Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs: What To Do

“Good night.  Sleep tight.  Don’t let the bed bugs bite.”

My mother used to say this to me every night before bed when I was a child.  For a while, I actually ended up thinking that bed bugs were just an old wives’ tale; something mothers say just because their mothers said it.  But no, bed bugs are real and they are one of the biggest nuisance pests in the world.

What Are Bed Bugs?

Bed BugsBed bugs are parasitic insects that feed on blood. The species Cimex Lectulariusin in particular feeds exclusively on human blood.  The insect requires blood to complete each of its stages of metamorphosis.  They use body temperature, moisture, carbon dioxide, and visual cues to locate a sleeping host to feed on.  Bed bugs were almost completely eradicated in the developed world in the 1940s.  In the mid-90s, they began to reappear, most likely because of increased international travel, bans on certain pesticides, and increasing poison resistance.

 

What’s The Danger?

If you’re worried about diseases, you can relax – at least a bit.  So far, all research indicates that, although they can carry a number of human pathogens, they do not transmit them.  While this makes them less worrisome than fleas or ticks, they are still a nuisance.  Their bites cause swelling and redness often mistaken for rashes, and scarring.  Most bites show no symptoms at all, but occasionally they can cause moderate to severe allergic reactions.  If the bites are left untreated, or are scratched, it is possible for them to become infected.

 

How Do I Spot Them?

bed bug eggsIf you suffer bites during the night, it’s a pretty obvious sign that you might have an infestation.  The bites will appear on exposed skin, most commonly the neck, shoulders, arms and other areas of the upper body.  Occasionally, there will be multiple bites in a tight line or cluster.  If you experience any reaction, it will usually occur within 1-10 days.  If you experience bites, they will usually heal within a few days if you don’t scratch them.  Speak to a pharmacist or doctor about getting some anti-itch cream to help.

Since bites often don’t get reactions, you may need to look for other indications.  Look carefully in your mattress and linen for eggs.  They will look like small, pale poppy seeds.  You might also recognize their droppings.  Look for small rust-colored or dark brown stains.  The material they fall on usually absorbs them, but they may also form small beads. Large-scale infestations also begin to give off a noticeable odor described as being like coriander.  At higher concentrations, this odor becomes highly unpleasant.

 

Can Alpine Get Rid of Them?

We get asked this question a lot. Unfortunately, Alpine Cleaning and Restoration does not have the proper training to get rid of bed bugs.  That requires an exterminator.  We personally would recommend 5 Star Pest Control.  They have the know-how and tools to get rid of infestations of all kinds, from rodents, to biting insects.  Bed bugs won’t stand a chance.  It is best to call a pest control company rather than try to do it yourself, as bed bugs can easily stow away on clothing, moving from one room of the house to another as you try to get rid of them, and they can go for days and sometimes weeks or months without feeding, depending on the stage of their life cycle. Without professional assistance, it is very difficult to get rid of them.

 

Good Luck!

While we can’t help you get rid of them, we get asked this question enough that we felt it might be a good idea to give some basic information on how to spot them and what to do about it.  For all your other cleaning and restoration needs, feel free to get in touch.  We will be glad to help you out with any problems we’re qualified to deal with. If it’s a pest problem, contact a local extermination company.

deep cleaning

Deep Cleaning Your Carpet

Deep cleaning

Deep Cleaning

Carpets can get very dirty without us even noticing.  One day we might look down and ask ourselves, “how did this get so dirty?”  Many people hire a professional to come and do the cleaning for them, others prefer to do it themselves.   But whether you do it yourself, or hire a professional, deep cleaning is important for making your carpets last

It’s Important to Have Your Carpet Cleaned Professionally

You might be wondering why you should hire a professional.  After all, you vacuum once a week, right?  Doesn’t that take care of the problem?  Well, not really.  Over time, it’s normal for carpets to fill with dirt, oils, and dead skin particles.  Even the best vacuum cleaners can leave a lot of this debris behind.   The shampoos used by professional equipment penetrate deep into the fibers to break up and dissolve all those trapped impurities.  

