Thursday, June 26, 2014

TL:DR: Not a good option for carpets that are very soiled with real dirt/soil.
This is my personal review of CitruSolution carpet cleaning. I contacted the local franchise, paid with my own money, and didn't tell them I was going to write a review.

I'd been looking to get the carpets in my home cleaned again. I've cleaned them myself a few times with a Bissell hot water extraction unit. The Bissell gets them decently clean but it's a lot of work, I'm dead tired afterward, and it takes a whole night and part of a day for them to dry afterward.

I was particularly interested in finding a way to avoid wearing myself out while at the same time having the carpets dry when I got home or at least when I went to bed.

After studying all the options (steam/hot water extraction, "carbonated" extraction, and citrus based "buffing"), I ended up going with CitruSolution.

The Good:
The owner of the local franchise was FANTASTIC. His customer service skills are on the level I would have expected from Land's End before they were assimilated into the Kmart/Sears borg and ruined.
The cleaning process doesn't leave a lot of water in the carpet. They spray on what seems to be a mixture of water, alcohol and citrus extract (probably d-limonene). Then they go over it with a floor buffer that has a cloth bonnet on it. This leaves very little remnant water in the carpet. When the guys left, the carpets were just damp to the touch.

It does smell good if you like the scent of d-limonene and citrus cleansers. I've never been bothered by the scent of what I cleaned the carpet with but some people are more sensitive than others.
The guys who came to do the actual service were friendly and went about their business without much direction from me.

They left a bottle of spot/stain remover for me to have and use to keep the carpets "clean" between cleanings.

The Bad:
When they're done, the carpets aren't really clean. My high traffic areas were still visibly dingy. I'll post pics at the end of white towels rubbed over them with spot cleaner AFTER the carpets had been cleaned.

I never had that problem when using the Bissell. When I hot water extracted them previously with the Bissell, the high traffic areas would come out the same color as the rest of the carpet.

There were spots left in the carpet which did not come up during cleaning. Most of them I KNOW the guys had to have seen. A few were cola stains. A few others were latex paint stains from the painters who had been working in the house the week before. The latex paint stains I had even marked with painters tape and pointed them out directionally and verbally as I walked the guys through the house when they got here.

Apparently they don't (or at least didn't for me) pre-treat stains with anything like an oxy cleaner or strong solvent to help the citrus/alcohol/water solution do it's job. If citrus doesn't take it out, it ain't coming out!

[To remove the paint stains I ended up having to go to Lowes and get some Mötsenböcker’s LIFT OFF #5 Latex Paint Remover and remove the stains manually myself. To remove the coke stains, I sprayed them w/ peroxide and the, used the CitriSpot spot remover that they left me.]

Once the carpet had dried, I could tell it was cleaned with something that left a residue. It felt kind of "slick". I assume that was the citrus oil residue. I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. We'll have to see over time. At least with hot water extraction, I could make an extra pass with just water (or two) and know that pretty much nothing was left in the carpet.

I guess there's a reason we wash our clothes in a tank of water to get them clean. It seems the achilles heal of CitruSolution is actual dirt. Their system just isn't designed to deal with much of it. Dirt gathering capacity is limited directly by the absorbency of the cloth bonnet on the buffer.

Closing Thoughts:
If you got your carpets cleaned every month so there was never a build-up of dirt, this would likely be an excellent solution. Seems it would be good at keeping clean carpets clean but to actually clean dirty carpets, look elsewhere. I can see where this cleaning method would be especially attractive to hotels and restaurants that (should) get their carpets cleaned every month.

For specialty cleaning needs - like oil based stains - I have no doubt that the citrus cleaner probably cleans better than hot water + detergent.

For soil, soda, and most kid generated stains, citrus cleaning is NOT the best solution.
Me personally, I don't think I'll be using CitruSolution again.

Post Script:
I was so dissatisfied that I called the local franchise owner and asked for my high traffic areas to be thoroughly re-cleaned. If they can't get them clean, I will have no problem asking for at least a partial refund and re-cleaning them myself with the Bissell.

Here are some pictures of white towels from my kitchen that were pure white. I sprayed some of the CitruSpot cleaner they left on the high traffic areas and rubbed with a couple towels. Here are the results:

Notice all the dirt that came out on my clean towels? Yep, that's what CitruSolution left in my carpet.
If their own spot cleaner can remove it, it simply proves their bonnet extraction process is insufficient to actually CLEAN dirty carpet.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Republic Wireless Caught in a Public Lie

I just caught Republic Wireless ( in a public lie today. They opened Beta Wave C today for people who signed up earlier in the year for their beta offering… which is nice. Here is a screenshot of the email I just received:
Wave C Beta Now Open Notification
The LIE:
They are only giving people who are in Wave C only sum total of 7 days to claim their spot and pay for their new phone(s). They had originally promised they would give everyone in a given wave “a week or more in advance by email” before sending out the notice that it was time to buy.  This would have totaled a minimum of 14 days for people to act.  Effectively, they have cut the wave timeline in half.  See #2 in this screen shot below of their beta signup confirmation email.  This is not being done.  So Wave C beta registrants have only 7 days, including today, to find an extra $200 if they want in.

