Humanity and Kindness

I’m not sure what a business blog is supposed to say really and all my previous ramblings have been related to cleaning carpets, upholstery or hard floors or directly related subjects. This one is different. And I might adjust future ones accordingly.

So if you expect some cleaning tips or insight as to what I did in the line of my work today you’re going to be disappointed. Not on this one.

This is just my way of expressing my gratitude for small instances of human kindness in what, especially at the moment, seems to be a world centred on violence, arrogance, warped ideology, blame culture and destruction.

Today, two small envelopes landed on my doorstep, and both contained gestures which although probably not intended to do so, brightened up my day beyond belief.

One was from a cousin who I haven’t seen for many years expressing her congratulations for a charity thing I did this last weekend to raise funds for a group set up to celebrate the assistance given to our dear country during the last world war by the Polish Air Force.

With all of the ‘Brexit’ fever, many forget that we owe a great deal to those of other nations who have, and always will, support us. The point is, I suppose, that we cannot and must not generalise. Thanks to Sarah for this gesture out of the blue. It means a lot.

The second envelope was from a lady originally from the UK and who now lives in Santa Cruz, California. It contained a thank you card expressing her gratitude to me for cleaning the carpets in a property she owns across here in the UK. She hasn’t even seen the job I did but still took the time to write a card. Human nature at its very best. It was an absolute pleasure to be able to help her maintain a home which held so many memories for her, and although I was unaware of the history at the time, it makes me even more proud of this job I do. Thank you Nicola for taking the time to put pen to paper.

Every day we see gestures of great human kindness which will always stand way ahead of and above the misguided individuals who think they can grind our great world society down.

Thanks today for those people who made at least one person happy!

 

 

SPRING IS HERE!

Yorkshire / Humber home owners reveal their dirty habits.

It’s that time of year again – spring is upon us and aren’t we happy about that? Gone are the gloomy days, hopefully for a few months anyway, and we can now enjoy the return of the sunshine and longer evenings.

The trouble is, with the suns return comes the need to address a few issues around the home that we’ve been putting off. The sunshine has this terrible habit of highlighting the need to get the duster out a bit more often; it seems to shine a spotlight on each shiny surface showing you the error of your ways.

The dust around the home isn’t always visible, and often it’s the dirt and grime we can’t see that’s doing us the most damage.

The National Carpet Cleaners Association has recently conducted a Spring Clean Survey, asking the British public some rather interesting questions. This included those of us in the Yorkshire and Humber region.

Here are some of the results:

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70% of people surveyed admitted to treading mud (amongst other things) into the home. I wonder how many of those 70% got the vacuum out straight away to remove that dirt? Maybe they thought “I’ll let it dry, it’ll vacuum better when it’s dry”. Or perhaps they thought, “it’s time to get my carpets professionally cleaned to remove all that bacteria and dirt before I let my children crawl around on that carpet”.

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The good old 5 second rule! 50% of people surveyed, admitted to eating something they’d dropped on the floor in their home. Well, that’s not a problem if you vacuum daily and have your carpets/hard floors professionally cleaned once a year is it? Although I hope these 50% are not part of the 70% included in the first question!

Pile_Up_Survey_Rude

This is a tricky one for many people. Do you or don’t you take your shoes off when you visit someone’s home? On the one hand you may not want to make a mess in someone’s home, but on the other hand, you don’t want anyone to see that your socks might not match! As a professional cleaner I always wear overshoes when I enter someones home. and that’s my get-out clause! Interestingly, 45% of people surveyed considered it rude if visitors didn’t remove their shoes when visiting their home.

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I knew this one would grab your attention! It seems those surveyed were a fit bunch. 40% said they’d worked up a sweat and exercised on the carpet, whilst a quarter owned up to having sex on the floor of their home. I wonder how many of this saucy bunch took their shoes off first? Well it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it?!

Pile_Up_Survey_Nappy

No matter how clean and tidy we’d all like to think our homes are, did you realise that there are lots of things lurking deep within the fibres of your carpets? As already mentioned there could well be soil, bodily fluids and even dog poo, trodden in to your carpet. Even so it’s quite surprising that 30% of people surveyed said that they’d changed their baby’s nappy on the carpet.

