Mark Harvey Cleaning FAQ's

A guide to carpet, fabric and floor care

Carpet and Upholstery Care


Using mats in front of outside doors helps to remove dirt from shoes before it is walked onto the carpet.
Regular and thorough vacuum cleaning will help to keep carpets in a good condition.
Periodic cleaning under beds and larger furniture helps to deter moths.


Spot clean upholstery very cautiously as it is easy to make watermarks, particularly on cotton and linen fabrics.
As with carpets, try to blot up any excess with kitchen towel or a cloth.
A cloth well wrung out in a mild detergent can be used to wipe up sticky stains but be careful not to get the fabric damp.
Do not use water on silk or cotton velvet.
Only wash loose covers if the manufacturers instructions recommend it.
FLOOD DAMAGE....Most upholstery will be damaged permanently if it gets wet. Try and get it professionally cleaned BEFORE it dries.


We recommend vacuum cleaning curtains every 6 months, particularly the headings and any pelmets and swags to stop dust building up

Looking after stone and hard floors.


We recommend Lithofin products for cleaning stone floors. "Wash and Clean" for day to day maintanance and "Power Clean" for a more thorough clean.
For day to day maintanance they are best applied using a microfibre flat mop. Vacuum the floor then apply a thin layer of the "Wash and Clean" using the mop and leave to dry. For dirty floors use "Power clean" with a conventional mop and rinse with clean water. Scuff marks can usually be removed using a white emulsifying/polishing pad (tile suppliers stock them).
It is very important not to use cleaning agents which are very acidic or alkaline.
De-scaling cleaners (acidic) and bleaches (alkaline) can permanently damage limestone and marble.
The most common staining on hard floors is rust from the base of metal bins.
Most stone floors will have been sealed when new, either with an impregnating seal (invisible) or a topical seal (a visible seal that gives the floor a shine).These seals wear off over time.
A professional clean every few years is recommended.
As well as a thorough clean we will also re-seal the floor.

Lino, marmoleum, rubber.

Lino, marmoleum and rubber are best cleaned with a neutral floor cleaner or maintainer (a maintainer is a cleaner that contains a small amount of polish, this keeps the floor looking shiny).
Prochem Protreat and Johnsons Carefree Floor Maintainer are two products. They are best applied using a microfibre flat mop. Vacuum the floor then apply a thin layer of the maintainer using the mop and leave to dry. Scuff marks can usually be removed using a white emulsifying/polishing pad (tile suppliers stock them).
These floors are easier to maintain if they have a couple of layers of polish, this helps to prevent stains (these floors are porous) and stop wear. They usually need a professional clean every few years.
We scrub the floors and strip off the old polish then apply new coats.
Be cautious trying to clean stains, though you are unlikely to damage the floor, you may take off the polish.

Treating stains and spillages.

We have specific treatments for most stains, though we cannot guarantee to remove an individual stain we will know how to clean it in the most effective way.
Many stains, wine/paint/ink/makeup and glue are best cleaned professionally.

A few tips on dealing with spillages on upholstery:

It is easy to damage upholstery by spot cleaning.
Use kitchen towels to soak up the stain.
Use a cloth well wrung out with hot water and a little detergent to wipe off any residue. Don't get the fabric wetter.

A few tips on dealing with spillages on wool and synthetic carpets:

Dont' panic

Avoid overwetting a carpet or rubbing it.
Think carefully before using any spot cleaners, many will bleach a carpet.
Put spot cleaners on a clean cotton towel and wipe the stain rather putting than cleaner the directly onto the carpet.
Test any spot cleaning product on an inconspicuous area of carpet to see if it bleaches the carpet or affects the pile.
For spilt liquids, drinks etc. put kitchen towel or a towel on the stains and stand on it,
repeat until no more liquid is being absorbed
Detergents won't usually help to remove tea coffee and wine.
Cleaning oil based stains (tar, make up, some inks) with water will often make them worse. Restrictions on the sale of solvents means that you cannot buy solvent spot cleaners in the shops. They are best cleaned professionally
We have much more success in removing stains if they have not cleaned with a spot cleaners
Do not attempt to spot clean viscose, silk or linen carpets and rugs, it is very easy to damage the pile. Just blot up spillages with kitchen towel.


BLOOD....blood is fairly easy to get out of a carpet (in very small amounts! ). Soak up with paper towels, put some cold water on the stain and work in with something blunt like the end of a wooden spoon, soak up again with paper towels. Repeat if necesary.

DUST MARKS....these are the black marks that come up round the edge of carpets. They are caused by currents of air bringing dust up from underneath the floorboards. Cleaning will usually only partially remove them and they may reappear. Putting down paper and sealing the edges of the floor before a carpet is laid may stop them coming up.if you are renovating a house it is worthwhile vacuuming out the floor cavities, in older buildings you may have 150 years of accumulated dust sitting there.