Have you ever been on a long hiking trip or a campout where you didn’t have a shower?  Do you remember the oily, grungy feeling in your hair? Do you remember how good it felt once you got in the shower and lathered up with shampoo?  That’s what it’s like for your carpet if all you do is vacuum.  Even if we take our shoes off, there are dead skin cells, food particles, and other impurities to deal with.  

Once the deep cleaning is done with professional equipment, it will feel refreshing and soft again, just like it was when it was new.  When done on a regular schedule, you will ensure that your carpet will last as long as possible and you will have the peace of mind that the dust mites and every other impurity will be shampooed out with our professional cleaning equipment.

How Often Do I Need To Deep Clean My Carpet?

Every home has different circumstances that determine how often your carpet should be professionally cleaned.  A general rule on warranties is to professionally clean them every 12 to 24 months, depending on use and how many kids or pets you have.  Some families should clean their carpets even more often.  It also depends a lot on personal preference.  Just know that regular deep cleaning is important to making your carpets last longer, which will save you money in the long run.

Our Process

Our process of deep cleaning a carpet is very simple and effective.  We use state of the art machines that deep clean the carpet and remove stains.  We can go as far as moving furniture and everything else out to get your entire carpet clean.  Are you the DIY type?  We also rent out our equipment to save your hard earned cash.

If you hire us, Alpine’s deep cleaning procedure includes many steps that other carpet cleaners overlook.  First, we balance the ph levels in your carpet to give you a long lasting clean. Without balancing ph levels your carpet will become dirtier faster. We focus on the details to ensure the highest quality carpet cleaning in the industry. From corner guards to spotting, the details are what set us apart.  Alpine pre-spots at no extra charge, use Citrus Solv to leave your carpets smelling fresh, and several other important steps that others charge extra for.

In order to get the most longevity out of a carpet we suggest using professional equipment that extracts the gunk and deep soils that nest in the base of your carpet.  The reason carpet prematurely wears, is because of these impurities that start ripping apart the fibers in the carpet.  It’s kind of like using a face scrub to get dead skin cells off, except for carpet doesn’t reproduce its own fibers back after being worn off.

 

DIY Process

Those who do the DIY process can get good results if they are willing to put in the elbow grease necessary.  There are several ways to do this but one of the most popular ways I have heard of is to purchase a few cans of foam carpet cleaner from the local store as well as a hand held bristle brush.  There are just a few easy steps.

  1. vacuum – make sure to do a thorough job, the more you suck up now, the easier the next steps will be.
  2. spray down the entire carpet – with the bottled foam carpet cleaner, spray everywhere, especially high traffic areas.  By doing so, this will soak into the carpet and start dissolving the deposits.
  3. scrub – This is where good work ethic comes in handy! scrub the floor in a circular motion form one side of the room working towards the other.
  4. Let it sit – It’s important to let the carpet sit because this will give the cleaner to break down the grime deposits and allow them to work their way up.
  5. Vacuum again.  This is the most important step because you don’t want your hard work to go to waste! Vacuum again to suck up all of the dried impurities that your scrubber and carpet cleaner brought to the surface.

If this sounds like too much, but you still want to do it yourself, we also rent out our professional equipment for very affordable rates!  Get in touch with us today if you want to know more.

upholstery cleaning

Upholstery Cleaning

upholstery cleaning

Photo by Benjamin D. Esham

Upholstery Cleaning

Upholstery can be an expensive investment and you want to take care of it as best you can.  If you want your upholstery to last, regular cleaning, either by a professional, or with professional equipment is important.  How often you should have it professionally cleaned varies, but the recommendation is every 12-18 months.  Depending on how much you use it, and how many children or pets you have, you might need to clean more often.

Vacuum

The first step in the cleaning process is to vacuum.  You want to remove debris that might be disolved into the couch fibers themselves.  I would suggest you vacuum thoroughly for several minutes with the upholstery brush tool before going into any cleaning.  This will prepare the fibers and help you get ready for the more deep cleaning.

