Carpet Cleaning Tips
If you have a carpet installed at home, then you probably know how hard it is to clean. Foul odors can last for days or even weeks, while the smallest spills can leave marks that can last a lifetime. You may think that vacuuming and spot cleaning are the only ways to go when it comes to carpet cleaning. In reality, however, there are so many more ways you can go about removing stains and smells from your beloved carpet. Here are the ten tips, taken from experts, you should follow to make your carpet look spotless.
Before we get to the nitty-gritty on how the professionals do carpet cleaning, let’s first talk about the basics. For starters, you should know that vacuuming is like first aid for your carpets, so do it as often as needed. Do it even more than the prescribed amount if you can afford to. The minimum recommended frequency to vacuum your carpet is once a week. If your carpet is in a place frequented by dirt or foot traffic, you should do it more often. If you hate vacuuming, you can use a robotic vacuum cleaner. This is so you’ll get to the dirt before it makes your carpeting its permanent residence. It would help to clean out your vacuum or to put in a new bag before starting. A full vacuum is much less powerful.
Experts also advise that you use a crevice tool in order to go around baseboards and radiators, as well as other places that are harder to get to. It is also easy to reach all the places if you have a handheld vacuum. Make sure you vacuum under and around your furniture as well. You can also add soil retardants once you’re done cleaning your carpet. This product emulsifies the dirt to make the remaining ones easier to spot clean. Soil retardants also help prevent future stains from happening. They even help reduce the occurrence of static shocks. Just make sure that when you’re using a soil retardant that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and that you wear the appropriate personal protective equipment.
Clean In Sections
It would be wise to vacuum your carpet in sections if it extends from wall to wall. Dividing it into quadrants will be your best bet. This will help you keep track of which parts of the carpet you’ve already cleaned and which ones you have yet to go through. You should also take your time when you’re carpeting. Even if you have the most powerful vacuum in the world in your hands, one pass with it still won’t be enough to get all the dirt out. This is especially true with plush carpets where dirt and grime can easily make their way through to the deepest and hardest to reach crevices. Slowly go through each section of the carpeting many times over.
Blot, Don’t Rub
The next tip revolves around a common mistake that homeowners make when they try to spot clean their carpets. Experts suggest that you blot stains out instead of rubbing them. You might think this is counterintuitive, but in reality, the latter process may aggravate stains by pushing them deeper into the carpet. It can also prematurely damage your carpet’s fibers.
To prevent this from happening, go for a gentler approach. Put just a small amount of pressure on the stain using a clean cloth, paper towel, or sponge with the appropriate amount of cleaning solution. It may take a bit more time and effort on your part, but this method will soak up those pesky stains eventually. Also, it’s not only the fact you blot out stains that matters, it also matters which direction you do it in. You should never blot outward because while going in this direction may dilute the stain, it could also spread it to other areas. You should always blot inward to prevent this from happening.
The Club Soda Trick
Beer and wine stains are among the most common stains carpets are exposed to. One of the best ways to get rid of these stains is to use club soda. For some stains, it’ll only take blotting it out with a cloth dampened with club soda to remove it. For more extreme cases, you’ll need to mix one part water with one part white vinegar. Place this mixture in a spray bottle and apply it to the problem area. Let it sit for about 15 minutes, then try blotting it out again with a little club soda. This will make the stain easier to remove. You should repeat this process as many times as necessary.
After removing the stain from your carpet, rinse the spot with a bit of warm water. Afterward, brush the carpet’s fibers along their natural direction. Put some clean paper towels weighed down by a heavy weight over the newly cleaned area to absorb the excess moisture. Leave this be until the carpet completely dries, which will take about a day on average. Vacuuming afterward would also be a good idea.
Use Shaving Cream
If club soda just doesn’t seem to work on your carpet, another method you could try is putting shaving cream on the stain you’re trying to get rid of. A lot of people say that this isn’t only the best way to remove beer and wine stains, but it is also the best DIY hack you can use to remove most types of stains from your carpet. All you need to do is apply the shaving cream directly to the stain then let it sit for around half an hour. This will give the shaving cream enough time to set. After 30 minutes, blot the remaining shaving product away with a clean cloth. Finish things off by spraying the spot with your water and vinegar mixture then wiping it away.
If you or your family members enjoy having a meal or a snack while watching something on the TV, chances are that you have a couple of grease stains on your carpet that you’re having trouble removing. Your best bet is to use a drop or two of dishwashing detergent diluted in about a cup of water. Put this solution in a spray bottle, then apply it directly to the stain. Leave it be for a few minutes so it can work its magic. After that, try blotting up the grease once more. If that doesn’t work, try doing it again or adjusting the amount of dishwashing detergent you use.
