
Inspection and cleaning
Disconnect the electricity to your dryer before doing any work and remove the lint trap and make sure it is clean. Pull your dryer away from the wall and unhook the dryer vent assembly. You will need a tool for this, most likely a screwdriver. Carefully use the hose from your vacuum cleaner, insert it as far as you can into the hose, thoroughly vacuuming. Also vacuum the section of the dryer the hose attaches to.
Also inspect and clean the assembly from the end of the vent hose to the outside of the home. Go outside, if possible, and inspect the opening. You might even find a bird has tried to nest in the opening, and occasionally bees or wasps have attempted to take up residence. You will need to clear out anything that can block the air flow to the outside.
If you aren’t able to clean the entire hose, such as if it is too long, it’s better to play it safe and just replace it all. Lint buildup inside the hose can overheat and catch fire, and you must avoid that at all costs.
And if the unthinkable does happen, and you have a fire in your home — or smoke damage — do the right thing. Call a professional restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Removing Hard Water Stains
Unsightly hard water stains can affect many surfaces and can be a challenge to remove.
Hard water stains are based on the mineral content of the water in a building or home. It all comes from the ground, so if mineral content is high in ground water, then mineral content in the water you use is going to be high.
Water softeners will solve this issue, but without a water softener system, you will occasionally deal with hard water stains and the challenges inherent with removing them.
Typical spot removers or household cleaners will not affect hard water stains, because they are mineral based. Here are some tips to remove them safely and enjoy a household free of hard water stains.
You will see hard water stains on sinks, around faucets, and even on textiles that are affected by a plain water spill. They are usually white but can be colored stains as well. If the stain is significant, you can even feel the texture of the stain. This means a bit more work may be involved removing the stain.
If the surface allows it (make sure you don’t scratch a hard surface and damage it) try scraping away the bulk of the hard water stain, if it has built up enough for you to do this.
For a cleaning agent, start safe and use plain white vinegar. Apply the vinegar to the surface and allow several minutes dwell time, remembering that vinegar can temporarily adversely affect copper surfaces. Scrub carefully and see if the vinegar is reacting with the hard water stain. This may remove most hard water stains.
If that doesn’t work, obtain a stronger acid, such as from your hardware store, that is for cleaning purposes. Wear safety gloves applicable for strong acid cleaners. Apply carefully and this should remove the hard water stain.
You can keep increasing the strength of the acid cleaner until the stain is removed, but always be careful with skin contact and vapors. Follow manufacturer directions.
As with any strong cleaning agent, neutralize after cleaning. This can be with a water rinse and drying with a towel. Very strong acid cleaners should be neutralized with a product for that specific purpose.
But when cleaning challenges are beyond your abilities, do the right thing. Call a professional cleaning company. After all, it pays to call a pro!