Appliance Adversities. North Star Clean of Wisconsin.
Water damage issues in your home can really ruin a good day… week… or month.
You want to do all you can to avoid any type of flooding because damage can be quite extensive and expensive. One thing you can do to avoid future issues is to ensure your appliances are in good working order and that they don’t spring a leak that can damage your home.
Obviously, the biggest threat in your home is the toilet. Or toilets, if you have more than one bathroom. They can plug up, overflowing when you flush them. They can also leak at the seal, where the toilet sits on the floor. And, of course, the supply line can leak, sometimes slowly but occasionally with a strong spray of water. This normally happens when you replace the parts inside the toilet tank. Make sure you do a good job when you work on your toilet! You don’t want any surprises popping up.
Second on the list is your washing machine. Its job is to fill up with hot, soapy water, do some shaking, and clean your clothes, and then drain into the sewage system. However, sometimes the drain can become plugged and water can come spewing out, causing all kinds of damage. A hot or cold supply hose can also break, and if you aren’t home when that happens, the damage can be devastating. Be sure to inspect your drain and the condition of your hoses regularly. The seals on the door need to be inspected as well, if it is a front-loading machine.
Third in this lineup of appliances is your dishwasher. It’s like your washing machine but doesn’t fill up with water quite as much, but if it springs a leak, whether from the drain or from the door, you will have a big mess. Using too much dishwashing detergent can also be a cause of a machine overflowing. Inspect the supply and drain hoses and use the appropriate amount of detergent. The seals on the door, like your front-loading washing machine, need some attention from time to time.
When the worst happens, and your home suffers from any type of flooding, do the right thing. The safest thing. Call your water damage restoration experts.
After all, it pays to call a pro!
Floor Cleaning Basics. North Star Clean of Wisconsin.
Floors. You can’t avoid walking on them. You can’t avoid looking at them, either.
The condition of your floors really affects the appearance of your entire home. When you have visitors, they notice…whether your floors are clean and tidy and in good condition, and if they are soiled and dirty and in need of repair.
There are all types of flooring in homes today, from carpet and rugs to ceramic tile, luxury vinyl tile, natural stone, wood and more.
It’s generally accepted by most that carpet and rugs are easy to care for, regarding routine maintenance. Regular vacuuming does the trick. As a basic rule, vacuum your heavy-use areas once per week per occupant. Yes, your pets count as occupants. That means if you have a family of five with a dog and a cat, you would vacuum every day. Not the entire house, so don’t panic, but perhaps the living room and any other common-use areas that are trafficked each day. The other rooms can be vacuumed perhaps twice per week.
Ceramic tile is also easy to maintain. It needs swept and mopped frequently to avoid soil build-up. Use neutral cleaners and follow directions. If you notice any streaking after you clean, follow your normal cleaning with a clear water mopping and get it as dry as you can.
Luxury vinyl tile, or LVT, can be cleaned like ceramic tile, but consider a two-bucket system. One with neutral detergent and another with clear water.
Wood flooring is another matter. Be safe and obtain an approved wood cleaning product from the manufacturer, or you can inquire of your favorite cleaning service as to what you should use. After cleaning, you may need to do a light buffing with a soft cloth, especially high traffic areas. Wood is a bit more sensitive than other flooring types, but small surface scratches can often be buffed out. Larger scratches and damage might need to be professional repaired.
There are other flooring types, of course, and each one will respond well to proper cleaning. Floor cleaning can be challenging, as well as hard work. Why not leave it to the pros and spend your valuable time doing something else you enjoy?
Call your professional cleaning service today. After all, it pays to call a pro!
The Leaky Hot Water Tank. North Star Clean of Wisconsin.
What a mess! What are we going to do!
Have you ever said something like that? If you have experienced a leaky hot water tank… you probably have.
When it happened, hopefully it was in an unfinished basement and not in an area of the house that suffered severe damage.
Leaks can happen anytime there is contained water, in any pipe, hose, or appliance. For hot water heaters, you add the element of pressure and heat. A leak can quickly turn into a spray of water, and a bad flood.
To add insult to injury, when you discover a hot water tank is leaking or flooding your home and you turn off the water, chances are those remaining 50, 60, 70, 80 or more gallons are still going to come out to haunt you. Some water tanks are big. Good for multiple occupants in your home… bad for flooding.
Adding insult to injury, when your hot water tank fails, you not only have to clean up the mess, but now you don’t have… hot water. It’s a cold shower for everyone until you get it fixed.
Of course, if a leaking hot water tank ruins your day, it’s time to bring in the water damage professionals. But there are some steps you can take so this never (hopefully!) happens to you.
An aging issue
Like any appliance, the older it gets, the more likely it may have issues. Some experts say a tank should last between 8-12 years. How long have you had your tank? If much longer than that, you may be living on borrowed time! Replacement may be necessary.
You can keep an eye on things yourself. Once a month, look over your hot water tank, inspecting for evidence of water seepage. Often, this comes from underneath the tank. If any moisture is noticeable, call a plumber and get it fixed ASAP.
An annual inspection by a plumbing company is a good idea as well. These visits are not that expensive and can really save you in the long run.
Flush away troubles
When you don’t see it, you don’t think about it. But inside your water tank, sediment and residues are building up. These can cause all kinds of issues. You can flush out your tank by (after reducing the temperature, of course) attaching a garden hose to the connection at the bottom of the tank and removing all the gunk and goo down there. It will have to drain somewhere, which could be a challenge. Of course, if you don’t want to mess with this, have your plumber do it for you.
When the unthinkable happens, though, and you are facing inches (hopefully not feet!) of water to clean up, and damaged belongings in your home as well, it’s time to call your water damage experts. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Urine Odor Removal 101. North Star Clean of Wisconsin.
