Carpet Advice

Red wine stain? No problem

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Here’s a DIY how-to for removing red wine stains from carpet

Holiday parties and family get togethers inevitably result in spills on your carpet or upholstery. The stain that we all fear the most? Red wine. Here’s our PRO tip for solution that really does work for getting these stains out.

Red Wine Stain Treatment

First step: blot, blot, blot:
If it is a new spill, use a white cloth or paper towels to blot as much of the red wine spill as you can. Follow this with pouring a bit of cold water directly onto the wine stain. Doing this helps dilute what remains of the stain. Continue with blotting until no more of the stain is coming out.

IMPORTANT! Don’t forget to test:
Of course, your stains don’t always cooperate by appearing in inconspicuous areas, but do keep in mind that it is always recommended that you first test any cleaning solution on a portion of carpet or upholstery that is out of the way.

The Dish Soap and White Wine Vinegar Solution Method

This method is great for red wine and a host of other tough stains.

1.     Pour two cups of warm water into a bowl. Add a tablespoon of white vinegar and another tablespoon of dishwashing liquid.

2.     Dip a sponge into the bowl and wring out well. Then begin applying the solution directly onto the wine stain. You should see immediate lifting of the stain, but continue blotting until the stain has lifted completely.

3.     Follow with blotting the area with clear water, then blotting dry with a clean white towel or paper towels.

Let your carpet and upholstery cleaning PRO help:
On your next scheduled cleaning, show your technician the area. Any remaining stain residue can be treated and cleaned.


Beware of Carpet Warranty Exclusions

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Carpet manufacturers provide many different types of warranties, some murkier than others. When you purchase carpet, pay close attention to warranty exclusions.


Uh-oh… what’s that on your carpet? Carpet warranty exclusions cover a wide variety of problems, but stains are probably the most prevalent complaint. Shaw’s Limited Lifetime Stain Warranty excludes thirteen different substances commonly found in a household environment, whereas Carpet One’s Lees Ultra 25 Stain Warranty “covers all types of stains… even those that other carpet warranties don’t, including pet stains, grease, mustard, coffee, cola, even bleach.”

Where is your carpet?

The location of your carpet can void your warranty. For instance, Kraus’s Residential Wear Warranty doesn’t cover carpet installed on stairs.

What did you put on your carpet?

Your choice of carpet care products can be a real problem when it comes to soil resistance warranties such as Kraus’s Soil Resistance Warranty, which becomes void if you use soil retardants, stain repellents, anti-static treatments, or deodorizers.

What’s under your carpet?

For some warranties, what’s under your carpet may void your warranty, like Mohawk’s General Warranty, which has very specific cushion requirements: a minimum density of five pounds per cubic foot, with a thickness not less than 3/8 inch and not more than 1/2 inch.

Carpet care and maintenance requirements

Although carpet stain warranties vary from one manufacturer or brand to another, they all have one thing in common: You must remove spots immediately and have your carpets deep cleaned at least every 12 to 18 months to remove embedded dirt and grime.

The bottom line…

Although the carpet warranty should not be the sole factor in your purchase decision, it is an incredibly important one. In order to avoid a rejected warranty claim, it is your responsibility to find out which warranty applies to your specific carpet type, to obtain a copy of the warranty, ask questions to ensure you understand your warranty, follow the cleaning and care guidelines provided by the manufacturer, and save your receipts.


How to Remove Tar Stains From Carpet

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Tar is one of the more annoying things that can be tracked onto your carpets, creating unsightly stains and clumps of sticky mess. And if you’ve ever tried to get those out with just plain water, you probably discovered to your dismay that you actually set the stain, rather than getting rid of it. So how exactly DO you get tar and tar stains out of your carpet? You’ll find there are a lot of suggestions out there on the internet and, as you might guess some are better than others. 


Here is what we recommend:


1.     First, get rid of as much of the tar as possible. If there’s a lot of it and you have some ice cubes handy, rub the ice cubes on the tar until it becomes brittle and (gently) work as much of it out of the carpet fibers as you can, using a spoon or plastic spatula, then vacuum up the loose stuff.


2.     Using protective gloves and making sure there is good ventilation (no, that’s not just a suggestion – read the label warnings!), apply odorless mineral spirits to a clean white cloth and blot up the stain, rotating to clean areas of the cloth as you progress. This can take a while. Be patient.


