Using the Best Rags = Fastest Cleanup

Precision-Fiber ClothWhy is it important to have the right cleaning supplies for the job, what are some disadvantages to being ill-prepared?
It’s important to have the proper cleaning tools for any job and to be prepared for many reasons. Accidents and spills happen, and it’s imperative to clean up any mess as quickly as possible to protect affected surfaces from damage or staining. It can also be very costly to repair or replace a surface that has been damaged from spilled paints, stains, or chemical cleaners. If you’re professional, that could be the difference between making a profit on your work or dipping into your margins.
What types of products do you think a painter has to have with them to ensure a quick cleanup and reduce callbacks?
Painter’s should always have a good supply of thick, consistent and absorbent wiping cloths or rags on hand at all times. A good wiping cloth, like our Precision-Fiber® Cloth Rags, will help you to clean up messes quickly and easily. Rags can help quickly wipe up spatter, spills and drips with ease, and when addressed immediately you lessen the chances that you’ll need to use a paint thinner or similar cleaner to help get rid of the mistake. Other good tools and supplies to keep on the job site would be things like sponges, commercial cleaners or paint thinners, or even just a little water.
How do different types of textiles handle different cleanup situations a painter finds themselves in?www
There are many different grades of wiping cloths and rags. Each come with their pros and cons for each job.
Traditional recycled rags are a good all-purpose cleaning rag and can be used for many dirty applications. The problem is they are made from recycled clothing and you never really know what you’re going to get when you open the box. Seams, cuffs, stains… even bodily fluids. Usually they are the cheapest option, but not the most professional.
New rags offer more consistent quality, color and performance. Within new rags you’ll have washed and unwashed options and made-to-spec wiping cloths. For professional painter’s, we highly recommend prewashed grades for their absorbency and low-lint performance. Typically, painter’s will stick with the all-white t-shirt knits, and the premium performance of Desert Storm tan knits. Made-to-spec options have come into existence over the past 15 years or so and are manufactured to be a rag. These are typically designed to be ideal for either general cleaning purposes, or specifically for tasks like staining.
You’ll also see painters using terry towels and white shop towels (painter’s towels) for really dirty or really tough jobs due to their strength and versatility. Typically, these are used in surface prep or cleaning prior to the job, and sometimes after a job is complete for a general wipe down of their work area. Terry towels and painter’s shop towels are not typically good for use when cleaning up paint or stain while working as they will lint and are bulkier than a typical knit rag.
A game-changing new entry into the paint and cleaning rags category is Intex’s proprietary Precision-Fiber® Cloth, or PFC® for short. PFC® is a versatile powerhouse wiping cloth that is suitable for all painting, staining and cleaning needs. It’s made in the USA from 100% brand new material. Every piece is identical to the next, and each performs superior to traditional textile wiping cloths and rags. Each piece is super strong and cut to exacting spec, and they are even reusable if rinsed or washed out.

Cleaning Hardwood Floors

Cleaning Hardwood Floors

Maintaining hardwood floors can be a daunting task, but the results can make any room shine with spotless gleam.

You’ll need a dry mop or vacuum, wet mop, some cloths (we recommend non-abrasive Pureclean ™ Multipurpose Cloths, a sponge, or terry towels), hardwood cleaner (optional depending on your type of floor finish), and a bucket.

Most people, when doing general maintenance on their floors, will clean around large furniture pieces or area rugs. However, for the best results, first clear the surface area of any movable furniture or personal items.  If you have a dry mop or vacuum, it is preferable to use these items to lift any debris, dirt or pet hair from the surface of the wood.  The purpose of removing the debris is to eliminate any particles that may be able to scratch the surface of the wood.   We recommend dusting, vacuuming, or dry mopping your floor weekly, but you can do so more/less often depending on the traffic of the area.  To get a deeper clean and make your floor shine, you will need to also incorporate a wet mop application.

