Viscose Rugs – Yes, or No?

As carpet care experts, we are sometimes asked about viscose rugs… yeah or nay? Pros and cons…? And how to care for them…?

Viscose rugs, also known as art silk or rayon rugs, have gained popularity as an affordable alternative to pricier natural fibers. These rugs are made from viscose, a semi-synthetic fiber derived from wood pulp or cotton linters (short fibers /fuzz) found around cotton seeds).  While they boast a luxurious sheen and silky feel, understanding the pros and cons of viscose rugs is important before deciding to incorporate them into your home decor.

Pros:

  • Looks: One of the primary attractions of viscose rugs is their visual appeal. They mimic the luxurious look and feel of silk at a fraction of the cost, making them an excellent choice for those seeking an elegant touch to their interiors.
  • Soft Texture: Viscose rugs are known for their soft and silky texture, providing a comfortable and inviting surface for both feet and hands. This quality makes them an ideal choice for areas where comfort is a priority, such as bedrooms and living rooms.
  • Versatility: Viscose fibers can be easily dyed, allowing for a wide range of color options. This versatility helps homeowners to find a rug that complements their existing decor or serves as a focal point in the room.
  • Affordability: Compared to natural fibers like silk or wool, viscose rugs are more budget friendly. This affordability makes them an attractive choice for those looking to enhance their home decor without breaking the bank.

Cons:

  • Durability Issues: Viscose rugs are not as durable as rugs made from natural fibers. They are prone to wear and tear, crushing, and matting, especially in high-traffic areas. This makes them less suitable for spaces with heavy foot traffic.
  • Moisture Sensitivity: One significant drawback of viscose rugs is their sensitivity to moisture. They can easily absorb water, leading to discoloration, warping, or mold growth. It is essential to keep them away from damp environments and avoid using them in areas prone to spills.
  • Cleaning Challenges: Cleaning viscose rugs requires extra caution. They are not as resilient to stains as other materials, and traditional cleaning methods may damage the fibers. A professional carpet cleaner experienced with viscose rugs is essential for optimal outcomes.
  • Not Eco-Friendly: While derived from natural sources, the manufacturing process of viscose involves the use of chemicals, which can have environmental implications. Additionally, the production process may not be as sustainable as some natural fibers.

The bottom line is, viscose rugs offer a cost-effective way to bring luxury and style to your home, but their susceptibility to damage and moisture requires careful consideration. Balancing their aesthetic appeal with the practical aspects of maintenance and durability is key to making an informed decision for your interior decor.


By Sharon Koehler. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of Surface Care PRO Partners.

Pros and Cons of Marble Countertops

Marble countertops have long been considered a timeless choice for kitchen surfaces, admired for their natural beauty and elegance. However, like any material, marble comes with its own set of pros and cons that should be carefully considered before making a decision.

Pros of Marble Countertops:

  1. Appearance: One of the primary reasons homeowners choose marble is its exquisite appearance. The natural veining and unique patterns create a luxurious and sophisticated look that adds character to any kitchen.
  2. Cool Temperature: Marble has a natural ability to stay cool, making it an ideal surface for tasks such as baking. This coolness can be especially beneficial in warmer climates or during the summer months.
  3. Increase in Property Value: Marble countertops can enhance the resale value of a home. The association of marble with luxury and quality can make a kitchen more appealing to potential buyers.
  4. Savings: Almost anything that can happen to a marble countertop can be fixed. Scratches, etches, chips, stains, and cracks can all usually be minimized or fixed completely, ultimately saving the homeowner money in replacement costs. It costs much less to fix rather than replace.

Cons of Marble Countertops:

  1. Porosity: Marble is a porous material, making it susceptible to staining. Proper sealing may be required to inhibit spills from being able to penetrate into the pores of the stone and leave a stain. Marble countertops require regular sealing to maintain their appearance and protect against stains. Failure to keep your marble tops sealed can result in more significant issues over time.
  2. Acid Sensitivity: Marble is calcite-based and can become etched from acidic substances such as lemon juice, vinegar, or tomato sauce. Special treatments can be applied to protect from etching. Ask us about these options.
  3. Scratches and Chips: While marble is durable, it is softer than some other countertop materials like granite. This makes it more prone to scratches and chipping, particularly in high-usage areas.
  4. Cost: Marble is generally more expensive than other countertop materials. The high cost can be a significant factor for homeowners on a budget, making alternative options more appealing.

