6 Common Plumbing Issues That Require A Plumber

Despite all the products you can buy these days at a home improvement store or even grocery store, plumbing issues are still quite a pain. Plumbing repairs range from simple to complex. While it would be ideal to be able to fix all of these problems yourself, that just isn’t always the case. Before you start to try to fix it yourself and end up flooding your floors, here are some of the most common plumbing issues that require the attention of a professional plumber.

Dripping Faucet

Dripping Faucet

A dripping faucet can literally cause you to lose sleep. Besides being an annoying problem, it can also be an expensive problem. If left unrepaired, a dripping faucet can spill hundreds of gallons of water down your drain in a year, causing your water bill to increase by as much as 10%, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). For this reason, you should get a qualified plumber to repair a dripping faucet as soon as possible. Some of the common causes of dripping faucets include hard water buildup, corroded valve seats, loose parts, worn out seals, broken plumbing, improper installation of washer, worn out washer, failing “o” rings and loose handles. At this point, it is important to note that some taps use ceramic plates instead of washers to form a seal and hold back the flow of water. Such taps are often lever-operated and require maintenance less often than taps that use rubber washers. However, they are generally harder to fix, making them unsuitable for DIY repairs.

Burst Plumbing Pipes

Burst pipes are particularly common in the winter when water tends to freeze and expand. Unfortunately, a burst plumbing pipe can cause significant water damage. For instance, a single pipe running at from 4 to 8 gallons per minute can potentially cause tens of thousands of dollars in water damage in no time, according to WaterSignal. In particular, the water may damage your flooring, walls and furniture. At the same time, it can potentially compromise the structural integrity of your home as well as cause mold infestation. For this reasons, you should get a qualified plumber to inspect your plumbing regularly for any signs of damage and carry out the necessary repairs. This is particularly important because some pipes, such as pipes inside walls or ceiling, may not be easily accessible. Some of the common causes of burst pipes include extreme temperatures, water pressure buildup, corrosion and moving pipes.

Leaky Pipes

Similar to burst pipes, leaky pipes can lead to water damage and high water bills. While leaks happen at joints, replacing a leaky U-joint can be messy, so you should get a plumber to do it. Possible causes of leaky pipes include bad workmanship, unregulated water pressure, clogs, debris buildup, loose joints, temperate changes and corrosion.

detached sink fixture


Clogged Drains

Different drains clog due to different reasons. For instance, most bathroom drain clogs occur when skin flakes, hair, soap scum and dirt accumulate on the walls of the drainage pipes. Clogged toilets, on the other hand, happen why people try to flush down items dissolve in water, such as cotton-tipped swabs and dental floss. Kitchen sink drains clog occurs due to the buildup of detergent soap scum, cooking grease and undissolved food particles on the walls of the drainage pipes. Some of the common signs of a clogged drain include pools of water forming around shower drains, water backing up out of a sink drain, foul odor from the kitchen skin area and drains making gurgling noises. It is important to note that, if your drain line was improperly designed or installed, it is more likely to clog. For this reason, if you regularly experience this problem, you should get a plumber to inspect your drain line. Additionally, regular preventative maintenance will help keep your drainage pipes clean and free of any obstructions.

Low Water Pressure

This problem may manifest itself in different ways, from faucets taking a relatively long time to fill a bathtub or sink to water trickling instead of gushing from a faucet. This can happen either at a single fixture or throughout your home. It is important to note that this problem can be related either to your home’s plumbing system or to the municipal water supply. For this reason, you need to establish the source of the problem before you engage a professional plumber. If you establish your local municipal water supply company is not the source of the problem, you should get a professional plumber to inspect your plumbing system and identify the source of the problem. The possible causes of low water pressure include corrosion/debris buildup inside piping and plumbing leaks.

Running Toilet

A running toilet means wasted water and unnecessarily high water bills. Toilets run due to various reasons, but the most common one is probably a leaky flapper valve, which is the valve that allows water to pass from the tank to the bowl. Other reasons include an imbalanced float or loose fill tube. However, in some cases, the reasons are more complex, meaning it is best to engage a plumber.


