Pumpkin Carving: Carve Like a Pro

  1. carved pumpkinBuy a carving kit - For detailed designs having the right tools are important. You can find pumpkin carving kits in stores that carry Halloween items. They should come with a drill tool, a poker tool and a couple mini-saws. The smaller teeth saws are better for fine detail work.
  2. Choose your pumpkin - Find a pumpkin that’s roughly the dimensions of the pattern you want to use. For a very detailed pattern, a larger pumpkin will be easier to carve. Pick a smooth one that’s free of scratches, dents, gouges or rotting spots. Also make sure it has a flat bottom so it will sit upright and not roll away. Wash and dry it thoroughly before starting.
  3. Cut open a lid - Covering your table with plastic will make cleanup easier. Using a sturdy kitchen knife, cut an opening around the stem. Cut in at an angle to prevent the lid from falling into the pumpkin. Cutting a circle with a notch in it will make replacing the lid fast and easy. The hole should be an inch or two wider than your fist, to allow for scooping out the guts.
  4. Scoop out the guts - Remove the bulk of the seeds and strings with you hands. Keep the seeds for roasting using the recipes in this book. Then using a big spoon, scrape the inner walls of the pumpkin until smooth. Scraping the wall where your design will be to about one inch thick makes carving easier. You can check thickness by pushing a straight pin through the wall.
  5. Print and attach the pattern - When printed, the patterns will be the size of a standard sheet of paper. You can reduce or enlarge the pattern to fit your pumpkin with a photocopier. With scissors, trim off the excess paper. Place the pattern over the area you made an inch thick. Tape the edges of the pattern to the pumpkin.
  6. Transfer the pattern - Use a push pin to lightly poke holes along the lines of the pattern. To trace the image onto the pumpkins skin, you don’t need to slice threw the whole shell, just puncture the outer skin.
  7. Begin carving - Placing the pumpkin in your lap can help keep it steady. You should start by carving the smallest pieces first. Hold your carving saw tool like a pencil and insert it straight into the pumpkin, on one of the dotted lines. Begin sawing along the lines, connecting the dots. Follow curved lines by gently turning the saw in the direction you wish to carve. For sharp corners, pull out the saw and reinsert at the new angle. Never twist the saw or it will bend or break. When cutting out the larger pieces, cut them into two or three smaller pieces to allow for easier removal. Use the paper pattern as reference as you carve. You’ll be removing the pieces that are shaded grey.
  8. Final touches - Remove all of the cut pieces, and compare your pumpkin to the paper pattern. Placing a light inside the pumpkin will allow you to see the holes clearly. Use the detail saw tool to carefully trim the inside edges of any excess flesh.
  9. Rinse - Give the finished pumpkin a good rinsing in the sink. Spray some cool water through all the cut openings, getting rid of any of the dangling bits. This also gives the pumpkin extra moisture to look its best.
  10. Preserve the pumpkin - Coat the cut edges with generous layer of petroleum jelly (like Vaseline) or white glue. Use your finger on large openings, and a cotton swab to coat the tiny openings. This helps seal in the pumpkin’s moisture, extending its life to a week or more.
  11. Light it up - Using a light, light up the inside of your pumpkin. There are some great battery operated LED lights or for a more traditional look use a battery operated fake candle.
Want to have the best pumpkin in the neighborhood? Visit Pumpkin Carving Masters for more information on pumpkin carving and pumpkin carving templates.

