A Gorgeous Looking Patio Takes Work

Here’s the process for maintaining a patio that you’ll be proud of:

Outdoor patio tile
The record breaking temperatures this summer has really took a hit on my patio tile. I have been working on restoring the exterior of my home ever since I moved in but now the patio tiles need my attention.
HERE’S THE STEPS I TOOK TO CLEAN THE FLOORS:

FIRST, CLEAR OUT ALL FURNITURE AND ITEMS FROM PATIO
I wanted to clean the entire outdoor tile patio surface, so I had to move all the patio furniture. The beauty of the outdoor tiles need to look uniform, so you do not want to just clean the high traffic areas.
SECOND, START TO CLEAR OFF THE PATIO
My Father’s day present was a new RYOBI cordless leaf blower and it was an upgrade from my old one. I can vouch that having the leaf blower has helped me out for this project in addition to, weekly maintenance of my backyard.
Pressure Washer filled with gasoline

THIRD, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE PLENTY OF GAS FOR THE PRESSURE WASHER
I deal with chemical cleaners on a daily basis, after all its my job. But after assessing my patio, I decided to use hot water pressure to remove the debris from the outdoor tile patio. Using the pressure washer is a time consuming process which requires quite a bit of gas for a large area but the payoff is huge! The pressure washer takes off more grime than chemical cleaners.

This a before and after shot. Can you see the black residue on the tiles to the left?

DANGERS WITH CHEMICAL CLEANERS FOR YOUR BACKYARD
Simply using water is a safer bet for your plants, pets, and small children. The air quality has poor here with the recent fires; the last thing I wanted to was to add chemicals that would affect my family’s breathing quality.
FOURTH, EXTRA CARE FOR THE GROUT
Cleaning the outdoor grout might be a little more involved. Especially in the high traffic areas. I had to use my wire brush to remove the black grime from the grout. The extra effort means and getting on my hands and knees to do this kind of detail work. The porous nature of grout makes it susceptible to dirt.
I haven’t put the patio furniture back where it belongs to my wife’s chagrin. But I wanted to let the patio fully dry to see if dirt rises up to the surface. At that point I can re-evaluate the patio to see if it needs a second cleaning in the high traffic areas. Now, the patio looks awesome! I think the water pressure was so effective because of its power that a second wash was not necessary.

Do You Have a Gripe with Grime in Your Grout?

Say that seven times fast! Does your bathroom and kitchen tiles accumulate dirt in the grout rather quickly? Soap and mildews are what makes the bathroom tiles so dirty; however, in the kitchen food spills are the culprits.

I’m sure you’ve heard this before but regular maintenance on your tile and grout is the best way to keep bacteria and viruses at bay. The bathroom and kitchen are high touch areas that need to be deeply cleaned: especially for the people who have a predisposition to getting sick.

Grout cleaning is a tricky thing. I have learned from trial and error that there are very specific cleaning techniques that have to be done to get the best results. As you can see in the pictures above, there are preparatory steps that need to be taken before the actual deep clean.

Most people prefer the lighter colored grouts. When you initially get it installed, they look gorgeous! But that light color grout is a haven for dirt to collect and vulnerable to water damage. See the picture below. You can see the original color after the grout has been cleaned compared to the dirty grout.

The Bottom Line

Grout is the bottom line that people see who come into your home or business. Or maybe it’s just me. For example, my wife and I liked going to this restaurant because the food was amazing! But after a year, we stop going because the tile and grout was in poor condition and it seemed to get gradually worse. It made me wonder about the cleanliness of our food. If dirt resides for a long period of time on the grout lines, then they will settle into the grout lines degrading the look of the tile and grout.  I believe that’s what happened at that restaurant.

Here are some things to ask your professional cleaner when they clean your grout and tile.

  1. Ask if they use an acidic cleaner. If they do, ask them if they have an alternative cleaner because it will gradually deteriorate your grout.
  2. Ask if a high gloss tile sealer can be applied to protect your grout and tile.
  3. Ask that they vacuum the tile to remove soil particles from the grout.
Call me with your grout and tile questions. I am here to help. 480-710-4110

This is what I’ve learned cleaning during the pandemic.

Since March, I’ve been working as I normally do. I’ve answered calls and set appointments for furniture and floor cleanings. I’ve done some demolition work too.

Demolition work

However, life for my family is far from normal. Like most people they have adapted to socializing via Zoom. As for me I’ve had less commercial jobs due to many businesses operating at a minimum and I’ve had a weird bout of scam calls during the pandemic. I am sure you have too. Unfortunately, I even turned away an actual customer because I thought he was a solicitor.

