How to Clean Up a Spill

How to Clean Up a Spill

Step 1

Cover spill with a WHITE napkin or paper towels. DO NOT use colored paper! It might transfer onto the carpet. Be sure to use a THICK stack to absorb as much of the spot as possible.

Step 2

Blot by stepping on the stack of towels. REPEAT THIS PROCESS UNTIL NO TRANSFER TAKES PLACE. Do not rub!!

Step 3

Apply spotting agent. Warning: Do not use over-the-counter spot removers! They can leave a sticky residue that attracts soil and may discolor your textiles. Instead, call us to find out what spotters we recommend.

Step 4

REPEAT steps 1 and 2. If the spot does not come out, do NOT attempt any further action, as you may set the spot and/or damage your textiles. Instead, give us a call. Do not over-wet the spot. Keep blotting until dry to the touch.

Why Spots Return After Your Cleaning?

Have you ever wondered why spots return after having your carpet cleaned? There are two reasons why spots return.

Reason 1: Wicking

Many times, the spot that is being removed has seeped into the backing of the carpet. This is common with pet urine, beverages, and anything spilled in “volume.” The material dries in the backing and in the cushion (pad) of the carpet. When the spot is cleaned, only the material in the “pile” of the carpet is removed. However, moisture is introduced into the backing of the carpet. As the spot dries, the material in the backing of the carpet “wicks” back into the pile of the carpet much like wax into a candlewick.

Even traffic area soil that is embedded can wick back. This is especially common in glued-down carpet that is heavily impacted with soil. When the carpet is cleaned, it looks good. When it dries, the spots and traffic area soil come back.

The good news is if a spot actually wicks back, it can be removed. When you spot clean, place a folded white terry cloth towel over the spot just after you clean it while the spot is still moist. Place a heavy object on top of the cloth. Be sure to use a non-porous object that won’t transfer color onto the carpet. For example, a paper book cover could transfer color. Use a brick, a planting pot, or something like that.

When you have our carpet cleaned professionally, be sure to point out spots that have wicked back in the past so they can be treated properly.

Reason 2: Re-soiling

Resoiling is caused by a sticky residue that has been left behind. The residue may be from the spot itself, the cleaner that was used, or both. Some common residue causes are over-the-counter carpet cleaners purchased at the grocery store. Avoid using these cleaners altogether. If you have to use one of these cleaners or you have to use dishwashing detergent, use as little as possible and rinse with water thoroughly.

Other residue causes are oily spots, duct tapes body oils, lotions, and other sticky or oily substances. If the entire oily residue is not removed, it will attract soil as the carpet is walked on. Even quality professional cleaning may not remove all oily residues the first time.

Schedule an appointment with one of our consultants today! 907 349-0911


Five Easy Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Carpet

Five Easy Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Carpet

1. Check the Warranty

Copies of specific warranties from your carpet purchase may be available from your carpet retailer. Stain resist warranties can vary from 5 to 20 years. ALL STAIN RESIST WARRANTIES REQUIRE REGULAR CLEANING AND IMMEDIATE SPOT REMOVAL.

2. Vacuum, Vacuum, Vacuum

It is said that the three most important rules for maintaining carpet are vacuum, vacuum, vacuum. Vacuuming your carpet often; once or twice a week at least. Vacuuming removes the sharp soil that cut and slices the fiber, causing premature wear. Much of this soil is not visible to the eye. Remove any loose particles such as food, leaves, pieces of crayon, and bugs, as these items can cause a spot on the carpet. Be sure to use a quality vacuum cleaner that is well maintained. If you have any questions about what type of vacuum is best, please ask us.

3. Have Your Carpet Professionally Cleaned Often

Most people don’t clean their carpet often enough, perhaps due to the cost or the hassle factor, or because they do not realize how important regular professional cleaning can be. For example, if your traffic areas are visibly soiled, you have already waited too long! Traffic area soil is somewhat oily and bonds to the carpet fibers, eventually staining the carpet. Once this has taken place, even though professional cleaning will make it look much better, the traffic pattern will still be visible. In addition, traffic area soil is sharp- like sandpaper- and it abrades the carpet fibers. To keep this to a minimum, clean your traffic areas before they look visibly soiled.

