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As the expert in cleaning services; safety and accessibility modifications; and water, smoke, and fire damage restoration, we have compiled FAQs and tips under the following topics:

Water Damage

Water damage and bacteria growth can begin within hours after you experience a loss. To increase your chances of a complete recovery, call ServiceMaster Clean as soon as possible. In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to ensure a more successful restoration.

What to do:

  • Water damage and bacteria growth can begin within hours. Call ServiceMaster Clean® of Ottawa immediately at (613) 244-1997.
  • Remove as much water as possible by mopping and blotting
  • Remove wet area rugs or other removable floor coverings. Do not attempt to start removing wall-to-wall carpet.
  • Lift draperies off the floor, loop through a coat hanger and place the hanger on the drapery rod
  • Wipe furniture, prop up wet furniture cushions for even drying and place aluminum foil under furniture legs
  • Move photos, paintings and art objects to a safe, dry location
  • Do not remove books from shelves. Rather, pack them tightly to prevent warping of pages until a restoration professional can begin this specialized drying
  • Open drawers, closet and cabinet doors to enhance drying

What not to do:

  • Do not enter a room with standing water until electricity has been turned off
  • Do not use a regular household vacuum to remove water
  • Do not lift tacked-down carpet without professional help
  • Do not use electrical appliances while on wet carpet or flooring
  • Do not disturb visible mold

Fire Damage

Even after the fire is doused and the smoke cleared, time is of the essence. To increase your chances of a complete recovery, call ServiceMaster Clean of Ottawa as soon as possible at (613) 244-1997. In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to ensure a more successful restoration.

What to do:

  • Corrosive byproducts from fire and smoke can cause irreversible etching in as few as 72 hours. Call ServiceMaster Clean of Ottawa immediately at (613) 244-1997.
  • If the temperature is above 60 degrees, air out your home by opening windows and doors to reduce smoke odor
  • Clean Formica, chrome, porcelain and aluminum fixtures to prevent permanent tarnishing or etching
  • Change the air filter on your furnace it if uses forced hot air
  • Tape damp cheesecloth over important documents to capture loose soot in the air
  • Discard any open food packages.
  • If the electricity is off, clean out the refrigerator and leave doors propped open
  • Send clothing with heavy smoke damage to a qualified restoration dry cleaner

What not to do:

  • Do not touch anything. Oil from your hands can permeate upholstery, walls and woodwork, causing additional damage.
  • Do not wash walls. Incorrect cleaning could compound the soot residue.
  • Do not attempt to clean carpets or upholstered furniture
  • Do not use electrical appliances until having them checked
  • Do not use ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet

Basic carpet maintenance tips

  • Have the carpets professionally cleaned at least once a year - A professional cleaner has the equipment and expertise to fully remove dirt and detergent, and will remove most of the moisture in your carpet, something that most rental units don't do
  • Vacuum carpets at least once a week - Up to 80% of dirt in a carpet is loose dirt that can be removed with regular vacuuming
  • Protect the surface - Have your carpet fibers protected by a protector such as Scotchgard
  • Rotate furniture - Premature wear and soiling take place when traffic paths are unchanged

Basic upholstery maintenance tips

  • Avoid direct sunlight - Modern furniture fabrics are usually very resilient of sunlight; however, under extreme exposure, even these show signs of fading
  • Plump up cushions often - Fillings lose their ability to bounce back if not plumped up to reshape them. Plumping cushions will help them last longer.
  • Rotate cushions often - Cushions not rotated may experience premature and unnecessary wear. To ensure a longer life for your cushions, rotate them often.
  • Vacuum - Upholstered furniture should be vacuumed on a regular basis to remove dust and loose dirt
  • Blot up spills - Spills left unattended may set as stains. Blot spills, never rub!

Spot removal tips

  • If the spot is wet, blot it, don't rub. Rubbing may spread the stain.
  • If the spot is dry, scrape off any excess, loosen soil and vacuum away prior to moistening it. Always rinse cleaned area thoroughly. If not removed, cleaning products may cause the cleaned area to attract soil.
  • When taking out stains, always use a white cloth
  • Clean spots and stains immediately. You will have much better chance of removing them.
  • When using any cleaner, dilute according to direction. A mixture that is too potent may cause damage.
  • Not every stain can be removed. Consult your ServiceMaster Clean of Ottawa professional for cleaning options.
  • Always pre-test the surface to be cleaned. Apply cleaning solution to an inconspicuous area of the same material. If, after five minutes, the material's color transfers to towel, try another product.
  • A mild mineral spirit solution is useful for removing many greasy stains. To remove greasy stains, apply a nonflammable dry-cleaning agent to the spot with a white towel. Work from the edges toward the center. Don't scrub. Dab gently until the spot comes clean. Always pretest any cleaning agent on an inconspicuous part of the carpet and let it dry before continuing.
  • Sprinkle a greasy stain with baking soda, cornstarch, cornmeal, or talcum powder. Leave on at least 6 hours, and then vacuum.
  • Coat less stubborn greasy stains with aerosol shaving cream or carbonated water. Use a hair dryer to speed dry. Then vacuum to remove water-soluble stains, apply some detergent solution (1 1/2 teaspoon mild detergent per pint of water), working from the edges to the center of the stain. Place several layers of white tissues or paper towels over the spot and weight down with books or pots and pans. Let stand about one hour. Replace with fresh tissues or towels and leave overnight. Then fluff up the carpet pile with your fingers.

