Frequently Asked Questions
Burlew's Carpet Cleaning
Things people ask us most... from our cleaning process to do-it-yourself stain removal
How long does the carpet cleaning process take? About 1 hour per 300 cleanable square feet. This varies depending on soil and job.
Do I need to do anything special after my carpet is cleaned? Some things to keep in mind after your carpet has been professionally cleaned: (1) be careful walking from carpet to hard surfaces. Floors can be very slippery; (2) try to keep pets and children off of carpet for at least 6 hours; (3) keep blocks and tabs in place 24 hours after carpet is cleaned; (4) you can vacuum your carpet anytime after this 24 hour period.
How soon can I walk on it? Keep pets, children and regular traffic off of carpet for period of about 6 hours. The homeowner may use the carpet lightly immediately after cleaning by wearing white socks. Wait 24 hours before removing Styrofoam blocks and plastic tabs that are put in place to protect the furniture and carpet. Some carpets may still feel slightly damp for up to 18 hours depending on carpet and soiling condition. This is normal and will not cause any problems.
Do you move the furniture? Our regular pricing includes moving sofas, chairs, tables, end tables, etc. Beds, some larger dressers and other heavier pieces are left in place under our regular pricing structure. However, we can quote you a price for any additional furniture moving at the time of our estimate.
Can you get out...? We can remove just about any spot that is not a permanent stain... however, there are conditions in which permanent staining is present. The following is a list of conditions which may or may not be removable. NOTE:The percentage listed next to the condition is the percentage of CHANCE that we have of removing it (NOT the percentage of stain that will be removed).
- yellowing (50%) - yellowing can be as simple as neutralizing the spot or area by spraying a solution on it, or it can be impossible to remove. There are many unknown causes for yellowing. It is so common, that we have several different products on our trucks just for yellowing.
- filtration soiling (black lines around baseboard) (25%) - We can usually get some of the filtration soiling out, but it almost never comes all the way out. Filtration soiling is when carpet "filters" soil going through cracks and crevices. The particles are so fine, and it goes all the way down the sides of the yarn and through the backing, which makes it almost impossible to remove.
- urine (50%) - when urine is fresh and has not been cleaned by an alkaline spotter, the chances are good. If the urine has been there a long time, the chances are slim. However, urine will continue to deteriorate the carpet, so it is extremely important to remove the urine deposits even if the spot does not come out. Every day we remove urine spots and every day we find urine spots that will not come out, so it's unpredictable. Very important to know however, is that we have a 4 step urine treatment procedure that is included in our specialty spotting: When cleaning a urine spot, we first apply a urine pre-treatment that helps to break down the urine and neutralize it. The spot is then thoroughly extracted. If spot is still there, we use other specialty spotters to attempt removal. The final step whether the spot comes out or not, is to spray an enzyme on it that will continue to break it down and help with the odor if any. We also have some effective odor treatment processes in addition to our spotting
- vomit (50%) - same as urine (If red from cat food, see red dye removal)
- blood (75%) - if blood has not been cleaned, if hot water or alkaline cleaning products have not been used, chances are good, but no guarantee.
- rust (90%) - chances for rust removal are excellent, however never a guarantee
- red dye (crayon, make up, kool-aid, cat food throw up, fiberglass insulation) (10%) - Red dye is almost impossible to remove unless conditions are exactly right. If the carpet is new, chances are better. In many cases the only way to remove red dye is with a heat transfer process in which we apply a product to the spot, lay over a wet cloth and apply an iron to it to cause the spot to transfer into the white towel. The spot is then rinsed thoroughly. This is a last resort procedure and may remove some of the carpet dye as well. Very low chance of red dye removal in most cases.
- lipstick (50%) - chances are good that we will be able to remove it with solvents, however some lipstick may be in the red dye category which give it slim chances for removal.
- furniture stain (1%) - almost impossible.
- coke (95%) - usually not a problem.
- coffee or tea (70%) - tannin spots can sometimes cause a permanent stain, but we usually have fair success. However, coffee many times is spilled when very hot which can make it more difficult.
- ketchup (50%) - ketchup can go either way. Sometimes it comes out easily, other times it enters into the red-dye category.
- mustard (15%) - can be very difficult. Not always impossible, but many times it is impossible.
- paint (enamel) (20%) - although we have removed a lot of enamel paint, there has also been a lot that we have not. Case by case basis, no guarantee.
- paint (latex) (75%) - usually good results, however colored latex can permanently stain carpet, and hardened latex can be impossible.
- crayon (50%) - we carry excellent solvents, but can go either way.
- ink (25%) - depending upon the type and amount of ink and its state of penetration, we have seen some results, but usually it is difficult to remove.
