April 2019 Client Newsletter

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Mold, The Silent Pest

Say the word “pests” and people think about common household varieties such as ants, roaches, and spiders or even mice and rats. But did you know that molds are also considered pests? That’s right. Pests are generally defined as undesirable organisms that are detrimental to humans or human concerns.

Some molds produce gases called mycotoxins that can cause sickness and allergic reactions in humans. There are molds, such as wood-destroying fungi, that cause property damage. Children 2 years and younger are especially susceptible to mold-related illness. Serious complications can result from prolonged exposure. So it is good to know a few things about mold so you can avoid having a problem in your home.

Molds are fungi that feed on nonliving organic matter. In nature, mold and other fungi are responsible for breaking down dead leaves, plant material and wood. Mold derives energy from these materials by secreting enzymes that break them down into simpler compounds that the mold can absorb. This decomposition is a necessary part of Earth’s ecosystem.

Molds are ubiquitous; they are found everywhere. Some species of mold can survive in sub-freezing temperatures, while others will thrive in extremely high temperatures of the desert, gaining what little moisture is available from the air. Some molds can even grow on diesel fuel and other chemicals like anti-freeze. The two most common molds found in indoor living environments are Aspergillius and Penicillium. Given a food source, suitable temperature and elevated moisture or humidity, these molds can begin to grow and flourish on many surfaces within a home. Molds travel from one location to another by releasing microscopic, seed-like spores which can remain dormant for a very long time. When conditions are right, spores begin to grow into an active and growing mold colony.

Stachybotrys is another mold, often referred to as “toxic black mold”, which has gotten massive media attention. Stachybotrys is a sticky, slimy mold that grows on surfaces such as drywall, wood, and even paper on insulation. While Aspergillus and Penicillium can begin to grow in only a couple of days, Stachybotrys needs at least 7-12 days of constant moisture, warm temperatures around 70-80 degrees and minimal air movement. Therefore, you are most likely to encounter it in your home if you have an ongoing water intrusion from plumbing, foundation problems, roof or window leaks, etc. Note that you may not see it because it tends to flourish in dark, undisturbed areas. Since Stachybotrys is a sticky, slimy mold, the spores rarely become airborne. However, it may begin to release spores if it begins to dry out. It can also release mycotoxins into the air as a defense mechanism against other fungi.

Spores and mycotoxins can be transported into the breathable air of the home and create symptoms such as cough, headaches, asthma, rhinitis and other allergic reactions. In some cases, infants or others with underdeveloped or compromised immune systems can have serious, even life-threatening, pulmonary complications. If you have any type of mold in your home or business, it must be removed as soon as possible. The visible presence of any mold is an indicator that there may be more unseen mold hiding elsewhere.

Because mold can be harmful, call Professional Carpet Systems to identify the cause and develop a strategy to solve the problem and remove the mold.

March 2019 Client Newsletter

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PROTECT YOUR HOME FROM ALLERGIES

Regular vacuuming is the most effective way to prolong the life of your carpets. By removing dry particles, you help prevent premature wear caused by abrasive soils grinding away at carpet fibers. A good quality vacuum cleaner does more than prevent abrasive damage to your carpet. The right vacuum also helps remove pollutants and contaminants from your home.

All vacuum cleaners use some kind of motor to turn fans that produce air flow. This airflow carries soils into a collection a canister or bag. The air must then be filtered before it is exhausted back into your home’s environment. This is the basic function of all vacuum cleaners. But not all vacuums are created equal. Some are better at filtering small particles than others.

Particles are measured in microns. A micron is one millionth of a meter. The smallest particle that the human eye can see is about 25 microns in diameter. Some vacuum cleaners filter particles as small as .3 microns. Many vacuum cleaners allow much larger particles to get through.

This is a problem, especially in homes with sensitive persons with allergies or asthma. The smallest particles are able to be breathed deeply into lung tissue where they cause irritation and inflammation. Coughing, wheezing and sneezing are the result. In some cases, full blown asthma attacks can happen.