FLOOD DAMAGE...Water stains, ie. from burst pipes, should be treated professionally and quickly if a lot of water has gone on the carpet. After the cause of the leak is fixed mop up water with towels. NB. Many terracotta plant pots are porous and will slowly leak water.
Floods from flood water or backed up drains need speedy and professional attention. Quite apart from damage to your house and it's contents there is usually a risk that bacteria from the dirty water will cause illness. We suggest you contact your insurers or the National Carpet Cleaners Assoc. Tel No. 0116 271-9550 or [visit their web-site] for a company that deals with flood damage.

FOOD...Remove any excess then wipe with a cloth wrung out with a mild detergent.

GLUE...It needs to be cleaned professionally, try and wipe up any residue.

INK....Blot up any excess. Indian and other natural inks are very difficult to get out of a carpet completely but synthetic inks i.e. as used in shoe polish, can often be removed by a solvent such as surgical spirit. Put some on a clean white cotton cloth and gently dab at stain. For large stains get professional advice. For ball point pen marks use a dry cloth and methylated spirits.

LILY POLLEN.....If dry try and vacuum clean off excess, if wet soak up with dry cloths. Professional cleaning can often remove any residue but don't attempt cleaning the stain yourself with detergents.

MAKE UP.....Most make up is oil based, cleaning with a water based spot cleaner will just spread it around. We can usually remove mascara from carpets.

MILK.....Though it will not permanently stain a carpet milk will give off a horrible smell if not completely cleaned out, may need professional cleaning.

MUD.......Let mud dry completely, brush with a stiff brush to break up mud then vacuum clean off.

NAIL VARNISH... Do not try cleaning with water. Use a non-oily nail varnish remover or cellulose thinners and a dry cloth on very superficial stains, testing first on an inconspicuous part of the carpet. Get professional advice for larger marks.We can often remove nail varnish.

PET STAINS.... Animal urine is often caustic and will permanently stain a carpet. As with drink stains soak up as much as possible. There are proprietary odour removers and neutralisers but professional cleaning may be needed. For upholstery and curtains dry cleaning is effective for removing smells.

PAINT.... Emulsion when wet should be rinsed off with water, when dry it can be broken down (if superficial stain) by rubbing with the blunt edge of a knife and then vacuumed cleaned off. You can use small amounts of white spirit to remove gloss paint but it can take the colour out of the carpet. If the paint is dry and superficial it can be snipped off with a sharp scissors though be careful not to make holes in the carpet.

RED WINE...As with other drinks blot up as much as possible with paper towel or a dry cloth. Sprinkle white wine (its acidity helps neutralize the stain) or water onto the stain and blot up again. Leave more dry clean towels over the stain with a dinner plate over them and leave while the stain dries, this will catch any more staining as it rises to the surface. Remove remaining stain with methylated spirits and a dry cloth. We do not advise putting salt on the stain.

RUST....Put lemon juice on the mark, leave for a minute then rinse off with water, repeat if necessary. If this is unsuccessful professional cleaning will normally remove the rust.

TAR/OIL.......Remove stain with a spirit based cleaner, water will not disolve oil based stains.

TEA/COFFEE/DRINKS...Mop up as much as possible using paper towel or an absorbent cloth. Put a dry white towel or kitchen towel on the stain and stand on it. You can add more water and soak up again with cloths until the colour is gone. Leave more dry clean towels over the stain with a dinner plate over them and leave while the stain dries, this will catch any more staining as it rises to the surface. A cloth wrung out in a mild detergent or methylated spirits dabbed with a dry cloth may loosen up any residue left.

SOOT....Soot is oily and cleaning with water and detergents is usually unsuccessful. Vacuum clean up as much as possible. small stains can be cleaned with a solvent based cleaner but large stains should be cleaned by a professional.


Carpet and clothes moths eat mostly wool and silk. They like undisturbed and dark areas, they prefer clothes that have not been washed.
What you can do to prevent moths
Moth damage almost always starts under furniture that is rarely moved. If you can vacuum ALL the carpet reguarly you are unlikely to have serious problems with moths.

Do not leave wool clothes stored for months without checking them. Washing or dry cleaning woolens in spring and storing them in sealed bags is a good idea.
Moth traps work well and will give you an idea about how bad the problem is but they won't eradicate all the moths.
If you find areas of damage spray them with an aerosol moth treatment but if you have a lot of damage to a carpet it really is best to replace it.
Never store wool rugs if they have not been moth proofed.

What we can do to prevent moths

Periodic carpet cleaning helps to prevent moths, we always move as much furniture as possible so that the whole carpet is cleaned.
We can treat carpets with a retardent, this is a harmless (not an insecticide) product that discourages moths by making the wool unpalatable to them.
If there is damage we can spray the carpet with an insecticide, people are understandibly concerned about using insecticides in a domestic enviroment but it is a process that is done under strict guidelines to make it safe.