Posted by Lynn Cooper in Blogging

Choosing a Local Carpet Cleaner

When it comes to spending money, I like to get a good deal. So, when I decided to get my carpets cleaned professionally, I tried to figure out which methods work best. I checked out three particular methods – hot carbonated extraction, dry cleaning, and steam cleaning – and compared them side by side. Here’s what I found:

Steam cleaning – When most people think of carpet cleaning, this is the method they imagine. Steam cleaning entails spraying in a mixture of hot water and detergent. The heat, detergent, and rotating brushes work together to loosen any dirt and stains. Then dirt and stains and moisture are pulled up and out of the carpet by a portable or truck-mounted extraction tool.

There are two potential drawbacks to steam cleaning: chemical detergents and too much moisture left behind. I’ve never had a problem with detergent on my carpet, but the chemicals used can be an irritant to some; to improve your odds of a good steam cleaning experience, try to choose companies that use child-safe solutions. Also ask about the extraction equipment; truck-mounted is the most powerful, and will leave the least moisture in the carpet.

Hot carbonation – Instead of hot water and detergents, a carbonated solution can be used to loosen dirt and stains. Think club soda – only this version is applied hot. Relative to steam cleaning, this method requires less liquid in order to work; the less liquid used, the less there is to leave behind.

Chem-Dry is the cleaning service that uses hot carbonation. The child-safe nature of the solution is a plus, as well as the relatively short drying times. While I’ve seen impressive results from the Chem-Dry nearest my home just south of Omaha – I still have trouble believing that carbonation is more effective than the detergent I grew up with. But after another good cleaning or two, I just might be converted.

Dry cleaning – Not all carpet cleaning needs moisture to work. Dry cleaning uses a cleaning compound that is sprayed into the carpet, and then vacuumed away after latching onto dirt and stains. I’ll admit: I was skeptical –to the point where I’ve never asked for this type of carpet cleaning. I just have trouble imagining that vacuuming up a spray-on compound will clean deep down into the fibers. If you’ve tried this method, let me know what you think about it!

So now, I’m sticking with Chem-Dry to clean my carpets. But if they ever let me down, I just might try a dry cleaning – just so I can see if it works.

Posted by Lynn Cooper in Blogging

How to Find a Quality Carpet Cleaning Service

If you want your carpet to last as long as intended – and look good doing it – you should plan on scheduling a professional cleaning at least once per year. Most professional cleaning services take great care in what they do, but some are more skilled and effective than others. How do you find a company that will do a great job for you, performing a service that most of us know little about? Here are some tips that will increase your chances of finding a cleaning service that you’ll want to use year after year.

Ask About Certification

Most of us aren’t qualified to assess the skill of our local carpet cleaners. If we ask if their cleaning methods are effective, we have to take them at their word. Certification boards are qualified to assess skill, however, and they exist to promote safe and effective processes in their industries. In the carpet cleaning industry, the IICRC certifies only technicians who have demonstrated their skill, and who take continuing education courses each year. If your technician is IICRC-certified, you’re off to a great start. Be sure to ask about that certification.

Read Online Reviews

Both Google and Yelp are excellent sources of online reviews for a wide range of businesses – and carpet cleaning services are no exception. So take the time to see if your potential cleaner has an encouraging group of reviews online. Ideally, you’ll find plenty of reviews for your cleaner; many reputable cleaners encourage customers to leave reviews. Not every review has to be positive, but they should be strong enough to build your confidence. Bonus points for the cleaning company if they constructively respond to negative reviews.

Ask About Cleaning Methods

There are several ways to clean carpets, and some are more eco-friendly and effective than others. For example, carpet cleaners like Chem-Dry have embraced solutions that are non-toxic and both kid- and pet-friendly. So ask if that cleaning solution is safe for you and your family. Also, some cleaning processes have shorter drying times than others; shorter times are not only more convenient for you, but they greatly lessen the chance that mold or mildew will develop. Go ahead and ask about cleaning times – and look for answers in the two- to three-hour range.