What is in the dust that creates such big problems? Pollutants include mold, human and animal dander, dust mite feces, insect parts, air pollution, lead dust, carbon, cooking residues and more.

Pollutants are captured and filtered out by high quality vacuum cleaners featuring “true HEPA” filtration. HEPA, or High Efficiency Particulate Air filters, are tested and certified to trap 99.97% of all particles down to .3 microns.

A true HEPA vacuum cleaner actually cleans the air while it cleans the carpet. But be careful and do your homework. Just because a vacuum cleaner has a HEPA filter does not mean it is “true HEPA”.

Less efficient vacuum cleaners do not clean the air. Rather, they have the effect of expelling the smallest pollutant particles into the breathing zone where they can remain suspended for hours.

To get the most out of your vacuum cleaner it is important that it be properly maintained. If it has a replaceable bag, it should be exchanged when about half full.

Check the belts and make sure that the brushes or rollers are in good condition. It is best to take your machine in for an annual tune-up to keep it operating at peak performance.

When you vacuum do not rush over the surface of the carpet. Take your time. Vacuum over high traffic areas in two different directions to remove the most soil. This will help your carpets stay cleaner and last much longer.

Never vacuum up moist soils or damp carpet. This can cause bacterial growth and odors in your machine.

You need to maintain your carpet with regular, professional cleaning, but a good quality vacuum cleaner is your first line of defense in keeping a clean and healthy home. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a vacuum, but don’t skimp on quality either.

Call Professional Carpet Systems to learn more or schedule your next cleaning.

February 2019 Client Newsletter

Here’s our February 2019 client newsletter.

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Love Your Clean Carpet

On the surface, carpet cleaning seems pretty simple. Rent a machine. Fill the tank. Pour in some detergent. Flip a switch and start cleaning. Before long, your carpet is clean and fresh. However, as anyone who has actually cleaned carpet knows, there’s more to it than that. Here are some interesting facts about carpet that affect cleaning results.

Some of the most common questions asked about carpet cleaning are, “Will the spots come back?”, “Will the dents from the furniture come out?”, “Will the traffic areas look better after it’s done?”, and “Will these stains come out?”

The answers depend on several factors that we consider when we clean your carpet.

Carpet can be made with a variety of fibers, each having its own cleaning characteristics. Every ber responds to traf c differently. Spills that are easy to remove from one ber may permanently stain another.

Various styles such as loop pile, friezé, shag, Saxony and velvet plush all respond to traffic in different ways. The quality and density of the cushion is another factor that determines how well a carpet performs in traf c areas.

Even the way the pile yarns are twisted and how tightly packed they are in the carpet backing makes a difference in durability and cleanability.

An experienced cleaner will assess the condition of your carpet, asking questions such as, “How old is the carpet?”, “How was it cleaned in the past, and how often?”, “Was protector applied during the last cleaning?”, “How old are the spots, spills and stains, and have you tried anything to clean them?”

With all of these variables, it’s not an exact science. BUT there are some things we know about carpet, fibers, soil and stains that give us a clue as to what we can anticipate from the cleaning process. The most important consideration is the type of ber.

Wool carpet has excellent resilience, so those crushed traf c areas and furniture indentations have a good chance of coming out. Wool is more easily stained by proteins than other fibers, so some foods, pet urine and other protein sources like blood will be difficult to remove.

Olefin carpets don’t have the resiliency of wool, so high traf c areas tend to pack down and lose that fluffy texture over time. Ole n has excellent stain-resistance and color-fastness.

Stain-resist nylon has excellent resilience and good stain and soil repellency, so carpets made with nylon tend to be the best overall performers. However, depending on how the ber was dyed, Nylon may be bleached by some household chemicals or sunlight.

Polyester fibers have an affinity for oily soils, so food or petroleum grease spots will be more difficult to remove. But Polyester, like Olefin, is very resistant to stains and bleaching.

The bottom line is that how the carpet looks after cleaning will depend on some factors that are out of our control. But with an experienced cleaner you can be assured of the best results possible for your carpet.