Everyday I read updates on Arizona’s coronavirus cases and deaths. Of late, the increase of cases has alarmed me. I’m concerned about how contagious this virus is. What’s even more perplexing is that the virus is so new that experts are still trying to understand how it spreads. The guidelines offered by the CDC and public health experts have been helpful in how to protect oneself. But there are a few questions I think about when I am not at home.

If someone has the coronavirus and I am nearby will I get infected? Here’s what I found from the Center for Disease Control. The risks of getting the coronavirus depends on the amount of time spent with an infected person, the amount of viral droplets projected by an infected person and the contact made with an infected surface and then making contact with one’s face.

My wife who often talks about what she learned in her microbiology class stated that a virus has to attach to a living host in order to survive. A viral droplet is desperately looking to cling onto a living cell; saliva or mucus. Research showed that viral droplets can be suspended like aerosols up to thirty minutes. This explains how the virus can easily spread in a crowd of people. The virus does not hang out in the air long enough to be a risk to most people. But I rather be safe than get sick. So I wear the personal protective equipment in public. The mask my mother-in-law made for me has an added disposable paper filter for a third layer of protection.

How safe is it to do residential cleaning?

Well, there are risks but here is what I am doing to be safe.

  1. Elite employees wear personal protective equipment (i.e., disposable gloves, shoe covers and masks when appropriate). Plus, I carry hand sanitizer clipped to my belt since I use it several times during the day.
  2. We keep our physical interactions to a bare minimum and maintain appropriate social distancing. In addition, I can take payment over the phone, to minimize contact.
  3. We are doing our due diligence in cleaning our equipment. After all, we are in the business of cleaning and we are aware of the importance of disinfecting high touch areas.
  4. After every service, we throw out our used gloves. We are using hand sanitizers when we cannot wash our hands. As much as you DON’T want to contract the coronavirus we equally don’t want to get it.

According to the CDC, cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for the prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses. While there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted from upholstery or carpet to people, it might be a preemptive measure against the virus from spreading. Both hard and soft surfaces can be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized with hot water and a good disinfectant.

Should I Replace My Carpet?

The appearance of your carpet is a major factor when thinking about replacing your carpet. Is it looking worn, are there visible stains or is it retaining a musty odor? Perhaps, replacing your carpet is a good idea. However, it might need to be postponed since we are in the midst of a pandemic. In the interim, you can take the time to evaluate if a professional carpet cleaning is needed to spruce it up or have it replaced.

hot water extraction
  1. Is your carpet showing wear and tear? All carpets will show signs of matted carpet fibers in high traffic areas. Especially, polyester carpet which is easy to compress has little chance of returning to its natural shape. A professional carpet cleaning might make your carpet more resilient as well as give it a good chance to return to its lifted shape if the carpet is not older than five years.
  2. Is your carpet chock full of stains? Stains are inevitable. Just look at these carpets I’ve cleaned.

Even though all carpets have some type of anti-stain treatment applied to it’s fibers. Carpet protector is an anti-stain treatment that is applied to the surface can helps repel dirt for a period of time.  I recommend carpet protector be applied when I’m cleaning my clients’ carpets because the soils will release from the carpet pile much more effectively from each vacuum.

3. Is your padding worn out? The function of carpet padding is to protect the floor below from the abrasive underside of the carpet. In other words, carpet padding extends the life of your carpet. If you have foam as carpet padding, it could be crumbling, which is a sign to replace the padding. But why replace the padding if you’re not going to replace the carpet as well? In the future, it’s worth it to put down quality padding so you don’t have to replace it.

4. Recommendations? Get carpet that is either 100% nylon or wool . They are the most resilient fibers and easier to get debris and stains out. If you decide to postpone replacing your carpet, schedule a carpet cleaning and see if it revitalizes your carpet!

Now more than ever, commercial floor cleaning is vital!

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, it’s difficult to find peace of mind.  From my point of view, working in a clean environment reduces stress.  After all, you can’t change the behavior of people around you, but you have control over how clean your workplace is.

You can see why hospitals, emergency rooms, dentists’ offices, physical therapy offices and other medical facilities need to regularly clean their floors.  The spread of bacteria and viruses exponentially grows on dirt.  In fact, it thrives because the accumulation of dirt is a source of food for germs.  Most importantly, these places could be the carriers of germs that spread to visitors and workers.

