Cleaning & Restoration Association News

Hey, Kool-Aid!

November 10, 2009
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Hello again, and welcome to this month’s “How Do They Do That?” If you are looking to learn simple, step-by-step techniques to remove stubborn stains, this is the place for you.

Let’s say you show up to the job and the client’s carpet has a red stain. She explains that her daughter had a birthday party sleepover, the girls got to rough housing and ta da! one of them spilled red Kool-Aid. First, explain to the client that this is a specialty stain and there is no guarantee this stain will come out 100 percent but, if anyone has a chance of removing it, your company does.

Ask her if you were able to improve the stain by 90 percent, would she be happy? If she says yes, then continue; you want to make sure the customer has realistic expectations of what you can do for them.

Always try to under-promise and over-deliver. If you remove the stain completely (and you usually can), you will have exceeded their expectations. Ask your client what cleaners she used to try to remove the stain (you know she already tried something herself). If you ask in this way, they are more willing to tell you. Don’t ask, “Did you try to clean the stain yourself?” Having obviously been unsuccessful, they may hide the truth and say “No,” which throws an unnecessary roadblock in your way.

Now, let’s remove that Kool-Aid stain. Always try hot-water extraction before any cleaning agents are applied; you’d be surprised how many stains will just pop right out.

Always start with the least-aggressive treatment and move to the more aggressive. For a Kool-Aid stain, the cleaning agent to use is a one-step synthetic dye stain remover designed for dye stains like Kool-Aid.

Whenever you remove any stain, set the stage. Just like you were performing surgery, wear protective gloves, knee pads (well, surgery on a really low operating table) and protective eye wear. Put your spotting kit by the stain and place your iron in a safe location.

Do everything you can to impress the customer that you are the most professional carpet cleaner she has ever seen!

It’s not just taking out the stain; it’s about putting on a show and giving the client an experience they will never forget. Remember, it’s not just business, it’s show business! Every job is an opportunity for referrals so always do your best.

Kids are the greatest: they spill everything and make many messes. If not for kids there would be no Kool-Aid, which would mean fewer jobs for us.

Oh yeah!

- George Grijalva

How to Remove Synthetic Food Dyes

Today’s chemistry for synthetic food dyes is a convenient one-step application and sometimes heat activation. No more mixing and discarding the unused portion; you can quickly remove the toughest dye stains with the convenience of one bottle.

Like the two-part products, one-step dye removers use a reducing agent to create a chemical reaction called reduction-oxidation (redox, for short). In effect, the chemical reaction changes the synthetic dye’s molecular composition, this reaction often creates a yellow by-product that can be rinsed from the carpet yarns.

To increase the effectiveness of your stain removal process, follow these simple steps.

- Sherman Guffy

Step 1

Step 1

Clean the affected area to remove as much of the stain as possible.

Step 2

Step 2

Blot the affected area with a dry towel to remove as much moisture from the carpet fibers as possible. This will allow the reducing agent to better penetrate into the fibers’ dye sites.

Step 3

Step 3

Apply the reducing agent to the affected yarns. Wet the yarns from the tips to the base.

Step 4

Step 4

Agitate with a tamping brush to ensure complete penetration.

Step 5

Step 5

Allow dwell time. In many situations, depending on the staining agent and the carpet fibers, the stain may react without heat activation. If the stain does not react at room temperature, go on to Step 6.

Step 6

Step 6

Repeat Steps 3 and 4. Activate the reducing agent with a steam iron – set on the low-steam setting – for 30 seconds, placed over a damp white towel. The towel should be wet but not dripping. Repeat the process using a new section of towel, heating for 30 seconds at a time and checking for stain removal.

Step 7

Step 7

Rinse-extract the affected fibers to remove any last traces of both the staining agent and the reducing agent. Be gentle in the extraction process, as the heat and moisture have temporarily weakened the carpet. After the area has cooled, groom the area and, using nap shears, trim the surface yarns as needed to restore the nap appearance.

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