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And finally, it’s not just our carpets and floor that are subject to daily abuse, but also our furniture. A massive 70% of people revealed that they rest on the sofa when they are unwell (man-flu must involve sweating buckets into the fabric) and 30% even had accidents with blood, urine and vomit being spilt on their often costly upholstery. You’d like to think these people would have called in a professional to sanitise their furnishings wouldn’t you?  Strangely this is not always the case.

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I started this blog talking about spring and how it makes us feel around the home. Maybe with the results of this survey highlighting what takes place in many of our homes, it really is time for a good spring clean! Don’t worry, spring cleaning doesn’t have to be scary, but it is something we should all do. It’s not just about cleaning blinds and dusting the skirting boards, though doing these things is great. It’s about sanitising your homes and making them not only beautiful, but healthy for your families.

You can use spring cleaning as a prompt to schedule household maintenance and call in professionals to do the difficult, yet necessary tasks. Having your carpets, hard floors and upholstery professionally cleaned every 12- 18 months is not only recommended by carpet and upholstery manufacturers, but is simply a must in order to keep a healthy home. Carpet cleaning may not have been something you were thinking of having done in your home, but it could well be at the top of your to do list now.

Look no further. At Pile Up Cleaning I am fully insured and fully trained and accredited by the NCCA. For information on my unbeatable carpet and upholstery cleaning service call me (Andy) on 01724 734039 or 07904 169273 or complete the contact form on my website https://pileupcleaning.com/contact-us/

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LEATHER CAR UPHOLSTERY

At Pile Up Cleaning Ltd I am frequently asked to clean vehicle interiors, and when the seats are leather this obviously requires a different cleaning process to fabric upholstered seats.

In addition to carrying out cleaning for private vehicle owners I also carry out regular work for a local prestige car dealership.

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Most leather in modern cars is what we call ‘coated’ or ‘pigmented’ leather, commonly known as ‘Pigment Coated’. These are different to other leathers some of which are known as unfinished leathers and I’ll try to explain here why coated leathers should not be cleaned the same way as an unfinished leather.

On pigment coated leathers at Pile Up Cleaning Ltd I use a water based product, which includes a cleaner and a protector, and if used on a regular basis will keep a cars leather upholstery in great condition.

By definition, ‘Leather’ is the tanned skin or hide of ANY animal, the obvious maybe being cow but you could also include rhinoceros, snake, fish, etc. – the list goes on, but you get my drift. Only when the skin/hide has been through the tanning process can it be called leather but at this stage it is still in a rather unusable state and if not kept wet it would dry out to a stiff board like sheet. All ‘natural’ oils and fats are removed from the skin during the tanning process. This is known as the ‘wet blue’ stage.

At this point the leather is put through a re-tanning process where fat liquors are introduced and the correct moisture level is also achieved. These two factors combined give the leather its familiar flexibility and suppleness. These fat liquors are good in the leather for approximately 20 – 30 years and do not usually migrate from the leather during that time. However, what does alter in the leather is the moisture content and when tanners speak about ‘conditioning’ leather this is what they are referring to, not the replacement of oils and waxes.

It is important therefore that your leather is kept correctly hydrated with moisture to allow the leather to remain flexible and supple. That is why at Pile Up Cleaning Ltd I will use water based products and contrary to some ideas there is no reason to use oils and wax based products to ‘condition’ or ‘feed’ the leather. This is particularly true of pigment coated leathers that cannot absorb oils and waxes through their top finish in any case. But as with anything involving leather it is a balance that is needed and care must be taken when cleaning. Over soaking with water will result in the fibres becoming distorted and then when they are dried will not shrink back into their previous state or position and so become hard and brittle.

So just to return to the process of manufacturing leather for upholstery, once it has been through the re-tanning or fat liquoring process they move on to the finishing stage which is determined by the quality of the hide used. You might assume that the more work involved in preparing a hide for use, the more it would cost but there is a strange anomaly in the leather industry that the more you do to a hide the LESS it costs.

