An allergy pre-cleaning was ‘big time’ necessary to remove the “furever” presence (pet allergens) before they could move in.
Jason Smith, retired NBA player does things in a big way, and the home he and his wife bought was no exception. Moving to Moorestown, they are close to his wife Christy’s family roots, and since Jason is a lover of Italian food, it’s the perfect place to land after a successful NBA career.
Only one problem, the sellers are pet lovers, and the home had several fur babies- to include 2 Dobermans, 1 poodle’ish pup, maybe a Golden, 1 or 2 cats, and a beautiful tank full of fish. While touring the home to measure, it is obvious the pets have run of the house. Although well behaved and meticulously maintained wherever pets are so are the allergy triggers that affect people sensitive to them. And in this case the presence of their dander, hair and saliva certainly would pose a health problem for the Smiths moving in.
As a side note, an agent who knows the house was surprised that we were going to do such a deep clean, commenting that the home was well kept. While we agreed, we mentioned we were cleaning “for health’s sake,” a deeper level of cleaning than cleaning for appearance sake. The contaminants we go after are microscopic, so they are not visible to the naked eye. But in the presence of pets, and in this case 4-6 pets, the home overwhelmingly had a high volume of pet dander, mites, cat saliva that will be ripe to cause allergic reactions for the new family moving in. Click here to learn more about what you can do to eliminate or control pet allergens. ⇒Cleaning to Remove Pet Allergens.
We met Jason just a few days after settlement. And since the air ducts were already cleaned, it was our task to deep steam clean all the carpets and floor surfaces. Now besides it being a large home of prominent proportions, it became apparent why Jason bought this home. With all 7 feet of him, Jason wanted to buy a home that he could move freely about without having to duck from room to room, or cram in to a shower on a daily basis. Well this home was the right fit!
A stately Moorestown mansion with 30-foot ceilings, even the arched doorways probably cleared 13′. Upon entry into a grand marble foyer, to the left is a large dining room, to the right is a sunken living room, formerly a conservatory and office. Walk past the elegant stairway, you slip into the massive kitchen with travertine flooring. The massive kitchen is a chef’s dream kitchen, where a lover of food can do some real damage! Even the everyday eating area is impressive, with a large lazy-Susan built right in. Just off the kitchen is a cozy family room awaiting comfy seating for his family moving in.
Honestly, this home was just the thing for Jason, he clearly can move freely– it is a good fit! The only time I saw him having to adjust was in the kitchen, with him on one side of the massive kitchen island, and me on the other. As we were discussing how we would be cleaning the travertine to remove heavy soils from the wide grout joints, I caught him ducking below the 2 lights over the island. (It seems a minor issue for him, but I bet it’s on the to do list to be adjusted for height.)
Mid-January we arrived with our truck mount, and our “zamboni” for hardwood, and with about 6-7 wands that do different things. We had just about every specialized tool on board and ready for action. So with a capable and experienced team, Chris oversaw the work to be done, acting as an on-site supervisor as our “A Team” kicked tail!
We started with the marble foyer. Just steaming it, we informed Jason we would not be repairing any etch marks or restoring the shine of the marble. If they wanted that, it would be a separate service appointment. Next up, our hard surface tool was utilized on the office hardwood floor, and others on the first floor where appropriate. This kept the momentum going on the first floor.
The travertine, inherently a rustic look, has lots of voids in the “field,” or main tiles, and has a jagged edge with large grout lines. Before we cleaned Jason and Christy wondered if the cleaning would correct the obvious discoloration in the high traffic areas versus parts of the floor less traveled. After showing Jason a video of how we clean floors like theirs, they were hopeful but not convinced it would look uniform enough for their liking. So just as we were tackling the travertine, Christy had her designer bring samples that might work to go over the travertine, just in case. (Well Chris and I were hopeful the cleaning would be successful, we hoped they would like the floor so much that they wouldn’t cover it up.)
As is usual, the very moment the pre-spray hit the floor, the solutions activated the soils and contaminants, and the floor turned dark. All the dirt, oils and soils released, and the steaming eventually rinsed it off. The soil release was somewhat impressive, but Chris clearly saw there was more work to be done. Going back over areas he would reassess the floor once the grout and tiles had dried. Typically it appears dark when wet, but dries up lighter and brighter, so he waited to decide it they should clean it again.