For tile floors, dirt and debris will always manage to get into the crevices of grout lines.  The best method to slow down the accumulation of dirt is regularly having tile floors  cleaned.  See what a professional clean can do!

20151123_095325
Dirt embedded in grout lines to the left. Removal of dirt on the right

It is an absolute MUST for public areas, hotels and commercial businesses that have carpet in their main traffic areas to have their carpets cleaned with hot water extraction.  The steam created from the hot water deeply penetrates carpet fibers to loosen embedded dirt or old deposits from previous spills.

Think about how many people walked through your bank’s carpeted floors on a daily basis.  What about the children that have crawled or walked at your local library.  No matter the age of the visitors, we all are harboring different germs into public spaces.  The most vulnerable demographics; the elderly and children will benefit from the removal of dust and grime that has been accumulating in the carpet which will reduce irritation in the lungs.  The accumulation of debris in carpet will be noticeable by your nose.   When a musty odor is present that means that facility needs a professional carpet cleaner.

Community centers, such as the local YMCA will have vinyl composition tile (VCT).  Although durable, over time VCT will show its wear and tear.  A commercial floor cleaning can bring back its shine as well as sanitize the floor.

To be redundant, the workplace is a good place to start regular cleaning, now more than ever.  Let’s be prepared to have a sanitized workplace when the economy opens!newyorklego

Tips to Disinfect Your Home and Office from COVID-19

20190520_193046Here in the Phoenix area weather conditions are usually predictable but recently we’ve have a unexpected bout of rain.  Thus, it’s a challenge to keep your home or office clean from mud, rain, and debris.  But perhaps, the most surprising challenge is to keep your environment coronavirus free.  We can make our best attempt to keep the COVID-19 at bay.  First, if you get the opportunity to purchase disinfectants, with the shortage of cleaning supplies look for disinfectants with 62-71% ethanol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite (bleach).  The coronavirus can become inactive with the use of such disinfectants.disinfects.jpgSince it is possible to become infected by touching a contaminated surface or object, and then touching the face (eyes, nose and mouth), keep counter tops, tables, door knobs, any common area where hands come into contact well-disinfected.  In addition, you know my concern is that you keep floors cleaned!  Here are a few tips:

  • Get a DEEP clean!

20170930_10581220191105_113202What that entails is that a professional floor cleaning machine has the power to get rid of months of buildup and layers of dirt.  The high-powered machines can efficiently sanitize hard surfaces; tile and natural stone, as well as wood or vinyl flooring.  So it is worthwhile to get a deep cleaning done.

  • matIf you don’t already have them, get outdoor/indoor mats for all entrances. The first line of defense is to create a barrier so that dirt and debris don’t enter your home or office.  The quality of the an entrance mat is extremely important.  How well the mat is textured to pick up dust particles and soil will greatly reduce the amount of dirt that enters your home.  
  • Disinfect and clean regularly. Set up a cleaning schedule that works for you.  Be consistent about cleaning up high traffic areas.  This might be as often as cleaning daily.
  • In light of the spread of the coronavirus, Elite is offering disinfecting & sanitizing services.
  • Disinfectants destroy all organisms in 10 minutes, requiring a stronger solution than sanitizers.
  • Microfiber cleaning tools work best. microfibermopOut of the many cleaning tools out there, microfiber picks up debris the best, hands down!  I still use traditional cotton towels but microfiber precludes dirt from returning when mopping.  When you are ready for a professional floor cleaning, call Elite Floor and Furniture Cleaning at 480-710-4110 to schedule an appointment.

Clean Floors; Less Likely to Get Sick

We all know something has been going around lately.  A new strain of a cold and flu virus will set you back a week or more.  Instead of taking stocking up on vitamins and cold/flu medicine, deeply clean your floors.  Even if your carpets appear clean, there are microbes and debris not visible to the human eye.  Here are some tips to stay healthy!

Carpet is home to mold, pet hair and dust

EveandLunaIf you have pets, you might be spending more time on the floor to get closer to your furry family members.  Children are more apt to being on the floor and touching their hands to their mouths.  Thus, increasing the risk of getting sick.  Pet urine and feces is an welcoming environment for bacteria.  You’ll recognize the smell of ammonia that that it creates irritating your lungs. 

For those who have cats and dogs that spend time inside and outside of the house, beware of fleas and ticks that can find their way onto your carpets and tile.  To get rid of the tiny parasites, intense heat and chemical treatment might be needed.