The Truth about Pet Urine on Carpets

Carpet cleaning after petsOur pets don’t understand why we make such a big deal of a little urine on the carpet. To animals, urine is an important social tool that is used as a calling card, mate attractant or a territorial warning. Urine lets other members of the species know important information regarding their gender, age and health. Animal urine is a rather benign substance. When it leaves a healthy animal it is sterile. In small amounts and low concentration, the odor and appearance may be undetectable. Still, any urine deposit on carpet should be treated appropriately. If you are lucky enough to catch the animal in the act, you can pour salt liberally onto the urine while it is still wet. Use enough salt to completely cover the spot. The salt will absorb and neutralize the urine. Let it dry for 8-12 hours and vacuum it away. But most of the time, the urine is already dry by the time we find it. Applying a neutral carpet cleaning agent, gentle agitation and a thorough rinse may be enough to treat light urine deposits. Finish the job by placing a folded white towel on the area. Set a weight, such as phone book on the towel and leave overnight. The remaining moisture and residue will wick into the towel. Once urine contamination has reached the point that it has penetrated the carpet and the cushion, removal of the odor becomes more difficult. Heavy urine deposits are much more challenging to treat and you will need the help of KleenRite. Why? Because urine undergoes a dramatic chemical change as it ages. The water in the urine evaporates and leaves behind organic compounds that become more and more concentrated. Bacteria begin to consume the urine and break down the proteins, sugars and other organics. During the process of bacterial digestion the bacteria secrete ammonia and a strong, pungent odor becomes apparent. The urine turns from a mild acid to a strong alkali. This strong alkaline deposit attacks the dyes in some carpets. Over time, the dyes can be weakened or removed, causing permanent color-loss. The adhesives used in the carpet backing can be dissolved, and the carpet can literally fall apart. Permanent damage to wood subfloors will also result from deep penetration of concentrated urine deposits, requiring additional expensive repairs. The most critical action to prevent permanent damage is to act quickly when you notice a urine spot. KleenRite has several techniques available to clean and deodorize pet contamination. In addition, there are different cleaning and deodorizing agents in our arsenal. The decision of which methods and agents to use will depend on several factors; the amount of contamination present, the depth of penetration, the construction of the carpet, the fiber content, the installation method, the sub-floor type and the size of the affected area must all be considered. There are times when the damage is too severe and the best option is to replace the carpet. In such situations, we can assist by sealing the sub-floor and adjacent materials with a specialized odor-counteracting sealer so that the new carpet does not inherit the old odor problem. If you have a pet odor problem, the best action is to call KleenRite for a professional assessment of the situation. We are experts at handling difficult odor problems and can help you to choose the solution that is right for you.

Mold remediation and common mold removal myths

To begin, we assess the mold problem -- how much mold is in the home or office, which includes specialized tests, inspecting the structure, and talking with the home or business owner. Once we've assessed and determined the scope of the problem, we create a plan on how to remove the mold, also called mold remediation. The removal process includes structural mold removal and arresting the root cause of the mold infestation. We will then clean and disinfect the area so you are safe to return.

Dispelling Myths about Mold Removal

It all sounds very simple -- you find the source of the mold and clean it up. Some homeowners have read online how they can successfully remove mold from their home. As professionals, we must caution you against believing all that you read. Bleach and water combinations to remove mold can actually increase the likelihood of the mold returning in greater force. Bleach includes a phosphate that actually strengthens and feeds the mold growth rather than deterring it.

Myth - mold is always a problem you can see

Many people believe mold is a problem they can see, not one that hides from eyesight. While mold often shows itself in plain sight, at times it can hide behind cabinets, around water pipes, and in dingy, basement lighting. Trained professionals understand the common hiding spots for mold and can help stymie the problem after removal.

Myth - cleaning mold will make it disappear forever

Cleaning mold can be a good first step, but the root cause of the mold needs to be fixed. It's easy to clean mold from hard surfaces like counters and tile. When mold spores interact with absorbent materials, that's when it becomes difficult to remove. At that point, the mold infestation needs to be physically removed and surfaces cleaned. Mold spores can reactivate after a period of time, so simply cleaning an absorbent surface will not suffice. Professionals need to clean and clear any carpets and surfaces like ceiling tile.

Myth - mold is only found as a result of a flood or water damage

Many people believe mold is a result of water damage or a water pipe leaking. While those are common causes, mold can also infest the HVAC unit in your home, sending mold spores flying throughout your home. This may cause allergic or other health problems depending on the type of mold. We use a air duct cleaning system that removes all the mold and dust spores from the ventilation system and work to repair any problems inherent in the HVAC system.

