All posts by Y's Way Flooring

Carpet stains: Tips that Get Every Kind of Stain Out

woman holding tea cup and tablet while sitting on the carpet at home just before spilling on carpetPet accidents. Wine spills. Splashed beer. Dropped fruit juice. Dropped coffee. Nail polish. Our carpet cleaner once had to respond to a desperate homeowner who spilled paint on her brand new area rug. There are a lot of “oops!” that can lead to a carpet stain, and a few key tips that can make that stain a distant memory.

Test FIRST

Don’t assume that a cleaner made with household ingredients or a common cleaner from the store is going to take out the spot without damaging your carpet. Always find a spot in a closet or under a major piece of furniture where you can test the cleaning solution to make sure it doesn’t discolor or damage the carpet.

Don’t wait

Time is of the essence when it comes to carpet stains. Don’t wait to go after the stain. As soon as you see there is a spot on the floor, organize your cleaners and rag and go after that nasty stain.

Remove the cause

Before you spray any cleaner, wipe up any fluid (pet urine, beer, fruit juice, etc.). Absorb the fluid from the carpet with a paper towel or rag. If there is a lot of moisture, use a wet/dry vac to clean up the fluid.

Be careful what cleaner you use

Any cleaner—even a household solution—can damage your carpet and have another unforeseen impact: void the warranty. When your carpet is new(er), use an approved cleaner specified by your carpet manufacturer (if you don’t know what cleaners are approved, contact your local flooring store).

Blot, don’t scrub

As tempting as it might be to scrub as hard as possible, don’t use too much elbow grease to clean the stain. Scrubbing can damage the carpet fibers; instead, apply the cleaner and blot at the stain until the carpet is clean. If the source of the stain is pet urine, spray the stain with a mixture of two tablespoons of white vinegar and one quart of water to eliminate the odor.

Use a deep clean if all else doesn’t work

If you still can’t get the stain out, contact a carpet cleaner with professional equipment and expertise that can take care of the carpet stain. A professional deep cleaning service may be able to take care of the problem, so don’t hesitate to call them as soon as you can after your “oops!” occurred.

Back-to-School Organization Tips: Make this School Year the Best Ever

back to school home projectsOur social media newsfeeds are filling up with pictures of back-to-schoolers with big smiles and backpacks. Behind the cameras are the parents, and you can almost see their ear-to-ear grins as their kids head back for their (hopefully) great first days of school.

The truth is that every good school day starts with a little behind-the-scene effort: a clean and organized home. Here’s how to get your home organized and cleaned for a smooth-running school year that’ll keep the smiles on every member of your family’s faces.

Mudroom

Your mudroom is the first line of defense, so concentrate your cleaning and organization in this key room. Deep clean your floors and place mats in key locations to keep the dirt and grime off your floors. Set up an area for everyone to take off their shoes (your inside floors are going to thank you!) and an area for backpacks, jackets, sports and winter gear. Use hooks, shelves, and benches.

Kitchen

While a kitchen may not be an obvious part of the school day, it is the site of many lunch-packing. Clean down your school lunch prep area, and reorganize your cabinets and pantry so you have adequate storage and easy access to your kids’ favorite school lunch items. Clean your floors (use these floor cleaning tips) or schedule a floor cleaning to make sure your kitchen is ready for many delicious school lunch preps.

Bedrooms

While your kids’ rooms may not always be clean, that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to make sure it is clean and organized for the school year. Have the carpets cleaned so the room is clean from the ground up (and allergen-free for a healthy year). If your kids do have allergies, consider having the ducts cleaned so to minimize allergens circulated throughout your home. Organize the closet and remove any clothes that don’t fit (it’ll help so they don’t have to change and change their clothes again).

Bathroom

Make sure your bathroom is clean and ready for many smooth morning routines. Organize the drawers and make sure that items your kid use in the morning are easy-to-access. If your kids change in the bathroom, make sure there is an area where they can lay out their clothes for a quick out-the-door every morning.