Get a Free Estimate

Not every cleaning service provides free estimates, but the best ones tend to do it. There are two key reasons for this: Companies that provide estimates before any work is performed are comfortable being open and transparent about their pricing. Companies that send technicians to your home before the work is agreed upon are confident in making good impressions on potential customers.

You want that carpet to last, because replacing it is expensive. You want that carpet to look good, because you live with it every day. The next time you look for a professional to clean your carpets, take a little extra time to find a quality cleaning service. You’ll never regret it.

Posted by Lynn Cooper in Blogging

The Benefits of Gas-Filled Windows, Explained

Many of today’s replacement windows are gas-filled – that is, they employ a clear gas between the window panes. Relative to the air we breathe, these gases are denser and don’t conduct heat as well. As a result, these gases minimize any heat exchange between outdoors and in; they make windows more effective at helping to maintain a comfortable interior when its very hot or cold outside.

The gas most commonly used in windows is argon, and it’s very well suited to the task. Argon is colorless, odorless, and completely harmless. It’s almost a third more dense than the air we breathe, and conducts heat about half as well. And as one of the most abundant gases in our atmosphere, argon is in the air we breathe and all around us.

While argon is not a new addition to windows, its use has been gaining in popularity; as more homeowners realize the important role windows can play in energy-efficiency, this trend is bound to continue. The use of argon has become a stronger selling point, and windows from Renewal by Andersen as well as several other top manufacturers regularly highlight the use of argon in their windows.

Argon isn’t the only gases that can be used to improve window insulation; krypton and xenon are two other solid options. Both of these gases are denser than argon, and offer a bit better insulation; but neither gas is as common, or as inexpensive, as argon. Of the three gases, argon’s benefit relative to its low cost make it the most popular choice in windows.

Double pane windows already provide better protection from outside noise than single pane windows; and double pane windows that also employ an insulating gas deliver even better soundproofing. Think of the denser gas as a cushion that softens unwanted outside noise.

Gas-filled windows not only provide insulation, but reduce drafts. When the window and the interior of your home are of two very different temperatures, this can result in drafts and cold spots near the window. Gas-filled windows maintain a similar temperature to the one in your home, reducing drafts and keeping you more comfortable.

Windows filled with argon offer few drawbacks. They are slightly more expensive than comparable windows filled with regular air. And windows using argon (or other insulating gases) must have reliable, long-lasting seals; if a seal fails, the argon will leak out, and the benefits that argon provides will be gone. As argon is odorless and colorless, the only sign of the leak would be the same condensation that occurs anytime a window seal breaks.

If you’re considering replacing your windows, be sure to consider options that use gas to provide better insulation. Generally speaking, windows that do use gas only cost a few tens of dollars more than windows that don’t. The savings in energy and money that gas-filled windows yield should easily pay for the cost of the upgrade.

Posted by Lynn Cooper in Blogging

Maintaining The Quality And Life Of Your Carpets With Professional Cleaning

Well-maintained carpets last longer and are aesthetically appealing. With the assistance of professional carpet cleaning service, it is easy to keep fabrics looking fresh. The professionals offer solutions for stains, spills, grit and other carpet issues. They use state-of-the-art technology to ensure that the carpets stay in a great condition and are healthier.

The service providers achieve this objective using a wide variety of cleaning techniques, including steam cleaning, shampooing, dry foaming and deep cleaning.

Carpets are subjected to heavy foot traffic, dirt accumulation, oil marks, beverage spills and more. This undermines their visual appeal. Without proper cleaning, they can become dull, stained and unhealthy due to the presence dust mites and other contaminants. Germs, pet dandy and dust mites can cause allergies, skin irritation and breathing problems.

Deep cleaning restores the look and eliminates bad odors. In addition, it prolongs the working life of the carpet, which means there is no need to worry about replacement.