Phew! What is that smell?
You might have uttered those words a few times, and when it happens, it is often from pet urine in carpet or perhaps some clothing attacked by a baby or toddler.
When left untreated, many problems can arise, the most noticeable being by the nose.
With carpet and other surfaces in the home, one of the toughest chores in urine odor removal is the first one — finding the location of the odor. Following your sense of smell often helps, and keeping an eye on the offending pet(s) and tracking them to the source can also work. Professionals, like your favorite carpet cleaner, have special detection devices that locate exactly where urine contamination is located.
Then you must clean and treat the area. A small spotting machine with water and a small amount of detergent can remove what’s in the carpet pile, but there’s really no way to get deep down in the backing or pad where some of the urine might have penetrated. That’s something only the pros can do. But getting to a urine spot while still damp and using lots of blotting with disposable towels is a great urine removal 101 tip. Once it dries, it becomes much more challenging.
Remember this: If left untreated, especially if the pet continues its accident-prone activities, and urine builds up in carpet, it doesn’t really dry out. Urine crystalizes and a salt-like substance forms, which attracts moisture from the air. That’s why you notice urine odors in the summer more so than in the winter, because winter air is drier.
What about clothing?
If fresh, a normal laundering should suffice. You might want to wash separately from other garments. Wash with cold water if colorfastness is a concern, although hot water does clean better.
But occasionally, urine odors can persist in clothing because of the age of the contamination or other factors. When this happens, a pre-soak is necessary. Fill a sink or tub (or use a bucket if the item will fit) and fill it up with hot water. Add ¼ cup of white vinegar per gallon of water that you are using. Soak the clothes for two hours. The vinegar, being acidic, will counteract the aging urine salts that have built up.
Bottom line? Fresh urine contamination in carpet or clothing is easy to remove. Get to it quick. Blot the carpet, rinse with a spotting machine, but never apply products to the area because that can just make it worse. Don’t be tempted by those products on the shelf at your grocery store. For clothing, put it in the laundry right away.
But if odors persist and urine contamination and related odors are ruining your day, it’s time to get some help. Don’t delay — call your cleaning experts today. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Toilet Tragedies. North Star Clean of Wisconsin.
There’s not much that can cause a panic and loud screaming than when the handle of the toilet is pushed and — instead of everything swirling down into the sewer line — it all comes rushing back out.
You know what the “everything” is... and you surely do not wish to be the offending flusher who must clean it up. But someone needs to do the dirty work.
Yes, when a toilet overflows, it’s time to put on your best game face and get ready for action. Put this nightmare behind you. But before you start work, you might wish to reach for good shoes, like rubber boots, along with gloves and other protective gear. A nose clip might not be a bad idea, either.
The first order of business is to stop this exciting event from happening again. Be sure the toilet is unplugged, draining, and working properly. If you clean everything up and it all happens again, your nightmare just repeats itself.
Scrape up any (ick) solids and soak up any liquids with disposable towels. Remove as much excess contamination as possible.
Then liberally apply a strong disinfectant cleaner, something appropriate for this type of work. Your local hardware or grocery store will have a selection of products, and you may have something under your kitchen sink that will work.
Wipe down everything, even if in doubt if a surface was affected. Better safe than sorry. After doing all of this, do it one more time, just to be sure.
Follow this with cleaning the same surfaces with a typical bathroom cleaning product, to remove any remaining residues.
Although this is a common occurrence and it is a safe bet that every home has a vengeful toilet that has belched up offending olfactory gunk, be sure to do a thorough job with your cleanup process. Bacteria can grow and affect the health of your family.
To keep your home clean and healthy, there’s something else you can do. Reach out to your restoration pros. They know how to handle not only floods, mold, fire and smoke damage… but sewage backup as well. Let them handle the icky stuff.
Removing Rust from Driveways. North Star Clean of Wisconsin.
While the flooring in a home is what many look at and judge cleanliness on, the same could be said for areas outside the home. Especially the driveway.
A nice, clean and neat driveway, swept free of dust and debris, is noticed by everyone. So is one that has ugly rust stains. Especially when moisture has spread rust stains down the drive.
If you have rust stains on your driveway, you might wonder… What causes them? Driveways are typically concrete or asphalt, neither of which should rust, right? Wrong!
Rust can develop from residues, such as those deposited on your driveway from your vehicle, from lawn care products and more. Also, the construction of your driveway, especially if concrete, contributes to rust stains. The rebar in the concrete can be close to the surface and rust can develop. There could be particles in asphalt that will rust as well.
No matter the cause, what you should be concerned with is prevention and, of course, removal of rust stains. Preventing them is difficult. Keeping everything clean is the first step, so rust doesn’t develop at all.
Steps to removal
For smaller rust stains, a little lemon juice or vinegar often does the trick. Apply when the affected areas are in the shade, or do it in the evening, because the sun will dry everything out too quickly. Work in the juice or vinegar with a brush. Rinse away any residues and reapply if you see some improvement.
If that doesn’t work, it’s time to get more aggressive. Visit your local hardware store and purchase a rust stain removal product and follow the directions. Be sure to note any precautions such as respiratory and contact issues.
And if that doesn’t work, it’s time to get really serious. At that same hardware store, you can purchase a stronger product, such as muriatic acid, and apply to the rust stains. But you must be very careful with strong acids as they can burn your skin and much worse. Also remember that stronger acids can damage the actual driveway material so be careful how you apply it and how long it dwells on the surface. Some have found that stronger acids negatively affect asphalt driveways. Be careful!
What’s best? Calling your cleaning pros, who know all about rust stains and how to remove them. Do the right thing. Give them a ring.