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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring Cleaning Tips

Carpet

Move your furniture so that you can vacuum under it. Wipe down your baseboards and crevice vacuum while the furniture is moved. Do not drag heavy furniture across the carpet; Berber carpet could snag and run; the heat and friction generated by the dragging of the heavy pieces can burnish the tips of the all carpet fibers, leaving a permanent mark.

The warranties on most carpets require the carpet to be professionally steam cleaned (hot water extraction) every 18 months. Many people do this in the spring to rid the home of all the winter grime that has been tracked in. Make sure you are choosing a reputable carpet cleaner and save the receipt. If you ever have to file a warranty claim, the manufacturer will require proof of regular professional cleanings.

TIP: When you need to spot clean your carpet, first call the manufacturer of your carpet or the Carpet and Rug Institute to find out the appropriate product to use.
Carpet and Rug Institute 706-278-3176
Shaw Industries 800-441-7429
Mohawk Industries 800-266-4295


Many cleaning products can set in the stain, or worse, damage the carpet. You will find that if you have a relatively new carpet most stains come up with just plain water.

Check your exterior door mats and replace as needed.

Also check for any wrinkles, ripples, or buckles in your installed carpet. Call to have the carpet restretched as soon as you begin to notice any ripples.

TIP: Filtration soil is the dark or grayish lines on carpet along walls, stairways, or under doors. Changing the filters regularly on your HVAC system and using vacuums with good filtration systems can help prevent this problem.

Rugs

Have your area rugs professionally cleaned, either in your home or at the cleaner's facility. If you are having your rugs cleaned at your home, be sure they are moved onto your driveway, garage, or deck for the cleaning so that the floor underneath is not damaged.

Granite Countertops

It is time to seal the granite. First clean your countertop thoroughly using a neutral cleaner. Never clean with any product containing acid, lemon, or bleach. Acids, even a light solution of vinegar and water, will eventually etch and damage natural stone. Do not use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the surface. Now apply the stone sealer. Stone sealers will need to be reapplied as soon as you notice water no longer stands (beads up) on the surface.

TIP: While dish soap will not hurt your granite, repeated and excessive use of soap will cause build-up and dull the shine. Also, don't use bathroom, tub and tile, or window and mirror cleaners. The powders and even the "soft" creams contain abrasives that will scratch and dull surfaces. Use only cleaners made specifically for granite and stone.

Vinyl

Many people move their refrigerator to clean behind it as part of spring cleaning. If you are doing this, be sure your first lay down a sheet of plywood and roll the refrigerator onto the plywood. This keeps you from tearing or indenting the vinyl.

Now is a good time to vacuum and thoroughly clean the floors. Do not use a vacuum with a beater bar. Be sure that the product you clean the floor with is the cleaner made by the manufacturer of the vinyl.

Stainless Steel Appliances

The grocery store is filled with products to use on your stainless steel appliances. Not to tout the virtues of specific products, but we can recommend the ScotchBrite Stainless Steel Surface Cleaning Kit. We find it to be easy to use, does the job well, and is very long lasting. It removes and resists fingerprints, cleans sticky spots easily, and the handle makes the product easy to use, even in awkward and hard-to-reach places. You do not have to buff off excess cleaner, as you sometimes have to with other products.

Do Granite Countertops Emit Radon?

Some granite countertops do emit elevated levels of radon, a radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer. The Environmental Protection Agency says homeowners should take action if radon gas levels in their home exceeds 4 picocuries per liter of air, and some granite countertops have been found to let off far more than that. However, it is not true that all granite countertops emit alarming amounts of radon. Most countertops tested for this emission either registered no release of the gas or such a small quantity that it was statistically insignificant when compared to ordinary background radiation all of us live with. Just how much of a health risk this phenomenon truly poses to homeowners is still a matter of debate, with some researchers pegging the cancer risk from granite countertops at "one in a million." Regarding the question of radon in granite countertops, the EPA said, "Some granite used for countertops may contribute variably to indoor radon levels. At this time, however, EPA does not believe sufficient data exist to conclude that the types of granite commonly used in countertops are significantly increasing indoor radon levels." Inexpensive kits that test for radon (running about $20 to $30 each) can be purchased at hardware stores or bought online through the National Safety Council.

(This report is courtesy of Snopes.com.)