Excessive contamination by fluids is known to damage carpet fabrics. If left uncontrolled, the problem can lead to the development of mold and mildew. The carpet may show signs of discoloration and emit a bad odor. Luckily, professional carpet cleaning service providers have the capacity to deal with these issues. This makes it easier to restore freshness and appearance as well as remove stains and odors.

The professionals can work on different types of carpets, regardless of size. From standard sizes to extra-large carpets (fitted in conference rooms), no job is too big or small.

How Carpet Cleaning Service Providers Help Maintain Quality

Before the actual cleaning starts, professional cleaners inspect the carpet. During this process, they check depth of soiling and the presence of permanent staining. In addition, the carpet is checked for any poor fixings and seams that may lead to shrinkage or cause splitting during cleaning.

The next stage involves dye testing all colors to establish their pH status. This is aimed at choosing the ideal cleaning solution. The fiber test allows cleaners to determine whether stains appearing on the carpet are removable. Once the preparatory stage is complete, the pre-treatment process begins. The traffic lanes are sprayed with specialized solution to dissolve greasy soils.

The carpet is then power vacuumed to extract debris and dust particles. This procedure is carried out before full carpet cleaning.

Protective Measures

Many experts recommend preventive measures that are designed to maintain the quality of a carpet and extend its working life. One of the key approaches involves the use of entrance or walk-off mats. Doing so reduces the problem of soiling. Newer carpets must be vacuumed gently in the first few weeks to prevent fiber loss. The fluffing and shedding is caused by the way manufacturers spin the yarn and design carpets.

Maintain a Light-Colored Carpet

White and light-colored carpets require special care because stains and spills can be highly visible. The fabrics can become dull easily. For this reason, it is important to hire a professional to keep the white fabrics looking new. Doing so enables the service provider to eliminate hard stains and diagnose any potential issues with the fibers and seams.

The stains are removed using special dry or wet foams. Deep cleaning should done once a year to remove dust, dirt and eliminate stains that may be lodged deep inside the fabrics.

Experts can deep clean without damaging the delicate fabrics. Conventional DIY methods have the capacity to make the problem worse. Hence, it is not recommended to attempt restoring carpets without the help of professionals. White carpets can become dingy easily and may be stained by cleaning them using conventional detergents and soaps.

Advanced cleaning solutions are gentle on the fabrics, which helps prolong the carpet’s working life. Attempting restoration with ordinary cleaning solution may ruin the carpet badly that it needs replacement. Professionals use portable or truck-mounted deep cleaning equipment. The units apply a pressurized cleaning solution mixed with water to ensure a thorough clean. Once the cleaning is complete, vacuuming is done with the aim to dry your carpet.

The Professional Advantage

Even the best conventional vacuum cleaners lack the capacity to remove dirt and grime lodged deep in the carpet. This means a carpet may look clean but it will be filled with contaminants and dirt. When dust settles on the carpet fibers, it forms an abrasive layer capable of reducing its lifespan.

Dust-filled fibers bear the brunt of foot traffic than on a cleaner carpet. A number of research studies have revealed that the average home collects up to 40 pounds or 18 kilograms of dust every year.

The difference between a professionally cleaned and a vacuumed carpet is astounding. The fibers of a deep cleaned carpet retain their bounce and freshness. Experts have the experience and carpet cleaning equipment to transform any stained or contaminated carpet to look good as new.

Posted by Lynn Cooper in Blogging

What to Do If Your Dog Poops on Your Carpet

Dogs are man’s best friend, but they’re no friend to carpets. Dogs bring in dirt and debris, and they can scratch carpeting to mark their territory. But that’s not the worst of it. Sometimes, no matter how well-intentioned, our beloved dog will poop on our carpeting. Whether that accident becomes a source of anguish or a mild inconvenience depends a lot on what you do to clean up the mess.