Hides with little damage (insect bites, barbed wire scars, branding marks etc) are used for top level upholstery and very little may be done to finish the leather so producing what are called aniline and other full grain leathers. Hides with a lot of damage are usually buffed to remove this damage and then used for pigment coated leathers.

Also, split leathers, where it is split two or three times during the tanning process are also used by bonding finishes to the leather. It is the thickness of the finished coating on leather that determines whether it can be classed as leather or not. If the leather has a surface coating, as does pigment coated leather, the mean thickness of this surface layer has to be 0.15mm or less (BS 2780:1983)

So leather is leather and is basically the same product from whatever it is produced but in this case it is the surface coatings that we are dealing with when we are cleaning and not the leather itself.

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Think twice about attempting to clean your leather interior yourself. Many leather cleaners supplied through some car cleaning outlets contain oils. Some leathers have very little surface coating and are very porous to moisture and oils and you should be trying to prevent the absorption of oils into the leather as they can cause an imbalance which would then have to be rectified. Body oils can also cause many problems with leather of this type leaving unsightly patches which are expensive to fix. Why then would you want to add more oils to the leather? Here at Pile Up Cleaning I use only the best products for the job and have the training and experience to know how to correctly identify the leather type and which product to apply to it to attain the desired result.

Pigment coated leather needs to be kept clean. It is dirt and body oils together with constant abrasion that break down the pigment coating and then will begin to deteriorate the leather itself so it is crucial to stop this from happening. This can only be done with regular cleaning and protectors. If oils are used on pigment coated leather they cannot be absorbed into the leather the same way that moisture can and so sit on the surface and will only serve to attract more dirt so having a detrimental effect.

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Pigment Coated Auto Leather

I recommend that deep cleaning and protecting of your vehicle interior leather should be carried out at least once a year, twice if it’s regularly used.

The best way to do this is to give me a call at Pile Up Cleaning Ltd. That way you won’t need to make the effort do it yourself, you won’t inadvertently use products which are not right for the job and you can be assured that I will take the utmost care with your cherished vehicle.

Pile Up Cleaning Contact Details

 

Wooden Floor or Carpets?

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You’ve spent the weekend decorating and are toying with the trendy idea of throwing away the carpet and sanding the floorboards ‘like they did on the telly’. Well, before you do, just stop for a moment and think about all the things you take for granted in your carpets.

Before taking a trip to your local tool hire shop you need to sit yourself down and consider what benefits your carpets actually do provide. You will be very surprised as hardly any of these are purely cosmetic and all of which we take entirely for granted.

Imagine for a second, five pairs of schoolboy feet running up your staircase – does a heard of elephants spring to mind? Well, without your stair carpet, believe me, it would sound just like that, but, when was the last time that you thought ‘thank heavens for my stair carpet absorbing the sound’ probably the same as me – never. But this is one of the aspects of your carpet that we never pay a second thought to and is vital for a stress free life.

Also, imagine if you can, 50% more dusting that would be the case if you didn’t have a carpet and yes, believe it or not, it is a fact that thanks to your carpet’s dust trapping properties, it can reduce your housework and I think you’ll agree that is a definite benefit. Not only do we have less dusting but also the environment in which we live is more hygienic because of it.

Pile_Up_Cleaning_Healthy_Carpet

Let me explain, carpet fibres draw in dust particles like water going down a plughole until it is vacuumed and if vacuumed regularly you will get rid of those nasty germs that travel around on dust particles causing us all sorts of health problems. This, in turn, contributes to reducing the potential risk to family members who suffer from allergies such as asthma and hayfever. So you spend less of your valuable time nursing them –

Another point to bear in mind is it’s insulating properties. In other words, keeping us warm. Not only does you carpet act as a visual comforter it also acts as a thermal insulator, retaining heat within its dense pile and backing material .

It is proven that you will feel at least 2C warmer with a carpet fitted!