Marble countertops offer a stunning and timeless aesthetic but come with trade-offs. Homeowners who prioritize beauty and are willing to invest time and effort in maintenance may find marble to be an excellent choice. However, those seeking a more durable and low-maintenance option may opt for alternatives like granite. Ultimately, the decision depends on individual preferences, lifestyle, and budget considerations.


By Sharon Koehler. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of Surface Care PRO Partners.

The War on Shower Mold

Strategies for Removal and Prevention of Mold on Stone and Tile Showers

Mold growth in showers is a common issue in many households. This unsightly and potentially harmful problem can arise from a variety of factors and understanding these can help in both treating and preventing it. Here’s an overview of what causes mold to grow in showers and how to effectively remove and prevent it.

Causes of Mold Growth in Showers

Moisture and Humidity: The primary cause of mold growth in showers is the high level of moisture and humidity. Showers, being regularly wet and often poorly ventilated, create an ideal environment for mold spores to thrive.

Lack of Ventilation: Inadequate ventilation in bathrooms leads to moisture accumulation. Without proper air circulation, the dampness from showers and baths lingers, promoting mold growth.

Warm Temperatures: Mold typically thrives in warm conditions. The heat combined with humidity in a bathroom is an ideal breeding ground for mold.

Organic Material: Soap scum, body oils, and other organic materials present in showers serve as a food source for mold.

Poor Cleaning Habits: Infrequent or inadequate cleaning can allow mold spores to settle and grow in shower crevices, grout, and caulking.

How to Remove Mold

Commercial Mold Cleaners: There are numerous mold removal products available. Ask us for specific recommendations. Always follow the instructions and ensure proper ventilation when using these chemicals.

Natural Solutions: For a more natural approach, solutions like vinegar, baking soda, or hydrogen peroxide can be effective. For instance, spraying vinegar on the affected area, leaving it for an hour, and then scrubbing can remove mold. Vinegar should not be used on natural stone showers as it can result in etching (dulling) the stone.

Protective Gear: When cleaning mold, wear protective gear like gloves and a mask to avoid inhaling spores or irritating your skin.

Thorough Cleaning: Ensure that all areas, especially grout and caulking, are scrubbed thoroughly to remove all mold.

Preventing Mold Growth

Improve Ventilation: Use an exhaust fan during and after showers to reduce humidity. If possible, open a window to allow for air circulation.

Regular Cleaning: Frequent cleaning can prevent mold spores from settling. Use a squeegee after showers to remove excess water from the walls and floor.

Control Humidity: Keeping the bathroom humidity below 50% can significantly reduce the likelihood of mold growth. Dehumidifiers can be effective in this regard.

Seal Grout Lines: Sealing grout lines can prevent moisture from seeping in and becoming a breeding ground for mold.

Use Mold-Resistant Products: Consider using mold-resistant shower curtains, and caulk designed to resist mold growth.

Dry Wet Items: Ensure that any wet items like towels or bathmats are dried out properly and not left in the bathroom.

Periodic Inspection and Maintenance: Regularly inspect areas prone to mold and address any moisture or leaks immediately.

The bottom line is mold in showers is primarily caused by the damp and humid environment typical of bathrooms. By understanding these causes, homeowners can take effective steps to remove existing mold and prevent its reoccurrence. Regular cleaning, improved ventilation, and controlling humidity are key strategies in maintaining a mold-free shower environment.


By Fred Hueston. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of Surface Care PRO Partners.

Grout Discoloration in Showers: Causes & Fixes

Grout discoloration, a common issue in showers, mars the pristine look of your bathroom over time. Factors like moisture, soap residue, hard water, and wear contribute to this problem.

Causes:

Moisture: Leads to mold, mildew, and weakened grout.