3.     Mix Woolite with water to create suds and apply only the suds to the area to remove the mineral spirits. Remove the suds by blotting with a natural sponge and clear water. NOTE: Woolite is the preferred cleaning agent for wool or nylon, it should not be used on rayon, silk or linen. Dishwashing liquid can be used if Woollite isn’t an option (again, use only the suds) BUT be sure it is clear dishwashing liquid since the dyes in colored dish soap can transfer to the carpet leaving you with a lovely blue, green, purple, etc. stain in place of the stain you just got out. 


4.     Blot with a clean and dry white towel to help the carpet dry.


Important Precautions

·      Test the mineral spirits on a small, inconspicuous area of carpet before applying to the stain to be sure it will not damage the carpet.

·      Use only clean white towels to avoid transferring dye from them to the carpet.

·      Diligently follow any safety recommendations on the product container. 

·      Do not be afraid to seek professional advice before applying anything to your carpet. We are happy to answer any questions you may have.


If the stain is not resolved to your satisfaction or you do not care to try to remove the stain yourself, we are always available to provide professional cleaning services for your carpets, rugs and other fine textiles.

Five Reasons You Should Consider Protective Treatments

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Many carpets these days come with protective treatments that help resist a variety of forms of staining already applied. But what about those that don’t? What about your upholstery?

Ultimately whether you have protective treatments applied is up to you, but here are five reasons why you might want to:

  1. Your carpet and upholstery will look better and last longer when protected. Soils will release from the fibers much more effectively.
  2. Protective treatments make spots easier to remove. The easier a spot is to remove, the less detergent and/or agitation you will have to use. The less agitation you have to use, the less time it will take. When a protective treatment has been applied, many spots can be removed easily with just water.
  3. Protective treatments can help save your traffic areas from becoming destroyed. Traffic area soil is very abrasive and cuts carpet yarns like a knife. This damaging soil releases more readily from protected fibers.
  4. Protective treatments can make your next professional cleaning more effective. Having protector applied will enhance your next professional cleaning by allowing more soil to be removed.
  5. Protective treatment can help prevent permanent stains. Beautiful textiles can be ruined by an ugly stain. Protector will allow you to remove spots and spills more effectively, thereby helping you to avoid permanent staining.

A note about protective treatments:

Not all protective treatments are created equal. Likewise, not all treatments are good for all textiles. It’s not a one-size-fits-all sort of thing. If you plan on applying the treatments yourself, be absolutely certain you know what your carpeting or upholstery is comprised of AND that your treatment is one that is recommended for those materials. If you don’t know what materials you are dealing with or you are not certain if the treatment you have is safe for them, we strongly recommend that you ask a carpet and upholstery professional for advice before applying the treatment. For the best results, it is also important that your carpet and upholstery be thoroughly cleaned and completely dry before applying the treatment. Because of their deeper cleaning capabilities, it is probably a good idea to at least have a professional take care of this part.
wine protect

Benefits of an Enzyme Cleaner

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Many people who call our office own pets or have children and they tell us that they are concerned about odors or urine stains in their carpets. The first thing that we will recommend is an enzyme treatment.

You may be wondering, what is an enzyme? An enzyme is a substance produced by a living organism that acts as a catalyst to bring about a specific biochemical reaction.

There are actually many benefits to using an enzyme cleaner. Enzyme cleaners eliminate the need to use harsh chemicals because the waste and odors that are deeply embedded in the carpet fibers are converted into carbon dioxide and water. An enzyme cleaner is beneficial for urine, food or drink and vomit. Another great thing about an enzyme treatment is that it keeps cleaning even after you have finished cleaning it. It is also non-toxic, hypoallergenic and non-corrosive which means it is safe for you, your family and your pets!

Blackburn Pro Cleaning has an enzyme cleaner that we use with wall to wall carpets, in your home and area rugs that we clean in our facility. Give us a call today and we can schedule an enzyme cleaning for you!

Requesting an Estimate? 5 Things To Know

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Requesting an Estimate For Carpet Cleaning? Here Are 5 Things to Know

If you have children, pets, heavy foot-traffic, or you host a lot of parties, you may already have recognized that there is more to carpet cleaning than just running a vacuum. Carpet cleaning professionals are very aware of this and price their services accordingly. But how do you, as a consumer evaluate the pricing you are given?

