3 Simple Floor Care Tips for Bad Weather

Written by Nick Cellucci on . Posted in Care and Maintenance

Winter is mild here in South Florida. It practically never snows, so unlike many regions of the country, your floors are rarely going to be exposed to the dangers of winter slush and road salt. Living in Florida comes with its own weather-related challenges. Miami alone gets more rain than almost any other city in the United States, which means your floors are going to be exposed to more than their fair share of moisture and mud if you don’t take the proper precautions against inclement weather.

Here are three simple tips for keeping your floors clean and protected against the elements.

Double up on doormats

When it rains, your shoes get wet and become magnets for dirt and debris that can be harmful to any type of flooring. Mud, grit, leaves and general moisture will get tracked into your home, and these can scratch hard surfaces and get ground down into carpets.

Fortunately, this is an easy problem to fix. Simply place a durable, bristled doormat on the outside of each of your entryways. Then, double up with a lighter, washable welcome rug on the inside of each doorway. Your family and guests will have the opportunity to clean their shoes before they ever set foot on your floors.

Designate a mudroom

Mats are helpful, but having a designated entrance to your home that leads into a garage or mudroom will ensure that wet and dirty shoes and clothes are contained. Some good additions to any mudroom can include:

  • A lipped rubber shoe mat or rack
  • Spare towels for quick drying
  • Wall hooks or racks for coats
  • A large planter with a saucer for umbrellas
  • A hamper for wet clothes

You may also consider placing a shoe mat or rack by each entrance for guests to store their shoes upon entering.

Regular, thorough cleaning 

No matter how many precautions you take against dirt and debris in your home, you can’t avoid it all. Inevitably, messes are going to get onto your floors.

The longer you let stains or dirt sit, the more damage they’ll do. You may not realize it, but walking around on unseen particles will crush and grind them into your floors.

Keep cleaning supplies handy so that you can get to messes as soon as they happen. Sweep up visible dirt regularly, and vacuum at least once a week to ensure that you’re picking up everything. You should also dry-mop your hard surfaces, and have your carpets cleaned professionally every 12 to 18 months by a professional service that offers hot water extraction.

With these simple tips in mind, you’ll be more than prepared for any weather that comes your way, any time of year!

Tips for Using a Steam Cleaner on Carpet

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance

*INFO from Carpet and Rug Institute

Most of us have been there before. The carpet cleaning machine can be rented for only $9 a day. The following read contains tips and techniques to follow, if you decide to use a carpet steamer.

Using a carpet cleaner is great but you will not get the carpet as clean as a professional will. Do not completely forgo having a professional come in at least twice a year to clean your carpets. This will help maintain your carpets, so they will last for years and even decades. If you have some spots and spills you would like to tidy up, then certainly use a steam cleaner yourself.

Only use the cleaning solution that the specific machine calls for. Make sure to read the instructions and strictly follow them. Under-diluting the solution can damage your carpet. Remove all furniture from the room, before cleaning it. If the furniture is too heavy to move, place plastic wrap around the legs and under the furniture. This will help protect the furniture from heat and chemicals.

Start cleaning a room in the farthest point from the door. Then work your way backward, until you can step out of the room when finished. Do not walk on the carpet until it is completely dry. Also do not replace the furnishings within the room until the carpet is dry. Wet or damp carpet will attract dirt and dust. It takes at least six and up to twelve hours for carpet to dry. It depends on how thick the carpet pile and carpet pad is. The thicker the pile and pad, the longer it will take for a carpet to completely dry.

In order to prevent mold from growing, it is important to help along the drying process. Open the windows to allow for extra ventilation, if the weather permits. If not set the thermostat on a setting between 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit.

Follow these simple rules for using a steam cleaner on your carpet. Remember to call a professional in at least twice a year!

Keeping an Entry Way Clean

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance

Question: What is the best way to keep an entry way clean? Is a welcome mat really that important?

Yes a welcome mat is important to have at the exterior of your front door. This is the best way to remove dirt, water and leaves from shoes, before entering the home. Select a mat based on the ability to scrub shoes and collect dirt. Of course the aesthetics are important too, but function in this case should come first. Sisal mats or other types of durable straw are great materials for being able to wipe dirt off of shoes.

