Is carpet cleaning harmful to my carpet if I do It too often?
This depends on how it is being done. Some methods, like shampooing and dry foam, will leave a residue of soil-attracting detergents behind after cleaning that can actually contribute to resoiling. Shampooing and spin bonnet “carbonated” cleaning can also cause seam splits and damage pile from over agitation. An inferior water extraction machine (or even a superior machine in the hands of an unskilled or unconcerned worker) that lacks adequate vacuum power for water extraction can cause problems from over-wetting. Usage of inappropriate chemicals can cause discolorations, health problems, and can sometimes actually remove factory stain protection. When this happens, there is no immediately noticeable or visible change to your carpet the day it is cleaned. It just won’t clean as well next time because the protection you paid for has been stripped by an uncertified and/or undertrained cleaner using the wrong cleaning agents! Never use a cleaning company’s services if they tell you that their process removes Scotchgard® or any other brand of fabric protection.

However, the good news is that it has been demonstrated through extensive and exhaustive testing in major carpet manufacturing mills that the hot water extraction process – when used in conjunction with appropriate detergents, techniques, and equipment will absolutely extend the life, the wear, and the health of your carpet. Your assurance is to use a carpet cleaner who is certified by The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (an independent non-profit certification body established in 1972 that works closely with both cleaners and manufacturers to promote high standards for knowledge and ethics throughout the industry) that uses superior equipment and is properly trained to provide the hot water extraction method using the correct cleaning agents. Do this as often as you can afford to – you will always be doing yourself, your family, and your carpet a healthy favor.

What cleaning chemicals do you use?
We understand that more people are becoming aware of the chemicals they use in and around their house on a daily basis. At The Bright Side, we pride ourselves in our chem-conscious approach, which ensures that your carpets and fabrics are cleaned and protected in the safest manner possible.

There are only seven basic categories of fabric cleaning agents that account for all known products used to clean carpets, upholstery, or clothing.

All the thousands of brand names on the market fall into one category or consist of a blend of two or more categories. These include (in order of practical common usage):

    1. Alkalines. Household examples include: baking soda, laundry soap, hair shampoo, ammonia, and antacids. Since over 75% of common soils are dissolvable in alkaline solutions, it only makes sense that this category accounts for a majority of detergents in use. Professional carpet and upholstery cleaners use alkalines in varying degrees – depending on the type of fabric being cleaned – as a pre-treatment to loosen soils before rinsing. An experienced professional cleaner spends a great deal of time training to understand the appropriate strength and applications of alkalines to different fabric types. Alkalines also have use in neutralizing potentially harmful acids, such as rust removing agents.


    1. Acids. Household examples include: vinegar, lemon juice, Woolite, hair conditioners, and some toilet cleaning products.The most commonly used agent in this category by carpet and upholstery cleaners is acetic acid. Although citric, oxalic, and tannic acids also have applications, these acidic cleaning agents are useful in dissolving and removing stains from urine, coffee, tea, and rust. They can also be used in correcting problems like discoloration and texture changes associated with strong alkalines. Acids neutralize alkalines. A good example of this is the vinegar and baking soda experiment most students complete in grade school. Acids can be a useful additive as a dye-stabilizer by lowering the pH level of water in cleaning fabrics which may otherwise have problems with colors “running” or “bleeding.” They also condition and restore natural softness and texture to fabrics when used as a rinse agent.


    1. Volatile dry cleaning solvents. Household examples include alcohol, mineral spirits, and nail polish remover. These non-water based agents evaporate completely, leaving no residues and are therefore described as “volatile,” because they readily change from a liquid to a gas on their own. They are generally used to dissolve inks, grease, paint, and oils and are harmless to virtually all fabrics, including silk. Volatile cleaning agents have more practical application on upholstered fabrics and Oriental carpets than on wall-to-wall carpets  due to the fact that they will destroy the adhesives in most carpet backing  if allowed to penetrate. Some delicate upholstery fabrics require cleaning with volatile solvents to prevent fabric shrinkage and discolorations (e.g. water-marking or “bleeding” of dyes.) It is important to note that although in actuality only about 2% of all upholstered fabrics require this type of waterless -”dry”or ”S” code cleaning methodfabric manufacturers are still recommending it for more than 50 % of all upholstery fabricseven though it is a limited and inferior cleaning process. Why?! Since cleaning with the volatile solvent they recommend – odorless mineral spirits – is safe for virtually all fabrics, they limit their liability by cautioning against the usage of water-based solutions. The problem (other than being a lot more expensive to use) is that while the solvents won’t harm most fabrics, they just won’t clean very well either. Any problem soil or beverage stain that was originally water-based requires a water-based solution to remove. A true cleaning professional will be able to identify your upholstery fabric type and be able to discuss with you all the considerations about cleaning agentsDon’t be surprised if once in a while the best cleaning method to use goes against the manufacturer’s recommendations!