Homework area

Get your kids ready for many nights of homework. Make sure the area your kids work at is well-stocked, organized, and cleaned. Clean the floors, surface, and chair so your kids can focus—and, hopefully, can tackle their homework distraction-free (and even with a smile?).

All Your Questions about Carpet Answered

living room carpetCarpet may not be the most complex part of your home, but it is a big investment and a key part of your décor. That’s why we’ve put together a list of common questions we hear about carpet and the answers you need to choose the right one and keep it looking right.

How can I extend the life of my carpet?

Take proactive steps to keep the dirt out. Place mats by every exterior door to catch any dirt or gravel that could get tracked in. Train your pets to stop at the door so you can clean off their paws. Ask your family and any guests to take off their shoes before they come in—and give them a nice area to do so.

Vacuum regularly. A regular vacuum is a simple maintenance step that can keep your carpet looking like new.

Don’t scrub too hard. Using too much elbow grease cleaning up a stain can damage carpet fibers and do permanent damage to your carpet. Instead of hard scrubbing, blot the carpet and gently scrub in circles to get the stain out.

Schedule a regular carpet cleaning. A professional carpet clean removes stains, allergens, and keeps your carpet looking great. The amount of carpet cleanings depends on the carpet; if you don’t want to void the warranty, talk to your carpet installer about the number of cleanings needed in case there is a problem. The number of carpet cleanings can also depend on the traffic; a high-traffic area may need more cleanings than a low-traffic area.

How can I save money on new carpet?

carpet remnants for sale at a discountCarpet remnants. Carpet remnants are the remaining part of a carpet roll, usually sold for a discounted roll. Depending on the roll, you may be limited with the amount available for purchase but carpet remnants are ideal for one room or a smaller room (i.e. office, small bedroom, etc.)

Sales. Watch for sales on carpet at your local carpet retailer, but make sure the store offers quality products and installation.

Carpet pad savings. A quality carpet pad is worth its weight in gold, so don’t skimp and purchase a cheaper pad. However, if the carpet pad under your last carpet is still in good shape, you may be able to use it again and save on a new carpet pad.

Can my carpet pad be reused?

Maybe, but only if the carpet pad is high quality and newer. If your carpet pad is older and in bad shape, you may not be able to reuse it. A quality carpet pad usually lasts longer, but at some point all carpet pads break down and cannot be reused. In addition, remember that you cannot remove any odors from your carpet pads so they may need to be removed for a fresh new pad.

What should I look for when buying carpet for my high traffic room?

If your carpet is in a high-traffic area, there is a definite list of ‘musts’ that go with your purchase. Buying the wrong carpet is a costly mistake; the wrong carpet needs to be replaced prematurely because of stains, wearing, and damage.

Durable

A heavy traffic room is susceptible to everything: muddy foot and paw prints, food spills, and all the other damage that comes with frequent foot and paw traffic. To keep your carpets looking new, ask about carpets with durability options, such as waterproof or stain resistant carpets. Every carpet has different features; there are carpets with waterproof pads that keep spills from seeping through, air freshening technology that cleans the air, and stain resistant fibers that make clean-up easy.

Color

Darker-colored or variegated carpets can often hide stains that come from frequent paw and foot traffic. For a room with frequent foot and paw traffic, a darker-colored carpet can hide stains and wear from a busy household.

Easy to clean

Long-term foresight is what keeps your carpet looking great. Choose a carpet that is easy-to-clean and maintain over the life of the carpet; regular vacuuming and carpet cleaning are the key to the lifespan and aesthetics of your carpet. If the kind of carpet won’t make that maintenance easy, ask the experts to recommend a carpet that is easy to clean as long as you own it.

What kind of vacuum works best?

Buying a new vacuum may not seem like a life-altering purchase, but purchasing the wrong vacuum cleaner can have serious consequences for you and your floor. Buying the wrong vacuum cleaner can damage your floors (i.e. carpet fiber damage, laminate or vinyl scratches, etc.) and void your warranty.

To avoid having any warranty issues, use our list of flooring manufacturers’ websites to find out what they recommend. Make sure you schedule a professional floor cleaning to keep up with maintenance.