What goes into an estimate?

Shopping around and checking references and reviews, experience and certifications will provide a good start. It is also helpful to understand what the estimator is evaluating. Here are five primary factors a professional carpet cleaning company may consider when creating your estimate:

1. The type of carpeting.

Step into any carpeting retailer and you will immediately see that not all carpeting is the same. There are shags and berbers, treated and untreated, and several different brands and compositions. Some are more delicate than others and may require different cleaning methods. Warranties also differ between types and brands and could stipulate specific cleaning methods in order not to void the warranty. (It is the consumer’s responsibility to be familiar with and to inform their cleaning professional of these kinds of warranty details.)

2. The size and accessibility of the rooms.

Carpet is priced by square footage, so it should come as no surprise that cleaning should be priced similarly. Any furniture that may need to be moved and who moves it is also relevant. You should verify whether the estimate includes moving furniture. There could be some wiggle room in pricing if you move the furniture yourself. The accessibility of rooms can also impact the cleaning method needed and consequently the pricing. For example, if truck-mounted equipment is standard for the company, a change in method (and consequently pricing) may be necessary if the property cannot be accessed by truck-mounted equipment – no appropriate parking for the truck, a high-rise location, etc.

3. Any special treatments required for stubborn spills or spots.

So, about that wine your cousin Jeff spilled the other night… An experienced cleaning professional probably has a few tricks up their sleeve for just such an occasion. This kind of troubleshooting may require specialized knowledge or training, equipment and/or products. Just as your dentist probably doesn’t include whitening in the standard cleaning process, spot treatment can be a separate pricing element for a carpet cleaning pro.

4. High-traffic areas.

You might not think of the daily routines of your house or office as “traffic,” but you’ve probably noticed your carpet looks dingier right around the doors, or maybe in front of the couch in the family room, or the fridge in the break room. Those areas that are more soiled due to frequent use can require extra attention. This means more time and, as we all know, time is money.

5. Pet accidents.

If you’ve ever cleaned up a pet accident, you probably realized it is not like cleaning up any other spill. The ammonia, the smell, the… messiness. EEEW! And did you notice you can clean it up nicely, but it keeps coming back? Or that your pet keeps “accidentally” messing up the same spot? Cleaning pet accidents so they don’t re-appear (or continue to smell like “the place to go” to your pet) takes knowledge and effort. Pet accidents can go deep – to the carpet backing, the pad, or even into the flooring under that. Understand that if your carpet pad or flooring is impacted, you’re looking at a greater magnitude of problem that probably can’t be solved by cleaning alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for details.

In Conclusion

These are the most common considerations and the kind of details you want to know and ask about when seeking an estimate. Some companies may not charge for some of these items separately while others will. For this reason, it is important to verify what a provided estimate covers in order to avoid any surprises, and so you are comparing oranges to oranges if shopping around. This also helps weed out companies that may employ bait-and-switch tactics – offering an enticingly low estimate, then arriving to do the job and pushing up the price with add-on charges for any or all of the factors mentioned above or anything else they may think up.

A truly professional and ethical carpet cleaning service will let you know up front what you can expect to pay and what that price covers.

estimate blog

Do You Know the Difference Between a Spot and a Stain?

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We have people that call all the time and ask if we can get tough stains out of their carpets and honestly it depends on if it is a spot or a permanent stain. However, we may wonder, what is the difference?

A spot is a rounded mark made by foreign matter on the surface. A stain is a discoloration produced by foreign matter; a spot not easily removed.  A stain is embedded into the carpet fibers.

If spills are addressed immediately, they will most likely come out. 24 hours can make a difference in whether a spot will become a stain. You must blot a spot to prevent staining immediately for the best results and rinse it out with water. It is not good to leave chemicals in your carpet; this will build up soil and possibly discolor your carpet. To prevent soil build up it is best to thoroughly clean spills and fully rinse cleaning products from the fibers of your carpet.

Certain fibers are more prone to staining like Nylon, which is more absorbent than many other fibers. Polyester is not very absorbent so it is easier to clean up spills. Hydrogen peroxide is good for spots and it leaves no residue. However, it won’t work on grease or oil based stains. An enzyme based cleaner is good for stains like food, urine and blood.