 

January 2019 Client Newsletter

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11 House Cleaning Secrets

Soil control is an important part of keeping your home clean and healthy. The Institute of Cleaning and Restoration Certification defines soil as any undesirable substance that is foreign to a surface. Practicing soil control means limiting the buildup of soil on surfaces. Limiting soil equals a clean and healthy home. Here are 11 tips to help you practice soil control.

1. Keep dirt outside by keeping all entry areas and garage floors swept and clean. Pressure wash walkways, porches and stairs leading to the entrances to your house. It takes 12 times more effort, time and money to remove soil from your home than it does to prevent it entering in the first place.

2. Remove dirt before it enters the house with door mats. Again, the idea is to limit the amount of soil that enters from outside. Use water resistant door mats made of non-absorbent, mold resistant fibers outside every entrance to your home.

3. Stop dirt at the door by adding another doormat just inside your home. This mat should be made of an absorbent material such as nylon, cotton or wool. Washable throw rugs work great, provided they don’t slide around or become a tripping hazard. Vacuum or wash the mat twice a week.

4. Keep outdoor shoes out of the house. Take off your shoes at the door and wear indoor shoes, slippers or socks around the house. Don’t go barefoot all the time; the natural oils on your feet attach to the carpet and attract soil.

5. Brush and groom your pets regularly – preferably outdoors.

6. Change your furnace filter every 30 days when it is in use. Opt for a high efficiency allergen-trapping filter – it will be $15-20 well-spent.

7. Keep your kitchen vent hood clean… and use it. These vents trap moisture, oils and odors that would otherwise end up in your carpet.

8. Use a bathroom vent. Humidity in the bathroom can lead to mold growth. Let the fan run 10 minutes after you shower or bathe.

9. Vacuum regularly.  This is the most important step in carpet maintenance. 74-79% of the soil in typical household carpet can be removed by regular vacuuming. If these dry soils are allowed to remain, some of them break down and oxidize, creating a perfect breeding ground for fungi, bacteria and unpleasant odors. Grittier soils adhere to sticky or oily residues on carpet fibers, causing abrasion and permanent damage. Regular vacuuming reduces these effects so carpets last longer.

10. Vacuum furniture. You should vacuum your upholstered furniture, drapery and blinds for the same reasons listed above. When you dust your furniture, do so gently, and slowly. It is best to do this with a duster attachment on your vacuum cleaner. Allow the dust to settle for an hour or so; then vacuum the carpet or floor.

11. Have your carpets and upholstery professionally cleaned at least once a year, at a minimum. Homes with more people, pets and especially those with young children, should be cleaned more frequently.

December 2018 Client Newsletter


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Why do Spots Come Back?

Naturally, you expect your carpets to look better after cleaning than before. So it may come as a surprise when some of the spots return. There are two reasons that this can happen: re-soiling from various residues and soil-wicking.

Re-soiling

Re-soiling is the result of new soil that is attracted to an oily or sticky residue on the carpet. One of the most common residues is left behind by common spot removers. Some of the products sold at grocery and home improvement stores can leave behind sticky, soil-attracting residues, especially when they are over-applied or not thoroughly rinsed.

Other residues that cause rapid resoiling are food grease, animal body oils, adhesive-tape residue, petroleum-based oils, moisturizing lotion, hair-spray, tanning oil, and sugar from spilled drinks. Once the visible soil is cleaned away from these areas, the carpet will look clean. However, the invisible residue acts as a soil magnet, leading to rapid re-soiling. This can take days or even a few weeks to occur.

Soil-wicking

Soil-wicking is another, common reason that spots reappear after cleaning.

Soilwicking is a result of how carpet is made and how it dries. Carpet is made up of multiple layers. Each of these layers plays a role in soil wicking. The yarns that you see in the face of the carpet are stitched into a thin, woven fabric called the primary backing. This primary backing can be seen by parting the fibers of the carpet and looking down between the rows of yarns.