Intex DIY - Mopping a hardwood floorDepending on what type of floor finish you have will determine how to prepare your wet cleaning solution. If you have a surface-sealed floor, or if your floors have polyurethane on them, you can simply wet a mop with some water and common dish detergent. The good news is that these types of floors are stain and water resistant.  However, if the floor finish is seal-treated or oil-treated, this type of floor finish needs a liquid or paste wax.

PRO TIP: Avoid using water if you have lacquered or shellacked hardwood. These types of floor finishes are not as resistant to water as surface-sealed finishes. Water on lacquered or shellacked hardwoods can actually buckle and stain the wood if it sits on it too long.  Instead, use a wood cleaner (liquid or paste wax) designated specifically for these types of floors.

BONUS TIP: Here’s a trick if you don’t know which kind of floor you have; simply rub your finger across the floor.  If you leave a residue behind, the floor is not sealed (you must use a wood cleaner liquid or paste).  If you do not leave a residue behind, then the floor is sealed, and it is safe to use plain soap and water.

Once you pour your cleaning solution into a bucket, dip in your mop, saturate it fully, and wring out the excess solution.  The mop should not be dripping wet, but damp.

PRO TIP: If you spill any solution while wringing out your mop, clean it up immediately, as standing water or detergent solution on a floor could damage the wood.

When you start to mop, keep in mind that it is important to mop with the grain of the wood to get the best results.  As you mop, once the liquid gets dirty, empty the contents of the bucket, mix a new cleaning solution, and continue to mop. If you do not have a mop available, you can also soak either a Pureclean ™ Multipurpose Cloth, a sponge, or a terry towel into your cleaning solution, and clean the floor with them.

Pureclean Multipurpose ClothsAfter applying soap or a detergent mixture to your floors, you are going to want to make sure all of the product put onto the floor is lifted off. Any residue left on the floor will leave a foggy appeal.  This next step is where you turn that dull floor into a floor with gloss and shine.  To do so, use a soft absorbent cloth; we recommend Pureclean ™ Multipurpose Cloths or terry towels to buff the floor.  Pureclean ™ Multipurpose Cloths are our top recommended cloth for this final step due to their soft bulk feel of a terry towel with the cleaning power of a microfiber cloth. To pick up soap and detergent residue, you will need to dry and lift in a circular motion.  The circular motion is essential to restore the shine to the floor. Once you have buffed the floor, it is time to sit back, relax and enjoy the shine.



Draining and Cleaning Your Hot Tub

Soaking in your hot tub after a long day is not only enjoyable, but it’s a great way to wind down.  But when not maintained properly, hot tubs can become dirty, slimy and full of bateria.  So, let’s talk about the proper way to drain and clean your hot tub so that you can relax in it worry free.

What you will need:

Cleaning towels, Intex, Terry Towels, Hot Tub
Cleaning grade terry towels are perfect for cleaning hot tubs
  1. Line flush
  2. Hose (or hoses)
  3. Terry towels (lots of them)
  4. Hot tub cleaner or a basic bathroom cleaner
  5. A small cup, bucket or pitcher
  6. Optional: New filters
  7. Optional: Sump pump

PRO TIP: It could take 4-6 hours to drain, clean and refill your tub, so start early in the day to give yourself plenty of time to complete your task.

It’s recommended that you clean your hot tub every 3-4 months or more depending on usage.  Due to their high temperature, hot tubs can be a breeding ground for mold, bacteria, and other grime that settles in the water.

Draining and cleaning your tub is important, but often users forget to flush out all the bacteria settling in the interior lines when it is drained. Because of that, it is highly recommended to perform a line flush before draining your tub. Line flush can be purchased at any pool store and is simple to use.  Before draining, add the line flush to the water, and let it circulate for a minimum of 20 minutes, up to a few hours depending on the directions.  That’s it!

The next step is crucial: TURN OFF THE POWER TO THE HOT TUB.  Forgetting to turn off the power could result in the tub motor turning on while no water is in your tub, which could ruin the system.  To make sure the power is off, you can even turn off the circuit breaker feeding electric to your spa.

