Dirty Little Secrets of pH – Part 4
© Copyright 2009
After the carpet was dyed, sooner or latter it would get replaced because we couldn’t stand it anymore or it was just time for something new. What did our friends, the chemical companies have to offer?
At one time it was only the fortunate few which could afford to hire their own interior decorator. It was a statement of their style and affluence. Over coffee table talk you could refer to your style by the name of your decorator, much like some would speak about their designer clothes. Oh, he is wearing Armani or she is wearing Valentino (or some name of some other top fashion designer). Most of the style was the designer’s own choosing. We did not influence the style; we were influenced by their style or were just ‘lucky’ I guess, to live with their likes.
Along the way, people became much more involved in the process. We decided we wanted what we want. Well, what goes with just about everything, white right? Is white all right? I guess so if you want all white walls, but what about carpet. Well, we went there too. Remember dye sites? Lighter carpet has more available dye sites and the darker colors have less. The ‘in’ thing became white carpeting. Back to the chemical companies, we go again. They came up with a kind of invisible dye to try and fill up all those open dye sites.
Which do you suppose is harder to clean and keep clean, darker carpets or white? Which of these do you think might last longer? Sooner or later (usually and mostly sooner than than later), we would have to replace the carpet, so we do.
The carpet installers would come in, pull up your carpeting and you notice spots on the pad beneath it. They pull up the pad and maybe there are some more spots or stains under the pad. Maybe you notice the nails in the tack strip which held the carpet and pad in place are rusty. Now how do you suppose that happened? Maybe we discover some spot that belongs to Fido the dog or Fifi the cat, but they certainly could not be our pets, because our pets would not do that right? Well, it turns out that those spots are stains. Stains are permanent. So what do we do? We turn to the Chemical Companies of course.
Most of these chemicals only mask the smell, why, because they do not use and apply the principles of pH balancing. Here is a dirty little secret. Urine never completely dries! If you doubt this or that you pet ever has accidents, just turns the lights off in the room so it is good and dark. Borrow a black light from some hippie friend from the 60’s, turn it on and watch those hidden spots glow or fluoresce. To really get rid of this from the carpet, you usually have to cut out the carpet, the pad beneath and if it is a wooden floor, you need to treat it and then paint it with pigmented shellac. If you do not do all of these things, the chances are great that when the humidity rises, so will the odor, why, because urine never totally dries.
Oh, and after the carpet and pad is removed; rusty tack strip is removed, and stains are handled, what is sand, grit and other strange looking stuff doing lying on the floor? How did that get there? The answers are the lack of proper vacuuming and equipment; tracking, grinding, over wetting, and chemical residue left from cleaning agents, Teflon coatings and other stuff, forced into the carpet by gravity, into the pad, through that and there that stuff is, laying on the floor, underneath the pad. What other stuff?
Carpet is woven into a mesh like material, usually made of Polypropylene. Another name for this is olefin and it is made from petroleum or oil. Like oil, it floats on water. This is good material for outdoor carpet or if you live on a boat, but anywhere else? This material is used to prevent moisture from penetrating the carpet and damaging the floor beneath, but it is not 100% effective. Oh, did I mention that like oil, it attracts oil or soil. It does not stain like other fibers, but it attracts soil!!! It can only be solution dyed (while in the liquid polymer state), colors or not as vibrant and is not as soft as other fibers. Oh, and the pads were usually made of recycled used sponges melded together.
To protect the carpet from more moisture damage and to give carpet it’s stability, another backing is attached and this mesh is glued or sandwiched together with a combination of latex and other material. If these two layers become separated from excessive moisture and possibly from chemicals, they can become ‘de-laminated’. Flooding can also cause this to occur.
Once carpet becomes de-laminated it either in part or in full, must be repaired or replaced. Backing material in carpet can also break down. So when you see this strange stuff underneath your carpet and pad on the floor, now you have an idea of what it is and how it got there.
Please do not misunderstand. Carpeting can be a good thing, as it acts like a filter. It filters noise and makes the room quieter, warmer and more comfortable. It filters dirt and all kinds of stuff that otherwise might migrate to somewhere else. It filters dust and dirt that might otherwise be dislodged when we walk on it or is picked up by air movement and inhaled into our lungs or absorbed through our skin. For many, this is a major source and cause for allergies and other health related problems.
Oh, so you think this is not important since you have hardwood floors. Trust me on this, it is cheaper to maintain carpet than it is to maintain hardwood floors, IF you care for the hardwood floors correctly.
