Mustard Stains

Mustard is a great condiment when paired with delicious meat in a sandwich, marinated on chicken or on top of a hotdog that you’re about to enjoy, but it isn’t as well received when accidents happen and it ends up on your clothes, walls or furniture.

Without the right techniques, trying to clean up mustard spills could just spread the problem literally and you could end up with a bigger mess then you had originally started with.

 

MUSTARD: THE RUN DOWN.

Mustard or Mastarde which comes from latin – Mustum (the seeds were ground with Must) and Ardens  (Hot) is a condiment made up of mustard seeds that are mixed with various liquids and spices.

These spices are the main cause of staining when it comes to mustard. Yellow mustard in general contains Turmeric which is used as a dye in many foods like cheese, yogurt and margarine to give it colour and to protect it from sunlight, but it is also used as a dye in clothing.

These dye properties is what stains anything it touches and why its essential to attend to the problem as soon as possible.

 

CLEANING MUSTARD OFF WALLS AND FLOORS.

The most important thing to remember is NOT to panic. When mustard gets spilt the first thing people do is panic and try to rub the mustard off the surface its on – this is bad.

Stay calm and follow these steps.

 

1. Don’t wait: Mustard stains easily, so if possible try to attend to the problem as soon as possible to avoid permanent stain. It will be much easier to clean up mustard before it dries and hardens.

2. Remove excess mustard: Grab a spoon and scrape away any excess mustard from the surface then use a paper towel or cloth and lightly dab the mustard to remove whats remaining. Frequently fold the paper towel to a fresh spot to avoid spreading accidently.

WARNING: Do not rub the mustard stain as this will only spread the stain.

3. The Cleaning Solution: Mix White Vinegar with a bit of warm water and use a soft sponge or cloth to clean the mustard off the surface. Sometimes, depending on how old the stain is, it can beneficial to dab the white vinegar water solution on the stain and leave it for a minute so it can start to dissolve the turmeric in the mustard.

Handy Tip: Make sure to regularly rinse the sponge to prevent spreading the stain.

For stubborn spots you can use a green scourer and gently rub the areas that need that extra attention. Apply more pressure slowly but do this at your own risk as the scorour can damage your paintwork.

4. Final wipe down: When you have removed as much of the stain as possible, change the water and this time put a bit of detergent in and use a new sponge to do a final pass over the stained area to remove any vinegar residue that is left.

Remember, depending on the life of the stain, it may not be possible to remove all signs of the stain but following these tips you will be able to dramatically lighten the stain to a point it may be hardly visible.

If it is important to you that the wall be perfectly clean and you have tried the above method a few times then you may have to hire a profession cleaner to come in. They will have harsher chemicals that will be able to help remove more of the stain.

 

CLEANING MUSTARD OFF CLOTHES AND FURNITURE.

Ever had your favourite outfit ruined by a stain? It can easily ruin your night and can be expensive to take it to a dry cleaners to get it professionally cleaned and a stain on the couch will also set you back a bit if you need to call someone out to clean it for you.

Following these tips could just save you the money and stress in cleaning some of your more expensive possessions. 

  1. Remove excess mustard: Use a spoon or a knife to scrape away any excess mustard off the item – avoid rubbing the stain as it will case it to spread.
  2. The Cleaning Solution: Mix up White Vinegar and water into a spray bottle. If the stain is on clothing, place something under the stain or try to seperate the stain section from the rest of the clothing so it doesn’t spread if the solution accidentally drips or runs.
  3. Clean the stain: Spray some of the vinegar solution onto the stain and let it sit for a minute then lightly dab the stain with a cloth or paper towel, regularly folding it to a clean section to avoid spreading the stain. Repeat as many times as needed.
  4. The final wash: Hopefully the stain is now mostly removed. The final stage is a pre-wash and wash.

If the stain is on clothing, fill up the sink with warm soapy water and a bit of bleach (colour safe bleach if the item has colour in it) and place the item in there to soak before placing it into the washing machine for a normal wash.

If the stain is on furniture then mix some warm soapy water into a spray bottle and spray the stain cleaned area, rub it in with a cloth, then use a dry clean cloth to dab it dry.

Protecting your floors

Protecting your floors

If I told you that a $50 investment could save you hundreds when it comes to protecting your floors, would you invest?

fmatIn my previous blogs I have covered the basics of why the appearance of your floor is important when it relates to peoples perception of you or your business, and also I explained the benefits of keeping floors maintained and the time and money that could save you.

In this article I will cover the simple yet often overlooked item that can help prevent irreversible damage to your carpet or vinyl floors in your home or office…

The Chair mat.

