Cleaning Questions and Answers

Tile & Grout Cleaning for Salem Oregon

So you have tile or natural stone with grout -Here are some important things to know about it to understand costs involved with cleaning.

What is my Tile?

First, there are some major differences between the two! Ceramic is a man made material, with a fired, finished surface on each tile that generally does not require any sealing or waxing - it is non-porous and cleans easily with a good neutral cleaner. The grout lines between the tiles, however, are usually cementious (sanded) grout, and this is a porous surface that, if unsealed, will absorb spills and dirty mop water, causing discoloration of the grout lines. All grout should be sealed after installation, but many installers skip this step because the grout needs to cure for a time after installation, and they're often too busy to make it back. So, especially if moving into a new house, make sure that the grout is sealed before moving in! If you're re-tiling a room, count on letting it cure as directed by the grout manufacturer, and then sealing it before use. The installer can do this, or recommend someone to do so. Reputable tile and grout cleaners will also be able to seal a new installation for you on request, and the product used will often be much better than what you can buy at the "big-box" stores to use yourself - which is the option. (Be sure to follow directions on the bottle, and ventilate well while working.)

Natural stone, on the other hand, is a porous material, and must be sealed (along with the grout) after installation and prior to use. Whether a hard stone like granite, a soft stone like limestone, or a travertine or marble, it is essential that the stone surface be protected along with the grout against spills and soil for maximum life.


Daily cleaning can be accomplished by mopping with a good neutral cleaner, and then a plain hot water rinse. (Tile and stone stores can sell or recommend the proper cleaning products.)

When the groutlines and crevices in the tile or stones become dirty, or when several years have passed (3-5, depending on traffic level) and the sealer is becoming worn, it's time for a professional cleaning and sealing!

Stone and ceramic tile and grout should be steam cleaned, preferably with an alkaline cleaner to dissolve soil and grease, followed by a clear rinse to remove residues. The grout and any porous stone should then be sealed before use. Depending on the porosity of the stone or grout, it may be necessary to clean one day, and return the next day to apply sealer, allowing 24 hours for complete drying of the floor before sealing.

In cases of extreme soiling or staining, the grout in ceramic tile installations may be etched with an acidic product that will help whiten it back to its' original color. DO NOT USE ACID! in a stone installation as it CAN be etched, since the acid will also etch and damage the natural stone. This is why it's important to vet your cleaning company carefully, and make sure that they have the certifications and experience to use the right products and procedures for the job!

NOTE: It is not recommended to use any acrylic "gloss" type finish on ceramic or stone; it will require more maintenance than a penetrating sealer, and will require a more expensive stripping procedure at the next restorative cleaning, before the stone and grout can be cleaned.

Saltillo tile floors are a softer clay-based tile, and will usually be cleaned much like a natural stone floor, with the caveat that these will often require stripping first, since they've often had acrylic finish applied in the past, or been maintained with improper cleaning products that have left a finish buildup on the tiles and grout lines.
Slate floors are also prone to these conditions.

If you want a glossier look, ask your cleaner about other new options that can give you that "wet look" without the surface buildup of acrylic products.

 Choosing a Professional Cleaner for Your Stone, Tile and Grout

How to get the best cleaning ever, in Salem Oregon or anywhere!

 Given that your stone, tile and grout floors are a major home investment, it only makes sense to care for them properly so that they last longer. So of course you'll want to choose your cleaner with great care when they require maintenance.

Don't be afraid to ask what procedures they'll follow in cleaning, either. Hard surface cleaning is not a "quick-in, quick-out" sort of job, so be wary of anyone who treats it that way. Steps should always be taken to care for and protect your home, such as: use of entry mats, corner guards to protect your walls, baseboards appliances and cabinets taped or masked off while working, and use of wet floor warning signs around areas being cleaned. Better companies will speed-dry areas as they finish, to help return your home to normal as soon as possible. 


What to Expect in a Salem Oregon

Professional Surface Cleaner

1. First we inspect the Surface condition. For hard surfaces we look for cracks, loose, broken or damaged tiles and test for sealers and sealants and composition of the tile (natural vs. man made) Carpet we inspect for stains or problematic areas that may need additional treatment.

2. We test clean a small area-  Only a true professional does this to determine the type/s of  products needed to get the expected cleaning and desired finish.  At that time the customer can decide if that is the result they are looking for. (Sometimes deep cleaning can expose major flaws and deficiencies that  bacteria,  dirt, molds & grime concealed away for years. )

3. Discuss options- this is the time to point out any found flaws and what the options are in dealing with them. A  free check list will be provided to reference.

