ABOUT SAFE AND SIMPLE ©
Safe and Simple © is a privately owned family business headquartered in Pasadena California. In the early 1990’s the owner, Mike Zekich was self-employed as a licensed General Contractor. While performing those duties Mike kept encountering the need for wallpaper removal for his clients. Mike could not find a subcontractor that wanted the work. Mike found that paperhangers and painting contractors shunned the work or did the work reluctantly. Mike found that wallpaper removal methods and products had not changed for years. It was the 20th century, clearly a time for change.
Clients wanted the work done WITHOUT the use of toxic products and in a timely and professional manner. Workers did not want to be exposed to toxic or potentially toxic products on a daily basis. A search of stores and vendors resulted in finding that nothing fit. Mike was compelled to develop a product that was safe to use and simple to apply, hence the name Safe and Simple ©. Thus began Mike’s quest for the answer.
The steaming method was rejected outright. Labor intensive, subject to burns, using water and electricity so near to each other seemed archaic. Steaming is a method of wallpaper removal that will work in limited applications but not the way to go on a daily basis when you own a business that specializes in wallpaper removal services.
Existing removal products were reviewed and eliminated due lack of performance or safety concerns.
- Vinegar and hot water. This was the “wife’s tale” answer. It will do the job on 40 year old paper that was made of real pulp paper and installed with (at the time) wheat paste. The acetic acid in the vinegar encourages fermentation of the sugar molecules in the wheat. The hot water helps by expanding the sugar molecules. The problem is that wallpaper manufactured since the 1970’s is very rarely made of paper.
- Most are enzyme based. Reference Wikipedia; Enzyme “Involvement in disease” . . . “Since the light control of enzyme activity is essential for homeostasis, any malfunction (mutation, overproduction, underproduction or deletion) of a single critical enzyme can lead to a genetic disease. The importance of enzymes is shown by the fact that a lethal illness can be caused by the malfunction of just one type of enzyme out of the thousands of types present in our bodies.” (Yellow highlight by Mike)
Still doing wallpaper removal for clients Mike had an adequate supply of wallpaper that had been removed from client’s walls. Unknown to Mike at the time was this fact would end up being a key factor in finding the answer.
First attempts made to develop a wallpaper removal product were made by reverse engineering wallpaper adhesives. The theory was nice, the reality proved otherwise. Testing found that in nearly all cases wallpaper adhesives were doctored in some manner. Wallpaper adhesives were not being used per manufacturer’s guidelines. Adhesives were mixed, diluted, and doctored by the end user.
Testing revealed another significant factor. Paint, sealers, and wallpaper primers were not being used to manufacturer’s guidelines in most every case. Like adhesives they were mixed, diluted, or doctored in some way. It was also found that these products were being used incorrectly with respect to “cure time”. Cure time is the amount of time (for example) a paint or primer needs to be considered done or ready to receive another product such as wallpaper. Generally latex (water based) paints and primers dry to the touch in less than an hour but need 48 hours to “cure”. Oil based paints usually need 48 hours to dry to the touch and 7 – 14 days to “cure”.
Testing revealed that human nature was a significant factor. Speed was over ruling performance. Today labor costs are significantly more than materials costs. Contractors and home owners want speed. Contractors want no call backs. Warranty is almost unheard of. Remove wallpaper in the morning, prime by lunch time, paint or install in the afternoon. “If a little bit of glue is good then a whole lot of it will work”; “Uncle Bob says to do this”; “Just go ahead and finish it, we gotta move in and the party is tomorrow.”
It was Mike’s idea to focus on making the removal process the reverse of the installation process. Utilize something to break the grip of the adhesive on the wallpaper on walls prepared by factoring human nature. Focus was put on reactivating adhesives instead of trying to eat up or destroy adhesives. More research and testing found the answer was to use a Surfactant. Reference Wikipedia; “Surfactants are compounds that lower the surface tension (or interfacial tension) between two liquids or between a liquid and a solid.” Not any surfactant would do, it had to be absolutely safe, biodegradable.
The removal solution had another requirement; it had to be concentrated. At that time Mike’s primary business was shifting from General Contractor services to wallpaper removal services in the Los Angeles area. It would not be practicable to haul gallons of a ready mixed solution to do a job. It had to be concentrated, a product that could be mixed with water at jobsites. More testing and research was done. In time the right combination of chemicals to suit all needs was made. The key was in in mixing the chemicals (such as coloring, scent, and others) in the right order for specific times.
For proprietary reasons we do not reveal the names of our ingredients. Click on the link GO TO MSDS SHEET TO review our Material Data Safety Sheet. Fadi to add link to MSDS page. and ON MSDS page add link BACK TO ABOUT SAFE AND SIMPLE to return to this page and continue reading
Now focusing on wallpaper removal services in the Los Angeles area as Safe and Simple© Wallpaper Removal Mike the right product and focused on customer service. The removal service business grew well and Mike realized that although he loved the business he was never going to remove wallpaper out of town. The need for wallpaper removal services and a quality removal product was National and International. Mike decided to sell the product and named it 603 in honor of his daughter’s birthday June 3rd.
A whole new educational process had begun. Safe and Simple© Product Sales was created. Competitors literally laughed at him. Giant stores do not want to carry a single SKU# product. Financial wizards advised to “water it down” and “make a deal”. Attending trade shows that attracted paperhangers and painters resulted in sales. Like Mke, these contractors needed a safe product to use in their daily operations. Clinging to his roots, Mike refuses to dilute the product to enhance his “bottom line”.
Since Safe and Simple ©Product Sales did not have the funding for a nation-wide sales force, Mike tried using independent sales representative to sell the product. This has met with some success but it is hard for a sales representative to live on commissions earned from a product that is concentrated and goes so far with a company that has only one product.
Luckily the Internet happened and has grown at an amazing rate. At the same time consumer awareness of safety for themselves and the environment has been a welcome change. Our web site was developed as a means for the homeowner to procure 603 removal solution. Our web site is continually being revised and we appreciate your patience. Remember that Safe and Simple © is a small family run business and we are trying our best to do things the old fashioned American way. The key was in in mixing the chemicals (such as coloring, scent, and others) in the right order.