Carpet and Allergies

Did you know the air in your home can be up to one hundred times more polluted than the air outside? Carpeting acts like an air filter, trapping the pollutants tracked into your home. Regular carpet maintenance is imperative to remove these allergy-causing particles from carpeting and to maintain indoor air quality.


The textiles in your home build-up accumulated soils and debris from every-day use. This accumulated soil comes from:

• soils and debris we bring in on our shoes including pollen, pet dander, dust mites, pesticides, bacteria, and even mold spores;
• spills from food, drinks, and who knows what else;
• all the air borne dust, oil and grease from cooking, smoke and every other pollution that gets deposited in the carpet.

With these drawbacks, why use carpet? Wouldn’t it be better to remove the carpeting and just have hardwood or tile floors? After all, many children suffer from asthma and other allergies. Even many doctors suggest removing the carpet to help with these kinds of problems.

Pollutants are tracked onto all types of floor coverings, but carpeting traps more lint and dust than smooth surfaces. The truth is carpet acts like a giant filter on the floor which traps and collects soil. Compare this with a hard floor surface that cannot grab these same contaminates. They continue to swirl around the room like dust bunnies or become air borne with the slightest air movement.

Poorly maintained carpet can allow large quantities of dust and debris to build up on carpet, causing significant quantities of particles to be released into the air during the course of daily activity. Regularly removing these particles through regular vacuuming and periodic steam extraction cleaning extends the life of the carpet, removes many of the allergens which can trigger asthma and other allergies, and provides a healthier indoor environment for the home’s occupants.

At Seminole Carpet Cleaning, we clean for health. Our goal is to remove as much of these allergy-causing particles as possible, leaving your carpets clean and your nose clear. We offer deep steam extraction cleanings using powerful equipment and environmentally safe cleaning agents to safely and gently remove the toughest spots and odors from carpet.

Effects of Urine on Carpet

Below are some of the effects urine has on carpeting and upholstery, and reasons why prompt professional cleaning is imperative to removing the stains and odor, and preventing serious damage.

Stains and Odor

Urine is made up of several waste products of metabolism such as urea, cholesterol (lipids), and uric acid. Another component, called urochrome, gives urine the yellow color. The exact make up depends on the animal’s diet, health, age, and other factors. When urine leaves the body, it comes in contact with bacteria in the urethra, the animal’s skin, and microorganisms in the carpet. The warm acid environment is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, which begin to flourish. The bacteria give off gasses, which is one component of the odor we smell.

As the urine decomposes, it changes in pH from an acid to an alkali. Alkaline salt crystals from when the acidic urine reacts with the ammonia being created. These hygroscopic salts draw moisture from the air and remain slightly moist and chemically active. As long as it remains active, it will produce ammonia gasses. Dried urine salts will give off more ammonia gas once re-moistened, which is why the odor is stronger on humid days or after cleanings.


Pet urine stains can have a permanent bleaching effect on some types of carpet depending on how they are dyed. Over time, as urine sits in your carpet, it becomes highly alkaline, and can bleach out primary carpet dyes until you are left with a yellowish or white discoloration. Bleaching may not become apparent until the carpet is cleaned, at which point the carpet dyes previously released by the pet urine are removed, and suddenly a light spot appears. At that point, the only option to repair the damage is to re-dye the spot or patch the carpet.

It’s Not Just On the Carpet

Although a pet stain may look small on the surface, it can be 2-3 times the size underneath. Just a few ounces of urine can quickly soak deep into the carpet backing, the padding, and even the sub-floor below. Urine odors can permeate from the floor, be it cement or wood, from the tack strip, and even from the framework of the house behind the walls. Cleaning the area as soon as possible will help prevent the urine from soaking through to the backing and pad below and avoid permanent bleaching.


Time Does Matter

Besides the obvious health and sanitary issues left untreated, urine causes difficult to remove yellow stains, or worse yet, dye loss. The amount of time that these components remain in the carpet fibers has a great deal to do with the success rate of completely removing both the spots and the odor, and prevent bleaching or other damaging effects.

How to Choose a Carpet Cleaning Professional

Not all carpet cleaning companies are created equal. While most companies promise quality service for a low price, that is not usually what you get! Read below to find out what you should look for in a carpet cleaning company.

What to Look For

Experience and Customer Feedback

Knowledge comes not only with education, but experience. Ask how long a company has been in business, and check social media sites, search engines, and places like Angie’s List for customer feedback. Also, ask your friends and neighbors who they have used in the past and their experiences with the company. One or two bad reviews does not necessarily mean a company is bad, but many poor reviews should raise a red flag. You can also ask the company for references if the information is not available online.