Spot Cleaning  Your Upholstery

The next step to cleaning your upholstery is to do some spot cleaning.  It’s important to use a spot cleanser that doesn’t change the original color of your couch.  Before spot cleaning, test the formula in an discreet area of your couch first.  Once it dries, check to see if there is any discoloration.   Once you’ve tested the solution, feel free to treat the other spots in the areas that need to be treated.

Cleaning Your Upholstery

You can now dive into the actual cleaning.  If you are on a tight budget, some simple clear dish soap in warm water will work great.  For microfiber-suede, a 50% alcohol-water spray works well to clean and dry quickly.  You will also need some clean white dish cloths or sponges.  Work up some suds, then gently scrub in a circular motion over the entire couch.

After you’ve cleaned your entire couch, you’re done!  Just let it dry and then enjoy your cleaner, brighter furniture!  If you want a deeper clean, we offer top of the line equipment that not only cleans the fibers on the surface but also deep cleans your upholstery fibers for a fresh new living room!

We Can Help

If you’d like to have the assistance of a professional, we are always available.  Get in touch with us today to see how we can help.

what to save

What to Save

What to Save After A House Fire

Before a professional fire damage restoration team can clean up after a house fire, you have to decide what to save.  This is often the most difficult part.  If the fire was put out with water, you’ll also need to contend with water damage.  Fortunately, you can save most of your belongings.  Just make sure to follow the safety rules before you throw anything away.

Food items

Its important to be cautious while dealing with the food situation.   First, throw away any burned food.  Food exposed to heat can become a nesting ground for bacteria, so throw away anything exposed to the heat, smoke, or ash.  Trash dented, rusted, or bulging canned foods.  Its better to be safe then risk getting food poisoning.

Refrigerated Food

A properly sealed refrigerator will keep cold for about four hours without power, so you might be able to save the food in it.  If your refrigerator was not damaged in the fire, check its contents. Confirm that the food is still cold and that no soot got in. Otherwise, a good rule of thumb is simply, “if in doubt, throw it out.”

Frozen Food

Any food in the freezer can be used if it still has ice crystals on it and if it still feels cold and hard. If not, discard it. Again, whenever in doubt, discard it.

Medicines and Cosmetics

It’s tempting to try and save medicines because they’re so expensive, but you have to be careful.  You don’t want to put anything harmful in your body.  Inspect medications and cosmetics carefully.  Save them only if they’re clean of soot, dust, and any chemicals used to extinguish the fire.

Clothes and Textiles

You can easily save clothes and textiles.  Discard these materials only if burnt, otherwise simply clean and disinfect them. Be extra cautious with clothing for babies and children.

Other Contents

You can save most other contents of your home.  Clean and disinfect them to make sure they’re soot and dust free.

Let Us Help

Alpine Cleaning and Restoration are experts in fire damage restoration and are there to help you if you need it.  Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you need any help.  Our staff is on call 24/7 to help you.

mold removal

Mold Removal

Mold removal

 

Fuzzy, dark spots dot your shower tile.  Large, black patches coat sections of your basement walls.  You’ve got a serious mold problem.  Mold removal can be expensive to remove, but it’s even more expensive not to.  It causes the value of your home to plummet.  More importantly, it’s a health risk.  The spores cause allergic reactions, leading to rashes, coughing, wheezing, and eye irritation.  Prolonged exposure can have serious health complications, including weakening your immune system and potentially causing brain damage.

Here are a few things to do about mold removal.

Mold Removal: What You Need To Do

1. Keep Things Dry

Prevention is the key.  The most important thing is to keep things dry. Mold spreads in warm, wet areas. In areas where the humidity can get as high as 70%, prevention is a constant struggle.  One suggestion is to invest in a high quality dehumidifier. Even in places like here in Utah or Idaho, mold can still take root, so don’t assume you’re safe.  Make sure your dryer has an anti-humidity vent.  Your goal is to keep the humidity level at 54% or lower. Check your home for leaks.  If you find any, clean them up with a dry towel, then call a professional plumber to fix the leak if you can’t do it yourself.