Mold and dust can do harm to increase inflammation in your lungs and buildup in your carpet.  This can easily trigger an allergic response once you have vacuumed because it spreads those irritants in the air.

If you are already sick, your body is working double time to combat a cold and the build up germs from your carpet.

*Use a HEPA filter when vacuuming and make sure to regularly change your vacuum bags.  During the cold/flu season is the time to schedule a carpet cleaning.  Help everyone and pets that enters your home to stay healthy.  It really pays to take preventive measures to not get sick!  For questions call 480.710.4110 or send me an email   info@eliteclng.com

Why is my natural stone floor getting more stains?

Before Marble Floor After cleaning and seal

Have you had natural stone floors installed in the past three years? Is it evident it’s getting tougher to get stains out? Here are some reasons why this might be occurring.

  • Dullness and discoloration from built-up residue and soap scum
  • Endured some etching, scratches, chips and seam repairs
  • The surface was polished
  • Someone cleaned the floor with an acidic cleaner
Abrasive cleaner

If you have limestone, travertine, onyx, marble and serpentine, then it is susceptible to acid. Find a pH-balanced, non-acidic gentle soap to clean your counter tops.

 However, granite, slate, quartzite, soapstone, and sandstone are not as sensitive to acidic cleaners.

The best way to prevent staining on your floors, is to have a protective seal on them. It might be well overdue for one. You could have the new look of your floors like did before!

Have more questions on natural stone maintenance? Call Elite Floor and Furniture Cleaning. 480-710-4110 I would be glad to give you some tips.

Pet Care and Floor Care Go Together like Paw and Hand

1. Reduce Wear and Tear on Floors

It’s inevitable that your floors will get scratched by your pets but, there are some things that you can do to minimize the scratches to your floors. First, examine your pet’s nails. How often do their nails need to be trimmed? This will depend on the size of your dog or cat; the larger your pet, trimming will be more often. The most common areas for scratching are by entry doors and high traffic areas of your home. Because dirt accumulates the most in these places, an active pet can trap dirt into the floor surface with their nails. If possible use floor rugs in high traffic area to reduce the amount of scratching

2. Pet Urine & Vomit’s Damaging Effects

Urine stain visible with black light

The acid from pet urine causes discoloration to carpet fibers but as urine seeps through it becomes a welcoming haven for bacteria. As bacteria grows, it produces gaseous waste in the form of ammonia. That is the pungent odor that is difficult to remove. The pictures above are residual stains Elite Floor and Furniture Cleaning found with a black light and UV glasses. Our experience in removing pet stains, has taught us that the longer urine sets in, the greater the damage is. Thus, getting out as much urine as possible once you notice your pet has a had an accident, is your best bet to minimizing its damaging effects to your floors.

3. Tipsy Water Bowls Means Frequent Spills

You can also use a waterproof mat under your pet’s water bowl or a bowl that is rubberized that will won’t slide to help protect your floor. Likewise, it will reduce your pet’s scratching the hardwood floor if their food and water are in a stable position. As we get ready to bring a four legged member into our family, we will keep these tips in mind!

Monsoon Season Prepared!

Monsoon season already?

Arizonians know heat, thunder, lightning, and sporadic hard rains produces monsoon storms that could pose as a serious problem to our homes.

To get your home ready for the monsoon season, here are some tips:

Get Rid of Germs

Monsoon season is a favorable time for germs to breed. So, one of the easiest ways to get rid of germs is to disinfect your floors. If possible try to use a disinfectant with natural ingredients so it is safe for children and pets.

Tidy up the yard/garden

Your yard is exposed to a lot of additional dirt due to strong winds and rains. The storm makes the leaves fall and sometimes the weak branches even break making the yard dirtier. Hence it is important that you take care of your yard more often during this time.

Also, make sure you do not have containers in your yard that may accumulate rain water because it is a breeding ground for the mosquitoes and other germs.

Gutters and Downspouts

Take the time to clean your gutters now before the hard rains hit. Also, re-position your downspouts away from the house to the protect the foundation of your home. Avoid unnecessary water logging inside your home by maintaining an effective drainage system.

Waterproofing

Waterproofing entry ways and flooring is a proactive way of protecting your home. Weather strips on doors and windows keeps the air-conditioning in and rain out.

Sealing your floors protects them from debris at the same time will help make your flooring water-resistant. Sealers are semi-permanent floor coatings that look and wear more like paints than like floor finishes. That means it requires a skilled worker to correctly apply sealant. The sealant will last longer than a finish. Feel free to send me an email at info@eliteclng.com to ask about sealing floors.