It is also helpful to have a runner rug of sorts, that starts at the interior entry way and continues in for several feet. This will give the floors extra protection when people are removing their shoes. The rug in this area should be durable and easy to clean. Do not choose an expensive or fragile rug in this area. It will undoubtedly get a lot of wear and tear here.

Have a catch space for shoes. There should be a designated item or furniture piece that shoes can be placed without worry. Meaning the item itself should be durable and easy to wipe down. If a furniture piece is not an option, place a designated mat where you would like incomers to remove their shoes. Hang a cute sign on the wall, to clearly show guests where to place shoes.

An umbrella stand is a great item to place in the interior entry way. It allows the umbrella to dry, while collecting all of the excess water. Having a place to hang wet coats is also a necessity. There are furniture pieces that can be purchased that are a catch all for shoes, boots and jackets. If one of these pieces is not feasible for you, install hooks on the wall near the door. Make sure there is a mat or rug directly under this space, in order to catch water and keep the floor from being damaged.

Shake out and vacuum mats often. This will keep the overall level of dirt, being tracked inside to a minimum.

How to Remove Chewing Gum from Carpet

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance, Carpet, Floors, Hints, Tips and Advice, Tips and Advice

14768658_SHave you ever had chewing gum stuck in your hair? In the worst cases you can cut the gum out of your hair, but have you ever gotten gum stuck in your carpet? It’s not such a good idea to cut the gum out of your carpet because unlike your hair, the carpet won’t grow back!

Below are some tips about how to remove chewing gum from your carpet:

Solvent – A non-flammable spot removal solution, or dry cleaning type solvent, is preferred. Exercise caution when using a solvent. Never pour it directly onto the carpet or allow it to reach the backing, because it can damage the latex that holds the primary and secondary backings together. Acceptable solvents include Carbona®, Energine®, K2R®, Goof-Off®, etc.

When in doubt, you can always call a Professional – Professional cleaners have the ability and the equipment to use more aggressive cleaning solutions to remove stubborn spills. Always consider consulting a professional cleaner regarding any spot removal question. The Carpet and Rug Institute – 1-800-882-8846

If you happened to have already had this problem and now have a hole in your carpet, we can talk about a replacement!

Organizing in 2014

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance, Floors, Hints, Tips and Advice, Holiday, Tips and Advice

21329088_SIs your New Years resolution to have a more organized house this year? You’ve taken down the tree, put away the ornaments and dealt with all the gift-wrapping supplies. Dealing with the holiday clutter is a great start. Now you can concentrate on keeping the rest of the house clean and organized for the entire year. Here is a simple way to start the process.

When you leave a room look for items that do not belong. Don’t be lazy. Pick those items up and put them away. This is a good habit for everyone in the family to get used to.

Sort and read the mail everyday. Recycle the junk and then deal with bills and other correspondence appropriately. Note – this does not mean leave them in a pile. There are fun organizational tools that you can use to separate these items.

Clean the kitchen and the bathroom. Do not leave a sink of dirty dishes to be dealt with every morning. Instead make sure the pots and pans are scrubbed and the dishwasher is turned on before you go to bed. Likewise, don’t leave makeup all over the bathroom counter. Put it away. Do a daily wipe down of the countertops and sinks in both your kitchen and your bathroom.

Sweep the floors. If you have wood floors you should probably be doing that anyway. This will really help and there are many tools out there that make sweeping a breeze.

Finally, when you do the laundry don’t let your clothes hang out in the basket.  Hang them up!

At the end of a long day we are tired, but if you get in the habit of doing these few simple things your house will be more organized and you will feel better.