When confronted with not following what they had promised to do, their public representative on Facebook, Tiggs, replied: “We said we’d send a heads up email to let you know your invite was coming in seven days, but we were excited to finish our items earlier than expected and decided to open Wave C rather than making Wave C wait another week. Sorry about the inconvenience! (Just to clarify, if you received your Wave C invitation, they’re set to expire on August 23, so don’t delay!)”

This is not the first time that, their parent company, has played fast and loose with product rollouts.  Their Phonebooth product rollout was marred by multiple slipped software update timelines, the inability to purchase additional minutes of use on their free product, and significant outages on their paid product as they went through growing pains.

I have an email in to Brian Dally, Republic Wireless’ General Manager (, asking him to honor their original promise to beta customers by extending the invitation deadline.  As of 4:15pm on Thursday, August 16, 2012, he has not replied.  My request was that they extend it until at least August 30th in recognition that they did not provide the promised 7 days advance notice that the beta wave would be opening opening.

If you think companies should actually honor what they send to customers in writing, please drop him an email to let him know that and all its subsidiaries need to learn to do what they say they are going to do, when they say they are going to do it, and to do right by their customers - even when they are excited.

The main reason this pisses me off is that some of us live on a budget and live within our means.  We do not charge impulse purchases to credit cards and this sort of thing does not qualify as something I should take money out of my emergency fund for.

Effectively, Republic Wireless is thumbing its nose at all the customers who practice sound budgeting and financial management.  For a company who is focused on cost conscious customers, that would seem, at best, backasswards!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Trash Service in Fort Mill, SC - The joys of privatization

So over the past week, I've been doing some research on garbage pickup in Fort Mill, SC. I ended up having to do the research because I was asked about service in the area and neither the county, nor city, nor Google had any information. It turns out that in York County, SC there is no such thing as coordination!

In the Fort Mill Township areas of York County SC, trash pickup is a totally private affair. You have to go to the yellow pages, call around and find someone who services your area. There are a few different companies and prices and service vary widely.

I needed to know about Regent Park, specifically Baden Village at Regent Park, but I couldn't find a single page on the internet with more than a sentence about it. In the information age, you would think the county or even the city would have this info on their website. Nope. And if you call them, they just refer you to the yellow pages. What if you don't live there and don't have a printed copy of the yellow pages?! Comporium, the local phone company in Fort Mill, does not have squat on their website. I searched for "trash service" in Fort Mill and got 1 result - for a company that serves Indian Land & Van Wyck, not Fort Mill! Grrr!

Thus I set off on a research project to find out who actually provides garbage service in Regent Park. And in case you found this page looking for the same, here were my results:

Garbage Options in Regent Park, Fort Mill, SC

1) Sharon Trash Service (STS)
2120 Garvin Road
York, SC 29745

- Offers service weekly or twice a weekly.
- Weekly = $22/mo
- Twice Weekly = $25/mo
- Pick up days, Tuesday and Thursday.
- Recycling at no charge. Picked up on Thursdays. Customer provides own box or bags in clear plastic.
- Billed quarterly by mailed invoice, 1st day of quarter.
- Payments accepted: Check via mail, Money Order via mail

2) Morningstar Waste Services Inc (Not affiliated in any way to MorningStar Church)
651 Red River Road
Rock Hill SC 29730-7434
(803) 324-2966

- Offers service weekly.
- Weekly = $17/mo
- To get the $17 rate, tell them Daniel Pentecost sent you. Usual rate is $22/mo.
- Pick up day, Thursday.
- Recycling at no charge. Picked up on Thursdays. Customer provides own box for recycling or bags recycle items in clear plastic.
- Billed quarterly by mailed invoice, 1st day of quarter. 1st quarter prorated.
- Payments accepted: Check via mail, Money Order via mail

3) Signature Waste Systems
660 Westinghouse Blvd,
Ste 106
Charlotte, NC 28273
- Offers service weekly.
- Provides 2 rolling carts. 1 for trash, 1 for recycle.
- Weekly = $23/mo
- Trash pick up day, Wednesday.
- Recycle picked up every other Friday
- New Customers receive first month free ($46 billed for 1st quarter of service)
- Payments Accepted: Check via mail, Money Order via mail, Credit cards incur 5% service fee

4) Allied Waste Services of Fort Mill
3358 HWY 51
(704) 377-0161
- Trash pickup available with and without recycling
- Weekly w/o recycle = $34.95/mo (104.85 billed quarterly)
- Weekly w/ recycle = $37.97/mo (113.90 billed quarterly)
- Payments Accepted: Check via mail, Money Order via mail, Credit Cards, Payment by phone, Payment online

For those willing to haul their own trash and recycling, there is also a free option. York County offers "Convenience Centers" for recycling and low-volume trash drop-off. They are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. The two nearest Baden Village at Regent Park are Baxter and Fort Mill East. The list of centers is here.

