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Lather, Rinse, Redeem… Keeping Your Carpet Cleaner Cleaning

Carpets get dirty. Downright filthy, in fact.  Every day foot traffic beats even the best carpets into submission.  Add children, food and pets, and our floors are no match for what’s coming their way.  For this reason every household employs certain tools (weapons) to combat the rigors of wear and tear.  We all have vacuum cleaners (of varying usefullness), and most of us have a carpet cleaner stored in the closet / garage / basement / back porch – or wherever it endures exile while it’s not actually in use.  Because most of these machines aren’t very cheap, it behooves us to take some care in their upkeep.  At Nelson Appliance, many of our customers complain that their carpet cleaner only lasted a year or two, and became ineffective after just a few uses.  Little do people realize that these machines would provide longer service in the home if just a few simple practices were followed.

First, dilute your soap solution according to your machine’s instructions.  Using undiluted / concentrated soaps can be detremental to your machine – and your carpet.  Most times you can even further dilute your soap solution and still achieve a thorough cleaning (and save $ on soap).  You must also be diligent about using the proper soap.  Be careful to use only soaps that are formulated for use in carpet cleaning machines.  Using soaps not designed for this purpose will almost certainly shorten the life of your carpet cleaner, if not end it outright.   Customers often think that carpet cleaner manufacturers want them to buy their brand of soaps purely for reasons of profit.  Yes, they like profit as much as any of us, but despite what you may think, not all soaps are created equal.  Some soaps make too much of a lather which can strain critical machine components like pumps and valves.  Some soaps leave behind solids in the narrow tubing and spray nozzles – effectivley blocking them and shutting down the machine.  Using the wrong soap can lead to expensive repairs.

Since avoiding repairs is better than paying for them, it makes sense to practice preventive maintenance.  One of the most helpful ways to maintain your machine is really a matter of common sense.  When you shampoo your hair, it is likely that you follow with a rinse.  The same should happen when you shampoo your carpet.  Most carpet cleaners feature a rinse only setting – use it.  Not only does rinsing remove more soap and soil from your carpet, leaving it cleaner – the rinse process also flushes any remaining soap residue from your machine’s lines and nozzles.  Clean nozzles and lines increase the liklihood of your machine working properly the next time you want to chase down a stain.  Removing more soap from your carpet during rinsing also helps floors stay cleaner longer – soap residue left behind in your carpet’s fibers actually attracts dirt and causes your carpet to appear dirty more quickly.

Once you’ve finished shampooing and rinsing, it helps to put your machine away clean.  Take a few minutes to rinse out the carpet cleaner’s collection tank, remove pet hair and such from the cleaning brushes and empty the solution tank before putting your machine away.  Storing your machine with water / soap still in the solution tank(s) can lead to early failure of tank seals and the formation of soap blockages.

Remember – first shampoo, then rinse thoroughly, and make sure to put the carpet cleaner away clean.  Cleaning your machine redeems it and makes it ready for the next mess.  And don’t forget, If your machine needs a little help – new belts, tanks, seals, etc. – come to Nelson Appliance for original equipment carpet cleaner parts.

For Success, A Blend of Experiment and Common Sense…

Mix it up!  Make it Smooth!  Use your blender like a pro.  And keep all of your fingers!  Pretty much everyone has a blender (or two) and we all know what we’re doing when we pull it out of the cupboard and start throwing ingredients around like mad scientists, right?  Maybe yes, maybe no.  What we should all remember is that we are about to deal with a sharp and powerful tool.  And versatile!  If ever there was a time for throwing caution to the wind – this is not it.  Know your blender.  Is it capable of crushing ice? Not all are designed to.  Does the jar fit firmly onto the base?  If not, check your user manual – there will be notes about the proper fit.  Does the gasket go above or below the blade assembly?  Usually above, but check your manual to be sure.

Caution and common sense are our allies when dealing with blenders and recipes alike.  Know what your blender can and cannot do for you.  For instance, you can chop nuts, make salsas, make salad dressings, cream pie fillings, custards and soups and you can crush ice and make a variety of frozen beverages among other things.  You generally can NOT use your blender to make mashed potatoes, bread dough, cookie dough, shredded cheese or meringue – and it is NOT a juice extractor.  If you want carrot juice, use a juicer.  Lots of people have “epiphanies” regarding the use of their blenders. “I think I want a peanut butter and strawberry waffle shake!”, for example or “I’ve been craving raisins, bacon and banana popsicles – where is the blender?!”  Because of these inspirations, many are driven to experiment.  Expect mixed results – excuse the pun.  In any case, when you are preparing to use the blender, it pays to keep a few simple pointers and rules in mind:

  • Consider using the pulse button to do your blending – this limits the blender’s run time, and provides you with more precise control over the process.
  • Running the blender longer than necessary can shorten the blender’s life – most household blenders are not intended for extended periods of use.
  • When adding your ingredients, liquids first, then add solids.
  • Make sure your solid ingredients are cut into small enough pieces to allow proper blade rotation for the creation of an effective vortex – this will save time and provide smoother results.
  • When adding ingredients, leave room in the jar for expansion of your product – at least 1/3, and in the case of hot ingredients, up to 1/2 of the jar’s volume should be left unfilled.
  • ALWAYS USE THE LID – NEVER run the blender without the lid in place – you will be very sorry if you forget this rule.
  • Even if your blender’s lid fits snugly, always place your hand on top of the lid and hold it in place – while the blender is running is no time for surprises.
  • If you are blending hot ingredients, remove the blender lid’s center fill cap so that steam can escape – DO NOT REMOVE THE LID – only the center cap!
  • When you are finished using the blender always clean it before putting it away (not everybody takes this step, so beware your neighbor’s smoothies).  Proper cleaning means removing the blade, gasket, lid and base ring from the jar and hand-washing all of these parts carefully (remember- you want to keep your fingers).
  • If you put a bit of warm, soapy water into the blender and pulse it on a few times (LID ON), you can speed the cleaning process.
  • NEVER immerse the blender’s motorized base unit when cleaning – just wipe its exterior with a damp washcloth.

Keeping these simple guidelines in mind can save you a lot of unnecessary clean-up, can save you time, can extend the life of your blender and can even help you avoid injury.  At Nelson Appliance Repair, we have fixed thousands of blenders, and provided our customers with parts and advice since 1957.  If you have need for blender parts, check our website at www.NelsonAppliance.com .

Remember, don’t be afraid to experiment – but use your noggin and follow the rules – be safe!