- water rings (70%) - we carry special products for water rings, and have good success overall, but still sometimes doesn't come out.
What about reoccurring spots? If the spot returned within a day or so after the cleaning, then it was either not removed and wicked back, or it was not removed but appeared that it was removed. If the spot returned after a week, two weeks, or a month or so, it probably either has some residue from cleaning agents left behind, or the spot was oily or sticky and was not totally removed therefore collecting soil in that same area again.
My carpet has bleached or faded spots, can you correct that? If there is color loss in the carpet, we can do a carpet repair for you by replacing that area of carpet with another piece from a closet. It may be able to be spot dyed, but we do not provide this service.
What about Indentations from heavy furniture? No guarantee can be made on removing indentations from furniture. In addition to the pile of the carpet being crushed, the backing of the carpet is indented. Heat and moisture and hand grooming with our equipment will help tremendously, but it may take time to fully release back to normal IF it comes back all the way. Severe cases don’t come back 100%.
Do you clean...?
- berber - absolutely. Berber is actually a type of weave, not a particular type of fabric. It’s simply a type of loop construction that may come in olefin, nylon, wool, or a blend. Berber requires a more thorough cleaning than other carpets because the "flushing" action needs to take place to get under, around, and through the loops. Other companies that are not as thorough have a number of problems with Berber because they leave soil behind that "wicks" back to the service.
- sisal, seagrass, grass - yes, dry-clean only, unless last resort spot cleaning. Spot cleaning and extraction can cause discoloration or water rings on sisal.
- wool - yes, we have special products that we use for wool. We clean wool often. We use lower pressure, lower temperature and take special drying precautions for cleaning wool.
- Haitian cotton - yes, we have special Haitian cotton cleaner, or we can dry-clean it. Case by case.
- silk- yes we dry-clean it.
- rayon- yes, we dry-clean it.
- chintz- yes.
How should I maintain my carpet? When it comes to maintaining your carpet, one of the most critical areas of focus is the traffic areas. If ground in soil is not removed on a regular basis, the traffic areas will begin to wear excessively. The dirt is extremely abrasive against the fibers of the carpet as you walk back and forth on it. The second area of focus of course is spot removal. You must react to "danger" spots immediately. Red wine, Red beverages, urine, blood, etc. can cause a permanent stain if not treated immediately. Listed below are the steps that you must take to properly maintain your carpeting.
- Warranty - Copies of specific warranties on your carpet purchase are available for you upon request. Stain resist warranties can vary from 5 to 20 years. ALL STAIN RESIST WARRANTIES REQUIRE REGULAR CLEANING AND IMMEDIATE SPOT REMOVAL.
- Vacuuming - Vacuum your carpet often! Once or twice a week at least. Vacuuming removes the sharp soil that can cut and slice the fiber causing premature wear. Much of this soil is not visible to the eye. Vacuum before the carpet looks soiled. Remove any loose particles such as loose food, leaves, pieces of crayon, bugs, etc. as these items can cause a spot on the carpet.
- Professional Cleaning - As a general rule, professional cleaning by a professional, certified firm should take place about once per year. For extremely heavy traffic areas, cleaning may be required more often. Proper professional cleaning will not leave a sticky residue behind and can be done as many times per year as needed. MANY STAIN RESIST WARRANTIES REQUIRE PROFESSIONAL CLEANING EVERY 2 YEARS. Professional cleaning removes the damaging soil in traffic areas that vacuuming has not been able to remove. WARNING: UNINFORMED CARPET CLEANERS MAY VOID YOUR WARRANTY.
- Protective Coatings - Residential carpets are treated with stain resist properties and soil resistors known as Dupont Teflon or 3M Scothgard. After a period of 2 to 3 years, some of the soil-resistor wears off. At that point you should consider having a professional carpet cleaner re-apply the treatment after professional cleaning. The soil resistor will help the soil slide off of the carpet easier when vacuuming, spots will be easier to remove, and professional cleaning will be more effective.
How can I take care of spots in between cleanings? Immediate spot removal is key to a clean carpet. Great care also must be taken in how spot cleaning is performed. When a carpet is new, or has sufficient protector on it, plain tap water will remove many spots. However for those spots that will not move easily with water, you must use a spot cleaner. Select a spot cleaner that is recommended by the carpet manufacturer or your trained, certified professional cleaner. Most spot removers that are purchased over the counter leave too much soap residue and can cause yellowing. Avoid using foam carpet cleaners or any product that is not made specifically for carpet. Apply spot cleaner sparingly to white terry cloth and gently massage spot causing it to transfer into the cloth. Never pour spot cleaner directly on carpet. If the product that you are using seems to cause the spot to resoil over a few week period, discontinue use. Any spot that you are not able to remove, and for pet urine or feces, call us immediately.