So... What did I learn about waste services in Fort Mill SC? That everyone takes it for granted and no one has thought about what new businesses and residents go through when they move to the area. The trash guys rely on people seeing names and numbers on the curbside garbage cans for advertising. Too bad that doesn't work when you're not actually in the area to see the cans. Only *1* company out of the three reasonably priced ones even has a website!

Monday, April 12, 2010

AT&T can't even excel at 3rd place

Verizon Wireless and Sprint each carried over 16 billion more megabytes of mobile network data than AT&T in 2009. But yet in major cities iPhones brought AT&T's network to its knees.

That is the closest to a flat out indictment of lack of network equipment spending and network engineering you're ever going to see. A servant cannot serve 2 masters... nor can AT&T. Pick one... serve your customers or serve your investors.

Other wireless and landline carriers should take note. If you serve the interests of your shareholders over the needs and future needs of your customers, it will eventually catch up with you. You cannot systemically short change the capex of your network and hope to cover it up with marketing.

Just imagine how many potential customers AT&T lost due to the network problems and news/insinuation of network problems. Those losses equate to squandered mindshare, marketing and acquisition dollars. I don't have exact figures (b/c AT&T would never in their right mind release them) but I'm sure those squandered dollars amount to at least double what they spend on capex in 2009.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Saxapahaw General Store on UNC TV

UNC TV, North Carolina's premier educational television network, featured Saxapahaw General Store on their North Carolina Weekend program on April 4, 2010. Bob Garner shares his experience with the fabulous food and the atmosphere that is Saxapahaw General Store.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sue Hausmann Gets A New Website

She may be "semi" retired but she still gets around! After blazing through age 65, last year Sue decided to slow down a little and 'retire' from her full-time position as Executive Vice President for Consumer Motivation, Education and Training with VSM Sewing (now part of SVP Worldwide, makers of Husqvarna Viking, Singer and Pfaff).

Now for Sue, "slow down" and "retire" may not match up with your expectations. She still has over 50 appearances and educational sessions on the schedule this year.

Many people know Sue from her host role on the TV series, America Sews, featured on most PBS stations around the country. There is also a new show called America Quilts Creatively. Regardless of how you meet Sue - on TV, in person, or on the phone - one thing you can't miss is her energy and true passion for sewing, quilting, embroidery and all the sewing arts.

Now there's a new way to meet Sue. She has a new website and will be using it to coordinate and communicate all of her scheduled appearances, project sheets, and soon promises to wade into the waters of video blogging.

"Sew" for all things Sue Hausmann, check out:

(And yes, I helped her organize the website.)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Design Your Own T-Shirts for Christmas

Spreadshirt Sports

EPA Recognizes 1&1 Internet as Leading Green Power Purchaser

1&1 Internet, Inc., the world’s largest Web host by known servers, today announced that its Lenexa, Kansas Data Center has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a Green Power Partner for its annual purchase of 17.5 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power (electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, like wind, solar, hydroelectric and geothermal). This is equivalent to 100 percent of the purchased electricity use for the Kansas Data Center.

1&1 Internet’s new partnership with the EPA is the company’s next step in its efforts to protect the environment. In 2008, 1&1 first purchased certified Green-e renewable energy certificates (RECs) from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, a leading national supplier of green power products, as an initiative to lessen the company’s impact on the earth’s climate. The EPA calculates that 1&1’s new green power purchase for their Kansas Data Center will equal the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of more than 2,000 passenger vehicles per year.

“This is a huge honor and we are proud to be recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” said Oliver Mauss, the CEO of 1&1 Internet. “1&1’s continued purchase of green power helps our organization become more sustainable, while also sending a message to others companies across the U.S. that supporting clean sources of electricity is an important choice in reducing climate risk.”

Globally, 1&1’s five data centers are among the most energy efficient data centers in existence. In addition to purchasing RECs for the Lenexa, Kansas Data Center, 1&1 continues its green efforts by using highly efficient power supplies with less than 20 percent heat loss as well as omitting any unnecessary components within its servers.

"EPA commends our leading partners for their continued commitment to protecting the environment by using green power," said Kathleen Hogan, Director of the Climate Protection Partnerships Division at EPA. ”By supporting green power, 1&1 Internet's Kansas Data Center is reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, supporting clean energy technologies, and contributing to a clean energy future."

The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program organizations can participate in to help raise awareness about green power. Generating power in these ways creates a net zero increase in CO2 emissions. Purchasing green power also boosts the support for developing new ways to generate renewable energy nationwide.

1&1 is the one-stop-shop for Web solutions, providing a high quality service with the security of its five state-of-the-art green data centers. Globally, 1&1’s green efforts will offset emissions of over 30,000 tons of CO2 per year.

For more information or to order services, visit: