January 2018

Lowcountry Clean Care: Only the Finest Rug Care and Keeping

Author: Kitty Bartell | Photographer: M.Kat Photography


Gerald Brant repairs a customer’s rug in his Hampton, SC warehouse.

If cared for properly, a rug can last hundreds of years—several generations,” said Gerald Brant, owner, and caretaker of some of the finest floor coverings in the Lowcountry. Scales and alkaline levels, and science and experienced professionals, have a great deal to do with a rug’s potential longevity.

“Wool has scales on it if you look at it through a microscope,” he said. “Once you have damaged those scales, you won’t know by looking at it. If they automatically start cleaning it with a high alkaline detergent, then you’ve knocked the scales off and you’ve downgraded the rug. It’s downhill from there; you can’t put them back. It’s going to look clean, but your rug is not going to last as long because they have degraded your rug.”

Getting into the carpet cleaning business nearly by accident in 1979, Brant purchased his first franchise, Guaranteed System Carpet Cleaning and Dye out of Jacksonville, Florida, when his brother, a local insurance agent, connected him with a carpet cleaning franchise owner who told him about an available territory: Hampton, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, and Orangeburg…right in the Hampton County native’s backyard.

Starting his career primarily cleaning wall-to-wall carpeting, it was a natural transition to cleaning upholstery. “You’ve already got the background and the chemicals,” Brant said. As the business grew, he continued what would become a career-long focus on learning about fabrics, and chemicals, and the science of cleaning. “Upholstery is a lot more difficult than carpeting because you’re dealing with a lot of different materials, plus blends. I learned to rely more on sight and touch.”

Taking his experience and growing knowledge base, Brant began transitioning away from his franchise of primarily cleaning wall-to-wall carpeting, toward a focus on the care and cleaning of rugs—floor coverings that can be taken up. “As long as I used chemicals of equal or better quality, I did not have to use their [Guaranteed System Carpet Cleaning and Dye] chemicals exclusively,” Brant said. “As years went by, I started seeking knowledge from seminars and classes all over the Southeast.”

While they will do some in-home cleaning, Brant prefers picking up rugs and bringing them to their Hampton facilities for cleaning, because he knows his team’s best work is done where their equipment is located and where their nearly magical array of cleaning products is readily available. High powered vacuums, custom nozzles, and a system of grates are used during the vacuuming phase, designed to whisk away and suck-up dirt and soils—followed by a sudsy agitation in their state-of-the-art rug washing machine that mimics the gentle action of hand-washing, and a drying centrifuge with a spin so powerful it operates on a three-minute off, three-minute-on schedule, to prevent engine stress, a thorough cleaning is assured.


STEP-BY-STEP RUG CLEANING:
1.Gerald Brant rinses a freshly washed rug near his state-of-the-art rug washing machine.
2. A drying centrifuge with a spin so powerful it operates on a three-minute off, three-minute-on schedule, to prevent engine stress.
3. Wetted and laid flat, once the knots and fringes and entire rug surface are as clean as possible, they are dried on all-manner of drying racks installed throughout the LCC facilities, custom-designed to minimize uneven drying, crimping or bumps.

Rug knots and fringes are treated with care to ensure they lay beautifully after cleaning. Carefully selected cleansing sprays and pre-spotting treatments are selected for each rug, and every row of knots or fringe, depending on the level of soil build-up, the source of stains, the material composition, and the color. Wetted and laid flat, once the knots and fringes and entire rug surface are as clean as possible, they are dried on all-manner of drying racks installed throughout the LCC facilities, custom-designed to minimize uneven drying, crimping or bumps. “Until they’re dry and we pull them down and look at them, we’re not sure if they’re clean,” Brant said. “We going to inspect them at every stage, until we are sure they are as clean as they can be.”

Brant’s ongoing pursuit of knowledge about the science of cleaning and caring for rugs, has taken his abilities to a unique level. “Something that sets me apart, is that if I get a rug that has been cleaned by someone else and the rug has bled, I know what to do with that. I may not be able to get it all out, but a lot of times I can get it to where it’s very usable.” He also has an area of his workshop set aside where bins of yarns and large needles are stored, used to make repairs to distressed rugs. “When there is damage to a rug, what you want to do is stabilize it. I do all of that by hand.”

Brant and his crew pick up new projects and deliver cleaned rugs on Fridays all across the Lowcountry; from the tippy-toe of Sea Pines Resort, to all areas of Hilton Head Island, Bluffton, and Beaufort, Fripp, Bray’s, and Dataw Islands, Lowcountry Clean Care works hard to deliver a one-week turnaround…of course, depending on the size and scope of the work.

Bluffton resident Carol Hevey found LCC during the move she and her husband David were making to their new home in Palmetto Bluff. “I had a couple of rugs that I was going to be moving, and I wanted to get them cleaned,” she said. “I have three dogs, and while they’re pretty well-behaved, accidents do happen with dogs. The experience was terrific from beginning to end. They picked the rugs up at the old house and delivered them to the new house, put them down, and they looked like new. I used them for a couple of other rugs, and I will use them in the future. They’re the only people I would have clean my rugs. This is the best experience I have ever had with rug cleaning.”

Whether a family heirloom or simply a part of the family room décor, Lowcountry Clean Care takes exceptional care of the Lowcountry’s rug cleaning needs, with exceptional service and unmatched know-how. Done right, your lovely rugs just may be around for a very long time.

Lowcountry Clean Care is Master Rug Cleaner Certified. They are located at 27 Cemetery Road, Hampton. For more information, please call (803) 943-4416 or visit lowcountrycleancare.com.

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