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‘Cleanfluencers’ and Spot Cleaning the Professional Way!

Cleaning is the new cool. Or so goes the mantra of the growing army of people polishing sinks, collecting Zoflora like they’re perfumes and giving their dusters a name!
We are talking influencers or cleanfluencers – a social media community that loves nothing more than videoing themselves mopping their floors and cleaning their toilets on Instagram.

The leader of this movement is none other than Sophie Hinchliffe, aka Mrs Hinch. She’s the ex-hairdresser who began filming herself while cleaning her home back in 2018. Her simple idea has gained her millions of fans who hang on to her every word and start cleaning conversations on their own accounts – her very own #hincharmy.

Her influence is so strong that over 50% of people who have heard of her say they’d buy something purely on her recommendation alone.

So, what is behind this Hinch hype? 

According to research, social media is fuelling this cleaning mania. Almost 30% of people say that social media makes them clean more regularly and 31% say it makes them buy more cleaning products.

Photo courtesy of FREEPIK

But are these tips guaranteed to do what we are being told they do?

Let me explain the reasons why I ask this question:

I took a phone call from a lady this week who had come across a new patch of dog urine on her carpet. Knowing that a urine stain is better to be treated as soon as it’s been spotted, she googled how Mrs Hinch would tackle it.
This was the tip from Mrs Hinch’s book:
Urine: Make a paste with bicarb and white vinegar. Massage into the problem area and hoover away. Finish with a spritz of Febreze.

Simples! Or so you’d think!

NO, it wasn’t!
As soon as she added the paste of bicarb and vinegar to the stain it turned dark brown and not only that, it sealed the urine stain straight into the carpet. This is when she phoned us! Unfortunately, by this time it was too late for us to have any effect on the sealed in stain.

                                                               LETS TAKE A LOOK AT THIS:

What’s in Pet Urine?
Pet urine is a combination of ammonia, bacteria, hormones, nitrogen and uric acid. It’s the uric acid that creates a lingering smell even after you’ve cleaned up after your dog’s tinkle area. It can be especially potent when the air is humid like now during the summer months.
Dog urine is highly acidic. A fresh stain shouldn’t cause much damage if it’s taken care of immediately after the accident occurs.

Fresh urine stains on the carpet aren’t too difficult to deal with. The trick is to get all the liquid out of the carpet before the dog urine travels down the carpet fibres and pools at the bottom. Fold a dry cloth or towel and press it firmly over the stain, ideally by standing or stamping on the towel or cloth applying maximum pressure so it absorbs as much urine as possible.

Now you need to dilute the wet area. First, use lukewarm water and add a few drops of dishwashing soap and dab the wet area using a sponge. Avoid pouring the solution on the stain as that will just cause more liquid to sit at the bottom of the carpet.
Repeat this process several times until the urine stain is gone. Once it’s gone, rinse out the soapy area with fresh water and use a dry towel to blot the area.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE Avoid using vinegar on fresh pet stains as the acid in the vinegar can react to the acid in the urine.

Old Urine Stains
Once the stain dries, the ph. level in the acid rises, causing ideal conditions for bacteria to flourish. Not only does the bacteria cause the acid to oxidize and stain the carpet, but the bacteria and organic matter in the urine also cause an unpleasant odour. The longer the stain languishes, the worse the odour gets and the harder the stain is to remove.

Our high-performance cleaning system deep cleans, sanitises and deodorises your carpets as standard, however for any problematic areas of pet urine stains we can apply specialised treatments, however there may be an additional charge for this and extra time would need to be allocated for your appointment. Please note that even though we do everything possible to reduce or eliminate odours, spots and stains, due to the depth of contamination, 100% success may not always be attained and can NOT be guaranteed.
Please discuss this with us when you contact our office.

PLEASE NOTE: As professional carpet cleaners we have a number of stain removers to take out most stains from carpets, however once you have tampered with the stain and changed it from its original state i.e. urine into urine + bicarb + vinegar + carpet shampoo, it can no longer be successfully cleaned out of your carpet as it’s no longer the original stain.

Here is our spot & stain guide

Items & Solutions Required:

  1. Dry white absorbent cloth or towel
  2. Home made dry cleaning solution – Surgical Spirit (available from most chemists)
  3. Home made detergent solution – One teaspoon of gentle wool safe washing detergent mixed with half pint of warm water.
  4. Home made vinegar detergent solution – One teaspoon of white (not malt) vinegar mixed with the detergent solution above.
  5. Home made ammonia solution – one teaspoon of household ammonia mixed with one cup of warm water.

Final Rinse Procedure:

  1. Mix one part white vinegar with 4 parts water
  2. Pour in to a spray bottle and spray over the stained area
  3. Blot the dampened area DO NOT RUB to remove excess moisture
  4. Now place another clean dry towel over the stain and stamp on it again, even adding a something heavy on top of the towel for a while to absorb as much of the moisture as possible.