As a general rule, professional cleaning by a professional certified firm should be done about once per year. For extremely heavy traffic areas, cleaning may be required more often. Proper professional cleaning will not leave a sticky residue behind and can be done as many times per year as needed. MANY STAIN RESIST WARRANTIES REQUIRE PROFESSIONAL CLEANING EVERY TWO YEARS. Professional cleaning removes the damaging soil that vacuuming has not been able to remove from the traffic areas.

4. Remove Spots Immediately

Spots that are not immediately removed can turn into permanent stains very easily. When a carpet is new or has sufficient protector on it, plain tap water will remove many spots. However, for those spots you can’t remove easily with water, you must use a spot cleaner. Select a spot cleaner recommended by the carpet manufacturer or by your trained, certified professional cleaner. Most spot removers purchased over the counter leave too much soap residue and can cause yellowing. Avoid using foam carpet cleaners or any product not made specifically for carpet.

Apply spot cleaner sparingly to white terry cloth and gently massage the spot, causing it to transfer onto the cloth. Never pour spot cleaner directly on carpet. If the product you are using seems to cause the spot to re-soil over a few-week period, discontinue use. For any spot that you are not able to remove, and for pet urine or feces, call your professional cleaner immediately.

5. Have Carpet Protector Reapplied

Residential nylon stain resistant carpets are treated with stain resist properties and soil resistors known as Dupont, Teflon or 3M Scotchgard. After a period of two or three years, some of the soil resistor wears off. At that point, you should consider having a professional carpet cleaner reapply the protector after the professional cleaning. The soil resistor will help soil slide off the carpet more easily when vacuuming, spots will be easier to remove, and professional cleaning will be more effective.

Unprotected carpet soils faster, doesn’t last as long, and is prone to permanent staining.

To get your carpets professionally cleaned, call J&S Steamway today! 907 349-0911


How Do I Best Care for My Carpet?

How Do I Best Care for My Carpet?

There is much discussion in our industry about how often carpeting should be cleaned. Surely you have heard “wait as long as you can before you clean your carpet” or “once you’ve cleaned your carpet, it’s never the same.”

These widely used comments have stemmed from unfortunate encounters with uninformed cleaners who have left the carpet with an overload of detergent residue. The unfortunate consumer has assumed this will happen with all carpet cleaning and resolved to wait until the carpet is in dire straits before cleaning it.

The good news is that properly cleaned carpet will not re-soil quickly and will actually last longer. Why? Because damaging soils are removed with effective carpet cleaning. Soil that is not removed by vacuuming, even though it can rarely be seen by the naked eye, cuts and slices the carpet fibers as the carpet is walked on, breaking down the carpet yarns in the traffic areas. The result is that even with restorative cleaning at that point it will not correct the damage that has been done to the fiber. Not to mention that a carpet that is not cleaned on a regular basis is an unhealthy carpet. Carpet is like a sink. It collects pollens, insecticides, exhaust, and other undesirable substances that get tracked in or blow in from the polluted outdoors. Carpet manufacturers state that a residential carpet should be professionally cleaned at least every 18 to 24 months for best performance. More often if pets and/or children are present and perhaps more often if you are a smoker. The EPA published a guide that suggested regular cleaning frequencies based on the number of occupants and other factors.

In short, a carpet that is maintained on a regular basis will not only last longer but will also provide a healthier indoor environment. Your carpet represents a significant investment. Just like any investment, maintenance is required to get the best return on it. Think about your automobile. You change the oil in your vehicle so the engine will last longer, to avoid costly repairs, and to get top performance from it. The same is true for your carpet, or any floor covering for that matter. By properly maintaining your carpet it will look better, last longer, and contribute to a healthier indoor environment.

Soil is corrosive by nature. It breaks down the fibers of your textiles. Soil that cannot be removed by vacuuming bonds to the carpet; it can then only be removed by professional cleaning. Even though your floors and fabrics may look clean, that doesn’t mean they are clean. Especially if you have pets or children. Soils, pollens, bacteria, asphalt, insecticides and all sorts of invisible enemies are transferred to your furnishings daily. Not to mention the unmentionable: urine or fecal matter (I know that’s yucky!)

Every day “environmental oils” attract abrasive soils. Carpeted traffic areas coming from the kitchen collect cooking oils. Sofa arms collect body oils, and hard surface floors collect film from cleaning agents. The grit then eats away at the surface like sandpaper. The solution is to have your carpets, upholstery, draperies, and hard surface floors cleaned at least every 12 months; more often in high traffic areas.