During “normal” carpet cleaning, the intent is to clean the face yarns only. But sometimes spots, spills, and pet urine penetrate the primary backing. If you look at the back of the carpet, you will see the secondary backing, a coarser, stiffer woven material designed to give the carpet more strength and stability. The secondary backing creates a capillary action that can spread a spill out to a much larger area than you see on the surface. Just a 2-4 ounce spill can create a 12-inch diameter spot on the back of the carpet.

Between the primary and secondary backings, there is a layer of latex adhesive holding it all together. Some spills can penetrate into this layer and dry. These deposits can be “reactivated” by normal cleaning and wick to the surface of the carpet fibers during the normal drying process. These returning spots can be as much of a surprise to your carpet cleaning professional as they are to you.

The reason the spots return has to do with the mechanics of capillary action. As carpet dries, water evaporates from the tips of the carpet yarns, drawing some of the remaining moisture behind it. If there is any kind of soil or spill at the base of the yarns or in the backing, it too can be drawn up to the yarn tips. Unfortunately, while water readily evaporates, soils do not. So the spots that were hidden in the backing system are now at the top of the carpet where they can create a visibly noticeable spot. Correcting recurring spots may simply require a thorough rinse. Other times, specialized cleaning agents and more intensive cleaning techniques are needed.

While we do our best to prevent recurring spots, it does happen sometimes. If you ever see a spot come back after Professional Carpet Systems cleans your carpet, please call us as soon as possible so we can return and properly address the situation. Once we find the cause, we’ll use special techniques to correct it and leave your carpet spotless again.

November 2018 Client Newsletter

Here’s our November 2018 Client Newsletter.

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Food Spills on Carpet.

A Few Do’s and Don’ts

You vacuum twice a week, like clockwork. You ask everyone to take their shoes off at the door, leave your muddy shoes on the garage stoop, and toss your throw rugs in the washer every weekend. You do your level best to keep dirt outside where it belongs and pollutants inside your home to a minimum.

But no family is perfect.

Despite your best efforts at keeping spaghetti in the kitchen and dirt in the garden, no matter how careful you are, sooner or later it will happen. Someone will spill food or drink onto your carpet. You may see it the second it happens, or you may not spot it until it has dried and set. Either way, you will panic. You will fear that your beautiful carpet is ruined forever.

And you will wonder what to do.

What you need to know is that whether a simple spill comes out or becomes a permanent stain depends just as much on what you don’t do as what you do. Here are a few recommendations to help increase your chances of a successful stain treating outcome:

DO NOT rub or scrub the carpet with a towel or brush. This will distort the face yarns and cause permanent damage to the surface, which will only amplify the look of any stain.

DO pick up any chunks and then remove the excess liquid by gently blotting or scraping up as much of the spill as you can. If it is a liquid, such as coffee, wine or soda, use a white towel and blot up as much of the spill as possible. Keep blotting until your towel stops absorbing liquid.

DO NOT spread the spot. When scraping up thick spills, such as spaghetti sauce, work gently from the outside edges of the spot toward the middle. Scrape up as much as possible before using any spot cleaners.

DO call a reputable professional cleaning company as soon as possible. Experienced carpet cleaners will have a specialty spotter for just about any type of spill. In addition, they will have the equipment to promptly remove the stain and flush it with fresh water. Prompt professional attention is your best chance to remove spills without damaging the color or texture of your carpet.

DO NOT use cleaning agents from the grocery store. Most often, these products are low quality and ineffective. But even high quality products still need to be used carefully. A cleaning product must be carefully chosen for the type of spot and the kind of fabric that your carpet is made from. If you try to use the wrong product, or use it incorrectly, you may make the spill more difficult or even impossible for even the most experienced professional to remove.

While nobody can guarantee that every spot and stain will come out, by following these tips you will make cleaning up spots and spills much easier. You will be more likely to remove the stain completely, leaving your carpet looking good and helping your carpet to look good for years to come.

 

October 2018 Client Newsletter

Here’s our October 2018 Client Newsletter.