Spots & Stains:

  1. Liquid Spillages – tea, coffee, alcohol and urine.
Gerrards spotter. (2015_10_03 09_36_17 UTC)-004

A. Act quickly. At first, it’s a spillage, and not yet a stain.
B. Using a white towel or kitchen roll, press all your weight on the spillage, even standing on the towel to blot up as much as possible. This may take a few minutes but is worth the time and patience.
C. Check to see if much of the spillage has been transferred to the towel or kitchen roll and replace with a clean one as often as necessary. Do not be tempted to rub or scrub the stain.
D. Once no more colour is being transferred, dab a clean towel with a small amount of water and continue blotting the stain for few minutes.
E. Now place another clean dry towel over the stain and stamp on it again, even adding a something heavy on top of the towel for a while to absorb as much of the spillage as possible.
F. Assess the spillage area afterwards and if any colour remains.
G. If you are a previous customer of ours we will have left you a free bottle of our professional stain remover. If you have one of these follow the instructions above A to F and then use the spray following the instructions on the label very carefully.
H. If you do not have any of our spotter available use a very small amount of the vinegar detergent solution (listed above) working from the outer edges of the stain inwards, a little at a time and then finish with the final rinse procedure as above.

2. Chocolate, sweets, ice cream & vomit

chocolate - freepik

A. Scrape up any excess using a blunt knife or spoon.
B. Working from the outer edge inwards, spray the detergent solution and blot dry.
C. Follow with the ammonia solution and blot dry.
D. Follow the final rinse procedure as above.

Photo’s courtesy of Freepik
Grease - Freepik

3. Fats, grease, gum and shoe polish

A. Scrape up any excess with a blunt knife or spoon.
B. Working from the out edge of the stain inwards, use the dry cleaning solution as above.
C. Working from the out edge of the stain inwards, this time with the detergent vinegar solution and blot dry.
D. Follow the final rinse procedure as above.

The above processes are pretty effective, and at the very least will remove the worst of spots and stains while causing no further damage to your carpet or making it more difficult (or impossible) for a professional to remove.  Please note that even though we do everything possible to reduce or eliminate odours, spots and stains, due to the depth of contamination, 100% success may not always be attained and can NOT be guaranteed.

As always, if in any doubt, please do call us on 01942 864474 for further advice.

Sofa, Couch, Settee – Whatever you call it!

  It’s the focal point of your living room and the place you’ll relax and unwind – so it’s worth getting it right. 

Buying a sofa takes time and consideration. You need to pick a style that suits your living space, a colour you love, a material that lasts and – after all that – it has to actually fit through the front door.  Get to grips with the various sizes, fillings and finishes before you part with your money. A new sofa doesn’t have to be expensive, but while there are some things you can skimp on, there are other areas in which it will pay to splash out.

The majority of clients we visit to clean their soft furnishings and carpets have owned their previous sofas for more than 10 years, so it’s definitely worth taking the time to choose a colour and style you like. Swatches are usually free, so it’s best to get hold of a range of different options. Seeing a picture of your chosen fabric just isn’t the same as touching it yourself and looking at it in different lights. Live with the swatches for at least a few days. Look at them in natural and artificial light, to see how they’ll look at different times of day. You could even splash some food or drink onto them to see how well they clean up. And, if you’re worried about pet scratches – particularly cats – let them claw at the swatches to see how the fabric holds up.

Choosing a sofa fabric  Whether you go for leather or fabric, whatever your sofa is upholstered in will set the tone for your living room. For everyday seating in a room you use a lot, you might prefer a hard-wearing man-made fabric . Good-quality leather is also a durable choice, ideally one that has a polymer coating to make wiping down and professional wet cleaning possible. Unprotected leathers (aniline) can be cleaned with dry dusters as water marks may appear with other methods of cleaning. Man-made fibres tend to be the most durable – textured flat weaves in particular are among the most hard-wearing and family friendly, as they’re more forgiving of stains and less likely to snag.  Sofa’s containing viscose, rayon or linen look fantastic however these are all delicate natural fibres and don’t live up to family life. These fibres do not clean very well due to their delicate nature and sometimes colour change can occur.
ALWAYS check the fabric composition of the sofa with the salesperson and consult a professional upholstery cleaner for the best advice.

Choosing a sofa shape – from corner sofas to sofa beds  Once you’ve ordered a few samples and narrowed down your fabrics. It’s time to work out what size and shape sofa will fit and suit your space. From elegant chaises longues to practical sofa beds, sofas come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Whether you get to enjoy your sofa all to yourself, have to fight for the best spot with a large household or share it with a beloved pet, how you use it will influence the size you choose.

To get it looking just right in your room, you’ll need to be realistic about the space available, too. A small sofa looks out of place in a large room, while a large sofa squashed into a tight space will feel claustrophobic.
Think about how you prefer to sit when you’re relaxing. If there are two of you and you both like to have your legs up, then make sure the sofa is deep enough to accommodate you both. If not, you might need a sofa with chaise end or a reclining sofa.
If you like to lie down on your sofa, measure up to make sure it is long enough for you to stretch out. And, if you’re tall, a sofa with a higher back will give extra support so that you’re not forced to slouch.