And if that isn’t enough to make you run to your nearest carpet shop, if you are all in favour of life’s little comforts like a thick, clean, woolen, fitted carpet to relax on, it’s worth bearing in mind that it’s not only comfortable on your toes but it also has orthopedic benefits too and can actually do you good. Fitting a soft resilient carpet is gentle on the joints and if you can walk on them barefoot as often as possible, it is, according to prominent orthopedic specialists, equivalent to the effects of natural reflex massage treatment and that sounds like a nice bit of pampering to me. The rule that applies is quite obvious, the deeper the carpet pile the more effective it is.

For many of us in today’s Eco-friendly society, there is one more very important point to bear in mind. There are now available carpets and carpet products, which have been tested for any contaminants, emissions and potentially dangerous odours. Once tested, they are awarded a certification mark, which enables you to identify them immediately.

If you are still edging towards the sanded floorboards, maybe it’s because of the maintenance of a carpet, so let me put your mind at rest.

Granted, your carpet does need regular maintenance to keep it looking good. You should vacuum on a regular basis with an efficient vacuum cleaner, which both extracts dust and dirt from the depths of the pile and also contributes towards the attractive appearance. When your carpet is looking a bit tired and worn, give it a treat by employing the labours of a specialist carpet cleaner to give it the once over.

I am a member of  a recognised body, the National Carpet Cleaners Association (NCCA) and you should always use a company similarly qualified in order to avoid potential disaster.

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You are now better informed in the battle of carpets v floorboards and are in a better position to decide whether you want a cold draughty, dusty room or a warm, relaxing, healthy one.
Pile Up Banding

Winteringham Music and Arts Festival

A great series of music and arts events were held in Winteringham over the last month or so. I was happy to donate a raffle prize which consisted of a £100 cleaning voucher.

A young lady won the prize which she kindly donated to her Grandfather. I spent a morning cleaning carpets for him and passing the time of day. Thanks Eddie, it was great to be able to help you out!

The icing on the cake for me was a ‘thank-you’ card which arrived through my letterbox and for which I am very grateful.

Roll on next year’s festival!

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Puppy tried to chew my dongle!

A great review today from a recent client which I’m very grateful for but which made me laugh too. Unfortunately I didn’t get a ‘selfie’ with the errant mutt because I was afraid he’d try to chew my camera too!

” I would like to thank Andy of Pile Up Cleaning for the outstanding professional care he gave us in caring for our lounge. We were going to exchange the carpet for a new one due to the coal fire in the room leaving soot deposits and dark areas where coal had fallen onto the carpet. Andy arrived promptly and provided a quote which was very thorough and he even deducted areas which didn’t require cleaning such as where the hearth protruded. Andy managed to move furniture out of the way and was very good with pets, even when our puppy started to chew his dongle he remained calm and composed. Excellent service, excellent value and highly recommended”  M. Lea, Cleethorpes, August 2016.

 

Carpet Moths

WHAT’S EATING MY CARPET?!

Carpet moths are especially prolific at this time of year due to the warm weather. The average householder has no idea about this type of moth, often believing it is the adult moths of other bigger and more brightly coloured species that are munching on their carpets and fabrics. As the carpet moth is so small you may not even realise you have a problem until you notice the worn patches on your carpet. Here is some information which may be of interest.

If you have a carpet made from natural fibres, such as wool, and have noticed small balding patches in the corners and at the edges, you may have an infestation of carpet moths.

Moths

Carpet moths are very small (under a centimetre long), a dull brown colour, and will often scurry around rather than using their wings. They originally live out in the wild, usually in the nests of birds and other animals. They feed on the protein fibres which are naturally discarded by their hosts and choose to live in animal habitats for this reason. They also benefit from the warmth of the animal and, unlike other species of moth, prefer dark rather than light places.

To end up nesting in a carpet the moths would need to find a way in to the home, and it is not uncommon for them to enter attached to an article of clothing or other item.

Once inside a moth will look for a hiding place where it is safe to lay its eggs. As it prefers dark areas, the most common places for infestation are around skirting boards and under cupboards, book cases and other furniture.

The only interest in carpeting for a carpet moth is the protein value of natural fibres. A room containing twenty square metres of wool carpet would be heaven for them, providing a plentiful land to reproduce and spread for generations to come.