Soap and Shampoo Residue: Accumulates on grout lines.

Hard Water: Mineral deposits cloud grout.

Age and Wear: Regular usage wears down grout.

Solutions:

Routine Cleaning:

  • Use warm water and mild pH neutral cleaner.
  • Scrub gently and rinse thoroughly.

Grout Sealing:

  • Have your grout sealed every 1-2 years.

Deep Cleaning:

  • Use specialized cleaner or baking soda mixture cautiously.

Professional Cleaning:

  • Have your stone and tile pro do a deep cleaning when called for.

Grout Replacement:

  • DIY or hire professionals for extensive damage.

Prevention:

  • Wipe tiles and grout after each use.
  • Use a squeegee to prevent pooling water.
  • Maintain good bathroom ventilation.
  • Promptly replace old or damaged grout and caulk.

Conclusion:

Understanding causes and applying appropriate solutions can restore your shower’s grout. Regular maintenance and preventive measures ensure a clean and beautiful shower space.


By Fred Hueston. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of Surface Care PRO Partners.

Help! I Have Stiff Carpet

Help! I Have Stiff Carpet

We know when you first had your carpet installed, it was plush and soft. You enjoyed sitting and walking barefoot on it. Now however, it is stiff and possibly even crunchy in places. Nobody likes that. Let’s take a look at what causes stiff carpet and how to fix it.

What causes a soft carpet to become stiff and hard?

There are actually several reasons your carpet may become stiff:

  • Accumulation of dirt, residue, and debris – The buildup of dirt, debris, and residues within the carpet fibers can cause this problem. Over time, foot traffic, spills, and other contaminants can build up, creating a layer that stiffens the carpet. This accumulation can also attract more dirt, making the problem progressively worse.
  • Harsh chemicals – Harsh chemicals used to remove a spill or stain are harder to remove from the carpet and may leave behind a residue that holds onto dirt, creating the stiff carpet feel.
  • Stains – The presence of stubborn stains is another contributing factor to this issue. Spills and stains can leave behind residues that harden over time, making the affected areas feel stiff and crunchy.
  • Improper DIY cleaning methods – DIY carpet cleaners are not as powerful as professional cleaning equipment and can leave chemical residue behind that can stiffen your carpet.

The good news is, there is a fix for stiff carpet: A good, thorough deep- cleaning.

Is this a good DIY project?

Unfortunately, no, for this issue, DIY is not a good idea. These are just two of the reasons you should not DIY this project.

  • Professional equipment is much more powerful than DIY equipment and can remove much more of the dirt and cleaning agents that may be used in the cleaning process.
  • DIY equipment is not always properly maintained, not always through any fault of the company. Sometimes people return equipment that they misused or broke and don’t say anything, making it a problem for the next user, which could be you.

A thorough deep cleaning by a professional is the best answer to a stiff carpet problem. A stiff carpet can result from the accumulation of dirt, residues, and stains over time. Professional cleaning is designed to address these issues effectively. By deep cleaning the carpet fibers, removing stubborn stains, and using proper cleaning agents, professionals can bring back the softness and flexibility of your carpet, enhancing its overall look and feel.


By Sharon Koehler. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of Surface Care PRO Partners.

Why Is My Marble Turning Dark?

Is your light marble mysteriously turning dark? Read this article to learn why and what you can do to help protect it from certain damage that causes darkening.

Marble turning dark can be caused by multiple factors, and understanding these reasons is especially important for effective maintenance and preservation. Marble is a metamorphic rock composed primarily of calcite or dolomite crystals, and its natural beauty can be affected by both external and internal factors.

