Valentine’s Day Chocolate Stains: Five Step Carpet Stain Removal

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance

 

Valentine’s Day is upon us and whether you revel in the holiday or not, chocolate is bound to end up in your house. What doesn’t go in your belly, can end up dropped, stomped and melted into carpet. Here’s a five-step guide to expertly removing those sweet, unwelcome stains.

Step 1: If the chocolate began as a solid and is slightly melted into the carpet, gently break up any solidified chocolate with a rounded spoon and vacuum any remaining residue. If the chocolate is liquid, gently blot up using a dry, white absorbent cloth or paper towel.

Step 2: Choose your cleaning solution. A non-flammable spot removal solution, or dry cleaning type solvent, is preferred. Be very careful 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.

Or, you can easily make your own cleaner! Here are two good options:

Mix one (1) cup of white vinegar per two (2) cups of lukewarm water.

Or, mix one fourth (1/4) teaspoon of a liquid dishwashing detergent per one (1) cup of lukewarm water. (Do not use a stronger concentration!)

Step 3: Apply a small amount of solution to a white rag and gently apply to the stain, working inward to avoid spreading. Let solution sit on the stain for a few minutes.

Step 4: Gently blot (do not rub or scrub as this can ruin the pile of the carpet!) and if the chocolate transfers to the rag, you’ll know it’s working. If it does not transfer to the cloth, try a different cleaning solution. Continue these steps until the stain is removed. Patience is key! You may need to repeat applying solution and blotting several times.

Step 5: Rinse all solution from stain with lukewarm water (misting with a spray bottle is ideal) and remove all moisture with a dry rag. Do this several times to ensure all solution is removed. This step is important because future dirt will stick to any remaining solution, only resulting in further staining!

If your stain is proving to be stubborn, consult a professional. Most importantly, don’t let that stain spoil those loving feelings for the most important people in your life.

For more information on cleaning carpet and rug stains, visit the Carpet and Rug Institute Website. They are a wealth of information.

Do you have any favorite carpet cleaning tips? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Home Maintenance Checklist For The Summer

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance

Summer may be well underway, but it’s never too late to tune up your home for the season.  We’ve outlined a small but crucial checklist to ensure that before you get caught up in the swing of things, a few well needed tasks get taken care.

1.     Tune up the air conditioner

A very important piece of equipment during the blistering summer heat is your air conditioning unit. Before the season begins, investigate to see what parts are in working condition and what will require replacements. It is especially important to make sure the vent, filters, fans and coils are clean and there is no faulty wiring. For those with central air systems, the best option is professional maintenance.

2.     Check the ventilation

Routinely checking your home windows will also help with the temperature regulation in your home. Caulk any openings found in both the outside and inside sealants and also double check each window-stripping to ensure there are no breaks.

3.     Conduct thorough safety checks before using the pool

Give yourself at least a week before you open up the pool for swimming. While cleaning and levelling the pool are usually given the higher priority, remember to also check the pumps and filters as a lot of these parts have not been in use since last year.  Don’t forget to give the chemicals at least one week to balance out to avoid unnecessary sickness.

4.     Pressure wash exterior walls

After months of being exposed to months of harsh weather- snow then spring showers- your exterior walls will need some serious TLC.  Prevent the further build up of mildew and dirt by pressuring wash the walls. This is especially handy before you apply that new paint color.

5.     Inspect your deck

Investigate your deck boards, beams and posts for rotting and check to see if resealing the wood is required. A simple way to do this is to check the wood absorption capacity. Also check for any loose or corroded nails which will require replacements.

6.     Replace and clean old garden equipment

Thoroughly drain any gas left in the tank of your lawn mower since last fall. This can be done by purchasing a siphon pump or by running the mower until the tank dries. Don’t forget to lubricate the necessary parts and replace the spark plug when they start to show wear and tear.

A few simple tasks around the outside of your home each year will ensure a smooth transition to summer and will greatly enhance the beauty of your home.  We hope your summer is one to remember!

Hardwood Floor Maintenance Part 2

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance


This is a two part series where we are discussing simple daily maintenance that will help to ensure a longer life for your wood floor. Long term maintenance considerations are important, but the daily routine is what is practical for guarding your floor from damage ever day. In Part 2 we discuss how to protect your floor from objects and how to move items from place to place. 