Myth - mold isn't dangerous

Our last myth seeks to dispel the idea that mold is not a danger to your health. Many people understand that mold spores can cause an array of allergic reactions. What some do not know is just how dangerous mold spores can be to you your health. Allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory ailments are common around mold spores. Prolonged exposure to mold spores can also cause memory loss, listlessness, or even more serious respiratory illnesses.

Our approach to mold remediation

KleenRite uses the latest techniques from accredited institutions to ensure your home or business remains mold free in the future. Our technicians have the latest, up-to-date training and equipment to remove mold and fix the source of the mold problem. Call us today to schedule a free mold assessment.  

What to expect from our mold inspection service

mold by a windowWe get phone calls, emails, and stopped on our routes by concerned homeowners. They may have a mold problem. It's musty in the basement or bathroom. Or there was water damage a few years back and now the walls have the tell-tale signs of mold. Is it a bad mold they might ask? How can we tell? The answer lies in a professional inspection. At KleenRite, we help Champaign-Urbana residents root out the nature of the mold in their home and find the solution fast. If you've experienced water damage in your home, it's a good idea to do a followup with disaster repair specialists to ensure the clean-up was done properly and no mold growth has occurred. Symptoms of mold in your home: 

  • musty odor in certain areas
  • excessive humidity in home
  • water damage without proper cleanup
  • visible signs of mold

Mold Inspection in Champaign, IL

Should you contact us for the musty bathroom odor? We offer free our free mold inspection service to those in Champaign-Urbana. So it can't hurt to call and schedule your visit. We go over the home's history with you, talk about the possible causes, and inspect the trouble areas. An inspection does not always equate to mold removal. It may be a false alarm, a minor fix, or something that does not require our mold remediation service. Mold remediation refers to the process of cleaning up mold that's found in the home. Our mold inspection service identifies problems, rather than fixing them. A separate appointment will need to be made to reverse any mold problems found in the home.

KleenRite's Mold Qualifications

We are certified to handle mold inspections in the state of Illinois. We have staff members with the requisite experience to handle any residential or commercial mold inspection. Our past experience has proven that we only take on jobs where mold remediation has to occur. We help you understand the process as it relates to insurance adjusters and through the entire remediation process. We have been in the mold, fire, and water damage repair business for many years. If you have a mold problem, we recommend calling us for your inspection. It's better to be safe now. Call us today at 217-351-4930.

What is the true cost of mold damage?

mold damage in ceilingThe only right answer to this question is "it depends." It depends on how much mold is in the home. It depends on the needed treatment to fully remove the mold problem. It depends on the homeowner's budget, as well. So when we get asked the cost to perform mold remediation, we first have to answer the following questions:
  • what areas have the mold infected?
  • will removal require removing structure and replacing that structure
  • will wipes and the HEPA vacuum remove much of the problem
Once we have these preliminary questions answered, we can give a more constructive answer to the cost of mold damage.

Will home insurance cover the mold remediation costs?

Again, it depends. It depends on the home insurance policy in question. Most home insurance policies do not cover mold remediation, if the mold was caused by a maintenance or drainage problem. In fact, the majority of home insurance policies only cover the mold problem if it's a direct result of storm damage or burst pipes -- some type of catastrophic water damage claim. It's best to check with your insurance agent regarding your individual home insurance policy.

What Mold Removal Services Would be Used

In Champaign, the mold removal services often rely on the surface cleanup of mold. Mold professionals will come into the home, use equipment to remove the mold problem, fix the source of the mold, and seal and restore the area back to the way it was prior to the mold. A mold specialist has a whole array of tools available to properly clean and treat a mold infection. Can certain mold problems be cleaned by DIY solutions? We do not recommend cleaning a mold problem with DIY solutions, as certain tutorials online give false information regarding the cleaning process. Certain types of mold can react to bleach, as it contains phosphates that can actually stimulate growth of the mold.