You have probably heard that cleaning your carpets and floors too often is harmful. This is simply not true IF your floors and fabrics are cleaned according to proper standards. This myth came from uneducated, uninformed, and sometimes downright unscrupulous cleaners leaving a sticky residue behind, which made the attraction to harmful soils worse instead of better.

Why Didn’t Carpet Protector Work?

Why Didn’t Carpet Protector Work?

If you had carpet protector applied in the past, and it didn’t work, here is why.

Four Mistakes other Cleaners Make in Applying Carpet Protector:

1. Not using high-quality protector.

Discount protectors are not as effective and sometimes void the warranty of the carpet. Use only the highest quality recommended protectors.

2. Not using a dedicated container.

Using the same container for carpet protector and for cleaners can contaminate the carpet protector, making it gummy and ineffective. Our vans have a dedicated container reserved only for carpet protector.

3. Not applying the product properly.

Some cleaners either under-apply or over-apply the protector.

4. Not grooming the carpet.

For the best performance, the product should be groomed into the carpet for maximum penetration. This ensures contact with all surfaces of the carpet yarn and proper distribution and drying. Our company thoroughly grooms the protector into the carpet pile.

What happens if I don’t apply carpet protector?

Five Things for You to Avoid:

 1. More permanent stains.

A great-looking carpet can be ruined by an ugly spot. Unprotected carpet doesn’t repel spillage as well as protected carpet. Being able to remove spots and spills more effectively avoid permanent staining.

2. “Uglied-out” traffic lanes.

Traffic area soil is very abrasive and cuts carpet yarns like a knife. This damaging soil can easily bond to an unprotected carpet. By applying protector, you will increase the life of your carpet dramatically. When you vacuum your protected carpet, the soils will release from the carpet pile much more effectively.

3. Difficult spot removal.

The easier a spot is to remove, the less cleaner you will have to use, the less agitation you will have to use, and the less time it will take. With protected carpet, many spots can be removed easily with just water or the free spot remover we provide you with.

4. Next professional cleaning not effective.

Because of the first three items in the list, not having protector can reduce the effectiveness of your next cleaning. Having protector applied to your carpet will enhance your next cleaning. More soil will be removed the next time your carpeting is professionally cleaned.

5. Costly service calls.

Although you want to call us out to handle any spot you cannot remove immediately, carpet protector helps you remove more spots than you could without protector. You may be able to save a minimum charge by remove the spot yourself.

Here’s the answer to the question of whether to have carpet protector applied: You should always get carpet protector on nylon or wool carpet. Olefin carpet can even benefit the abraded areas. So, make it your goal to always get carpet protector applied when having professional cleaning done.

Should I Use a Carpet Protector?

How Much Does Carpet Cleaning Cost?

Should I Use a Carpet Protector?

Unfortunately, there is a great deal of confusion about capret protectors in our industry. Untrianed and sometimes downright unscrupulous carpet cleaners give out false information, and in the worst cases, intentionally misrepresent the product.

WARNING: The protector that was in your carpet may be gone, leaving you exposed!

A nylon stain-resistant carpet is made with two protective properties: the first is an acid dye blocker that is basically a clear dye that fills the extra dye sites in a fiber, This helps to keep “foreign” dyes (such as red dye in a beverage) from penetrating the carpet fiber. The second property is called a fluorochemical. Two commonly used fluorochemicals are 3M Scotchgard™ or DuPont™ Teflon®. This treatment helps keep spillage from actually getting to the acid dye blocker, but its biggest job is to resist dry soil.

By resisting dry soil, less soil bonds to the carpet, therefore more dry soil is picked up by your vacuum or cleaning. Making sure that you have a sufficient amount of protector on your carpet will help keep the soil from bonding to the carpet. Once it bonds to the carpet, it acts like sandpaper on your traffic area. Once the traffic area yarns are broken down, there is no way to bring them back to their original state.

Two Primary Ways that Factory Protector is Removed from a Carpet

1. Regular Foot Traffic

Over a period of six months to two years, depending on the traffic, a significant amount of carpet protector can be removed from your traffic areas and needs to be reapplied.

2. High-alkaline Cleaner

Many cleaners use harsh chemicals on the carpet; those chemicals will strip your carpet’s factory protection. If you have had your carpet cleaned in the past, there is a good chance the cleaner removed a significant amount of protector. It needs to be reapplied.

How Much Does Carpet Cleaning Cost?