On The Top

  • Shoes are not friendly to floors.  Especially high heels! These shoes seem to be made with a vengeance towards your wood floors.  The sharp tips of the shoes can cause small indentions and divots.  Some can be repaired, but not all!  Scars can be avoided by either removing shoes when walking on hardwood floors for extended periods of time or by buying heel protectors that slip over the heel tip.
  • Does your dog spend time inside?  Make sure your pet has his nails trimmed occasionally. Indoor pets can damage wood floors if their claws are too long.
  • Protect your wood floors from furniture!  All furniture that sits atop your wood floors needs to have a barrier between itself and the floor.  Many options exist, but check with the manufacturers recommendations for the best ideas.
  • Keep your floors dry!  Use mats in spaces where water is going to splash like the bathroom or kitchen.

Moving Around

  • Your furniture can seriously scuff or scratch your floors if pushed around without proper precautions.  Once again, there are multiple products on the market specifically for helping with this.  However, be sure to check with the manufacturer to find the best product to use with your floor.
  • Seemingly against the previous point, you should move your furniture around occasionally to ensure even wearing.  Just make sure you move it safely!
  • A furniture dolly can help with moving larger furniture, but make sure to plan for the weight and wheels!  Protect floors at this point as well!

Your wood floor maintenance doesn’t need to be overwhelming.  It’s easy to take care of your beautiful wood!  Flooring trends may change, as might your taste and style, but your floor is meant to be there for you through thick and thin. Don’t forget to read Part 1 of the Hardwood Floor Maintenance guide. 

Hardwood Floor Maintenance Part 1

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance

This will be a two part series exploring the easy tasks you can do daily to ensure a long life for your wood floor. Major maintenance considerations are always important, however they aren’t practical for guarding against normal life routines. The following tips are simple enough for even the busiest person and can be performed on a regular basis. This post will cover how to protect your floors from outside influences and simple cleanup. Part 2 will cover the proper way to set things on top of your floor and how/when to move them around.

Threats from the outside

  • Window treatments are the first line of defense against the UV rays from the sun.  Make sure to keep this in mind when purchasing your window coverings.  Wood floors are expected to naturally change shades and colors over time due to sun exposure, however with the right protection this can be controlled well.
  • Mats and small rugs are the trusted guards who protect your floor. These ever vigilant protectors can grab ahold of a large amount of dirt and grime before it ever makes its way into your home.  Sand, dirt or gravel can be tracked in on the bottom of shoes.  These are a very real enemy of your floors. These highly abrasive particles will do slow but steady damage to the floor. These can be placed at every entrance to your home, outside or inside.  Be sure to buy a mat or under-pad specifically made for wood floors so that the backing doesn’t do any damage.
  • The climate where you live can also make a big difference. Wood floors respond best to consistent humidity levels. This helps avoid contraction and expansion of the wood. All air regulation systems can help: humidifier, air conditioner, dehumidifier, or heater. 

Gentle Clean-up.  Quick!

  • A cheap broom won’t save you money in the long run.  Buy a high quality broom and dust and sweep your floors as often as possible.
  • Liquid messes cannot be cleaned up later.  Paying attention to small messes can save you heart ache.  Take the necessary time to quickly blot the mess with a soft cloth.
  • Be careful about using a vacuum on your wood floor. Using one without a beater bar is a great option, or your vacuum may have come with a hardwood floor attachment.  This is incredibly helpful in removing dirt from crevices where a broom will not reach.
  • Stains and spills are not fun.  For candle wax or chewing gum, try using a credit card to remove the excess. 

With a little care and time, your wood floor will thank you with years of use.  Treat it well!

The Top Benefits of Carrying Out Home Cleaning Regularly

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

 

The home is a place where a person wants to sit comfortably and relax after the stress of a long day or week at work. The last thing you want to see when you come home at the end of a long day is to see dirt, dust and junk cluttering up your living space.  Not only does dirt and dust make it impossible to fully relax, they also have long term negative effects on the structure and value of your home.  Floors, walls, gutters, windows, sinks, everything must be cleaned on a schedule in order to promote a happy, healthy home.