 

CARPET FLOORS

Carpet can be a nice medium to cover floors as it feels soft under the feet and can help keep heat in on those cold winter days. It is also some what fragile as its is made up of fibres which can be worn down with regular foot traffic and begin to tear with excess use of chairs and furniture. This damage is expensive to fix as it often requires replacement of carpeted areas, as well as making the carpets look unpleasant to look at.

Unfortunately there are no real “Carpet Protection” measures to prevent the everyday wear and tear but there are two methods to help prolong the life of your carpets and keep them fluffy for longer;

  • Professional carpet cleaning.
  • Protection with Chair Mats.

Carpet cleaning when done regularly is a good way to prolong the life of your carpets. Over time carpet fibres get trampled and loose their “bounce” and you will begin to notice the difference between areas that are walked on often to the ones that ain’t. The walked on damage piles of the carpet have a different colour to them and look “flat” compared to the undisturbed carpet areas. A carpet machine will lift the fibres as it cleans and bring a bit of life back into the trampled fibres.

Tip: Although not always possible, moving furniture around to change the walking paths through the room could overall extend the life of the carpet

Chair protection on the other hand is often missed or forgot about in homes and offices as it is perceived as less important, and in the short term people may not see the consequences of not having some. Unfortunately, in the long run this will cause damage that is not repairable by normal cleaning methods and will require sections of carpets (or in worse case scenarios) the whole carpet to be replaced which is costly when a $50 item could of prevented it.

The legs of a chair, or the wheels of a office chair are harsh when it comes to carpets. They often dig in or rub against the carpet fibres causing premature tear and wear, and it only takes a few months to start seeing signs of damage.

The following image is of a carpet that is only a year old and as you can see there are already noticeable signs of damage that has occurred. The wheels of the office chairs have worn down and in parts torn away the carpets fibres leaving it looking discoloured and patchy – and this is only after a year, imagine how it will look after 2, 3, 4 or 5 years!

Carpetdmg01

The left side of this picture shows the discoloring from the damaged carpet fibres. (click to enlarge)

I have added a zoomed-in view of the carpet mentioned above. Notice how you can see the individual tops of the carpet strands (right picture) of the undamaged carpet compared to the worn down and almost unison look (left picture) of the damaged carpet.

Carpetdmg02

Left: Damaged carpet Right: Undamaged Carpet (click to enlarge)

My only advice to this client would be to immediately invest in floor protectors to prevent further damage to these floors. And that is exactly how you should be looking at it, as a investment. Having to buy mats for your whole office will be expensive, but when you look at it as a investment, a step to saving you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in the future then you can easily see how you can justify the upfront costs.

VINYL FLOORS

Vinyl floors are a great medium to work with when you have large areas with heavy foot traffic. They are easy to clean and to keep sanitary and thats why places like hospitals, childcare centres and shopping malls use them – but they do find themselves at times in offices.

Vinyl floors are a bit more resilient as you have more options for protection then you have with carpets. As seen in First Impressions Matter Part 1, you can increase the life of your vinyl floors by putting on protective layers of Sealer to create a barrier between the bare floor and the people that are walking on it.

Unfortunately, just like with the carpets, Chair legs and wheels will over time wear into those protective coats and begin to wear into the vinyl itself. The areas around office chairs will have more wear then the rest of the floor so the solution would be to Strip and Seal these more often, but this is un-practical and expensive when the alternative is to invest in a floor mat.

As seen in the following pictures, the vinyl floor has been damaged with the wheels of the office chair. The vinyl now feels rough to the touch and has begun to show signs of pitting and wear which is not repairable by a strip service and will now be more prevalent to capturing dirt.VInyltdmg1

I have added a zoomed-in picture of the vinyl mentioned above. Notice how the floor has extreme pitting and the surface itself  has a rough texture do it. This pitting will get worse and will turn into tears over time.

VInyltdmg2

Pitting in damaged vinyl (click to enlarge)

As the floor wears down, maintenance procedures will be less effective and will be come less resilient to the strip and seal process. The sealer in the damaged area will be prone to quicker to wear and will require more frequent re-applies of sealer which will be a on going expense.

Even though we like to walk over the idea that our floors are not worth the time and effort to keep them protected, I have hopefully convinced you that it is something you need to keep in mind. It doesn’t take long for a floor to get damaged and it can become very expensive to replace those floor surfaces. If you look at Floor mats as a investment instead of a expense then you can easily justify the initial cost compared to the long term expense you will face if the floors are neglected.

For more reading on the importance of maintaining floors:

Firstimpressions1Firstimpressions2

How to Drill Into Tiles

Drilling into tile can be a daunting task. The fear that many have is accidentally cracking the tile they are drilling and causing damage that looks bad, or having to call out a professional tiler to come replace the tile, which can be a expensive.