Beyond warranty, also consider the logistics of your home. If you have stairs, you may want to invest in two vacuum cleaners or purchase a lightweight model. For larger homes, look at vacuum cleaners with a battery pack so you don’t have to deal with having to plug and unplug cords.

If you or a family member has a respiratory condition or allergies, add allergy-friendly to your list of considerations. Look for a vacuum with a HEPA filter so dust is not released into the air. Bagless vacuum cleaners offer cleaning without the hassle of a bag, while vacuum cleaners with bags allow for easy disposal (depending on the vacuum model) that won’t trigger your allergy or respiratory issues.  In addition, do your research to determine whether the filters are replaceable or reusable; if the filters are replaceable, you need to buy additional filters which add to the overall cost of the machine.

Can carpets be recycled?

Yes! As an added bonus, it’s easy to do if you live in Dodge or Jefferson County in Wisconsin. Just stop in at our Watertown store and ask us where to take your old carpets or contact us for more information.

Pet Owners: Keep Your Carpets Looking New

boys with dog on carpet choosing right pet-friendly floorIt IS possible to have pets and nice carpeting in the same house. (Really!) We’re not going to lie to you, though: it can feel like a losing battle with your cat or dog—unless you take these tips to heart.

Start at the door.

It’s the first line of defense against dirt, mud, gravel, and water: install hard floors (i.e. tile, laminate, vinyl) and mats by all your doors. Train your dog or cat to “pawse” before they come in so you can clean off their paws.

Keep their nails away from your carpet.

It’s a natural instinct for our feline friends that can do a lot of damage to our carpet: the urge to scratch. Buy a scratching pad to deter your cat or kitten from using your carpets to satisfy their instinct. Encourage them to use it with cat nip and some gentle prodding. You can also clip their nails to prevent damage or purchase nail guards which keep your carpet and their sharp nails a safe distance away from each other.

Dogs aren’t immune to this problem either; long nails can be damaging to their health and your carpet. Make sure you regularly trim their nails or take them to local groomer to keep their nails low and your carpet damage-free.

Restrict their access to your carpets.

If you have a puppy or dog that loooooves to chew or is still in the middle of house training, you can also consider keeping them off your carpets when you are not around (and monitor them closely when you are). Use crate training or pet gates to keep your canine away from your carpet until they can be trusted on your carpet.

Research your carpet cleaning products.

Unfortunately, it’s inevitable that your favorite furry friend is going to leave their mark on your carpet (they’ve already left their mark on your heart, right?). Your natural urge is to grab the cheapest can of spot remover to do the job. Resist the urge! Instead, talk to the experts about a carpet cleaner that doesn’t void your warranty or affect your pet’s health when they relax on your carpeting. When you find the perfect cleaner, don’t scrub the spot. Too much elbow grease can actually damage the fiber in your carpet. Instead, don’t soak the carpet with cleaner and scrub in gentle circles so the stain is a distant memory.

Carpet clean regularly.

A bi-annual or annual carpet deep clean can do wonders for how your carpet looks. It can also help you avoid any warranty issues and remove allergens and any residual odors (such as the smell of urine that could make your pet a repeat offender). Schedule a professional carpet clean, which can give your carpet a deep clean that’ll make your guests wonder if your pet still lives there.

Ways to Keep Your Outdoor Allergens OUT

Woman With Allergy sneezing From Flowers and winter indoor allergiesIf you suffer from allergies, you know that outdoor allergies are part of summer. We’re not saying you’re happy about it; after all, who wants to be sneezing and wheezing all summer? What we can do is give you tips that keep those annoying allergies outdoors so you’re symptom-free (or at least symptom-less) every time you head inside to get away from those pesky outdoor allergens.

Designate an area where you leave those allergens.

Bringing in allergens inside is inevitable. Allergens stick to your clothes and hair whenever you are outside. When you head inside for some relief, don’t relax on the couch. Instead, take the clothes you wore outside off in a designated area where you can isolate the allergens (i.e. mudroom, laundry room, etc.). Take a shower to rid your body of allergens—and keep allergy symptoms away.

Get your carpets cleaned.