If you’ve been around dogs for a while, you know that not all dog poops are created equal: Some are firm, and easy to pick up; others are runny, and much more difficult to remove. When the poop is firm, it can be easily taken up and away. Simply turn a plastic bag inside out. Place your hand inside the bag. Grab the poop. Turn the bag right-side out, and then close to seal it.

When the poop is runny, things get more complicated. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to remove carpet spills or stains as quickly as possible; the goal is to keep the stain from setting and becoming more difficult to remove. Not so with runny poop.

In this case, the greatest concern isn’t that the stain will set – it’s getting as much poop out of the carpet as possible. As always, you’ll want to get to work quickly; but this clean-up will take an extra step or two. The first step is to scrape up the poop, working outside-in. When you can’t scrape away any more, leave the remaining poop to dry.

After the poop dries, resume scraping. When you’re again no longer able to free any poop, then it’s time to apply some cleaning solution.

A 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water can be very effective, whether the poop is firm or runny. The reason is simple: Vinegar is acidic. When combined with another acid, both vinegar and the other acid will dissolve away. Wet a white cloth with your vinegar solution, and gently dab the solution into the stained area. After a few minutes of dabbing, both the stain and the odor should have disappeared.

While vinegar is also effective at killing most bacteria, it isn’t completely effective at killing germs. You’ll want to have a more effective solution on hand. Both hydrogen peroxide and diluted bleach are more effective than vinegar when it comes to killing germs. But be careful: No matter the cleaning solution, make sure it won’t stain your carpet before applying it in a conspicuous area.

Some homeowners insist on arranging for a professional carpet cleaning after a dog poop. Chem-Dry, in particular, has very effective treatments for dealing with pet-related stains and odors. But if you work patiently and carefully to clean up dog poop, you may be able to forgo a visit from an expert – at least until your next scheduled cleaning.

If you find that poop stain or odor remains in your carpet, a professional cleaner should be able to resolve the issue, even if you’ve already tried and failed. Professionals have more powerful solutions and extraction equipment, and they can remove deeper stains than you can.

Posted by Lynn Cooper in Blogging

Taking Care of your Home after Water Damage

Every homeowner dreads coming home and finding extensive water damage to their home from a burst pipe or poorly executed plumbing repair, yet water damage is a fairly common problem that many homeowners face at one point or another. The real question is what do you do after finding water damage?

home water damage

The first thing one should assess after finding water damage is the source of the water. It’s important to figure this out before trying to deal with any of the damage to make sure the water is safe to work in and around. There are three types of water damage, and determining which type of water damage you’re dealing with is imperative to figuring out what your next steps should be. The three types of water damage are as follows:

  1. Clean – This is exactly what it sounds like, if you’re experiencing water damage from a burst pipe, faulty appliance, or as a result of a leak that has allowed an excessive amount of rain into your home, it is considered clean water damage. The water is destructive, but it isn’t carrying any dangerous bacteria or microbes in it to make matters more complicated. The main concern with clean water damage is the length of time that the water has been sitting there. If it’s been over 24 hours, it is highly recommended to get a water damage restoration specialist in to assess the damage to your floor boards, structural supports, drywall, carpet, and any other parts of your home that might be affected by excessive water.
  2. Gray – Gray water is water that is slightly contaminated in some way. Water damage from a backed up toilet would generally be considered gray water because it could be carrying a higher level of bacteria and microbes due to the source of the water. Water that has been used for cleaning or other applications is generally considered gray water since it isn’t coming directly from your well or clean water source. Before starting to clean up any of the damage from gray water, make sure to put on gloves to keep from spreading bacteria.
  3. Black – Black water is the most dangerous type of water damage. This is the kind of water damage that occurs from severely backed up sewage pipes or natural disasters that rupture sewage lines. Black water is teeming with bacteria and hazardous microbes. Do not attempt to deal with black water damage yourself. Call a local water damage restoration expert to take care of this kind of damage as it can be dangerous to try to deal with on your own.

It’s important to note that these descriptors don’t necessarily describe the actual color of the water responsible for your water damage. In some cases where ground water has backed up and flooded your home, it may look clear, but actually have dangerous microbial life lurking, technically making it black water.

