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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.
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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

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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.

Flying the Flag!

MADE IN BRITAIN

Gerrards have made a commitment to buy British made cleaning solutions, whenever and wherever possible. We have always chosen British made products when possible, however we have now decided to actively source as many products that have been made in Britain as we can. 

The Coronavirus pandemic has already triggered a wave of high street failures, especially in the fashion industry. Hundreds of thousands of retail workers have been furloughed, with the aim that they will return to the shop floor when stores are allowed to reopen. But will these jobs and customers still be there?

Hopefully we can all play our part in supporting local businesses and shops by buying British made products. The lockdown has prompted huge changes in the way we shop, more home deliveries, more local shopping, and changes in the way we buy goods and services. 

Local producers are already seeing uplifts in sales and local farm shops and other community stores are already benefiting from a new customer base which hopefully will stay loyal after the lockdown has been lifted and we learn to live with the ‘new normal’.

Lets make ‘Buying British’ the next fashionable trend!

Flag of United Kingdom Courtesy of Freepik

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

Wash-Your-Hands-001We’ve all been hearing “wash your hands” as the singular best way to stay healthy during these dark days of Coronavirus Covid-19.
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

Illustration Courtesy of the World Health Organisation (WHO)

How to Tackle A Liquid Spillage!

The first mistake made by most people is to panic! The second is to scrub the spillage! The third is to over-wet the area! And fourth to liberally apply one shop bought stain remover after another!

Red wine stain

 

How should you deal with it?
If you Google ‘red wine stain removal’ you’ll find all manner of suggestions and remedies.
Some are extremely sensible; others seem to literally suggest throwing the kitchen sink at the problem.
While some of the ‘hip’ lifestyle websites or ‘cleanfluencer’ Instagram and Facebook posts seem to offer you many number of so called solutions, some of them require you to either have a PHD in chemistry or suggest you wave a magic wand, while standing on your head and counting to ten in Chinese.
But while you may not be able to remove all traces of the spillage yourself (particularly if it’s been lying in the carpet too long) here’s what you should actually do:
1. Act quickly. At first, it’s a spillage, and not yet a stain.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Assess the spillage area afterwards and if any colour remains, call a professional carpet cleaner.

The above process is pretty effective, and at the very least will remove the worst of the spillage while causing no further damage to your carpet or making it more difficult
(or impossible) for a professional to remove.

SPOTTER-IMAGE

 

 

Gerrards leave all our customers a free bottle of our professional stain remover after each job. If you have one of these follow the instructions above numbers 1 to 5 and then use the spray following the instructions on the label very carefully.

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


 

Your Carpet is the Biggest Filter in Your Home!

When you were selecting the carpet in your home, you may not have thought much about how carpet contributes to your family’s health and well-being. Perhaps you were thinking style, colour, and durability. However, one of the greatest, but often overlooked benefits of carpet is its contribution to healthier indoor air quality.

Carpet Clean (2015_10_03 09_36_17 UTC)
Your carpet is the biggest filter in your home. Just like your washing machine filter or vacuum cleaner filter or air conditioning that filters out airborne soils that pass through it, your carpet does the same thing. During the autumn and winter months when your windows are rarely opened, it becomes a bigger issue.

draught-marks-001                              Draught marks clearly seen round the edges of this room!

Carpeting absorbs tracked in soil like dirt, asphalt, pollens, insecticides, bacterial matter, and fungus. This can be clearly seen with “draught marks”.
The black lines that appear on light coloured carpet around the skirting boards, under the doors and around cool air returns is called “filtration soiling” or “draught marks”.
The filtering process that your carpet provides keeps those soils from becoming airborne. These soils are trapped in the carpet. They are then removed with regular vacuuming and regular professional cleaning.

If you do not clean your carpet on a regular basis, the filter becomes full. Would you leave your air conditioning filters for years on end without replacing them or cleaning them? No. The cleaning industry at large has not done a good job of educating the public about these kinds of issues; therefore many consumers are uninformed of the impact.

Not maintaining your carpet not only leaves it exposed to permanent traffic area damage and permanent staining, but it contributes to an unhealthy indoor environment.

Putting your house on the market? Here’s why carpet cleaning can help you close a quick sale!

Whether you’re upsizing or downsizing, it’s important you maximise the sale price of your home while avoiding it sitting on the market for too long.
Converting a garage, adding a bedroom, replacing old flooring and renovating kitchens and bathrooms are all proven to add value to a property.
But if you haven’t got thousands of pounds to invest, how do you do add value and make your home a more attractive proposition to potential buyers?