  • One common reason for marble darkening is surface staining. Spills of acidic substances, such as coffee, wine, or citrus juices, can etch the surface of marble, leading to discoloration.
  • Another cause is exposure to metal objects or water having high mineral content may cause rust or mineral deposits, darkening the marble’s appearance.
  • Another significant factor is the absorption of environmental contaminants. Marble is porous, meaning it can absorb liquids and gases. Air pollution, especially in urban environments, can deposit pollutants onto the surface of the marble, causing it to darken over time. This is particularly evident in outdoor installations where the marble is exposed to the elements.
  • Natural aging and weathering contribute to marble darkening. Sunlight exposure can lead to the breakdown of the stone’s minerals and alter its color. Over time, the surface may develop a patina, which in its own rite can be very beautiful.
  • Inappropriate cleaning methods can worsen the issue. Harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners can damage the marble’s surface, making it more susceptible to staining and darkening. It is essential to use pH-neutral cleaners designated safe for stone surfaces to preserve the marble’s beautiful look.

Preventing marble darkening involves a combination of proactive measures. Sealing the marble surface helps reduce its porosity, making it less prone to staining. Regular cleaning with a gentle, stone-friendly cleaner removes surface contaminants. Avoiding contact with acidic substances and promptly addressing spills can also prevent discoloration.

The darkening of marble can be attributed to many factors, including staining, environmental pollutants, natural aging, and inappropriate cleaning methods. Understanding these reasons allows for the implementation of proper maintenance practices to preserve the beauty of marble surfaces over time.


By Sharon Koehler. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of Surface Care PRO Partners.

Protecting Your Stone Surfaces

You invest a lot of time and money in your surfaces. Countertops, floors, tabletops, and other stone surfaces can enhance a home or business quite a bit. To keep your stone surfaces looking beautiful, there are certain things you can do to help them stay in pristine condition.

  1. Prevention is Key: Start by setting some ground rules for your guests. Encourage the use of coasters for beverages and ask them to avoid placing hot pots or pans directly onto stone countertops. Remind everyone to be mindful of sharp objects that could scratch or chip the surface.
  2. Clean Regularly: Regular cleaning is crucial to keeping the beauty of your stone surfaces. However, avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that could damage the stone. Instead, opt for pH-neutral, stone-safe cleaners. Wipe up spills promptly to prevent staining and etching, especially from acidic substances like wine or citrus juices.
  3. Use Trivets and Coasters: Invest in high-quality trivets and coasters to protect your stone surfaces from hot dishes and drink condensation. Place trivets under hot pots and pans to prevent thermal shock, which can occur when extreme temperature changes affect the stone’s structure.
  4. Seal the Stone: Depending on the type of stone, it may benefit from periodic sealing. Sealing creates a protective barrier that repels liquids and reduces the risk of staining. If you are unsure if the stone needs to be resealed, perform the water drop test. Just put a few drops of water on the surface in a few different places. If the water soaks in, then it needs resealing. If your stone surface does need to be resealed, call your stone care professional before potentially damaging spills occur.
  5. Use Cutting Boards: When preparing meals, always use cutting boards to protect your stone countertops from scratches and dings caused by sharp knives. This simple habit can significantly extend the life of your stone surfaces.
  6. Be Mindful of Heavy Items: Avoid placing excessively heavy or sharp objects directly onto your stone surfaces. Use felt or rubber pads under decorative items, vases, or other heavy objects to prevent scratches and dents.
  7. Wipe up Spills Immediately: Accidents happen, but prompt action can prevent lasting damage. If a spill occurs, blot it at once with a clean, soft cloth. For stubborn stains, use a poultice or a specialized stone stain remover.
  8. Manage Traffic: Stone floors can bear the brunt of foot traffic. Place doormats at entrances to trap dirt and debris, preventing scratches from shoes. Encourage guests to remove their shoes or supply soft slippers to minimize potential damage.
  9. Consult a Professional: If you’re unsure about the care of your specific stone, consult your stone care professional. Stone experts can provide personalized advice based on the type of stone you have and its unique characteristics.

For routine care and maintenance tips, please feel free to consult our Stone and Tile Care Guide on our website.

By taking these precautions, you can use your surfaces for years to come, without compromising the beauty and longevity of your cherished stone surfaces. With a little care and attention, your stone countertops, floors, and tabletops will continue to show their true beauty for a long, long time.


By Sharon Koehler. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of Surface Care PRO Partners.