How Much Does Carpet Cleaning Cost?

Professional, certified carpet cleaning provided by a reputable, experienced, and well-trained cleaning firm is not cheap. But it is an investment that pays great dividends. Two common ways of pricing in the carpet cleaning industry are by the square foot or by the room. In either case, there are questions you want to ask…


Carpet Cleaning Cost Questions

  1. What method do you use? (Hot water extraction is the most thorough system)
  2. Do you pre-vacuum the carpet? (Removing dry soil just before cleaning is vitally important)
  3. Do you pre-spot urine and other spots? (This is a very important procedure for many spots)
  4. Do you pre-condition the carpet? (This loosens the soil so they don’t have to blast it out)
  5. Do you pre-groom the carpet? (This further loosens the soil before extraction)
  6. Do you neutralize the carpet? (This balances the pH, leaving the carpet softer and avoiding leaving a sticky residue)
  7. Do you post-groom the carpet? (This promotes faster drying reveals any faint spots that may not have been thoroughly removed, and allows the carpet pile to dry in the right position)
  8. Do you use air movers to speed dry the carpet? (The faster the carpet dries, the sooner you can use it, and the fewer issues you have after the cleaning)
  9. Is all spot cleaning in the price? (This is a biggie!)
  10. Is pet odor treatment included in the price? (Be very cleaning on this)
  11. Do you give a free bottle of spot remover? (Our company provides a lifetime refill)
  12. Do you give a free pair of booties? (This helps occupants avoid re-soiling the carpet after cleaning)

What’s Your Carpet Cleaning Guarantee?

What's Your Carpet Cleaning Guarantee?

Always ask a company, “What’s Your Carpet Cleaning Guarantee?”

The goal of every great service company is to do the right thing every time. But the real strength of a service company is how to handle things when you feel that you didn’t get what you paid for.

A quality carpet cleaning company should guarantee their work. If you ask the average carpet cleaning technician what their guarantee is they will usually look confused. They might even ask you “what do you mean?” This actually happened in a mystery shopping experience during a “mystery shop” a very reputable consulting firm in the cleaning industry did.

Once the cleaning job was supposedly finished the technician presented the invoice that had a FULL PAGE contract on the back. The consultant asked, “Do you want me to read this whole thing?” “That’s up to you, sir” the technician replied. (By the way, the technician wanted the mystery shopper to sign off on the steps the technician didn’t even do. He made excuses why each step wasn’t needed.)

The mystery shopper continued, “Can you tell me what your guarantee is?” “What do you mean?” “For example, what happens if my spots come back?” “Then we come back.” “And if they come back again?” “We come back again.” “Do I ever get my money back if you can’t completely remove them?” Now prepare yourself for his response! True story: “Naw sir, those are your spots!”

You’ve got to be kidding me! And this cleaning company had a well-known name in the cleaning industry! The problem with this particular company is their residential carpet cleaning department had become something they no longer put any effort into. They obviously sent the most uncaring crew they could fine to do the residential cleaning job.

This is what we are facing out there. So, always ask what the guarantee is and what it includes.

J&S Steamway offers a 100% money back guarantee on our carpet cleaning jobs. Our guarantee is simply this: if you aren’t absolutely thrilled with the service experience you recienve from us, we will rush back to your location at no charge and no obligation. If you are still “unimpressed” we will refund you 100% of your investment.

March Newsletter

You think it will never happen to you, but there are over 300,000 house fires in the United States every year. It makes sense to be prepared. The most important thing you can do is to have working smoke detectors on every level of your home. An early warning is your best defense against a house fire.

Taking the right steps in the event of a house fire could save your home and even your life. Make sure that all adults and older children understand how to RACE and PASS if there is a fire. This doesn’t mean RACE around the house in a panic and PASS your spouse on your way out the door! RACE and PASS are simply memory aids for what you should do in case of a fire.

You think it will never happen to you, but there are over 300,000 house fires in the United States every year. It makes sense to be prepared.

Should you go with dry cleaning vs. steam cleaning?

Should you go with dry cleaning vs. steam cleaning?

Is one method better than the other? Are these even the right terms? Well, as usual, these terms only hint at part of the issue at hand. Both “dry” and “steam” are incomplete and inaccurate terms. Neither are technical terms that properly describe carpet cleaning methods.

There are actually four methods of carpet cleaning approved by the lICRC, the world’s most recognized body of certification for carpet and upholstery cleaners.