Now it is time to drain the tub. Follow the instructions with your hot tub, which typically includes using the drainage valve or the optional use of a sump pump.

The drainage valve is tricky to open if you have never used one before.

Releasing Hot Tub Drain Valve
Releasing the Hot Tub Drain Valve

A. Locate the valve.

B. Remove the top cover. You may need to unscrew the valve cap.

C. Attach a garden hose to the valve and run the other end of the hose to a safe place for the water to drain.

D. Pull the garden hose at the valve connection spot until the valve extends outward. You may hear a pop when the valve opens.  You should also hear the water starting to run out of the hose.

The water will continue to drain. It will take 1-3 hours to drain on its own.  You can speed up that process by using a sump pump or by adding additional hoses.

Clean versus Dirty Filter Cartridge
Clean versus Dirty Filter Cartridge

While the water is draining, you can remove the hot tub’s filter and filter cartridge to clean it.  It is highly recommended to replace these filters when draining the hot tub, but if you don’t, you can just rinse them out thoroughly.  Use the sprayer jet of a hose to remove dirt and other residue.  You can simply water rinse them with a hose, or you can additionally use a filter cleaner, following the directions on the label.

PRO TIP: Wear some old clothes that you don’t mind getting wet or possibly stained from chemicals. You are going to have to get in the tub to dry it and clean it. 

Terry Towels, Intex, Cotton Towels
Wringing Out Water with Terry Towels

Once the hot tub is drained, there will be a little bit of water left inside of the wells. For this next step, you will need a small cup or pitcher and some terry towels. Simply absorb the extra water at the bottom of the tub wells with your terry towels, wringing them out into your cup or pitcher, and then removing that water. Repeat until all water from inside the tub is gone.

Grab your hot tub cleaner (or you can use a common bathroom cleaner) and some terry towels, and start to clean the inside of the tub.  We recommend starting at the top of your tub, moving to the floor.  Once you clean it, we recommend rinsing it with water and wiping it down again with a terry towel.

PRO TIP: It is important to not leave any spray in the tub.  Left over spray could cause water to foam after you refill it and affect the balance of your chemical levels.

Now that your hot tub is drained and clean, you can remove any draining hoses, push in the connector valve and replace the valve cover.  Reinstall the filters and start to refill your hot tub.  It is important to start to refill your tub by running the water through your filter and water lines first, then you can let the water start to fill the base of the hot tub.  The refilling process can take up to 3 hours depending on the size of your hot tub and the pressure of your water.  While you are waiting for it to fill, you can clean the cover and exterior of your tub.

Terry Towels, Clean, Intex, Absorbent
Use Terry Towels to Your Clean Hot Tub Cover

Once the hot tub is filled to its recommended fill line, turn off the water, and turn the electric back on to the hot tub.

You can now add chemicals to the recommended levels:

  1. Adjust pH to levels between 7.4 and 7.6
  2. Adjust Total Alkalinity to 80ppm
  3. Adjust Calcium Hardness to 100ppm

Once that is completed, you can run the tub and shock it.  Adjust the temperature, replace the cover and allow the tub to run a full 24 hours before checking the balance of the chemicals again. Once the water becomes balanced, you can relax again in your spa.

Happy Tubbing!

Intex DIY



How to Wash Your Car


It’s spring time, and that means it’s time to clean off that winter dirt/salt from your car and shine it up nice for the warmer weather. The key is, the more often you clean your car, the easier it is to keep it clean.  You will need a nice sized space to work (a driveway, empty side street or garage, and a good supply of water).
PRO TIP: The important thing is to not park the car in direct sunlight, as it may dry some of the soap and water before you are done washing the car.   This can cause damage, so keep your car wet until you are ready to dry your vehicle.
Double Check to make sure all windows are securely closed, and any antennas are removed if needed.  You can also pull the wiper blades away from the windshield to allow for room to clean your vehicle.
Items needed:
A sponge (We recommend an Easy Grip Sponge.)
A soft lint free cloth (We recommend Precision-Fiber® Cloth.)
Terry towels (You will need a lot.)
Buckets (Preferably 2; one to wash the car, one to wash specifically the wheels.)
A hand brush
Car wash detergent (Do not use dish detergent, it can damage the paint and strip away wax.)

Car Wash

Fill your buckets with water and add the recommended amount of car wash detergent.
Rinse the entire car with water to remove loose dirt.
Wash the wheels of your car first. Typically, the wheels are the dirtiest, so it is best to wash them first so that you do not spread this dirt to the rest of your car later.
Use a hand brush or bone sponge and scrub the interior of the wheels. For wheels, you can use a spray on cleaner, just be sure to read instructions carefully.  For the showroom look, you may want apply tire dressing to shine up the tires. Again, read the directions on the bottle carefully.
Next, fully clean out your sponge, or use a new Precision-Fiber® Cloth, and fully immerse it in the clean soap bucket. You can now proceed to wash and scrub your car.
PRO TIP:  Make sure you do not use circular motions or swirling motions in washing. This improper technique will ruin the surface of your car over time. Instead, on horizontal surfaces, wash front to back.  On vertical surfaces, wash up and down.
pfcrags Wash and rinse one section at a time from top to bottom. This will allow water and soap to drip down to the lower parts of your car.  Be sure to rinse the Precision-Fiber Cloth / Easy Grip Sponge often to prevent dirt from scratching the surface.
Use plenty of water to wash away dirt every time you clean a section.
Dry the vehicle with fresh, dry terry towels. Fully wipe down all surfaces by blotting the towels instead of dragging them over the surface.

car car (2)


How to Clean Paint/Stain Off Your Hands

The first rule in using paint, stains, pine tar, and glue is to never let it touch your skin by IMG_3188using latex gloves. But let’s be realistic, almost nobody uses gloves when painting or staining, so it is inevitable that these substances are going to get on your hands and skin.

PRO TIP: Be prepared that you are going to get messy!  Prep your hands prior to working with these types of substances by using hand lotion before you start working. This will keep paint and stain from sticking so easily to your hands, and it will make clean up almost effortless.

If you have managed to get paint or stain on your skin, some paint removers on the market are highly toxic, and may not be safe to use directly on your skin.  Be sure to read all labels to see if the product can be safely applied. There are also a few household ingredients (baby oil, cooking oil) that can be used to avoid any harsh chemicals.

The simplest way to clean off oil-based paint and stains from your hands is by using the same cooking oil you may already have now in your kitchen cabinets.  Mixed with a little liquid dish detergent and lathered with water, a gentle rubbing of your hands together will break the paint down and clean it up fast.

PRO TIP: The sooner you can wash your skin before the paint or stain dries, the better! As paint and stains dry, it becomes thicker and harder to remove.

Here is a little more detail to clean up those dirty spots:

  1. Soap and Water
    • The most common solution would be to scrub your hands with soap and water. You should work the soap into your hands, rinsing periodically. Most water and latex based paints will wash away with just simple soap and water.
  2. Mineral Oil, Mineral Spirits, Baby Oil, or Cooking Oil
    • Mineral oil or spirits work the most efficiently with latex, oil and water paints and most stains.IMG_3189
    • After first washing your hands with soap and water, and the mess still is visible, if you pour a small coating of oil over the area with paint or stain, you simply need to lightly rub it to see the cleaning power.
    • It is important to let the oil soak in a little to do its best work. Two to three minutes is the optimum amount of time.
    • Use a wiping cloth (we recommend either using a Precision-Fiber Cloth or a clean painter’s terry towel) to rub the oil in circles to lift the substance off your skin.
    • For tricky, dried areas, dip your Precision-Fiber Cloth or Painter’s Terry Towel directly into the oil and scrub the area with your cloth vigorously in a circular motion.
    • Paint and stain will begin to lift off your skin. If the mess is still visible, apply more oil, and repeat the process.
    • Continue until your skin is clear and all paint and stain is removed.
    • Wash off any excess oil from your hands with soap and water.