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Water Damage

An absorbing subject

Water intrusion into your home or business can quickly cause significant damage from water absorption into structural materials, furnishings, cabinetry, and woodwork. Act fast and call Professional Carpet Systems if your home or business should suffer a water intrusion. Waiting only increases the severity of the damage and expense.

One of the first things we do when we arrive is to remove as much water as we can. After removing bulk water, our focus turns to drying wet structural materials and contents. This requires an understanding of how water affects different materials.

Concrete, ceramic tile and stone are examples of materials that can remain wet indefinitely without damage. Other materials like structural wood framing and wood subfloors can be saturated for hours or even a few days without permanent damage if they are properly dried and cleaned.

Hardwood floors will show signs of swelling and damage within the first few hours of a water intrusion. If not addressed quickly and properly, hardwood floors begin to swell, cup and eventually buckle, requiring replacement or expensive repairs.

The rate at which building materials absorb and hold moisture depends on porosity and permeability.

Porosity is a measure of how much open space there is within a material. These open spaces can be large and visible, such as in a sponge, or much smaller such as in a piece of wood. Even granite and marble are somewhat porous, so water can pass into and through these seemingly impenetrable materials.

Permeability is a measure of how easily moisture or water vapor can be absorbed into materials. Highly permeable materials like drywall absorb water quickly. Semi-permeable materials like wood studs and floors take longer to absorb water. Low permeance materials such as concrete, hardwoods and natural stone resist moisture absorption the longest.

Generally, highly permeable materials that readily absorb moisture can be dried quickly and easily. Low permeance materials like marble and granite absorb moisture slowly, but once they do, it is much harder to remove absorbed moisture.

Drywall is very absorbent due its high permeability and porosity. Water on the floor can wick up two feet or more into drywall through capillary action. Absorbed water reduces the integrity of drywall making it soft and easily damaged.

Mold is another concern. Most drywall has a layer of thick paper on the outside. When drywall remains moist for an extended period, mold grows on the surface and inside wall cavities, creating a health risk to occupants in the building.

Structural wood can absorb up to 30% of its weight in water. If this water is removed quickly and properly, damage is minimal. Mold will begin to grow on wood that remains abnormally moist for an extended period. Drying materials as quickly as is practical minimizes damage and prevents mold growth.

Hardwood floors, cabinets and woodwork require special care.

Permanent damage such as shrinking, cracking and warping will occur if hardwood materials are dried too rapidly. We use specialized drying equipment and methods to remove moisture from these deeply saturated, low-permeance materials to avoid causing additional damage.

The trick in managing all of these drying challenges lies in understanding the different materials and how water affects and moves through them. We use electronic moisture meters to monitor material moisture content, surface temperatures, humidity levels and air temperature along with professional drying equipment. This level of expertise enables Professional Carpet Systems to dry structures and contents effectively, saving expensive replacement and rebuilding costs. That’s why we should be your first call if your home or business ever suffers a water intrusion.

 

September 2018 Client Newsletter

Here’s our September 2018 Client Newsletter.

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How to enjoy better air quality at home

Fall is a glorious time of year. The weather is getting a bit cooler and the days a bit shorter. If you are like most Americans, your family is spending more time indoors as the outdoor activities of summer wind down. That’s why right now is a great time to think about your indoor air quality.

Air pollution is a major concern in the U.S., especially near heavily populated areas. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that indoor air is often 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air. How can this be? And can you do anything to help?

The amount of air pollution in your home is affected by several factors and there are many sources of pollution. Some of these sources come from outside your home. Other sources come from inside. Some you can control; others you can’t.

Outdoor pollutants and allergens enter your home by infiltration and ventilation, directly affecting the air in your home. Pollutants like car exhaust, pollen, smoke, insecticides, fertilizers and mold spores hitch a ride into your home on air currents, your clothing, shoes, hair, and pets.

When these pollutants settle on surfaces outside, wind, rain, and sunshine combine to neutralize, sweep and wash them away. Unfortunately, this is not the case inside your home. These same pollutants tend to accumulate inside your house on doors, furnishings, surfaces and in the air.