Here is one simple way to compare carpet and hardwood floors. Get two cats and allow them to live in your home where you have carpet. Then remove the carpet and either refinish the hardwood floors underneath (if you have them), or install them new. Now watch the cat hair fly, float, clump up and check how often you might sneeze, even if you are not allergic to pet dander. No problem, use a dust mop and dust cloths etc. right? Carpet you may need to vacuum around once a week and cleaned 2 – 4 times a years, but hardwood floors where cats live, how about mopping or dusting EVERY DAY! The point is not whether or not one should not have or should get rid of their wonderful pets, but carpet filters stuff you just might not want to inhale and hardwood floors do not.
Sound? Right, what does the room sound like before and after; with or without carpet. We bought a new piano. We had to buy an area rug to put under it, just to absorb some of the sound or maybe go deaf. We either must live with this or buy a lot more stuff for walls, floors, stairs and rooms to absorb the sound. What used to be a more quiet environment now more gives off, echoes, echoes. 🙂
Go stand in a well lit room of carpet then another one with hardwood floors and watch what floats in the air you might be breathing.
Carpet does a pretty good job of keeping the room warmer, slowing cold or hot air drafts, and in overall insulating the room.
Check your utility bills if you have carpet and then compare those bills with hardwood floors after you tear out the carpet.
Don’t get me wrong, I love hardwood floors and they are the ‘in’ thing in many areas now. But finishes darken over time, break down and moisture from various sources can penetrate the wood and stain it. Wood can scratch, especially if you are an animal purist and do not believe in having your pets de-clawed. Wood floors need to be dusted, mopped, cleaned, buffed and eventually, re-finished. All of this translates into time and money. I guarantee you, it is cheaper to properly maintain carpet, unless you just don’t care how the floors look or how long they will last.
Remember, I said trust me on this? Well, we tore out all our carpet and everything you have just read is exactly our situation! The truth is, hardwood floors are beautiful, a personal choice and they need a lot of TLC (tender loving care). So if you are OK with the extra time and money needed to maintain hardwood floors (one way or another), by all means, Go for It!
So this carpet, this filter can be a good thing, but it just needs to be taken care of properly and professionally. You should note that when it is made at the factory it is wound in rolls and protected with a sleeve of plastic. Immediately after it is installed for several hours, all new carpet releases what are called, ‘off gases.’ Your room should be properly ventilated with fresh air. If you are highly sensitive it might be a good idea to leave your home for several hours with the windows open and or fans blowing to move out these gases. Don’t forget to move the pets out too, including birds! Maybe it is not a good idea to do this when it’s cold outside? The dirty little secret to having your carpet last as long as possible and when to have it professionally cleaned is…
…always clean, clean carpet!
It is cheaper in the long run and your stuff lasts longer if you clean, what appears to be clean. If it looks like it needs to be cleaned, it may already be too late. Hire a real professional. Don’t forget the IICRC and to check credentials and references.
So, back to pH, to clean an oil (acid), you need an alkaline. In the end, your cleaned item should be as close to neutral or a 7 on the pH scale as is possible. The same principles used for cleaning carpet, apply to upholstered furniture, clothing, the floors, walls, your vehicles, and basically anything you would ever need to clean. This includes our pets and US as well!
Yes, pH is extremely important to clean the dirt or soil from our bodies too. Look on the bottle of your shampoo, bath gel or some other personal hygiene product and see if it reads something like…
Oh, one more thing. What about the so-called NEW, neutral based cleaning products (chemicals), touted, spouted off about, sold and used everywhere today? Well, if they did not work at all, no one would buy them or use them. But pH is a fact and pH balancing is a law. Neutral based cleaning agents (chemicals), might protect the producers and applicators from liability and lawsuits, but they cannot replace the laws of science and pH balancing. It may start off as neutral and may not harm you or your pets, but they just might not be ‘killing’ bacteria, dust mites and other creep-crawly things that you just might not want living in your home, on your stuff, in your stuff, on your skin, under your skin or inside of your body. You can put chlorine into a swimming pool or a hot tub and ‘neutalize’ the bacteria and bad stuff and then instead of swimming or relaxing in water full of ‘live’ stuff, it’s just dead stuff that has been neutralized. But more about that in another chapter when we get to the dirt on or in, water.
I have here, bored you to tears, tried to impress you with my knowledge and experience with pH and pH balancing, or I really care about you and really, really want you to be healthy, wealthy and wise. It’s in your hands to decide what my motives are; my true intentions, and my super-secret agenda.
WOW, this stuff is really getting dirty! We are not done. There is much more to come and more ‘Dirty Little Secrets‘ to share next time.