Blackburn Pro Cleaning would be happy to help you with stubborn spills and spots. We have the appropriate chemicals to help with spot removal.


stain vs spot


Common Mistakes that will Ruin the Life of your Carpets

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  1. Scrubbing a carpet stain:

This will damage the carpet fibers and will not get the spot out of the carpet, it will actually push the stain down deeper. Instead, blot the spot as much as you can.

  1. Not responding immediately:

The longer you wait to attend to the spot, the harder it will be to get out. The stain can even be absorbed into the padding if you’re not careful.

  1. Using an incorrect solution:

This can permanently damage and discolor your rug. Be sure to look up information on the product and read the label before you use it.

  1. Over-using chemicals:

Over-wetting your carpet with a solution can damage your carpet and build up dirt/residue.

  1. Using deodorizer incorrectly:

This makes the carpet smell good, but you still must clean the rug itself.

  1. Renting equipment:

Some rental machines can damage and over-wet your carpets, which can lead to mold and soil build up.

  1. Not testing it first:

You should always remember to test a patch of carpet so you can see how the chemical is reacting to it. That way, if it does not react well, you will not be damaging the whole carpet.

  1. Not using a professional:

Getting your carpet professionally cleaned at least once a year is very important. This will extend the life of the carpet and ensures that if you have a warranty on your carpet, it will not be forfeited. You will also want your carpet cleaning technician to be IICRC certified (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification). Getting your carpets cleaned regularly can also help provide an overall healthy environment in your home.

Blackburn Professional Cleaning would be happy to help you with spots on your carpet and upholstery. Give us a call today!




Top 5 Ways to Make Your Vacuum Last Longer

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Because your vacuum cleaner is the first line of defense in maintaining the condition of your carpet and the air quality of your home, we make it a point to periodically remind you to give this important tool some TLC so it can last as long as possible. Like any machine, this isn’t just a matter of hoping for the best. Here are five things you can do to get the longest life out of your vacuum so it can help you maintain the longevity of your carpet and a healthy living or working environment.


1.              Replace That Bag. Empty That Canister.
Whether your vacuum has a bag or one of those lovely clear canisters, it’s important to empty the space the dirt gets sucked into regularly. Bonus Tip: Don’t wait until the receptacle is full. For bags aim to change them at about half full. For the canisters, after every use so the dirt won’t settle into it (of course, if it hits half before and you’re still vacuuming, empty it and then empty again when you’re done.) Why? Because dirt needs some space to fully enter the bag or canister. The closer you get to a completely full receptacle, the less efficiently dirt is captured.

2.              Check Your Filters and Hoses.
Not all of the dirt that’s vacuumed up passes on through to the bag. Some of it gets caught in the filter. When too much gets caught in the filter, nothing can move into the bag, which kind of defeats the purpose of vacuuming. Clean your filter (gently) according to its needs – some can be rinsed, some shaken, some wiped. Hoses can get clogged, come loose, and develop cracks. All of these problems impede your vacuum’s efficiency. Fix them (or see number 5).

3.              Let Your Roller Loose.
Periodically check for things that may be caught in or wrapped around the roller and remove them if you find them. After all, the roller can’t do its best with both hands tied behind its back, and anything that impedes the roller’s free motion can put strain on the vacuum’s motor.

4.              See How That Belt’s Holding Up.
Check the belt that turns the roller. If it’s loose or shows signs of wear, replace it so the roller continues to run efficiently. It’s kind of like that children’s song: the belt turns the roller and the roller moves the dirt and the vacuum sucks it up… and the green grass grows all around…

5.              See The Doctor.
Generally speaking, we go to the doctor for two reasons – a regular checkup, or because we have a problem. Your vacuum is really no different. It’s a good idea to periodically have your vacuum checked by a professional, especially if it seems sluggish or otherwise impaired.


Like you, your vacuum wants to live a longer, happier life. Following these five suggestions can make that happen. Your carpet will thank you.



Photo of gloved hands completing cleanup of inside of vacuum cleaner with hardwood floors in background



Tips on Selecting Carpeting

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As carpet care professionals, we are frequently asked about different types of carpeting – what are the different types and which are best for specific environments, etc. So, we’ve gathered some information for you. Keep it handy and refer to it when you’re shopping for new carpeting.