License & Insurance

In areas like Tallahassee, small cleaning companies come and go rapidly. Ask the company you call if they are licensed with the State of Florida. You can also check for this online at A cleaning company should also carry insurance for the services they offer.


If a price sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Ever heard the saying, “you get what you pay for?” Price should never be the main reason for choosing a cleaning company. Always read the fine print on advertised specials.

Cleaning Method

The IICRC defines the five main principles of carpet cleaning as:

Dry Soil Removal: Thorough vacuuming helps to remove dry soils from carpet fibers

Soil Suspension: The application of the proper pre-treatment agent to loosen soils from carpet fibers. There are four characteristics of soil suspension: application of chemicals, use of heat or temperature to speed up chemical reactions, agitation of carpet fibers to aid in distribution of chemicals, and dwell time to complete chemical reaction, or CHAT.

Soil Extraction: The most common method from removing soils from carpet is the hot water extraction method, also known as steam cleaning.

Grooming, as necessary: Grooming of carpet helps eliminate mattng of carpet and distribute cleaning agents.

Drying: With normal temperature and humidity conditions, carpet should take no longer than 24 hours to dry. Use of air movers, ceiling fans, and, with the right conditions, the outdoor envionment (opening windows) can speed the drying process. The ideal dry time for carpet should be around 6-8 hours.

All Pre-Sprays are Not Created Equal

You’ve probably heard a carpet cleaner say, “the price includes a pre-spray to remove your spots.” Did you respond with “That’s great, sign me up”? WAIT! Not all pre-sprays used in professional carpet cleaning are right for every job. There are a few more things you should know.

Pre-spray is one of the first steps in cleaning carpet, and choosing the right solution is important to providing the most thorough cleaning possible. The pH of a cleaning product plays a major role in the quality of a carpet cleaning job, and it is important that the cleaner understands how it works.

Generally, choosing a cleaning formula with a pH opposite of the soil type’s pH produces the best results. The pH scale ranges from 0-14, with neutral being 7. The lower end of the scale is acid, and the higher end is alkaline. Opposites attract, and the same is true with pH. For example, acidic soils, such as fruit juice spills, should be cleaned with an alkaline cleaner. It is important to choose the appropriate cleaning formula, as using the incorrect pH for the fiber type, or strong pH levels in either direction, can destroy fibers and negatively affect dyes.

Most cleaning chemicals for synthetic fibers are alkaline (high pH) in nature, since soil removal happens best at alkaline pH levels. High pH (alkaline) cleaners work well on olefin, polyester, nylon, and acrylic fibers. It also works well to remove protein stains, oils, and grease from fibers. Wool is a protein, and requires cleaning chemicals with mildly acidic pH levels.

While high pH or alkaline cleaners can be the best cleaning option for many textiles, and the outcome can be sparkling, they leave the fibers prone to re-soiling quickly and can leave the carpet with a sticky or crunchy feel. This is why it is important to neutralize pH.

The natural pH of most carpet fibers is near neutral (7). For wool, the natural pH will be between 5.5 and 7. For the life of the fiber and to keep from attracting soils, we should leave the fibers as close to possible to their natural pH when we have finished cleaning. Treating the fibers with an acid rinse agent accomplishes this.

So, ask what pre-spray formula is best for your carpet type, and make sure the company is neutralizing the pH following the cleaning. If you are having natural fibers such as wool or silk cleaned, make sure the company is taking precautions to protect the fibers and dyes.

Our technicians are trained to determine the type of fibers he is cleaning, and choose the right cleaning product for every job. He will also attempt to identify each type of stain to determine the appropriate cleaner to remove it, and will neutralize the pH of the carpet once finished using our fabric softening rinse.

Questions to Ask
What is included with the cleaning service?
At a minimum, the cleaning should include application of a pre-spray and a deep steam extraction.Does the price quoted include specialty treatments?
This includes treatments such as enzyme for pet stains, high traffic area treatment, carpet protection application, etc. Many times these are at an additional cost.Will you move my furniture?
Typically, furniture moving is not included in the price of carpet cleaning unless you ask for it specifically.Will you finish the cleaning with a low pH treatment?
Many companies use high pH cleaners on carpet. While they clean well, it makes your carpet a magnet to dirt, allowing it to re-soil easily. Ask if the carpet’s pH will be lowered following the cleaning to help it stay clean longer.Do you guarantee your work, and for how long?
A good carpet cleaning company should offer some type of guarantee. Sometimes stains come back, or other issues occur, so you want to know if you have options should this occur. Also, ask about the time frame for the guarantee so you can be sure you call in time if there is a problem.