4. We take pictures-Before and After. This not only catalogs the brilliant differences that can be achieved for comparison, but helps identify any opportunities that a customer can take advantage of for future maintenance.

5. Lastly, we will ask for a good reference and schedule a free check-up that is included in all our services we provide. We always inspect what you expect...

cleaned tile

Best Carpet Cleaning in Salem Oregon

Your carpet is a trap for grime, dander, dust and pollutants. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends having your carpets cleaned as often as once a month, if there are smokers and multiple children and pets, and your home is in a dusty area. Household vacuums and surface cleaners can't clean deep into the fibers and carpet pad. Choose a carpet cleaning service that will work efficiently and economically. You may also want to choose a service that uses environmentally friendly carpet cleaning methods, especially if you have pets, children or allergy sufferers in the home.

What Salem Residents Should Know about Cleaning Carpets...

  • Determine your criteria for a carpet cleaning service before calling for estimates. If your home is not busy or dirty, you may only need an annual cleaning. If you're concerned about allergic reactions and indoor air quality, look for companies that offer safe alternatives to harsh chemicals. If you need related services like upholstery and area rug cleaning or repair, look for a company that offers both.

Step 1:

Ask neighbors for recommendations. Not only will you be able to find out how efficient the carpet cleaning service is, you may get a better price if the service can schedule jobs in the same neighborhood at the same time.

Step 2:

Check Reviews- Better Business Bureau (BBB),YELP,ANGIES LIST,Google  Reviews, Yahoo, etc...for a record of unresolved complaints before contacting a carpet cleaning service. A single resolved complaint may be nothing to worry about. If there's a string of complaints, don't even call them for an estimate.NOTE: A company does not have to be a BBB member to have a file with them.

Step 3:

Get only estimates from professional companies that are at least licensed and insured.(Fast Finish is a licensed contractor and bonded unlike most cleaners) Walk them through the house so they know exactly how much carpet you have, what type it is and how much furniture they will have to work around.  

Step 4:

Ask if they are members of, and certified by, a professional carpet cleaning organization, such as the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC.) NOTE: This isn't mandatory but is a sign of a company who is committed to providing good services.

Step 5:

Discuss the chemicals they will use to clean your carpets. Some cleaners may be harmful to allergy sufferers, pets and children. Milder chemicals are effective when used with very hot steam according to the Illinois EPA, and "green" cleaning agents reduce exposure to toxic chemicals.

Step 6:

Get proof of liability insurance. A reputable company will provide you with a certificate of coverage from their insurance provider. Avoid carpet cleaning services that won't provide proof of insurance.

There are over 50 carpet cleaners in the local areas we reside in. For this reason alone we have taken extra steps to make our company distinguishable from the others and insure that customers turn into repeat clients. Although we clean carpets extremely well, our focus is on how we finish. This includes the constructive feedback we get from our clients after the work is completed.

  • Tips & Warnings
  • Beware of anyone who gives you a quote over the phone. A professional service should come out and look at your carpet and discuss your concerns in person.

  • Do not hire anyone who is offering  those deep discounted special deals. A competent carpet cleaning service will lengthen the life of your carpet, but a cheap, unethical company can ruin your carpet.
  • Cleaning your carpet eliminates the risk of mold, especially if you live in a very humid area. Steam extraction is better for very heavy soiling, but you need to take measures to ensure the carpet is thoroughly dried, by opening windows, or using fans and a dehumidifier.
carpet cleaning salem oregon



  • Did you know carpet has a mechanical function? Quite frankly carpet was designed as a filter it’s literally the biggest filter in the home or business!! Each year several pounds of soil can accumulate in and under the carpet, so it’s just as important to clean for mechanical purposes as aesthetic purposes to remove the soil from the carpet fiber.

Is the air starting to smell stale?

  • Why? Pollutants in the air filter down into the carpet this is referred to as “filtration soil”, often resulting in a black line running all around the carpet where it meets the base boards, black outlines around furniture and desks etc. Filtration soil is super difficult to remove so proper cleaning habits are imperative to the lifespan and appearance of the carpet before filtration soil and traffic wear become permanent and odor begins to develop.
  • Once the carpets natural filtering ability is hampered by really high concentrations of soil, and allergen levels climb, the body may produce “histamines” or display signs of allergic reactions, so we may need to take anti-histamines like Benadryl. Professionally clean carpets every six months, much more so for commercial applications, usually every quarter for better health. Your doctor may also recommend allergy medications or allergy injections in addition to DEEP CLEANING.