Because we live, eat, sleep, play and often work in our homes, we generate a significant amount of allergens and pollutants from inside our homes too. Did you know that you shed around a million dead skin cells every day? These dead cells are a food source for dust mites as well as other microbial life forms. Dust mite feces and dead dust mites are potent allergens and every home has millions of them. Housepets also contribute to indoor air quality issues.

Then there are the sticky and oily residues from cooking gases that eventually settle on surfaces. Certain types of furniture, plastics, and textiles also release gases that can affect indoor air quality. If you have a furnace that burns fuel such as gas, oil, or wood, by-products of combustion add to the problem.

After all of this, you may wonder if it is safe to stay in your home. Don’t be alarmed. There is a lot you can do to improve indoor air quality. Invest high-quality air filters for your HVAC (heat, ventilation, air-conditioning) system. These lters are rated based on their e ciency at trapping tiny particles. The rating is called MERV. The higher the MERV rating, the more e ective the lter.

Professional duct cleaning helps to remove contaminants that accumulate on the inner surfaces of your HVAC system.
Use a vacuum cleaner equipped with HEPA ltration. HEPA lters trap the smallest particles including dust mite feces, dead skin, pollen and mold spores. Other vacuum cleaners simply spew these tiny particles back into the air, making matters worse.

Use bathroom exhaust fans and range hoods to remove excessive humidity and cooking gases that can contribute to indoor air pollution. High humidity encourages bacteria and mold growth.

Cleaning carpets, upholstery, and area rugs returns them to a healthful condition and improves indoor air quality by removing pollutants and allergens that bond to these surfaces.

Cleaning your carpets, rugs and upholstery right now makes perfect sense. You are going to be spending more time indoors. You and your family deserve a clean, healthy home. If you have guests visiting for the holidays, your home will look, smell and feel fresh and clean.

Call Professional Carpet Systems today to schedule your fall cleaning. You and your family will breathe easier.

August 2018 Client Newsletter

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Deodorization After a Disaster…

How the pros do it

Whether we are dealing with property damage from water intrusion, storms or fires, odors can become a problem if not handled correctly. Unpleasant odors are sometimes an indication of a potentially infectious, hazardous or unsanitary condition. Bad odors can also cause psychological or emotional stress and even physical discomfort. Lingering odors may be an indication that there was unseen damage that must be addressed. As professionals, we have not done our job unless odors are effectively eliminated to the fullest extent possible.

Spraying deodorants and perfumes simply masks odors temporarily. Odor masking is not effective for long-term deodorizing success. Effectively eliminating odors requires an understanding of the principles of deodorization. The type of odor neutralizer and application process must be chosen based on the source of the odor, type of materials affected and the degree of odor penetration. To avoid a recurrence of the malodor, we use the following 4 step procedure:

Step 1: Find and remove the source. Odor is an effect.  Since every effect has a cause, our first challenge is to find and remove the cause. Imagine there is a carcass of a rodent inside your wall. In order to get rid of the odor, we have to find and dispose of the carcass. If the odor comes smoke, we must try to find the location of any burned or charred material and remove it. If the odor is from a water intrusion, say from a broken pipe, we must first dry the structure before we can treat any remaining odor. The same applies to odors from sewage, and mold. The source must be removed or neutralized before proceeding.

Step 2: Clean the affected area to remove any remaining odor-causing residue. We start cleaning in the source area and work outward until all residues are removed. Residues can be sticky or oily residues, crystallized materials or dust and soot. The type of residue and the material you are cleaning determines the cleaning method. For instance, removing soot from a brick wall requires different cleaning agents, tools and techniques than removing soot from silk drapes. Depending on the odor, source removal and meticulous cleaning may be all that is required. If not, we move on to the next step.

Step 3: Recreate the conditions of penetration. Recreate the conditions of penetration. This is where specialized equipment is often required. For example, if the odor is from smoke, it may have penetrated into wood, fabrics, drywall and many other porous and semi-porous materials. Any deodorizing products we use must penetrate the materials in the same manner as the smoke odor penetrated in order to neutralize the odors.