Often times we don’t notice the slow and steady build up of dust and dirt until the ubiquitous season of spring cleaning.  Many people prefer to hire a professional cleaning service to help them start the spring and summer off with a deep clean for the whole house.  If you’re short on your budget, you can always make a list and work through the house on your own. 

There are many reasons to keep up on your cleaning schedule:

Preventing and mitigating damage:  When you are regularly wiping down surfaces, sweeping and moping, you are far more likely to notice the early stages of damage – cracks, fading, stains and the like.  You can easily address many of these issues when you catch them early.

Preventing Allergies: Many people are sensitive to dust and pollutants, so it stands to reason that keeping your house clean and dust free will go a long way towards mitigating the misery that seasonal and atmospheric allergens can cause.

Avoid Mold Attack: Moist and humid atmospheres support the growth of mold.  Not only is it unsightly and damaging to the surfaces of your house, mold also has a proven negative effect on your health. Cleaning and maintenance are the best cures for mold in your home.

Removing Pests:  There are some very tenacious bugs out there, ready to invade even the cleanest of homes.  Yet, taking away obvious sources of food and shelter for pests will go a long way towards stopping the invasion.  Regular cleaning will also betray their presence in the early stages, when the problem of pests is easy to deal with.

Improving The Appearance: It is always embarrassing to visit an untidy home – almost as embarrassing as having someone visit your own cluttered living space.  Regular cleaning will help you to avoid those issues and stop fearing the unexpected visitor.

 

Choosing the Materials Most Suitable for a Pet-friendly Home

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Area Rugs, Care and Maintenance, Design and Decorating

 

Pet lovers do not have to sacrifice comfort and style when designing with animals in mind. There are lots of materials available today that can suit the needs and lifestyles of different pets.

For the floorings, bare hard surfaces are still obviously ideal. However, this does not mean that there should be no design at all, or that style and beauty are out of the picture. Patterns can be created with stamped concrete, and a splash of color can be added to the room with painted concrete.

Instead of carpets, opting for inexpensive rugs can be more practical. Rugs and mats, which are easier to pick up and remove than carpets, can be cleaned right away when a pet sheds, or makes any of the classical pet messes on it. Ideally, the rug should also be cheap enough to throw away when it gets too dirty. If you really prefer carpeted floors, avoid long continuous carpets and try carpet tiles instead.

For the walls, semi-gloss paint is more suitable that a flat finish when it comes to wiping off dirty spots. For the furniture, leather should be considered as it is a durable material – but, if you’re opposed to items made from animals, pleather can be a good choice.

If the pets are allowed in the bedroom, the bed can be fitted with thick pads to protect the mattress from the extra wear and tear. Cotton, which is washable, is best for the bed sheets and pillow cases. Duvet covers can also work well.

Rugs, carpets and upholstery can also be matched with the fur of the pets, especially of those who sheds the most. Aside from getting inspiration from these beloved animals for the color scheme of the interiors, the fur they leave behind would not be very visible against the same hue. Of course, vacuuming regularly is still necessary. Fur can attract dirt that can soil the fabric it is sitting on. Keeping the pets well-groomed with trimmed hair and nails can also prevent damages on the furniture and the house itself.

Aside from being washable and easy to clean, surfaces and materials should also be durable. Dogs wag their tails and cats think everything is a scratching post. Sometimes, they unknowingly hit or accidentally trip over items scattered throughout the house. If there are any fragile items inside the house, it would be ideal to keep them away from the pets or by displaying them in a cabinet with glass panels.

Putting a little thought into the choice of your flooring material will help tremendously while living with pets.  Flooring experts are available for consultation at Century Tile to help you through the entire process.  

 

Best Tools for Dusting

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

17743332_SYou know what dust is made out of, where it comes from and how many times a month you need to dust to keep your home healthy and looking its best. But what are the best tools for getting rid of dust?

Start first with your vacuum. You can use your vacuum to dust your walls, ceilings and baseboards. One downside – if you don’t have a HEPA filter on your vacuum you may end up spewing dust back in the air.

A feather duster is another good tool. Use a feather duster to dust bookshelves without having to move everything off. Just be careful to replace your feather duster if any of the feathers break, as this may cause scratching of surfaces.