The Sweet Escape
Candies, whether hard or soft, are also a common culprit in messing up carpets, especially if you have kids running around the house. If you’re dealing with chewing gum, the best way to get it out of the carpet is by freezing it dry. You can do this by getting an ice cube from the freezer and applying it to the gum. In just about 30 seconds that gum is ready to be scraped off. Use a spoon to remove the dried up gum. If there are any left on some carpet strands, simply cut them loose. If you followed this tip correctly, you won’t need to cut off a lot of strands, so it won’t be as obvious when you do.
Meanwhile, if you’re dealing with hard candies such as mints, start by trying to scrape it off with a butter knife. You could also use a spotter brush if you have access to one. However, you should remember to be gentle, as being too aggressive with these tools might cause further damage to your carpet. If there’s still a bit of candy left over, take a sponge and apply a mixture of water and mild soap on it. Use this to get as much of that sugar out of the carpet as possible. If you don’t, it’ll be easier for that particular area of the carpet to get dirty. Sugar may also attract pests such as mice and cockroaches, which might eat up your carpet.
No More Blood
Another type of stain people usually encounter on their carpet are blood stains. Not only is this one of the most common – a simple nick or cut could cause you to spill bright red blood on the carpet – it is also one of the most obvious. Don’t worry though, it’s actually pretty simple to get rid of these blood stains. All you need to do is to first apply your mixture of mild detergent and water on the stain. With just this, try to remove as much blood as you possibly can.
The tricky part comes when you have to remove what’s left of the stain. An easy way to do this is to put some hydrogen peroxide directly on the stain. Some of you may think that this is some fancy, expensive chemical that you have to order online and wait a couple of weeks to be delivered, but it really isn’t. It’s actually a wound cleaner that’s widely available in supermarkets and in drug stores. Once you put the hydrogen peroxide on the stain, it’ll immediately fizz. Once it has settled down dab or blot out the remaining solution then leave it to dry.
Wax On, Wax Off
Scented candles have become sort of a fad in recent years and with that, lots of homeowners are getting wax stuck in their carpet. You’re going to have a rough time if you try to remove dried up wax from your carpeting. The best way to remove candle wax is to heat it back up again to a consistency that is much easier to work with. To do this you’ll need a clean cloth as well a clothes iron. Warm up your iron, then place it over the wax with the cloth sandwiched in between. Once the wax is heated up and workable, try to scrape off as much of it as you can with a butter knife.
While having that cloth in between the heat source and the stain helps prevent you from burning your carpet, you should also remember not to put the iron in too high of a setting. You also shouldn’t keep the iron on for too long to avoid further damaging your carpet with unsightly burn marks. You should also use a white cloth when doing this because colored cloth may transfer its due to the carpet. Another way you can remove candle wax is to put the iron over a paper towel instead of a cloth. The paper towels will absorb the wax once they melt again. This may take a couple of tries, but it’ll be worth it once you see your carpet clean once more.
Cleaning Pet “Accidents”
If you have pets at home, then they may have had an accident or two on your precious carpet that has already left a mark. Your furry, little friends probably didn’t mean for this to happen, especially if they’re well-trained. Experts recommend using organic cleaners for cleaning this type of mess over chemical ones. They may cost a bit more money, but you’ll agree that it’s worth it after seeing the effects. You’ll most probably also need more of the synthetic cleaner, so you won’t be saving in the long run if you go for that option.
If you can’t afford an organic cleaner, you can also make your own using a teaspoon each of mild detergent and white vinegar mixed in one quart of warm water. In the same way, feces and vomit stains are easier to remove after sprinkling on a little bit of baking soda first. Not only will this break down the stain, but it’ll also remove bad smells. After a bit of scrubbing, you’ll get most, if not all, of the stain out. Try some of the other tactics listed here if there’s still a bit of the stain left over. After you scrub, wipe off the excess cleaner using a clean cloth or paper towel. This same method can be used to remove stains caused by spilled coffee or sauces.
So that’s how you remove stains from a carpet like a professional. Now, you no longer have to freak out when you stain your carpet. If you follow these simple tips, your carpet will look as if it’s always brand new.
- Carpet-Cleaning Tips, How Stuff Works
- 10 Carpet-Cleaning Secrets From the Pros, Popular Mechanics
- How to Clean Carpet: Cleaning Tips for Long Lasting Carpet, Family Handyman