For Sale                                                                                                       Created by Freepik

Clean carpets can make or break a sale!
What do your carpets look and smell like?
What might be a charming ‘lived-in’ appearance and smell to you, will almost certainly put off buyers. While colour schemes and design are a matter of personal taste, there’s nothing more off-putting to house hunters than dirty, smelly carpets. (Especially carpets that emit the smell of dog or cat urine!)
But should you replace them if they’ve seen better days?
This is not usually necessary in our experience.
Replacing carpets usually runs into the thousands of pounds and causes too much upheaval while you’re in the process of trying to sell your home.
By choosing to have your carpets professionally cleaned, you minimise disruption and save a small fortune.

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Do you need to clean your carpets?
If your carpets have any obvious stains or odours, or simply haven’t been cleaned in a long time, it is wise to get them professionally cleaned before putting your home on the market.
The longer you have lived in your home, the more your senses will have adapted to the appearance and smell of your carpets and flooring.
Potential buyers on the other hand, will quickly pick up on any unsightly stains and curious odours.

Carpet

Clean, fresh smelling carpets will project a positive first impression to viewers, and, if they don’t need to replace the carpets, it’s one less cost that they will be concerned about when considering purchasing your home.

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Created by Freepik

If you’re thinking of selling your home, we provide professional carpet cleaning in Wigan, Chorley, Bolton, St Helens, Warrington and surrounding areas.

We Wear Our Badge With Pride!

Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme is the biggest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia. It aims to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about the condition.
Dementia Friends is about learning more about dementia and the small ways you can help. From telling friends about the Dementia Friends programme to visiting someone you know living with dementia, every action counts.

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Gerrards Carpet & Upholstery Cleaners – Proud to be a Dementia Friendly Company!

Find out how to become a Dementia Friend by clicking the Forget Me Not below…

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Carpet Cleaning Myths!

Regular professional cleaning can keep your carpets looking beautifully clean and fresh for many years.
Despite this, some homeowners are reluctant to get their carpets cleaned due to concerns and misconceptions about the potential problems that carpet cleaning can cause.
In this blog we are going to address some myths and give you the real facts about carpet cleaning.

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Let’s make a start by addressing some of the most common misconceptions raised by first-time callers over the phone:

Will my carpets take days to dry after professional cleaning?

No, they won’t. (Unless they’ve been cleaned using excessive moisture or with a machine without enough suction to remove sufficient moisture).
An experienced carpet cleaning company should be using machinery that won’t
over-wet your carpets and they should be touch dry when they leave and pretty much dry in two to three hours.
This is a myth that dies hard because there are still companies out there that operate under powered equipment and have shoddy cleaning processes.

Will my carpets get dirty quicker after they’re cleaned?

This is another misconception frequently heard.
If a carpet is cleaned using the correct equipment, chemicals and process, this most definitely isn’t the case.
A carpet will only re-soil quickly if the cleaning chemicals used aren’t appropriate for the fibres and stains, if they haven’t been fully extracted or rinsed out from the carpet leaving behind sticky residues that attract and harbour dirt.
Once again, the result depends on a conscientious and responsible company using the correct machinery and suitable cleaning solutions.

You can’t wet-clean wool carpets!

This is incorrect.
If wool carpets are cleaned using the correct temperatures, safe chemicals and they are not over-wet then the cleaning process will help protect and maintain the beautiful appearance of the wool.
It is also important to facilitate drying times using a powerful extraction machine and, if appropriate, the use of turbo dryers.

If I have my carpets cleaned too often, will it damage or “wear out” my carpets?

Your carpets should be professionally cleaned on a regular basis.
The misconception that the carpet cleaning process can wear out carpets is simply not true.
Professional carpet cleaning removes the ingrained soils and grit that cause damage to fibres and prolongs the life of your carpets and rugs. Not only that; carpets act as a filter, its dense fibre construction has the ability to trap and retain airborne dust, allergens, small particles and fumes keeping them out of the air. Therefore improving the air quality within your home. Like all filters your carpets need emptying from time to time to remove all the trapped dust, mould, pet dander and debris.

But aren’t all carpet cleaning processes the same?

Reading websites, it may appear that all carpet cleaners and their methods are the same.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
While dry carpet cleaning methods can be effective for light maintenance cleans and some commercial carpets, to get the best results look for a carpet cleaning company that uses a hot water extraction method (often referred to as ‘steam cleaning’), and preferably one that uses a high performance truck mounted carpet cleaning system which are at least 20 times more powerful than the small electric machine some carpet cleaners use.
The results attained are the best possible and drying times minimal.

WHICH OF THESE SYSTEMS DO YOU THINK WILL GIVE YOU THE MOST THOROUGH CLEAN AND SHORTEST DRYING TIMES?