Pet Stains on Carpet

We love our pets, dogs, cats, ferrets, birds, etc. They bring us laughter and joy. They console us when we are sad and stay by our sides when we are sick. Unfortunately, they can’t talk to us and tell us what they need. So, sometimes, accidents occur.

Pet urine stains and odors on carpets can be a common challenge for pet owners. Whether you have a new puppy still in the process of house training or an older pet with occasional accidents, it’s essential to address urine stains promptly to prevent long-term damage and lingering smells.

One of the primary concerns with pet urine is that it can seep into the carpet fibers and, if not properly treated, can lead to permanent staining and unpleasant odors. Here are some effective steps to tackle pet urine stains and smells on carpets:

  1. Act Quickly: The sooner you address a pet urine accident, the better. Blot the urine with paper towels or a clean cloth to absorb as much liquid as possible. Avoid rubbing the stain, as it can push the urine deeper into the carpet.
  2. Apply the Cleaning Solution: Enzymatic pet stain cleaners are excellent for pet stains and odors. These cleaners contain bacteria and enzymes that break down the components of urine, effectively eliminating both stains and odors.
  3. Finish with Baking Soda: Once the area is mostly dry, sprinkle baking soda over the stain. Baking soda not only helps absorb remaining moisture but also neutralizes odors. Leave it on the carpet for several hours or overnight.
  4. Vacuum the Area: After the baking soda has had time to work its magic, vacuum the treated area thoroughly. This will help remove the baking soda along with any remaining odor.
  5. Professional Cleaning: For stubborn stains or persistent odors, professional carpet cleaning services may be necessary. Professional cleaners have the expertise and equipment to deep clean carpets and remove tough stains.
  6. Preventive Measures: To avoid future incidents, make sure your pet has regular bathroom breaks and is properly trained. Use pet-friendly deterrent sprays to discourage repeat accidents in specific areas.

Dealing with pet urine stains and odors on carpets requires quick action and the right cleaning techniques. By following these steps and maintaining preventive measures, you can keep your carpets clean and free from the lingering effects of pet accidents. For more information, see our Carpet Care Guide.


By Sharon Koehler. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of Surface Care PRO Partners.

Textured Surfaces on Natural Stone

Textured natural stone finishes, such as honed, flamed,  sawn, river washed or tumbled, have gained popularity in interior and exterior design for their unique eye-catching appeal and functional qualities. These finishes offer a departure from the traditional polished surfaces, providing a distinct look and feel. However, like any design choice, they come with their own set of pros and cons that should be carefully considered.

Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of textured natural stone finishes:

Pros:

  1. Enhanced Aesthetic Appeal: Textured natural stone finishes add depth and character to surfaces, creating a more natural and rustic appearance. The honed finish, for instance, showcases a matte appearance with a soft, velvety touch, while river washed finishes emulate the smoothness and weathered look of river stones. This aesthetic versatility allows for a broader range of design possibilities, making these finishes suitable for both modern and traditional settings.
  2. Improved Slip Resistance: One of the notable advantages of textured natural stone finishes, especially river washed, is their enhanced slip resistance. The uneven surface creates additional traction, making these finishes ideal for areas prone to water exposure, such as bathrooms, kitchens, or outdoor spaces. This finish enhances safety and reduces the risk of accidents due to slipping.
  3. Conceals Wear and Tear: Textured finishes are effective at concealing minor scratches, etches, or wear and tear compared to their polished counterparts. The matte surface of honed granite, for example, tends to camouflage small imperfections, maintaining a more consistent and pleasing appearance over time.
  4. Less Reflective: Unlike a polished finish, textured finishes are less reflective, which can be beneficial in spaces where glare or excessive light reflection is a concern. This makes them suitable for areas with abundant natural light or spaces where a subdued ambiance is desired.