The number of choices out there may seem pretty overwhelming when you’re looking to buy or replace your carpeting. We’re here to help you narrow things down a bit.

There are basically four things to decide up front:

  • Where will this carpeting be installed? This can be broken into a few sub-questions: is it formal or informal? Private or public? High or low traffic?
  • How do you want the carpet to feel?
  • What’s your budget?
  • How much effort do you want to put in to maintain it?

Ok, so you’ve answered these questions, you are ready to make the best choices for your needs.

True, if you’re looking at all the patterns and colors and designs available, but we’ll let you in on a little secret… It’s all basically variations on three styles: loop pile, cut pile and cut and loop.

Loop Pile

This is more commonly known as Berber. Loop pile is often the preference for commercial or high usage areas. It’s easier to maintain, slower to show wear and a good choice when wheelchair or walker traffic is likely. Of course, if you want that soft, run-through-it-barefoot feeling, you probably won’t like loop pile much.

Cut Pile

When you know that all carpet starts out as loop pile, the term cut begins to make a bit more sense – all the loops are cut so they stand alone. This is the go-to category for those looking for something softer underfoot.

Low and dense. The most durable in the cut pile family is a low and dense cut pile, that’s possibly not much more comfortable than Berber due to the lack of depth in the pile – the very thing that makes it more durable and easier to keep clean. It holds up well in high use, regular traffic areas, like playrooms, rec rooms, offices and the like.

Deep plush. Never fear, bare-footers – there’s deep, luxurious plush as well. Just don’t expect it to stay clean as long. It can more easily become matted down as well. Oh, and this decadent deep plush has one more drawback. It shows footprints and vacuum tracks like crazy. It sure is nice to the toes, though. This deep cut pile is most suited to lower use areas, such as formal sitting rooms, master bedrooms, and private studies.

Plush with a twist. Somewhere along the line someone got clever and invented “trackless” carpet. A slight variation on the deep plush, where the individual fibers are either cut at differing heights or twisted and crimped, resulting in different reflectivity of light that makes tracks virtually invisible. This “textured plush” will show less wear than most other styles and is easy to maintain.

Cut and Loop Pile

Pretty much just what it sounds like – a combination of high cut pile and low loops. This offers many design possibilities from straight lines to geometric patterns to floral or other more intricate designs. This style of pile is easy to maintain and keep clean and holds up well in high traffic areas, and can certainly be less boring than its low and dense cut pile cousin.

That’s your basic rundown on styles. Know what your carpet will be subjected to and research your specific brands. Carefully matching your selection to the conditions it will have to weather will help avoid disappointments down the line.

Now, let’s talk materials…

Though you may find some blends, most carpets today are made solely of either polypropylene (olefin falls in this category), polyester, or nylon. As far as natural fibers go, wool is currently popular, but tends to fall outside of most folks’ budgets and/or care needs. Synthetic carpets are much more stain resistant. Olefin and polyester being naturally stain resistant, while nylon requires a treatment in order to resist stains. Olefin tends to give you the best bang for your buck, followed by polyester and then nylon.

A Note On Price: The order presented is merely a guideline. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that a higher price tag means higher quality. This may not be the case, since certain manufacturers are better with some materials than others.

A Note On Cleaning and Warranties: Review the details of the manufacturers’ warranty on whatever carpets you are considering. We know everyone hates the fine print, but this could really save your, uh, shag somewhere down the road. Manufacturers often have specific care requirements that must be met to keep from voiding the warranty. Voiding the warranty really isn’t something you want to do, so this is good to know. It will also give you a good idea if your selection is going to be as “low maintenance” as you think it is.

Finally, about carpet pads: A lot of people think the thicker the pad, the better, particularly if you don’t find the carpet as soft as you were hoping. But this is not the case. Most Berber rugs, for example, should have a flat carpet pad, while many plush carpets actually need thicker ones.

We hope these pointers will be helpful in finding the carpet you not only love, but will fit your specific needs. And once you have them, we look forward to helping you keep them looking great.


tips-for-selecting-carpetBefore you shop for new carpeting refer to this informative article about the various types of carpeting so you can make the best choice for your needs.