    1. Non-volatile dry cleaning solvents.  Some examples include: turpentine, citrus solvent, and kerosene.These are also non-water-based solvents, but they do not evaporate completely and will leave a residue on fabric if they aren’t rinsed out.  These solvents tend to have powerful tar, grease, glue, and paint removal properties but are impractical for routine usage as they may damage some fabrics by removing dyes and potentially break down the adhesives in carpet or upholstery backing. Non-volatile dry cleaning agents are very effective in treating specific small problems like chewing gum, lipstick, asphalt, and candle wax.


    1. Oxidizers. Household examples include; bleach, hydrogen peroxide, diaper rash cream and acne treatments. Oxidizers remove colors from fabrics by adding oxygen molecules to the fabric, affecting our visual ability to perceive colors.  Chemically, they are the neutralizing opposites of reducing agents, which reduce the oxygen in the fabric. Some work instantly, like bleach, and some work gradually, like zinc oxide. Usually whatever color change brought on by these agents is permanent, so they must be used with knowledge, skill, and caution. Chlorine bleach is the most powerful and fast acting member of this family, and most people are familiar with its strength, but people should also be aware that products containing peroxides can remove color slowly over time if not removed from fabrics (e.g. your blue carpet has white spots near the baby changing table?  That’s from diaper rash cream!).


    1. Reducing agents. Household examples include: “Red-Out” brand Kool-Aid stain remover, “Didi 7″ brand stain remover, Haitian cotton shampoo, and anti-chlorine bleach neutralizer. On certain unprocessed cotton, naturally undyed fabrics this is a necessary additive to form a water-based solution that is capable of cleaning the fabric without releasing the brown pigments inherent to the unrefined cotton.   This will prevent overall yellow and brown discolorations that otherwise occur without the additive. Other uses for reducing agents include dye removal attempts.  An experienced professional cleaner may decide to proceed with these on colored fabrics as a last resort, when all else has failed.  There is always a certain level of risk that permanent coloration damage will be caused by reducing agents on colored fabrics. On occasion, reducing agents can produce “miraculous” results on certain fabrics when nothing else would work at all. Another use for reducing agents is in neutralizing the action of oxidizers.  If you spilled bleach on your nylon carpet, in theory, the only thing you could possibly do to prevent color loss would be to apply an equal amount of anti-chlor reducing agent immediately.  This would stop the bleaching action.  However, The Bright Side, Inc, never met anyone who was able to respond fast enough to a fresh bleach spill. Do you keep anti-chlor handy all times?  Probably not.


    1. Enzymes.  Household examples include: “Nature’s Miracle” brand ‘pet accident’ deodorizer, some heavy-duty laundry products, and the human digestive system. Complicated mineral or organic protein-based compounds are comprised of long, complicated amino acid chains that bond tightly with the fabric and are difficult to remove in that state.  These compounds may include grease from cooking oils, animal fats, or pet urine contamination. Enzymes break up these chains by breaking down the components that hold the molecules together.  The simpler the compound the easier they are to remove, and less likely to possess strong organic odors. Not all of these agents are safe to use on all fabrics, and permanent texture damage can occur to protein-based fabrics (e.g. wool and silk) or loss of protection on nylon stain resistant carpets, when used indiscriminately.
What is Scotchgard®, Teflon®, and Fabric Protection?
Scotchgard ® is a registered trademark of the 3M corporation and a top-quality protector for carpets and some upholstery.

The DuPont Corporation manufactures Teflon®, which it sells to chemical engineering companies that use it as a base to formulate their own protector products.

The word “Scotchgard,” unfortunately, is often misused in the same manner that the words “Xerox” or “Kleenex” are used. These are registered trademarks that are often used to refer to similar products manufactured by other companies. This often results in customers approving the application of low-cost protectors to their carpet or fabrics that are NOT what they were purported to be. It is unlikely that an offer that seems too good to be true for bargain-priced protection offered by a cleaning company is a quality application of the necessary strength to be effective.

Note: Scotchgard® may not be suitable for application to certain natural upholstered fabrics, and a wide variety of top-quality DuPont Teflon® products carried by Bright Side are available for application.

Help! My basement has flooded. What should I do?
In the event that your basement or home are flooded due to rain or other leakage, there is a limited window in which to act in order to protect your home from long-term damage. Here are a few things you should know in case of flooding in your home:

  1. Do not attempt to solve the problem yourself. A flooded basement is a dangerous place and many important health concerns are present you may not be aware of.
  2. Saving your carpet is not a simple matter of sucking up the water or siphoning the water to an outside location. If there is a padding under the carpet, it must always be removed and disposed of professionally.
  3. If you have insurance, call your agent. If you aren’t sure that your coverage includes flood insurance, call your agent. They are often the best resource for a list of service companies that are covered by their policies and come highly recommended in these time-sensitive emergency situations.
  4. If your flooding is due to leakage from sewage or pipes, the first service you need to call is one to stop the cause of the problem. If there is a broken pipe, call the plumber before calling in a clean-up crew.
  5. Don’t wait around hoping the water will dry up on its own. If you want to try and save your carpet, abate an unhealthy indoor environment, and prevent other long-term damage, you need to organize service within 24 hours to begin the dehumidifying processes.

For a thorough explanation of all the considerations one should have in water damage situations, the American Red Cross, in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management agency, has a publication called Repairing Your Flooded Home available as a downloadable PDF.

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