The following guide will set aside those fears and walk you through the process of drilling into tiled surfaces, cleanly and hassle free.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

  1. A masonry Drill bit (The size you need the hole to be)
  2. Brick wall plugs (Also the size of the hole)
  3. Builders tape / Masking tape.
  4. A hammer.
  5. A permanent marker.

Optional:
Rubber grommet

Step 1:

Firstly measure out where you would like the holes to be and make a dot with your permanent marker.

Step 2:

Place strips of your masking tape In a “cross” pattern over those dots – the tape  will help prevent the drill bit sliding and slipping around when you start.

If your tape is slightly see-through, you should just be able to see the marks you made, if this is the case then you’re ready for the next step. If you can’t see the dots then measure up the holes again this time placing a dot over the crossed masking tape.

Nb it is always good to double or even tripple check your placement before drilling any holes

Step 3:

Grab your drill bit and placed it on the mark and softly tap the end with your hammer while rotating the drill bit slowly clockwise.

You don’t want too much pressure to avoid cracking the tile so start soft and increase the pressure. You will know when you hit the right spot when you see tile dust falling down.

Once you have a nice little hole in the tile enough so the drill bit doesn’t slip out easily then you are done with the hammering. You can now remove the tape.

Step 4:

Place the drill bit into your drill and on a low torque setting and medium to low speed start drilling the hole you just made while applying a firm amount of pressure against the drill.

Nb – by placing a rubber grommet down the shaft of the drill bit up against the chuck of the drill you will prevent damage of your tiles if you accidentally drill through and hit the tile with your drill.

Step 5:

Once you have drilled through all your holes you can now use the matching wallplugs.

Just slide the plugs into the holes you made, cut them flush to the tile if they are too long and you are done.

It couldn’t be easier.

Customer Relations

I was at a job site doing some gardening for a client who had just signed a lease for a new home when they asked me to inspect the interior of the house because he believed the bond clean that the Real estate Agent arranged wasn’t up to standard.

I was happy to oblige and made my way into the front entrance.

I was taken aback to find a poor quality job with cobwebs hanging in hard to reach places, fingerprints on walls and the roof and all the door and window tracks not cleaned at all. We advised the client that this is unacceptable and that the he should contact the Real estate Agent to come and re-inspect the property and arrange for the bond cleaners to return and fix the issues.

After the walk-through with the Agent, she told her client that everything is fine; “the house is 5 years old, you can’t expect it to be perfect”

This answer was astonishing to me; not only is it ridiculous that such a young house can classified as too old to be clean, but also it’s in poor taste using the age of any home as an excuse for a poor quality service.

I COULDN’T BELIEVE WHAT I JUST HEARD!

It is hard to comprehend a professional cleaning company leaving a home it in that state with this “good enough” attitude , and more alarming that this Real estate Agent thinks that this is an acceptable excuse – it’s like giving their client a slap in the face, showing them that “perfection isn’t the value we want to provide you, good enough is all you are worth to us.”

There is a sense of pride that a good Business owner feels about the job or services they provide and the value they offer their customers increases the chance of return business and positive word of mouth.

The rule of thumb I like to take when providing a service is to offer a client a great quality job and over deliver on that promise by giving them a amazing job, providing extra value than they had expected.

This mindset is good habit to get in to as you should always strive to give your customers the best experience you can offer. Over-delivering will show your clients that you care about their business and take pride in the work you accomplish.

THE RESULTS.

The agent believed she was in her right to leave that day without making an effort to make her client happy and to offer solutions to correct the issue that was raised. Indeed her company policy’s fine print may find this acceptable, but the simple fact is that it wouldn’t take much effort to call back the company that was paid to do a job and ask them to return and for-fill their side of the contract and make both the client and the Agent get what they were promised.

In the end, the agent got her initial sale, but it had left a sour taste in the clients mouth and well as my own. Not only will this make the client think twice about using their services again, but myself as a observer will also think long and hard when looking for an Agent in any future Home buying or Rental opportunities.

First Impressions Matter Pt.1

 

When you are first introduced to someone, that initial impression of them is what you take away from the meeting. They could be the nicest person in the world, but if you first meet them when they were in a bad mood, then your impression of them will be tainted. The next time you have a opportunity to meet this person, you will think back on that first meeting and decided that its something you may want to avoid.

Same goes when you introduce someone into your workplace or home – If they walk into a dirty living room or foyer, they will make a mental assumption of you and your the way you carry on the business, and sometimes this can largely affect the way they interact with you and the services you are about to offer them.

When a potential client first walks into your office and sees a nice presented room with shiny clean floors, they will feel welcomed and it will show that you as a business take pride in your appearance. This pride in appearance can translate into the customers perception of what kind of service you offer.

Essentially, the effort you place into the customers first meeting can represent in their minds the effort you put into your services or products.