Tips for Summer Floor Care at the Beach

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Area Rugs, Care and Maintenance, Floors, Hints, Tips and Advice

15151123_SBringing the outdoors in is what a home at the beach is all about, isn’t it?  A beach house is for family and friends to relax and enjoy, especially in summer, when life moves at a slower pace.  How do you draw the line between encouraging vacationers to enjoy themselves and entering into the spirit of summer, versus becoming the “enforcer” spoiling other’s summer fun?    No one likes to clean up messes at the beach!  Here’s a few tips to help make summer at the beach a little easier, and keep your beach house in great shape for future vacations:

  • Scatter floor mats at multiple locations on the way in and out of the house – as many as possible.  Multiple mats provide more opportunities to collect sand BEFORE it gets in the house, especially for kids who may be tempted to walk inside with sandy feet!
  • Outdoor hoses and showers:  Encourage guests and family members to get in the habit of rinsing off feet and flip flops before entering the house.  Besides, it’s fun to spray cold water on your feet after a hot day at the beach!
  • Provide separate “indoor” versus  “outdoor” towels and beach blankets.
  • Offer an area either immediately outside, or directly inside the front door for beach shoes to be left before entering the main living area.  Remind guests to leave clean indoor footwear to be retrieved and worn upon entering the home.
  • Vacuum carpeted areas and shake out area rugs frequently…even with all of the above precautions, it’s amazing how much sand still gets tracked in.
  • Make outdoor porch areas as appealing as possible.  When guests eat, drink and play in outdoor living areas, that means more sand stays outside and there’s less work for you!

How to Care for Natural Stone Floors

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance, Floors, Tile and Natural Stone, Tips and Advice, Website Tools

Natural stone flooring is may be more of an investment but nothing can surpass the beauty and richness of its natural features.  Natural stone is durable and adds value to your home.  They’ll last as long, if not longer, than your house as love as they’re cared for properly.  To prolong the life and maintain the natural glow and beauty of natural stone, it deserves to be given utmost care and maintenance.

Care for Natural Stone Floors

  • Sand, dust and dirt cause the most damage to stone floors, but there’s an easy fix! Use a dry dust mop or broom to sweep the floors frequently.  If you find vacuuming the floors easier, make sure it doesn’t have a beater bar.
  • Application of stone sealant is also recommended to protect natural stones as it repels oil and water.
  • Take preventative measures and place walk off mats at every entry of the home to help keep the dirt outside.  Area rugs can also help maintain the flooring.  Keep the mats and area rugs clean so they can keep as much dirt off of the floors as possible.
  • Be sure to clean up spills immediately.  You can use a neutral pH detergent and warm water to clean up spills or for periodic cleaning.  After cleaning, make sure you really rinse the floor so you don’t leave excess soap that causes streaking.
  • Finally, avoid any products that have abrasive cleaners or acids.

It’s always a good idea to know the porosity of the stone flooring because some tend to be more susceptible to staining than others.

Stone flooring is an investment and should be given care. By following some of the tips mentioned above, natural stone can be long lasting and serve its purpose to give your home a sparkling beauty.  The photo above was created by our Virtual Room Designer and you can have some fun by designing your own room!

How to Caulk a Shower

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Bathroom, Care and Maintenance

One of our clients recently complained that she had a water leak. It started in her bathroom but ended up causing a huge damp spot on her dining room ceiling. She has a tile shower and somehow a leak developed. To spare all of you the same headache, here is some information to prevent this from happening to you.

If you have tile shower walls, there is a very good possibility that a leak could develop between the tile and the tub. As your house moves (a natural process that occurs in every home), a hairline crack can occur that allows water to get into the joint. Once water gets in, there is no telling how much damage can be done.

Caulking between your shower walls and tub prevents leaks and reduces mildew buildup. Removing old caulk and recaulking joints between tiles and your tub is an annual bathroom maintenance job. You heard that right – it is an annual job.

There’s another good reason to recaulk. If you’ve tried to remove the black mildew stains from caulk, you know the blemishes are often stubborn and unyielding. That’s because the stains are often behind the caulk, between the caulk and the wall. The answer, of course, is to remove the caulk, kill the mildew, and then replace the caulk.

Removing the caulk isn’t as hard as it appears. There are commercial  products that can assist you with the job. These products are specially formulated to soften caulk for easy removal. After the caulk has softened, remove it with a putty knife. Clean the joint area with paint thinner and then wipe it down with a clean cloth. Kill mildew with a mixture of bleach, water and powdered laundry detergent. (NEVER use any detergent that contains ammonia with bleach as this can create a dangerous gas). Place these ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray the affected areas and then rinse well with water. Use your blow dryer to dry the area. Now you are ready to reapply some caulk.