Not wanting to waste much time I brought lunch, and we gathered at Jason’s new table. Jason was all too happy to “talk cars” as Jeff and Mark couldn’t help but admire Jason’s two vehicles, a Mercedes 4 door and a Ford Pickup (which towered in the front yard in front of the big house!) Click here for funny story big bet about big cars!
Meanwhile, after lunch we moved on to the carpet. Working with one wand, instead of running two wands and two lines, we chose to optimize the temperature and suction running only 1 wand to get better cleaning results.
First, we hit the family room, the sunken living room and the in-law suite. Considering they may replace the family room, Christy looked at samples with the interior designers while our guys worked. Remember, the goal was to deep clean the carpets so they can move in. Then they could decide what floors would stay, and what ones would be replaced. The family room responded ok, but the furniture marks were there to stay. Then we moved to the living room, and we discovered there were multiple pet urine spots, especially nearing in front of the large window near where the baby grand was located.
Jason freely admitted this rug was being considered for replacement. Between the furniture marks, the pet urine stains and ink marks, they weren’t in love with the textured wool appearance. Honestly, the guys had to really work at it, but eventually they made a vast improvement. Although, working at a slightly higher temperature than they should, they really calmed down the pet stains down to being barely visible (with some fall-out from lazy installation work).
While every carpet was cleaned upstairs, closets and all, another tech jumped on the hard surface wand powered by the steam cleaning machine. The massive upstairs open area was cleaned. And eventually all the bathroom floors were done too. Frankly, every square inch of flooring was addressed, and by Thursday the rooms would be ready for their furniture.
Getting the main floor cleaned, and now all the upstairs, we put a good dent in the work, and would easily finish on day 2, without having to take a 3rd day we allowed to finish up.
When we returned (day 2), the guys jumped back on the cleaning wands and tools. Chris noticed the livingroom carpet released from the tack-less on one side. Wool being absorbent of moisture, it was too much for the tack-less strips to hold, and the carpet would have to be reattached. Immediately Chris summoned me to bring our carpet kicker (hoping it would move enough to settle back on the tack-less). Determining it was bigger than what he could “kick back in,” Chris summoned our carpet installer who was all too happy to oblige.
With everything done, Chris brought Jason up to speed about the wool carpet while the guys cleaned their way out of the house. Then the team packed up and left.
Mike, our carpet installer jumped to the occasion, and met Chris and I at the house Thursday afternoon. Quickly assessing the situation with the floor he got down to brass tacks.
Chris and I walked the house, checked on everything, and was satisfied with the results- appearance wise, where you could see the difference. And having confidence in the hard surface cleaning overall, knowing the hot water (close to boiling as possible) and sanitizing solutions geared to annihilate pet dander, saliva, dust mites, dust mite debris and the bacteria, did the job.
Jason was stunned at how good the travertine looked and got out his checkbook. Meanwhile Mike worked his magic and got the living room carpet settled back in properly. Jason handed us the check just as the local moving company (Transtar- a Moorestown based moving company) pulled up. Seeing they needed access to the massive and impressive driveway, we schussed out the door.
And for that Jason quickly responded “go for it!” Whatever you want to do, it’s perfectly fine with me. (And so my game plan was on)!
PS– Just as we left Jeff, quite the accomplished gourmet cook decided he wanted to help Jason and Christy with some readymade meals. Well known for giving meals at a time in need, thinking of Jason and Christy now as they moved in this was no different! We agreed it was a nice thing to do, and Jeff started planning. Hearing that Jason is a lover of Italian food he decided on a couple versions giving them a couple choices, or a couple different meals! Not quite connecting at the front door, Jeff left it at the gate. And Jason was told to make sure to get the packages delivered. Wow- Jason was blown away at Jeff’s gesture! (And, in hindsight he said it was delicious, a perfect fit well thought out, and a nice treat to not having to stress over cooking or getting takeout! He concurred; Jeff is quite talented!)