2. Circulate the Air and Regulate the Temperature

Mold thrives is places of low light, stale air, warm temperatures.  If the temperature is above 75° F, then you’re at risk.   Try to keep the temperature between 69-73°F for a perfect middle ground. Keep fresh air moving in your home and find ways to let in natural sunlight. Change the filters in your heating and air conditioning vents regularly.  For the best results, invest in a quality air purification system that includes a HEPA filter.  When you take a shower, open a window and turn on a fan, if you have one available. This will help lower humidity as well as circulate the air.

3. Know Where To Look

Closets are mold’s favorite place to grow.  Check them regularly and amek sure there is no growth. Never place damp clothing in your closets.  Basements, are also a good place to cultivate spores because of the lower light levels and occasional plumbing leaks.  Watch for signs of dampness.  Plants also are a mold.  Avoid putting too many inside your home and space them out.  Plastic plants are better for decorations because they don’t require water.

4. Clean It Up

Despite your best efforts, mold may still take root.  When mold starts to grow, it’s important that you get rid of it quickly.  The longer it sits, the deeper it seeds itself, and the harder it is to remove.  Remember that mold spores are often toxic, so you need protection.  Wear a mask, eye protection, and protective gloves.  Keep in mind that not all masks can filter mold spores, so check the packaging before you buy them.

For small patches on bathroom tiles, a good spray of bleach can kill it, but be sure to leave a window open so toxic fumes don’t build up. Sometimes, it’s better to dampen the mold before cleaning, since it can lessen the amount of spores in the air while you clean.  Soak a washcloth in warm water and dab the infested area a few times before wiping it off.

5. Know What You Can’t Clean

For certain surfaces, mold removal is impossible.  Porous surfaces have too many spaces for spores to sink into to ever be cleaned once mold takes root.  Carpeting, drywall, wallpaper, and fabric are all on that list. If you find mold taking root in them, then you have to remove those surfaces and replace them

Give Us A Call

If you have any questions, or would like some professional help, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.  Alpine Cleaning and Restoration has specialists in mold removal.  If you live in Utah or Southern Idaho, our experts are on call 24/7 to help you with all your cleaning needs.

basement floods

What to Do When Your Basement Floods

Basement flooding

Basement Floods

When your basement floods, it can be a nightmare.  The whole process of draining the area and preparing the damage can be really intimidating.  Alpine Cleaning and Restoration recommends that you follow these steps so that the clean up is more effective:

  • Stay SAFE and Recognize the Risks! Please DO NOT Risk Serious Injury

A flooded basement can be a serious health and safety risk.  If your basement floods, follow these rules to make sure you stay safe.

  • Avoid going down into the basement if possible.

In severe basement floods (water covering the basement floor to a depth of an inch or more), it’s best to stay out of the basement until the water is pumped out by a professional. Standing water in your basement can contain harmful bacteria, so wear protective clothing if you have to enter the area.

  • DO NOT touch electrical wiring or fixtures.

ALWAYS turn off electricity and natural gas before going into a flooded basement.  Electrical devices other than a battery-powered flashlight put you at risk of electric shock, so avoid using them.

basement floods

  • If it’s safe, Try to Determine the Cause and Shut Off the Failed Plumbing or Water Source as Quickly as You Can!

Heavy rains leading to swollen groundwater levels cause the majority of basement floods.  Some basement flooding is caused by plumbing, or other water source failures. If a water pipe, washer hose, or other pressurized water source fails, it could spew gallons into your basement. In this type of situation, your first step in solving the problem would be to turn off any failed plumbing to prevent more flooding. Sometimes the source of unwanted water is obvious, such as a busted water line. In other cases, water may be leaking into your basement in different areas.  You may need to took carefully to find them.