Apply tub and tile caulk into the joint and smooth it with your finger, an old teaspoon, or a caulking spreader. Immediately remove the tape by pulling it out and away from the freshly caulked joint. Be careful not to touch the caulk. Let it dry.

Not only will your shower look better, but you are also preventing leaks and future water damage.

 

Housekeeping

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance, Hints, Tips and Advice

We all know what we should be cleaning on a weekly basis but what should we be doing each month? The following list is intensive. It is not for faint of heart housekeepers, however, if you can accomplish these tasks you will reap the benefits of a wonderfully clean home.

  • Dust your ceiling fans. You’ll be surprised how fast dirt, dust and grime can accumulate there.
  • Clean light fixtures. Again, these are a magnet for dust.
  • Dust your air vents. This will help keep dust from blowing out into your rooms.
  • Clean your walls. Spot clean the walls of your home to remove crayon marks, furniture scuffs, dust, and splatters. Food preparation, eating areas, and the place you store your trash will be likely candidates for a monthly wall wipe-down. While you are at it, clean your baseboards too.
  • Clean your window treatments. Curtains and drapes may need to be washed, cleaned, or dusted out on a monthly basis. Blinds that attract dust will need to be wiped down as well. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions for your window treatments before cleaning.
  • Dust, dust and dust some more. This time instead of giving the furniture a quick wipe down you should dust doors, molding, windowsills and ceilings.
  • Vacuum inside furniture. Yes, pull off the cushions and see what treasures you find inside your couch and arm chairs.
  • Clean your windows. A monthly cleaning for windows includes cleaning the inside of the glass and wiping down the windowsills. Use a glass cleaner to remove streaks and spots on the interior of the windows. If you wait for an overcast day, you’ll reduce the streaking and spotting on the glass.
  • Spot treat carpet and upholstery. Check for spots on the carpet and upholstery and spot treat the stains. Be sure to test the stain treater in an inconspicuous spot before applying liberally. If it’s been awhile since your carpet was last cleaned, it may be time to schedule a shampooing.
  • Check your smoke alarms. Change the batteries if needed and make sure to dust the alarms to keep them working properly.
  • Change filters. Change not only your furnace filter but also your air conditioner and vacuum filters.
  • Deep clean appliances. By cleaning appliances each month you will prevent the gunked up oven, or a toaster full of crumbs.

It’s not a short list and some of these chores will take a bit of time and elbow grease but getting these done will ensure a beautiful and clean home that you and your family will enjoy.

How Often Should I Clean My Carpet?

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance, Carpet, Tips and Advice

After adding beautiful new carpet to your home it is necessary to know how to take care of it for reasons of longevity as well as appearance. Just vacuuming your carpets is not enough, which of course, raises another question: how often should you vacuum your carpet. Areas that receive a lot of foot traffic will need to be vacuumed daily or twice weekly, depending on the number of feet walking your carpet. Other carpeted areas may only need to be vacuumed once a week if they receive less traffic.

But back to the original question: how often should I clean my carpet? Carpet no matter what type holds many things, dust mites, dirt, pet hair, odors and stains. Each carpet will need to be cleaned differently depending on several things. For instance you wouldn’t want to handle a cheaply made carpet as often as you could a wool rug. Each time a carpet is cleaned it gets broken down a little and so it is important to know the quality of the carpets to be cleaned before actually doing it.

If you live alone with nothing other than normal environmental factors to dirty your carpets, cleaning them once a year should be sufficient. If you smoke, have pets or children or if the carpet is in a high traffic area it should be cleaned every six to nine months depending on how exposed it is. If you live in a dusty or a humid area it can have an effect on your carpet’s cleanliness. Even if it seems there is nothing in your home to dirty the carpets you must remember all of the invisible invaders which are in your carpet. If for no other reason than a healthier environment, have the carpets cleaned annually.