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Randy Mostad

Randy Mostad, owner of Carpet One in Billings, carries a wide range of stain-resistent carpet and flooring.

The J side of last week's PBJ wedged between the cushions of your couch.

A suspicious trail of pink and red basset hound footprints leading from your daughter's art project to the front door, then back to Chuckles' food dish.

Still-moist blue Play-doh ground into the walls in the shape of a mountain troll.

Life is a full-on fiasco of unforeseen stains, slobbers, ooshes and gooshes. Why not take a preemptive strike against these dirty domestic dilemmas? Arm your home with the tools you need to repel stains and extend the life of your home's carpet, furniture and walls.

Your home will appreciate the veritable vitamin boost. And your sense of calm will be restored when you feel you've appropriately armed yourself for battle.

Sticky-fingered munchkin troops beware.

Fortressed furniture

"There has been a misconception among parents of school-aged children that leather is not a wise furniture choice," said Amanda Bickham, manager of Stone Mountain Leather Furniture in Billings.

Quite the opposite is true.

"Leather is so durable and easy to clean," Bickham said. "With leather, you can easily wipe up spilled food, throw up and potty training accidents."

Typically, all you need is a damp rag and the mess is gone, as long as you've purchased what the industry calls "protected leather." This type is scratch and stain resistant, yet supple and soft.

And young children aren't the only offenders when it comes to wear and tear on your furniture. Teenagers can be equally as harsh, plopping down knapsacks of textbooks and lounging for movie marathons.

"That's why it's also important to keep your leather furniture well-conditioned," Bickham said, "which is incredibly easy to do."

Leather conditioner protects your furniture from damaging sun rays. It also quenches the leather during winter months, as humidity is sucked out of the air.

Because of our dry climate, Bickham recommends that leather owners condition their pieces once or twice a season.

"You really can't over-condition leather," she said, "and it will increase the life of your furniture."

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Functional flooring

 

"So many changes in the flooring industry have occurred over the past two years," said Randy Mostad, owner of Carpet One in Billings.

Nylon used to be the industry standard because of its durability, but now, consumers are drifting toward a new material made of a polyurethane derivative -- this material provides the same wear and tear value as nylon but is more stain resistant, Mostad said.

One particular brand that Carpet One carries called "Lees" is leading the industry in durability and stain resistance. It is made of a new yarn derivative and is guaranteed for 25 years. Another brand, called "Resista Soft Style" melds stain resistance and comfort.

And what's the best thing you can do for your carpeting?

"Vacuum it," Mostad said. "Invest in a high-quality vacuum like a HEPA vac and use it as often as possible."

But be careful to leave the steam cleaning to the pros.

"Professionals have the equipment to steam the carpet and dry it in a short period of time," Mostad said.

Going the do-it-yourself route, carpet can be left saturated for too long, running the risk of mold and spores.

Other flooring choices, including vinyl, luxury vinyl tile, laminate and hardwood can make cleaning up spills a cinch. Each material carries its own list of nuances -- price point, ease of installation, moisture saturation, etc. Be sure to ask your flooring expert about what best fits your budget and lifestyle.

Paint prevention

Pam Kuntz at the Pittsburgh Paint Center in Billings knows that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Or, a coat of highly-scrubbable, high-gloss paint is worth an afternoon saved cleaning up your young one's amateur art mess.

"We carry a line of Pittsburgh ‘Timeless' paints that are perfect for children's rooms," Kuntz said. "They are water-based, highly scrubbable and have surpassed other products in the market."

Additionally, the Paint Center carries a line called "Break Through," which can be used as a protective paint coat on just about anything-concrete, floors, even leather.

"It's a tough, all-purpose product," Kuntz added.

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