A common misconception is that it’s the adult moths that cause the damage to a carpet, when actually it’s the larvae. The adults lay eggs on products that the larvae will consume. As soon as the eggs hatch the larvae will start feeding on the carpet fibres. This stage usually lasts between 68 to 87 days. The larvae of Tinea Pellionella (the ‘Casemaking’ moth) spin protective cases around themselves, leaving the ends open so that they can use their jaws and legs. These cases (which resemble grains of rice) are dragged around with the larvae as they move and eventually become the cocoon in which they pupate and develop into adult moths.

Carpet moths like humid conditions, so at this time of year they are especially prolific. However, since the advent of central heating, moths now breed all year round.

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HOW TO DEAL WITH AN INFESTATION

This is a problem that needs attention, because it will only continue to get worse. Also, did you know that the very same larvae that are eating your carpets will also quite happily munch away on your favourite items of clothing if they are made from natural fibres? Yes, I know, it’s a scary thought!

When it comes to getting rid of these creatures, however, controversy ensues. Different websites will site everything from placing an infested rug in the sun for a few hours to rolling them up and placing them in a cavernous freezer. But my advice to you is…. simply…. don’t waste your time!

A carpet suffering from moth infestation will require professional attention if it is to be dealt with successfully. If you suspect you have an infestation, call me and I will be able to help and advise you.

 

 

DEALING WITH SPILLS AND STAINS

Everyone spills a drink from time to time, or drops toast and marmalade (sticky side down of course!) onto a carpet or a three-piece suite.

Cup 1x

The problem is that for you as a customer professional cleaners are not usually foremost in your thoughts during the initial stages of panic.

The drinks most commonly spilled seem to be tea, coffee, red wine and beer. Tea and coffee can create some challenges even for the professional cleaner, so bear this in mind when you try to remedy the problem yourself!

When I’m called out to such accidents, as I regularly am, the first thing I do when faced with these types of stains is to complete a survey.

The natural dyes (tannin) contained within tea and coffee can differ depending on whether the drink is decaffeinated or flavoured. The temperature of the drink at the time of the spillage, and whether it contained milk and/or sugar, are also important factors to consider. Hot tea and coffee will penetrate deeper into the substrate, swelling the fibres and exposing the dye sites to the staining material. The fibres then cool, trapping the stain and making it more difficult to remove. Dairy products (specifically the protein element) become more difficult to deal with the longer they are left in the substrate, and sugar can caramelise into a hard deposit.

Once I have assessed the stain, I then ask if anything (and if so ‘what?’) has already been done in an attempt to remove it. This may affect how I choose to clean the stain or even the final success.

WineGlass 960

Next, I establish what fibres and constructions are present in the item/s I have been asked to clean. Natural fibres are more absorbent than synthetic fibres. They can also be more easily damaged by spot and stain removal processes.

On completing the survey, I discuss with you what sort of result may be achieved, inform you what risks are involved and test all the products I intend to use in an inconspicuous area.

It’s always a good idea to clean the whole area first, as many spots will come out (or at least lighten) from this process and this will reduce the intensity of the stain removal product that is required on any residual stains.

It’s important to deal with any remaining stains carefully. I will only use products with particular note to the limitations imposed on me by the fibre type and construction. One major consideration here is to check backing materials for potential colour bleed/migration. Some stains can take as long to deal with as cleaning a whole carpet/suite.

(This was a recent job. Vodka and coke was the main ingredient!)

0407-Buss (1)       0407-Buss (3a)

(I love the ‘before’ and ‘after’ situations)

So next time you have one of those common little accidents please take this advice:-

  • Don’t panic – it’s happened so let’s look at the best way to deal with it!
  • Don’t use any random product you may have in your cupboard to remove the stain which may make it worse or damage your carpet or furniture.
  • Check my website here for a useful and safe process if you intend to do anything.
  • If you still have an issue give me a ring and I’ll either advise you over the phone or come and have a look at the problem myself.

Thanks for reading. If you got this far please consider sharing this post with your family and friends.

Andy