Carpets can trap allergens; a deep carpet clean removes those allergens. As tempting as it may be to head to the hardware store and rent a carpet cleaner, those machines often do not completely remove allergens as well as a professional carpet clean. Schedule a professional carpet clean ASAP to get the dirt and allergens out of your carpet and away from your body.

Keep your windows closed.

If you want to create an allergy-free zone, take a very basic step to keep outdoor allergies well, outside. Keep your windows closed at all times, and don’t open the screens on your storm door.

Research your next vacuum cleaner.

A regular vacuuming plays a key part in removing outdoor allergens from your home. Choose a vacuum with a HEPA filter or double bag to remove allergens from your flooring and from the air (other tips for purchasing the perfect vacuum cleaner here). This is one step that can help you so you can remove the allergens without having an allergy attack.

Keep your furnace and ducts clean.

Outdoor allergens can stick to your clothes and body, releasing them into the air. Those allergens can get sucked into your ducts and circulate throughout your home, exposing you to outdoor allergens in your home. Stop the “allergy spread” at the source. Purchase a furnace filter with a high Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (and contact an HVAC technician to make sure your furnace can handle a filter with a high MERV) and schedule a duct cleaning to keep them from circulating throughout your home.

Tips that Protect Your Wood Floors from Summer (& Maintain Their Beauty!)

warm wood floors in home that need deep cleanSummer is an awesome time of year for every kind of fun; all that fun can do a number on your hardwood floors. Between the sun, water from storms and pools, and humidity (an unavoidable part of hot Wisconsin summers!), wood floors are vulnerable to water stains, damage to the finish, scratches, and fading.

Fading

As much as we love the summer sun, UV rays from sunlight can affect both polyurethane and urethane finishes. Some kinds of wood can also fade from damaging sun rays. The result is a faded wood and finish that doesn’t resemble the original finish you chose during installation.

How to protect your floors from fading:

Window treatments are the cheapest and easiest ways to protect your floors. During the day when the sunlight is brightest, draw your curtains or lower the shades to keep the sun’s damaging rays at bay.

For a long-term solution, choose new windows with low-e glass (more information about low-e glass windows here). Windows with low-e glass have a protective film that filter damaging rays out of your home, protecting the wood and finish of your floors. If new windows aren’t on the horizon, purchase a protective film for your existing windows that can minimize the fading to your floors.

Humidity

High humidity is as much a part of our summer as ice cream and swimming. While it’s normal for wood floors to swell and shrink from humidity, repeated exposure to high humidity can crack or cause cupping to the floor boards.

How to protect your floors from high humidity:

The ideal humidity range for hardwood floors is between 35-55%. To ensure that the humidity in your home is in that range, purchase a hygrometer which can give you a read out of the moisture in the room or an appliance with a humidistat. If the humidity level is high, purchase a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air. Your air conditioner can also play a part in maintaining an ideal humidity range for your wood floors.

Water spills

Between an occasional (or daily or hourly) dip in the lake or pool, or the surprise summer storms that come with summer, it’s hard not to track in a water puddle or two. Unfortunately, water puddles can cause stains and water damage to your wood floors.

How to protect your floors from water:

If you want to keep all water out of your home, place rugs by all your exterior doors. Ask guests to remove their shoes their shoes by the door and keep a soft towel close at hand to clean up all spills as soon as possible. For a home by a lake, pool, or hot tub, keep towels in a cabinet close to the pool or lake so everyone can dry off before they track water in.

Sand & gravel

Sand and gravel that gets stuck on your shoes (and everywhere else-just ask any kid in a sandbox or beach goer!) can damage your finish and scratch your floors.

How to protect your floors from sand and gravel:

It’s almost impossible to keep all small debris out of your home, but you can minimize the damage by asking your friends and guests to take off their shoes at the door (use these other organization tips for your mudroom). Vacuum up any debris you find so you are not dragging the sand and gravel across the floor.

Cleaning Tips

What floors work great in a house with a pool?