What is a premature wear pattern?

  • Soil, when it accumulates in a carpet acts like little knives cutting and scratching at the carpet fiber, grinding the expensive yarns down into those worthless fibers that fill your vacuum bag. The longer the customer waits between cleaning, the more damage is done. Carpet, if not maintained properly by vacuuming twice a week and professional extraction periodically, will quickly exhibit wear and unfortunately will result in those shaded, worn looking traffic lanes. This shading is considered damage and is irreversible. It is important to vacuum regularly and have carpets professionally cleaned with the factory recommended extraction method and to re-apply a carpet protector like Teflon or Scotch-Guard to heavily traveled pathways to prevent damage and extend carpet life and appearance.

In conclusion

  • What happens when the “carpet filter” gets too full? Your family begins breathing higher levels of allergens including dust mites & debris. These microscopic organisms, which are related to spiders, live in many homes. Too small to see with the naked eye, dust mites thrive in warm, humid environments — eating dead skin cells and nesting in dust-collecting bedding, fabric, carpet and furnishings. The residue that dust mites leave behind mixes with dust and becomes airborne. If you aren't allergic to dust mite protein, it's not harmful. But if you are, inhaling the residue can cause bothersome symptoms, including wheezing, sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose and skin rash.

Angie's List Says...

 Carpet cleaning can improve the appearance of your home and extend the life of your carpet, but perhaps the most valuable benefit from the process is improving you and your family’s health. According to the American Lung Association, if members of your household suffer from conditions that can affect their breathing, such as snoring or asthma, it’s especially crucial that you vacuum your carpets at least three times a week. Beyond vacuuming regularly, you may also benefit from having your carpets professionally cleaned at least once a year. If you’re not fully convinced of the benefits of professional carpet cleaning, consider the following top three ways the process leads to a healthier home:

1. Carpet cleaning eliminates trapped pollutants.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a dirty carpet can retain several sources of indoor air pollutants, including pet dander, cockroach allergens, lead, particle pollution, and everyday dirt and dust. Toxic airborne gases can adhere to these particles and also get trapped within the carpet. These toxic gases can be released through everyday activities such as vacuuming and walking across the carpet, which can cause them to contaminate the air in your home. Professional carpet cleaning services kills these bacteria through special shampooing formulas and can remove deeply trapped pollutants with high-powered vacuums.

2. Carpet cleaning can clear out dust mite infestations.

Many homes have dust mite infestations, yet most homeowners aren’t aware of the infestation, because the creatures are microscopic. Dust mites themselves aren’t allergens, but they often leave behind feces and body fragments which are. Because of the microscopic size of these particles, they can easily be inhaled when the area is disturbed, which can exacerbate allergies. Many professional carpet cleaning companies utilize a technique known as steam cleaning when performing carpet maintenance work, which exposes your carpet to high temperatures that dust mites can’t survive.

3. Carpet cleaning can help prevent mold growth.

Especially in areas with high humidity levels, dirty carpets are at a high risk of developing mold growth when exposed to moisture. In precipitous weather, moisture frequently gets tracked into the home and can sink deep in the carpet fibers if not dried and vacuumed immediately. Having your carpet cleaned regularly can prevent mold and mildew growth, because professional carpet cleaners have high-powered drying tools that annihilate moisture. By eliminating moisture, you can prevent mold growth that can be harmful to your health if ignored for too long.


This article originally appeared on Angie’s List.

Beware of Bait & Switch Carpet


In Salem Oregon we do not have the problem like other areas of the country with the bait and switch scam that is used in cleaning that we have seen. If the price seems to good to be true, then be prepared for a massive up sell song and dance, or dis qualifiers for your carpet. We only show this video to inform our community. Our area has several good companies that give great service and would recommend highly. We believe fully informed people make better decisions. 

We utilize advanced cleaning Techniques, Tools, and proprietary Enzymes to give you the best that the industry has to offer and with that comes a premium, but this premium is often more competitive with those who don't invest in our methodology. Our Motto is "Do what you have always done, and you will get what you have always got!..."   Isn't it time for something different or better, we think so at Fast Finish.