Since it can be hard to judge what kind of water damage you’re dealing with at a glance, it’s always a good idea to call in a specialist before trying to deal with any sort of water damage. Unless the source is very clear, like burst pipe that you can see spraying water, I recommend erring on the side of caution and having a professional assess your damage before moving forward.

If your water damage is due to a burst pipe or appliance malfunction, make sure to turn your home water off to halt any further damage, and move anything that can easily be removed from the water damaged area. Make sure to take plenty of pictures of both the affected area, and any damaged belongings that were in the area. After calling a local contractor or water damage specialist, like Metropolitan Contractors here in Northern Virginia, make sure to file a claim with your insurance company to deal with the damage to your home.

water damage restoration in progressGenerally clean up from water damage can take up to a couple weeks, the house must be allowed to dry out completely, and then the restoration team will check under the carpeting and flooring, and behind any affected walls to ensure that the water and mold hasn’t permeated into the insulation and structure of your home. If this is left unchecked it can lead to black mold and structural rot that can cause huge problems further down the road.

Hopefully by remaining vigilant and taking preventative measures against water damage, you will be able to avoid a water damage situation in its entirety, but in the event that you do have to deal with home water damage, it’s best to go in prepared.

Posted by Lynn Cooper in Blogging

Hidden Health Risks of Dirty Carpets


This infographic was made by the team at Curtice Chem-Dry in Torrance, CA. Be sure to get regular carpet cleanings or your carpets might end up making you or your family sick!


Infographic Text:

Carpets that aren’t cleaned on a regular basis can harbor all kinds of unwanted bacteria, pests, and mold. If left unchecked, these issues can lead to health problems for you, your family, and even your pets. Regular carpet cleaning from Curtice Chem-Dry can protect you against:

Skin Irritation: Dirty carpets can be home to all kinds of irritants and allergens that can cause rashes, swelling, and itching. Sometimes it can even house fungus like Athlete’s Foot.

Carpet Mold: Mold is one of the most prominent issues that stems from dirty carpets. Mold spores can make you and your family sick and if left unchecked cause serious damage to your carpets and home.

Respiratory Issues: Dirty carpets can reduce the indoor air quality of your home causing cold and flu like symptoms and adverse allergic reactions. In serious cases the irritants of your carpet can cause health problems like asthma.

Dust Mites: Dust mites are one of the most common triggers for year-round allergies in the US. Regular carpet cleaning can reduce the amount of dust mites that live in your carpet, allowing you to breathe easier in your home.

Increased Allergens: Many people suffer from seasonal and year-round allergies. Pollen and other allergens get tracked into your home and settle in your carpets. Keep the allergens in your home at bay with regular carpet cleaning.

Posted by Lynn Cooper in Blogging

Choosing a Generator for Your Home

Summer is coming, and for many areas of the country, that means hurricanes, severe thunderstorms, and power outages are on their way. If you live in an area where outages are to be expected, a generator is a valuable tool to have at your disposal. And if you’re considering the purchase of a generator, it’s important to choose one that will meet your unique needs. Here are some factors to consider:

How Much Wattage Will You Need?

The average home requires several thousand watts of electric power, but the amount you’ll need can vary greatly depending on your home’s needs – and your wants. If you want to be able to power your home’s central air conditioning, for example, you’ll need a more capable generator. If you’re more concerned about powering individual devices such as a refrigerator or computer, your needs will probably be much less.

Thankfully, there are many calculators online that make it easier for you to estimate you much wattage you’ll need to accomplish your goals. You’ll find a great example here at Consumer Reports. Calculators such as these help you balance the convenience you’ll need against the additional cost you’ll need to pay for a larger generator and more sophisticated connection.

Standby or Portable?

Once you’ve determined the wattage you’ll need, you’ll have a better idea of the generator you’ll require. The two most common choices are portable and standby generators.