Wet kids having happy time on summer swimming poolA pool is a godsend when the mercury spikes in your thermometer and the humidity hits (what feels like) an all time high. On the flip side, a pool can also be rough on the floors inside your home when you and your kids walk in dripping wet or tracking wet footprints across your floors.

Not just any kind of flooring can take those footprints and water spills. When choosing flooring for a room near water, consider these factors:

  • Water-resistance
  • Clean up
  • Durability
  • Cost

Floors that are ideal for homes with pools

Luxury Vinyl

Pros: highly durable, easy-to-clean water and spills, available in tile or wood look, planks can be installed as a DIY project

Cons: higher priced option, some grout cleaning required if installed with grout

Porcelain Tile

Pros: water, odor and mildew resistant, comes in a variety of tile patterns and colors, can be a do-it-yourself installation, very affordable

Cons: can be cold under bare feet, some grout cleaning required

Sheet Vinyl

Pros: durable, can handle water, comes in different colors and patterns, relatively inexpensive

Cons: look may not be as smooth as some of the other options

Carpet tiles

Pros: soft to the feet, easy-to-clean, squares can be replaced if dirty, creative look

Cons: spills can get in and under tiles, not as finished look as other options

Flooring cleaning tips for home with pool

Whatever floor you choose, keep your floor in like-new condition by using these cleaning tips:

8 Steps to Keeping Your Hardwood Floors Beautiful

wood floorHardwood floors are timeless. Beautiful. Durable. An investment. The challenge can be to keep your investment in the same beautiful shape as the day of installation, especially when your floors are in high traffic areas and are continuously being tested by the ups and downs of our unpredictable Midwestern weather. We’ve put together steps that’ll help you face the challenge head-on so your hardwood floors can look as great as the day we installed them.

Put felt pads and protectors on all your chairs and furniture.

To prevent scratches on your new wood floors, purchase felt pads for your couches, chairs, tables, entertainment cabinets, and any other furniture. These pads do wear down over time so make sure you replace the pads as needed (usually once or twice a year).

Put rugs down by all the doors.

Keep the dirt, sand, gravel, and water off your floors to protect the finish, prevent warping and water damage, and keep scratches at bay. Place rugs by all your doors with protectors under the rugs to protect your floors.

Clean up puddles ASAP.

Hardwood floors and towels go hand in hand. Standing water on hardwood floors can warp the floors, leave water stains, or damage floor boards. Keep a paper towel and towels close at hand so you can clean up any spills or water tracked in (especially during winter or after a dip in the pool!). If you have a dog, train your pup to stop at the door so you can wipe off their paws.

Wait to put down area rugs.

Rushing to put down an area rug can damage the finish. Be patient and wait to put down an area rug until after the finish on your floor has had time to cure. Instead, ask your installer (or local experts) for a time frame; the answer is different for every floor.

Sweep on a regular basis.

Daily grit is the enemy of hardwood floors. Sweep your floors on a regular basis, and start every deep clean with a thorough sweep and vacuum (or vacuum cleaner attachment). When you purchase a vacuum cleaner for the job, make sure it is not abrasive when it cleans which could damage the finish on your hardwood floors.

Deep clean your hardwoods periodically.

A periodic deep clean is essential to keep your floors in the same condition as the day they were installed. Use an approved hardwood cleaner so the floor is not damaged (even vinegar and water can harm the finish). Steam cleaners can also damage the floors and void the warranty. Your periodic deep clean is not the time for experimenting; contact the experts if you need deep cleaning advice (or use our in-depth post on hardwood cleaning) or to schedule a deep clean for your wood floors.

As you mop, don’t leave puddles. Water is the enemy of hardwood floors. Wring out as much water as possible, and use fans to make sure the floor is completely dry when you are done.

Keep an eye on your home’s humidity.

There is some expansion and contracting of hardwood floors that happens with humidity so it is normal to have some small gaps in the floor when humidity is low, such as during winter. For the same reason, be selective about what rooms you install hardwood floors in. Rooms with high humidity, such as laundry rooms and bathrooms, are not ideal for hardwood floors. If you are concerned about humidity, buy a humidistat for your home. The ideal humidity for hardwood floors is between 35% and 55%.