Method 1

Hot Water Extraction

Otherwise known as “steam cleaning,” hot water extraction is the pro-probably familiar with. Hot water extraction is the process most people are familiar with. Hot water extraction is the correct technical term, not steam cleaning. Actual steam is not used at all. A hot water solution is produced and immediately recovered, creating a “flushing” action on the carpet.

The smallest portable machine rented at the grocery store could be called a “steam cleaner,” but a powerful truck-mounted machine is obviously more capable of doing a thorough cleaning job.

However, the biggest and most important difference is in the person cleaning the carpet. A trained technician will know what pressure to use, what cleaning products to use, and how to get maximum soil removal and maximum spot removal without over-wetting the carpet or leaving sticky residue behind. The horror stories of carpet being wet for days are due to operator error, not because “steam” or hot water extraction caused it.

Hot water extraction applied properly will remove more soil than any other method. Further, anything that has seeped into the backing such as coffee, other beverages or urine can be “flushed out” with hot water extraction. This method can also be used in lightly soiled and maintenance situations as it is very versatile.

Method 2

Absorbent Pad

Also known as bonnet cleaning, this method employs a round pad that spins across the surface of the carpet, absorbing the soil. A solution is applied to the carpet or the pad to aid in releasing soils. This is a method that some may classify “dry cleaning” although water-based products are used in almost all “dry cleaning” systems; therefore, the term dry cleaning is not technical and would not be desired. Absorbent pad cleaning is not a deep-cleaning method. It should only be used to clean lightly soiled carpet and upholstery.

Method 3

Dry Compound

This method uses a powder that has been treated with detergents, water, and solvents. The powder compound is sprinkled on the carpet and a brush with cylindrical brushes is used to work the powder into the carpet pile. The solution in the powder releases the soil. The soil is then absorbed into the absorbent powder. This method should only be used to clean lightly soiled carpet and upholstery, and for maintenance cleaning.

Method 4

Shampoo or Dry Foam

In this method, a shampoo or foam is generated and worked into the carpet with a rotary brush or cylindrical brush machine. The shampoo or foam releases the soil. The soil is then vacuumed with the machine or allowed to dry and removed with a conventional vacuum cleaner. When using shampoo, great care should be taken to avoid leaving a sticky residue on the carpet. This method should only be used to clean lightly soiled carpet and upholstery and for maintenance cleaning.

12 Step Carpet Cleaning Program

At J&S Steamway, we offer a 12 Step Carpet Cleaning Program

12 Step Cleaning Program

Step 1

Pre-Cleaning Inspection

The carpet or upholstery should be inspected and tested so is can inform you of the expected results and any potential challenges. This inspection should include identifying the fiber type as well as any potentially permanent stains.


Step 2

Dry Soil Removal

Up to 85% of soil in a textile is dry particulate soil that has bonded to the surface of the fabric. Household vacuum cleaners don’t always remove all of the dry soil. If not completely removed, it may “wick” back upon drying.

Step 3

Furniture Moving

Find out what furniture is recommended to be moved, what is included under the regular pricing structure, and what stays in place.

Step 4

Pro-Conditioning Traffic Areas

In this step, a solution is applied that loosens the soil and spots for more effective removal.

Step 5

Post Pre-Treat Spots

Some spots require special solutions and special care for complete removal and to avoid the stain “setting.”


Step 6

Pre-Cleaning Grooming

The carpet or upholstery pile is gently massaged to further loosen the soils so that aggressive, harmful cleaning is not needed.

Step 7


Now that the soil has been properly “suspended,” it can be extracted without over-wetting or leaving a sticky residue behind.

Step 8


A common problem is that some carpet cleaners don’t neutralize the carpet. Not balancing the pH can cause the carpet to be stiff and attract dirt like a magnet.

Step 9

Specialty Spotting

Stubborn stains sometimes require specialty stain removal processes. Because many cleaners do not train themselves, they do not know about these processes. Those who do sometimes gouge customers for the process by offering a low price to hook you, intending to up the price by charging for “extras.”

Step 10

Post-Cleaning Grooming

The pile of the carpet or upholstery should then be “finished” so it dries and cures in the proper direction.

Step 11

Speed Dry

Proper drying should be insured with high velocity air movers.

Step 12

Post-Cleaning Inspection

A thorough walk-through should be done to insure that you are completely satisfied with your cleaning job.