The Best Way to Clean Carpet
Tips for Getting Carpets Clean
When you walk on the carpet in your home day in and day out, over time it can lose that fresh look. It’s a fact of life, carpets get dirty.
Accidents happen, spills and stains happen, but, with proper care, you can keep your carpets from looking old and lack luster before it’s time.
Cleaning carpets regularly and the right way will lengthen the life of the carpet. Below are tips to maintaining your carpets and keep them looking great for many years to come.
Vacuuming Carpets Regularly
I know we all vacuum. But do you vacuum on a regular basis. When dirt accumulates in carpet and if not cleaned regularly, dirt will get deep into the carpets and can cause damage to the backing and fibers.
It’s recommended to vacuum carpets at least once a week; and preferably twice in high traffic areas.
Below are a few vacuuming tips:
- Go over vacuumed areas repeatedly to get up deep down dirt. Five to ten strokes over high traffic areas is necessary to get dirt and debris up and three or four strokes over lighter traffic areas.
- Overlap vacuum strokes so as not to miss any areas of the carpet.
- Don’t forget to regularly change filters your vacuum might have.
- Change or empty the bag when it’s no more than 2/3 full.
- Move your furniture a couple of times a year to thoroughly vacuum the whole carpet.
- Deep clean carpets at least once a year.
Do You Need More Than One Vacuum?
Cleaning homes for a living means we vacuum a lot! And we have more than one kind of vacuum to get the job done.
We use upright vacuums for large areas and we use a handheld vacuum for stairs and upholstered furniture. If there are pets in the home, there are some great vacuums to tackle pet hair.
So, do you need more than one vacuum? There is not one vacuum that does it all and it’s not easy lugging the upright around to vacuum the stairs.
As a matter of fact, there has been surveys done that reveal almost 50 percent of homeowners own more than one vacuum.
Cleaning Carpet Stains and Spills
Remove spills and stains quickly after they happen. Don’t wait days, weeks or months until you plan to clean them up.
Basics of cleaning spills:
- Work carefully, blot or dab spills, never rub or you can damage carpet fibers.
- When cleaning spills and stains, start cleaning from the outside edge and work in towards the center. This way you don’t push the spot further out into the carpet.
- In many cases water will dissolve and remove most stains.
- Cover the area you’ve cleaned with a towel until dry.
- If there’s any clumpy residue on the carpet from whatever stained it, scrape it off with a kitchen knife or spoon, or a putty knife before you start to clean.
There are plenty of commercial stain removers available or you can use an all natural homemade stain remover listed below.
Homemade Stain Removers
Prior to using a stain remover, lift what you can of the stain or spill first. If you decide to buy a stain remover, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Any stain remover should be tested in an inconspicuous spot prior to using a new stain remover.
Hydrogen peroxide works great on organic (coffee, berry, fruit juice, etc), non organic, tannin and dye stains. It does not need to be rinsed from the carpet as hydrogen peroxide converts to water when exposed to sunlight.
Club soda can be used by filling a spray bottle and spritzing the area. Continue until the stain is gone.
Dishwashing Liquid and Water
A dishwashing liquid like Dawn is great for oil based stains. Mix a few drops of dishwashing liquid (one without bleach) into one cup water.
If you use any soap or detergent to lift a stain you’ll need to rinse completely with clean water to remove any soapy residue that remains. The soapy residue will attract future dirt to the spot as it is “sticky” on the carpet fibers.
Steam Cleaning and Shampooing Your Carpet
You can hire a professional carpet cleaner who will undoubtedly do an excellent job, you can rent a carpet cleaner, or you can buy a carpet cleaner.
A professional cleaner will charge you by how many square feet of carpeting you need to have cleaned, or sometimes by the number of rooms. They may offer specials throughout the year – pay for three rooms and get one room free – that sort of thing.
If you prefer to have non-toxic substances used to clean your carpets (and why wouldn’t you?), ask the carpet cleaner about the solutions they use. There are companies that use non-toxic cleaners. A professional will probably do the best job and, as a big plus, it’s not a Do-It-Yourself project.
Homemade Carpet Cleaning Solutions
You can rent a carpet cleaner and use the carpet cleaning solution that comes with it or make up your own solution.
Never use soap on carpet as soaps and detergents leave a residue and will attract dirt once the carpet dries.
Vinegar and Water
Use equal parts of white vinegar and warm water. Vinegar cleans almost anything.
Hydrogen Peroxide and Water
Mix up equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and water and use that solution in your home carpet cleaner.
If the weather allows, open the windows and train a fan on the wet carpet for a few hours, or wait overnight before walking on the newly cleaned carpet.