If your needs are basic, and you’re interested in powering smaller, select items in your home, portable generators will get the job done. In these cases, items can be connected to the generator via extension cords. The largest portable generators can produce up to 10,000 watts, and are capable of powering entire homes; providing power to household systems or outlets requires a special generator connection through the home’s electrical panel.

In order to establish the right kind of connection, an electrician will need to install a manual transfer switch or generator interlock kit onto your home’s electrical panel; these devices allow you to manually switch between generator and utility power, and ensure that both cannot power your electrical system at the same time. Failing to do would be a violation of code and potentially dangerous.

If you’ve found that you need more power than a portable generator can provide, you’ll want to consider a standby generator. Larger generators can deliver up to 22,000 watts (22kW); this is enough power to meet the needs of a larger home, including household systems like central heating and air. As you might image, the cost to purchase and install a standby generator will be much more than for a portable system.

The Price of Convenience

Once you’ve established a minimum of what you’ll need to power – and a maximum of what you hope to power – generator pricing can help to clarify your decision. Portable generator prices start in the hundreds for smaller models, and can reach up to $3000 for models that may be able to power a home. Standby generator cost roughly double or triple what you would pay for the largest portables.

Storms are coming, and so are power outages, so don’t wait. Take the next step, and get that generator before you need it – and not after it’s too late.

Posted by Lynn Cooper in Blogging

How to Remove Ink Stains from Your Carpeting

Since I moved to my current home, I’ve had to deal with ink stains on my carpeting twice – with different results.

My first attempts at removing an ink stain occurred not long after I moved in. They failed, miserably. Thankfully, I was already planning on replacing my carpet. Every time I looked at the stain, I knew that I wouldn’t have to see it for much longer. That stain disappeared with the old carpet.

The next ink stain was a little more stressful, as replacing the carpet again was not an option. I’d either remove that ink, or have to cover it for the next few years. Ugh. But this time, I was attending to the stain immediately, which is a big plus.

If you’re not sure how to deal with a stain, visit the website of the company that does your carpet cleaning. Mine – Rainier Chem-Dry – has some basic tips. Most other professional carpet cleaners offer stain removal tips to try prior to giving them a call.

You probably already know that there’s more than one kind of ink out there. Some inks are more difficult to remove than others. My kind, from a blue ballpoint pen, isn’t as bad as permanent ink. But removing it successfully isn’t assured, either.

For starters, soap is relatively ineffective at removing ballpoint ink. Alcohol is a much better choice – it’s an effective de-greaser, and ballpoint ink uses an oil of some sort as a lubricant. Colored inks, such as the blue one now on my carpeting, are based on soybean or linseed oil.

Most homes have alcohol on hand, in some form or another. Rubbing alcohol is one example. Vodka is another. Provided that the alcohol content is high enough, just about any solution could work.

No matter what you use, you’ll want to test-apply your alcohol solution to an inconspicuous place elsewhere on your carpet. Apply a minimal amount of solution. Blot away with a white towel or something smaller, like a white cotton ball. Make sure that a.) no color transfers onto the towel and b.) the carpet does not change color in any way.

While I didn’t have rubbing alcohol on hand when the ink mishap occurred. I did have vodka. When tested on my carpet, the vodka passed with no adverse effects. But I didn’t apply the vodka immediately. My ink hadn’t had a chance to set, so I blotted away whatever I could with a cotton ball. I didn’t pull up much, but it was a start.

Next I blotted the vodka onto the stain, lightly and gently. My immediate goal was to keep the stain from getting worse, so I used a minimum of solution. I didn’t press hard. I didn’t scrub. I think that coaxing the ink to get onto my cotton ball is probably the best way to describe my process.

The process ended up taking quite a while. It seemed that every time I’d thought that I’d pulled up all of the ink I could, I was able to extract a little more. Eventually, the stain was impossible to see from more than a few inches away. By attending to the ink quickly, and with alcohol, I was able to successfully thwart a potentially ugly stain.

Posted by Lynn Cooper in Blogging
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