If odors have migrated into areas that are inaccessible, it may be necessary to use specialized fogging equipment, electronic oxidation, or dry vapor equipment. Generally, odors caused by mold and sewage will require the removal of porous non-structural materials such as drywall. This may be followed up by the application of a disinfectant solution to the remaining structural materials. In most cases, properly applying steps 1 through 3 will achieve the desired results. If there is still an odor, we proceed to step 4.

Step 4: Seal the affected material.  Sometimes odors penetrate into materials to the degree that it is impossible or impractical to remove them completely. In these situations, it is necessary to apply a topical sealant to encapsulate the odor causing molecules and prevent them from evaporating into the air. If the molecules can’t reach your nose, you won’t be able to smell them. The type of sealer we choose depends on the type of material, the nature of the odor source and the degree of penetration into the material.

If you have tough odor problems and need assistance, please call Professional Carpet Systems, and we will be happy to help.

July 2018 Client Newsletter

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Carpet Beetles.  What are the facts?

Carpet beetles deserve to rank near the top of your list of uninvited guests. These oval- shaped ying insects can ruin your carpets, rugs, upholstered furniture, and clothing as well as cause irritating dermatitis in children and sensitive adults. These are unwelcome guests you really want to “show the door” as quickly as possible.

Life Cycle of a Carpet Beetle

The four life-stages of carpet beetles are egg, larvae, pupae, and adult. Female carpet beetles lay up to a hundred eggs, which hatch into larvae in approximately 35 days. This stage is the most damaging because larvae feed on carpets and clothing. The larval stage lasts 6 to 18 months, during which these voracious insects do the most damage. The nal part of the larval stage is metamorphosis, after which the adult beetle emerges. Adult carpet beetles can live up to a year.

Identifying Carpet Beetles

The larvae are very small, so it can be di cult to spot them. Larvae look like tiny, hairy worms and prefer dark, undisturbed areas such as under furniture, rugs and in closets. Adult black carpet beetles are black with brown-colored legs, and their length in inches ranges from 1/8 to 3/16.

As larvae, these pests shed skin and fecal pellets, each of which can cause allergic reactions in some people. Carpet beetles do not bite people or animals. The irritation caused by contact with carpet beetle larvae can be confused with bites from bed bugs or eas.

Property damage from carpet beetles is very similar to moth damage. Small, irregular-shaped holes in clothes and rugs are a telltale sign of either a carpet beetle or moth problem. If it is a moth problem, you will usually see moths in the area. Adult carpet beetles prefer to live outdoors and graze on pollen.

Fighting back

Maintaining cleanliness may not be enough to avoid an infestation from carpet beetles. Since these pests can enter on food packages, luggage and on shoes, they are di cult to avoid—especially if you have a pet, as larvae feed on animal fur and dander. Along with vacuuming, professional carpet, rug and upholstery cleaning are essential.

Detergent and hot water kill the larvae, so this is an important means of limiting carpet beetle populations indoors. Other recommended measures to reduce the likelihood of a carpet beetle problem are:

  • Effective sanitation including routine vacuuming and housekeeping of pantry shelves and pet feeding and sleeping areas helps reduce the breeding sites and food sources;
  • Storing items like wool clothing, leather and fur coats in sealed garment bags;
  • Checking owers, patio plants, and any second-hand items carefully before bringing indoors;
  • Dry cleaning and using a clothes dryer on high heat to kill carpet beetle larvae in clothing and drapes;
  • Ensuring that air ducts are clean and attics and crawl spaces are free of animal nests or carcasses.

Pesticides may be necessary to eliminate an existing infestation. Choose a pesticide designed
for carpet beetles and follow
label directions. Eliminating a heavy infestation is best left to a professional pest control specialist.

If you suspect that you have a carpet beetle problem or want to avoid one, call Professional Carpet Systems
so that we can clean your carpet, upholstery and drapery. That is a logical first step to eliminating these destructive invaders.