It might seem obvious, but always measure the space where your sofa is going to go carefully. There’s nothing more annoying that going through the process of choosing a sofa, having it delivered and then finding it doesn’t fit. If it’s being delivered pre-assembled, make sure you measure up your door frames too, and allow for any tight angles. If it doesn’t fit through the front door, you’ll be heading back to the drawing board.

Keeping your sofa’s looking great:

Whether you ban food and drinks from your sofa or eat your dinner on it every evening, here’s some advice to keep it looking spick and span.

25% of our clients have their sofa’s cleaned every few months. The same number again have them cleaned every 12 months. Around 10% of our carpet cleaning clients have never had sofas their sofa’s cleaned even though we clean their carpets regularly – we can only assume they’re better at managing spills than the rest of us.

The most common sofa stains Sofa stains are incredibly annoying, especially if your sofa is covered in a light fabric. These are the most common stains that we come across:

Food (18%)
Pets (13%)
Hot drinks (13%)
Children (12%)
Wine (7%)
Ink (4%)
Mud (2%)
Make Up (1%)

Sofa cleaning tips:

  • If disaster strikes and your sofa ends up splattered with red wine or curry sauce, attend to spills immediately using plain water first.
  • In the case of small spills on a fabric sofa, it’s important to avoid the instinct to rub at the stain. This only pushes the spillage deeper into the fabric, which of course makes it harder to clean. Instead, wipe lightly with a damp (not wet) cloth, and then immediately dry with a soft dry cloth.
  • For anything bigger, call in the professionals.
  • Do not us any over-the-counter stain-removing products such as Vanish, 1001 or Dr Beckman’s as many of these products seal stains in to the fabric or bleach/fade the fabric
  • Do not try any solvent-based cleaners.

Even if your sofa remains accident-free, every day use can make it grubbier than you realise. A professional clean every 12-18 months will keep your sofa looking better for longer.

For the best possible results, talk to us. You can call us on 01942864474, email us: enquiries@gerrardscarpetcleaners.co.uk or message us via Facebook.

The importance of soap & water in the fight against Covid-19

Wash-Your-Hands-001

We’ve all been hearing “wash your hands” as the singular best way to stay healthy during these dark days of Coronavirus Covid-19. As the figures are rising again, it seems some of us have forgotten this technique.
Wash you hands; it seems so basic— after all, it’s what we teach toddlers even before they are able to stand up on their own. Every parent has asked their child, even tweens and teens: “Did you wash your hands?” followed by a “Yes” and an eye roll, followed by “With soap?” followed by…. silence and said eye rolling and slouching child returning to the sink to wash with said soap.

Washing with soap and water is not a new phenomenon it didn’t just become a new hot latest and greatest practice weeks ago. It has been said that the ancient Babylonians invented soap around 2800 B.C.

However, the current health advice for washing hands with soap and water is based on the ability of soap molecules to interfere with lipids in the Covid-19 virus membrane, breaking down the outer fatty (lipid) layer of the virus. Moreover, the soap molecules can compete with the other non-covalent bonds between the proteins, RNA and lipids, effectively ‘dissolving’ the glue that holds the virus together. The soap can also disrupt the interactions between the virus and the skin surface, removing viruses from the skin.

What is it about soap that gives it such superpowers? (the science bit!)

Plain old hand soap, no, not antibacterial soap (remember, this is a virus we are dealing with, not a bacteria), contains molecules called ‘soap molecules.’ 
Each soap molecule has a hydrophilic (‘water-loving’) head and a hydrophobic (‘water-hating’) tail. Viruses are surrounded by a ‘lipid-bilayer’ made up of two bands of hydrophobic tails sandwiched between two rings of hydrophilic heads. When exposed to soap and water, viruses are prised apart, as the hydrophobic tails of the soap molecules attempt to escape from water and wedge themselves into the lipid envelopes of the virus rupturing the viral membrane. In effect breaking down the proteins to help prevent the virus from entering the cells on the skin.

Why soap and water is the ‘Gold Standard’ and NOT alcohol-based hand sanitizers?

There are two types of hand sanitizers alcohol-based and alcohol-free. Only sanitizers with a high concentration of alcohol (more than 60%) are effective against Covid-19.
Ethanol and other types of alcohol are solvents and are therefore more lipophilic
(‘fat-loving’) than water. This means that alcohol does dissolve the lipid membranes and disrupt the virus. These hand sanitizers are useful when soap and water are not available. Even so, soap and water will still remain the ‘gold standard’ as the virus detaches from the skin and falls apart readily in soapy water.

To sum it up!

  • Clean hands protect against infection
  • Protect yourself
  • Clean your hands regularly.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water, and dry them thoroughly.
  • Use alcohol-based hand rub if you don’t have immediate access to soap and water.
  • Repeat often.
  • Tell a friend.

How do I wash my hands properly?

Washing your hands properly takes about as long as singing “Happy Birthday” twice, which is around 20 seconds and following the images below:

Clean-hands-protect-against-infection-001

Image Courtesy of the World Health Organisation (WHO)