A lambs wool duster is also good at getting in small and irregular spaces. This tool tends to stir up less dust than a feather duster, but you do have to make sure to wash it periodically.

Microfiber cloths do a great job of dusting without stirring up dust. The cloths can hold quite a bit of dust and won’t scratch your furniture. They are not great, however, for dusting up high or for dusting irregular surfaces.

Electrostatic cloths are another option. They won’t stir up dust and come in disposable options so that no cleaning in-between dusting is needed. They vary in lengths and sizes and some even come with poles so you can dust up high. The main con to electrostatic dust cloths is that they are more expensive as they are not reusable.

Should you use oils or polishes? Oils and polishes can enhance the look of your wood furniture and they will help with dusting fine surfaces, however, overuse or improper use can cause buildup or cause clouding of your furniture.

Compressed air is the best way to dust electronics. It is also great to use for surfaces where cloths may snag or in small spaces where tools aren’t practical.

Reader Question: Vinyl Maintenance

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance, Reader Question, Uncategorized, Vinyl

Reader Question: “I just hosted my family’s Thanksgiving dinner and my vinyl floor is a mess from all of the spills and traffic.  What cleaning answers do you have?”

Answer: First off, make sure you take a look at the manufacturer’s cleaning suggestions in your manual.

You can sweep or use a vacuum to get all of the excess dirt up from the floor, but be sure to use one without a beater bar; the beater bar may scratch the floor.  To deep clean the floor, mop it with clean warm water, rinse it thoroughly with fresh water.  Again, if you need to use a cleaning solution, please refer to the products recommended by the manufacturer.

If you cannot seem to locate the manufacturer’s recommendations, use one tablespoon of liquid dish washing detergent to one quart of water.  Be sure to rinse with clean water to avoid a film buildup.

Using walk-off mats or rugs at every entry will help prevent dirt from being tracked into the home for your future entertaining events.  Remember to shake them out every once in a while!

If you would like more, in depth information on maintaining your vinyl floors, please visit our website here.

Water, Water Everywhere

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

If you’ve ever had to deal with unwanted water in your home, you know it can be stressful and challenging. Whether you have a frozen pipe in the basement, a leaky kitchen pipe under the sink, a malfunctioning dishwasher or washing machine, water can quickly do damage in your home. Beyond these household flood sources there are natural causes like ice dams, heavy rains and flooding.

There are a few steps you can do right away to mitigate the water damage from pipes. The first is identifying the source.  If you have an overflowing washer or a burst pipe, turn off your water. Knowing where your main water shut off valve is located is always good to remember. If you just have a large puddle on the floor, remove the water as quickly as possible.  Use towels if it is a small amount of water or a wet vacuum if there is more water. If you are up to your knees in water, time to call the professionals.

Getting water out of carpets may require the carpet and pad to be removed to be professionally dried. Damp pads and carpet can lead to mildew and mold—two things no one wants in their home.  Even hard surfaces like cement basement floors need to be properly dried with fans and dehumidifiers to prevent mold.

If you have a water problem that is more than a large puddle on the floor and there is property damage, time to call your insurance company.  They will send out an adjuster to advise you on cleanup and filing a claim.

The Mountain of Laundry

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

How often have you used or heard the phrase: “mountain of laundry”? This is how most of us feel when faced with the daunting challenge of keeping up with our family’s laundry. It is a mountain to be climbed and tackled. How can we get ahead of the laundry and turn the mountain back into a mole hill?

Having a pretty laundry room can be a starting place. A room that we want to spend time in, instead of dashing in and out, is a good place to begin. Paint the walls a happy color. Put in pretty flooring that can stand up to the traffic and is appropriate for the room. If your laundry room is in the basement, consult with your flooring professional about the best flooring for the space if it is below grade. Cabinets and shelves can make storing laundry detergents and bleaches more organized and pretty.

Before the laundry even makes it to the floor of the laundry room, create pathways that sort the laundry as it is collected.  We all have someone in our family that has more dirty laundry on the floor than in the hamper. Have a system for sorting laundry into colors, whites and darks in the bedroom so that you don’t have to sort it as you wash it.  Three separate hampers or a large hamper divided in three can make this task easier. Create rewards for kids who sort their laundry into their hampers to save mom the extra work.