  • Call Alpine Cleaning and Restoration and We Will Be There to Help ASAP!

 Alpine Cleaning and Restoration Specialists are professionals who come to the rescue when you need someone to pump out a flooded basement.  We have the equipment to dry out your home before rot and mold has a chance to settle in. You will want to have us visit your home within 48 hours to avoid mold growth.  That’s why Alpine Cleaning and Restoration Specialists promises a 1-hour response time to all flooding emergencies.  Get in touch with us and we will be there imediatley.

Emergency fire damage restoration

Emergency Restoration Tips

What Do You Do In an Emergency?

Fires and floods can do some pretty serious damage to your home.  Even after the dust has settled, the emergency is still only half over.  Now comes the costly and time consuming business of cleaning and restoring your home.  But where do you start?  Here are some do’s and don’ts for general emergency restoration.

Smoke and Fire Damage

Emergency fire restoration

Do’s

  • Blow off or brush-vacuum loose soot particles from upholstery, drapes, and carpets.
  • Cover carpeted traffic areas with towels or old linens to prevent additional soiling.
  • Discard open food packages. The food could be contaminated.
  • If your electrical service is off, clean out your freezer and refrigerator. Leave the doors propped open or place charcoal in the unit.
  • Send clothing with heavy smoke damage to a qualified professional dry cleaner.
  • Clean formica and chrome fixtures in the kitchen and bathroom to prevent permanent tarnishing.
  • Wipe residue from porcelain bath fixtures to prevent etching.
  • Wipe the leaves of house plants to remove smoke residue.
  • Change the air filter on your furnace if it uses forced hot air.
  • Tape cheese cloth over the intake and outlet air registers to capture any loose soot in the air. This is even more effective if the cheese cloth is damp.
  • When the outside temperature is above 60 degrees, air out the house to reduce smoke odor.

Don’ts

  • Do not attempt to wash any papered or flat painted walls without consulting your professional cleaner. Incorrect cleaning procedures will compound the soot residue problem.
  • Do not attempt to clean carpets or upholstered furniture. Incorrect procedures could also increase damage to them.
  • Do not use electrical appliances that have been close to fire or water before having them checked. They could malfunction.
  • Do not use ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet. A short circuit could result.
  • Do not touch anything. Soot on your hands can permeate upholstery, walls, and woodwork, causing further damage.
  • Do not eat food that has been exposed to fire or smoke.
  • Do not wait to call for professional help.

Water Damage

Emergency flood restoration

Do’s

  • When the outside temperature is above 60 degrees, use dehumidifiers if available.
  • Use fans to circulate the air and assist drying.
  • Remove as much water as possible by mopping and blotting.
  • Wipe furniture dry.
  • Lift draperies off carpet, loop through a coat hanger, and place the hanger on the drapery rod.
  • Prop up wet furniture cushions for even drying and place small wood blocks or aluminum foil under furniture legs.
  • Remove wet area rugs or other floor coverings.
  • Open furniture drawers, closet doors, and luggage to enhance drying.
  • Move photos, paintings, and art objects to a safe, dry location.
  • Remove wet fabrics and dry them as soon as possible. Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.
  • Remove damp books from shelves and spread them out to dry.
  • If damage occurs during a cool season, leave heat on; if in summer, use an air conditioner if available.

Don’ts

  • Do not attempt to remove chemical stains such as ink or paint.
  • NEVER operate damaged electrical appliances.
  • Do not throw away damaged wood chips or other small articles. They might be helpful for repair.
  • Do not use household cleaning products on fabrics, upholstery, or carpet without consulting a professional cleaner.

Let Us Help

When an emergency hits, response time is critical to avoid permanent damage to your home.  That’s why Alpine Cleaning and Restoration Specialists guarantees that we’ll be there within 60 minutes of your call or e-mail.  Your satisfaction is our first priority and we’ll do our best to get you back on your feet as soon as possible.  Get in touch with us today and find out how we can help you.