Cleaning tips for stubborn spots

  • Removing gum - Gum can be removed using ice to harden and freeze the gum and then use a dull knife to remove
  • Magic-marker ink- Hair spray will remove magic-marker ink from surfaces
  • Candle wax dropped on upholstery or carpet - Set a clean, absorbent cloth over the wax stain and run a hot iron on it. KEEP THE IRON MOVING AT ALL TIMES. Lift cloth away and the wax should be removed with the cloth.
  • Ballpoint pen - Use hair spray and be sure to rinse the entire area well with water when finished
  • Blood stains - Corn starch can remove blood stains. Rinse the stain in cold water, and then rub in moistened cornstarch. Place the item in the sun.
  • Grease and oil marks - Gently rub in talcum powder, cornmeal or cornstarch. Let it set and then brush or sponge powder away
  • Latex paint - Soak with dish detergent diluted with 20 parts of water. Agitate the area, blot, rinse and then blot again.
  • Mustard stains - Soak stained area with diluted ammonia. Then dry with a hairdryer.
  • Pet urine - Dampen area with equal parts of white vinegar and water. Then blot dry.
  • Red wine - Use club soda to flush the wine from the carpet fibers

Wall cleaning tips

Different types and qualities of paint greatly affect how you clean a wall, as well as how clean it will come. There are generally four types of paint finishes you might encounter:

Baked enamel (most appliance finishes), epoxy enamel and automotive paints - These paints are durable and pretty stain-resistant. Dirt typically cannot penetrate the hard-finish. These types of surfaces can withstand scouring with mild abrasives and can also handle heavy-duty cleaners and degreasers when necessary. With these finishes, you need to be most careful of scratching or dulling the finish by using harsh abrasives, steel wool, colored scrub pads and strong solvents.

General-purpose enamels - This type of paint is the most common found on interior walls, especially kitchen and bathroom walls. This type of paint is pretty stain-resistant and can also handle moderate scrubbing. You should be careful, however, that you don't use abrasive substances or colored scrub pads, as this finish can be scratched. Most of the time, you should use a neutral cleaner solution and a white, nylon-backed scrub sponge. Only use heavy-duty cleaners or abrasive cleansers when you're willing to take your chances on ruining the paint. Make sure if you have latex enamel paints that you don't leave them wet for more than a minute or so. Oil-based enamels are more water-resistant. Keep in mind that gloss enamels are the most durable and washable, followed by semi-glosses and then satin finishes.

Latex flat - This type of paint, which is a pretty common household paint, is not as washable as enamel paints. When you use heavy-duty cleaners or scrub the surface hard, you run the risk of removing the paint along with any dirt. Be sure to use mild detergents and gentle scrubbing, and don't let any solution sit on the surface for more than a minute. Exterior paints - Obviously, this type of paint is mostly used outside. These paints are typically oil-based or latex, and should be scrubbed only with a mild detergent and then rinsed with a hose. You may need to use a long-handled brush for hard-to-reach areas or stubborn spots. Some people like to use pressure washers on the outside of their homes, but these, along with other harsh chemicals, can loosen the paint. These should be used with caution.

Removing candle wax from walls - Candle wax can be removed from walls or other surfaces with an iron and a white towel. Set the towel over the wax and gently move the hot iron over the towel. When the wax seeps through to the towel, rotate the towel to a clean area. ALWAYS KEEP THE IRON MOVING.

Floor cleaning and maintenance tips

Wood floors - Pre-vacuum the floor to remove and loosen soil that could potentially scratch the surface of the polyurethane. Then, if you are certain the floor does have urethane "coating," then you can damp mop with warm water and a gentle, light detergent. Be sure to only damp mop and not saturate the floor with water. In fact, you may want to even consider towel drying.

Vinyl floors - Sweep and damp mop regularly, using a gallon of water and a dash of dishwashing detergent, to keep abrasive soil off the surface. Scrub as needed with a white nylon backed sponge to loosen stubborn, ground in soil. Nothing cleans as well as doing it on your hands and knees when you have time. Even no-wax floors eventually need waxing; this will help to prevent further deterioration. Quick fix for shiny wood floors - Put a piece of waxed paper under your dust mop. Dirt will stick to the mop and the wax will shine your floors.

Removing heel marks - Take a pencil eraser and rub them off

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