Cons:

  1. Susceptible to Stains: Textured natural stone finishes, particularly honed surfaces, may be more susceptible to staining compared to polished ones. The porous nature of these finishes allows liquids and substances to penetrate more easily, making it important to promptly clean up spills to avoid permanent stains. Regular sealing is often recommended to mitigate this issue.
  2. Reduced Shine and Luster: While some homeowners appreciate the matte appearance of honed, flamed or river washed finish, others may miss the high-gloss shine associated with polished surfaces. If a glossy, reflective finish is a priority for a specific design vision or décor idea, textured finishes may not fulfill that requirement.
  3. Maintenance Challenges: The textured nature of these finishes can pose challenges when it comes to maintenance. Cleaning and maintaining textured natural stone may require more effort compared to polished surfaces. Dirt and grime can accumulate in the uneven crevices, making it necessary to thoroughly clean the stone more often to preserve and maintain it’s appearance.
  4. Limited Color Intensity: Textured finishes may not showcase the natural color and veining of the stone as prominently as polished surfaces. The process of honing or river washing can mute the colors and patterns, resulting in a less vibrant appearance. This may be a drawback for those who want the full visual impact of the stone.

The choice between textured natural stone finishes and polished ones depends on individual preferences, practical considerations, and the intended use of the stone. While textured finishes offer a distinctive aesthetic and improved slip resistance, they come with trade-offs in terms of maintenance and potential staining. Careful consideration of these pros and cons will help homeowners and designers make informed decisions based on their specific needs and preferences.


By Sharon Koehler. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of Surface Care PRO Partners.

Protecting Your Carpet

Protecting your carpet throughout the year is essential to ensure it remains clean and pristine despite increased foot traffic, holiday decorations, pets, weather, and potential spills that happen as the year passes. Birthday parties, graduations, monsoon weather events, wet, dirty pets and various other events can have a damaging effect on your carpet. Here are various tips to safeguard your carpet and maintain its quality throughout the year.

  • Strategic Rug Placement: Utilize rugs or runners in high-traffic areas to act as a protective layer for your carpet. Placing rugs in entryways, hallways, and areas prone to heavy use can prevent direct contact with shoes and potential stains.
  • Shoe-Free Home Policy: Implement a shoe-free policy to minimize the amount of dirt, moisture, and debris tracked onto your carpet. Provide a designated area for shoes near the entrance to encourage guests to remove their footwear.
  • Regular Vacuuming: Increase the frequency of vacuuming prior to and during  gatherings and other events to remove dirt, crumbs, and other debris. Regular vacuuming helps prevent these particles from embedding deep into the carpet fibers.
  • Immediate Stain Treatment: Accidents happen, especially during gatherings and events. Have a stain removal plan in place and address spills immediately. Blot stains with a clean cloth or paper towel without rubbing, as rubbing can push the stain further into the carpet.
  • Protective Furniture Pads: Place felt or plastic pads under furniture legs to prevent them from damaging or crushing the carpet fibers. This will also make it easier to move furniture when rearranging rooms for seating and/or decorating.
  • Cautious Decoration Installation: Be careful when installing event or holiday decorations to avoid causing damage to the carpet. Utilize non-damaging methods like hooks or clips that won’t tear or pull at the carpet fibers.
  • Limit Food and Drink in Carpeted Areas: To prevent accidental spills, establish designated eating areas away from carpeted spaces. Use trays or tablecloths to contain crumbs and spills, minimizing the risk of them reaching the carpet.
  • Regular Professional Cleaning: Consider scheduling a professional carpet cleaning before and after any planned gathering. This deep cleaning can remove embedded dirt, stains, and refresh the carpet’s appearance.
  • Pet Precautions: If you have pets, be mindful of their presence and the potential for accidents. Keep pet-specific stain removers readily available to tackle any accidents promptly. Refer to immediate stain treatment if they track in any mud or debris.
  • Preventative Measures: Consider applying carpet protectants or sealants, which can create a barrier against stains and make cleaning up spills easier.
  • Inform Guests: Make your guests aware of your carpet care guidelines, especially if you have specific instructions regarding shoes, food and drink areas, or any other precautions they should take.

By implementing these measures, you can significantly reduce the wear and tear on your carpet during the events of the year. Proper care and maintenance will help preserve your carpet’s quality and appearance, ensuring it remains a beautiful and inviting part of your home, even during the busiest times that life brings.


By Sharon Koehler. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of Surface Care PRO Partners.