 

MAKE YOUR CUSTOMERS FEEL WELCOMED.

A clean and shiny environment can make that room feel inviting, and offer customers a welcomed feeling when they enter – and that is your goal; to keep the customer there long enough for you to provide them with the service and value they were searching for when they decided to come to you.

The Customers experience will have the added benefit of making them feel comfortable to return to your business next time they require your service.

FLOORS THAT CATCH THE EYE.

One of the first thing you notice when you approach a building apart from the main entrance is the floor. It is one of the largest areas of the room that you are approaching so its what stands out at first glance. Since the floor is constantly beneath your feet, it is necessary for it to feel welcoming to a customer, to continue the customer putting one foot in front of the other towards the entrance.

This is the pinicle moment of making the room feel inviting as the floor opens up to the walls and furniture of the room and brings your eyes to the rest of the environment around it.

MAKE YOUR FLOORS STAND OUT.

Over time, floors start to show their age and get damaged and dirty from regular foot traffic, and that generally results in a poor looking floor that can’t be clean by basic maintenance cleaning.

Regular maintenance isn’t the final solution, it is a preventative measure that will prolong the life of the floor and need for major services, but after a while even a thorough clean wont be able to bring back that shine you had from the beginning.

You may not know it, but most floors can be brought back to life with specialized floor cleaning. These services are generally required once ever year or two but are often missed as people don’t realize their importance.

There are two main options when it comes to refurbishing a tired looking floor and bring it back up to a presentable and inviting.

  1. Periodical Scrubbing
  2. Strip and Seal
1. PERIODICAL SCRUBBING

If the floor has been well maintained then you have the option for a Periodical Scrub to bring back the floors back to its former glory.

Depending on the surface, there will be different methods when performing a Periodical Scrub.

  • Tile, Terrazzo, Marble – When working with hard un-sealed floor surfaces, a brush scrub with a penetrating cleaning solution will get into the pores of the material and remove any dirt and grime that will hard to get with just a mop due to the floors porous properties. This will leave you with a clean slate to work with and continue the everyday maintenance of your floors.
  • Vinyl Flooring-A vinyl floor that has been maintained properly will return you the best value when it comes to Periodical scrubbing. When you seal a floor, you add a protective coat of finish on top of the sealer. This finish coat increases the toughness of a sealed floor and will keep it lasting for longer then just a bare unprotected floor. The benefit of maintaining a floor of this type is that a pad scrub will remove the top worn layers of finish until it gets to the clean pristine sealer layer. When this procedure is done you simply re-apply the top sealer coats and your floor is a shiny and protected like a newly sealed floor. The cost of this is significantly less then having to do a refurbishing service on it so its in your best interest to keep on top of a regular cleaning schedule.
2. STRIP & SEAL

When a floor is severely damaged from poor or no maintenance then the only option is to do a full refurbishing service on it. This involves removing all of the old protective layers to a bare clean surface, neutralizing the floor and re-applying the sealer and finish.

The Strip

The process invoices removing the old layers of sealer that may be left on the floor, bringing it back to a bare surface. It is important to do this right, getting into all the corners and under the furniture as the new sealer wont stick well if the floor has patches of old sealer left on it.

The Base-coat

Once the floor is spotless then its is neutralized with a solution and buffed with a orbital buffing machine. This guarantees to remove any residue from the stripping process and smooths out the floor and leaves a shine for the base-coat to seal in when applied.

The base-coat Sealer is then applied to the floor evenly and left to dry. The purpose of the base-coat is that not only does it seal the floor to protect it from damage, but it also acts to fill in any of the small imperfections and holes that you might not be able to see. This will leave the floor smooth which will make mopping and general maintenance a lot easier.

The Finish

The finish is applied on 3 – 4 layers and provides a protection layer on top of the base-coat. This is the layer that takes the wear and tear of everyday traffic and can be stripped back in the future for a partial clean as I mentioned earlier in this post. This is why it is important to do a thorough job when Sealing a floor. Not only will it make your floor look amazing, but it will save you money in the future when cleaning.

This strip and seal process is required about once or twice a year but is a essential part of keeping your floors looking their best.

 

RESULTS THAT MATTER

Sometimes its the little things we miss that matter the most, and even though it doesn’t seem like much, your business will stand out and your customers will notice the change, creating you a closer connection to your clients.

We have had countless amount of reports from our clients about how their customers notice and compliment their new floors, and how much more pleasant the experience that they have.

This goes for employees as well, not only are they happy to have a enjoyable environment to work on, but their end of day cleanup is more efficient as dirt simply mops off with ease on the nice smooth surface.

The investment on refurbishing a floor doesn’t just stop at its appearance and you will get back your return on investment in no time.