Ask before you tackle those marks or stains.

Before you tackle those scuff marks and stains, ask your local flooring experts for tips on removing marks and stains so you can avoid scratching or damaging your wood floor (or schedule a deep clean and ask them to take care of the mark or stain as part of the deep clean).  A little bit of research now can benefit you in the long run, especially when your hardwood floor keeps looking beautiful.

5 Ways to Speed Up Your Summer Party Cleaning

summer grill out partyIt’s the dirty secret of hosting a summer party: the deep clean that has to happen before your guests arrive. The truth is there’s a lot of preparation and elbow grease that has to happen before the grill out fun can begin—and summer is a very busy time already! If you’re running short on time, here’s how to speed up your pre-party cleaning so the fun can start.

Do as much of the cleaning ahead of time as possible.

If you want a faster clean before your summer grill out, make your cleaning to-do list shorter. Wipe down your counters after a meal, sweep your floors regularly, and clean off your table after you eat. All your regular cleaning leads to an easier (and faster) cleaning later; it’s a lot easier when you don’t have to scrub off hardened food later or .

Make a cleaning list.

To speed up your pre-party cleaning, divide and conquer as much as possible. Make a list of all the cleaning that needs to be done (inside and out!) before your summer party and divide it up among your cleaning crew.

Take your cleaning supplies with you as you clean.

Make the most of your cleaning time; carry your cleaning supplies with you as you clean so you don’t waste time making multiple trips for supplies. This simple cleaning hack makes your cleaning efficient and quick because you can just keep cleaning as you go from room to room.

Use rugs to your advantage.

Technically, placing rugs by all your doors (inside and outside), in your mudroom and hallways may not be a cleaning task but it’s an effort that can save you a lot of cleaning later. Rugs are an important part of keeping the dirt out of your home and off your floors—especially when guests are tracking in and out of your home.

Bring in outside help.

When your time for cleaning gets short, don’t be afraid to bring in the pros: a carpet cleaner to deep clean your carpets (before and/or after), hardwood cleaner to get your floors shining, a cleaning service to get everything else. (For DIY floor cleaning tips, read this blog post.) With a little bit of elbow grease, help, and hard work, you and your guests’ll be enjoying a fun summer party in no time.

Practical (and Welcoming!) Ways to Dress Up Your Patio

patio with furniture and tile overlayMake your patio the go-to spot where everyone wants to hang out this summer—the spot that everyone gathers and enjoys a delicious brat, each other’s company, and your beautiful patio décor. Use these ideas to make a beautiful outdoor space that you, and all your guests, enjoy all the days of summer (and fall!).

Add tile

A tiled patio is the finishing touch that sets your patio apart from the rest. When shopping for the perfect tile, tell your sales person that your tile is going outside so they can recommend the right porcelain tile for your patio.

Use furniture

front steps with porcelain tileThe right furniture for your deck is the right color and coordinated so it doesn’t look like a mishmash effort. Don’t pack your patio so tight that your guests can’t circulate or buy furniture that is too big for the size of your deck. Choose pieces that coordinate both in color and size—some pieces can even serve a dual purpose (such as a planter or storage and a bench).

Think tranquil

If you want to make your patio relaxing or cover up background noise, make your patio a calm oasis with a water feature. A waterfall or pond can be your answer; make sure the water is circulating to avoid stagnant water and the problems that come with it.

Add green

Planters full of flowers, an herb garden, or evergreens can make your patio look like an inviting garden—or at least make it look more inviting. As an added bonus, an herb garden or container garden can provide fresh food for your next grill out.

Cozy it up

Everyone loves a nightly campfire, and a built-in (or portable) campfire is one of Wisconsin’s favorite past times. Add a fire to your patio for a welcoming end to the night, and arrange your furniture for optimal comfort and coziness.

Add privacy

Make your grill outs (and any al fresco meals) a private affair with privacy screens. Instead of adding abrupt privacy screens, coordinate your screens so they look like a part of your outdoor patio décor. Use greenery or latticework to make your nights on the patio a private—and aesthetically pleasing—affair.