We all love how carpets feel underfoot, adding coziness not only to your step but to the room as well. However, we also can’t deny that they require a bit more maintenance than other types of flooring. Carpets often take the brunt of foot traffic as well as the occasional spill and stain. While vacuuming on a regular basis takes care of everyday dirt and dust, stains may call for certain on-the-spot measures. It is also a good idea to deep clean your carpet in addition to routine maintenance because sometimes it’s hard to notice the build-up of dirt over time. Getting familiar with some carpet cleaning tips will allow you to stay on top of anything - from nasty stains to embedded dirt.
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How Often Should You Clean Your Carpet?
It’s not uncommon for your carpet to gather dirt and hair over time. That’s where a carpet vacuum with a suction attachment comes in handy. That being said, consider vacuuming your rugs once a month at the very least.
As for deep cleaning, two or three times a year is normally enough to keep your carpets in good condition. You may want to bear in mind, however, that wall-to-wall carpeting is different from area rugs. This means you can’t really use the same cleaning procedures for both. A vintage rug, for instance, may not handle a deep cleaning and will need to be hand-washed using a pH-balanced shampoo once every four years or so.
While deep cleaning your area carpets is a great way to restore their luster, you may also want to rotate them once a year. This essentially helps in ensuring an even wear. While doing so, consider taking the opportunity to rearrange your furniture and rugs for a fresh look. Using a rug pad can be important for longevity as well as it will protect both the fibers of your carpet from being crushed and your flooring from scratches. And in the case of a wool carpet, letting it sunbathe for a little while once every year can help with sanitizing. Make sure, however, to avoid steam cleaning as it can damage the wool.
Vacuuming Your Carpet
Vacuuming your rugs and carpets basically allows you to get rid of dust, dirt, and dander before they get too settled in or combine with other stains or spills, creating a heartier mess for you to clean. You may also want to vacuum before deep cleaning or spot-cleaning a carpet. This is because debris embedded in the fibers can prevent you from reaching the stains.
In addition to vacuuming, make it a habit to shake out your area rugs once or twice a month. And every couple of months or so, consider flipping your carpet over and vacuuming the back. This helps in removing the grit from the foundation.
Spot-Cleaning Your Carpet
Besides deep cleaning and the occasional vacuuming, spills and stains will require you to spot clean the carpet. It’s always best to do this immediately instead of leaving it for the next carpet cleaning session.
Cleaning Paint Stains
Getting rid of paint stains essentially depends on whether the paint is water-based or oil-based — the former being easier to clean. In the case of water-based paint stains, dab away the wet paint with a paper towel before scraping off the remainder using a dull razor blade. Remove any remaining paint by blotting a microfiber cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol. The last resort involves using paint thinner.
As for cleaning carpet stains from oil-based paint, we just straight to the paint thinner. Dampen a microfiber cloth in paint thinner and equal parts of warm water and dish soap before applying it to the stain. Make sure to pat away any fresh paint first - emphasis on patting so as to not spread the stain or push it deeper into the fibers.
Getting Wine Out of a Carpet
Wine spills are widely known to cause panic, especially when it gets on a carpet which is harder to replace than a shirt or tablecloth. To get rid of a wine stain, start by immediately blotting up as much as possible without rubbing. Next, sprinkle a generous amount of salt or baking soda on the stain. Let it sit for a few minutes before vacuuming it. If the stain is still visible, consider using a specialized cleaning agent.
Removing Coffee Stains
One of the best ways to clean carpet stains caused by spilled coffee involves using a mixture of water and vinegar. The acidity in white vinegar essentially allows it to serve as a natural cleaning agent. Simply apply the solution to the stain and wait a few minutes before dabbing and rinsing. Repeat the process if necessary. Other carpet cleaning tips for coffee stains include the use of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, or liquid dish soap.
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Getting Rid of Blood Stains
Cuts and nosebleeds are always a possibility around the house and your carpet is not immune to being a victim of such accidents — especially light-colored carpets where the stain becomes annoyingly noticeable. Fortunately, cleaning carpet stains from blood isn’t much of a problem.
Simply combine one part dish soap with two parts hydrogen peroxide. Then, soak a microfiber cloth in the mixture and use it to dab the stain. Another carpet cleaning tip involves combining white vinegar with cold water, wetting the stain with the solution for a few minutes, and dabbing it with a microfiber cloth or a paper towel.
Cleaning Pet Accidents
As smelly and unsightly as they are, stains left by our furry companions are quite easy to clean — much like dealing with other minor damages caused by pets. Using a paper towel, pat up as much of the pee as possible. Next, fill up a spray bottle with equal parts of warm water and white vinegar. Spritz over the stain to eliminate the odor and dab the solution before repeating the process.
Deep Cleaning Your Carpet
While vacuuming your carpets on a regular basis helps in getting rid of dust and debris, it doesn’t really give them that fresh look. Deep cleaning them twice a year or so, however, should do the trick. Having said that, it helps to know how to use a carpet cleaner. You also can’t go wrong with a deep cleaning by hand.
Deep Cleaning by Hand
Using a carpet cleaner is often a go-to solution for deep cleaning a carpet. But if you don’t have access to one, you can achieve similar results with a cost-effective DIY solution.
Start by sprinkling handfuls of baking soda on your carpet. Then, fill a spray bottle with a mixture of carpet shampoo and warm water. Spritz the solution over the carpet before brushing it with a carpet brush. The next step involves blotting the surface, spraying again but with warm water only, and blotting once more. This method takes a bit of elbow grease, but can give you the same fresh, clean carpet effect without the need to purchase or rent a carpet cleaner.
Using a Carpet Cleaner
Perhaps the best way to clean a carpet is with a carpet cleaning machine. If you don’t wish to invest in one for whatever reason, carpet cleaner rentals are always available.
Before getting started, you’ll need to clear the area and vacuum the carpet to get rid of loose debris. You may also want to pretreat any stains. Add a formula of your choice in the cleaner and activate it. Make sure to start from the furthest corner, working your way towards the exit. An optional step involves refilling the machine with warm water in order to rinse the carpet. Wait at least four hours before stepping on the carpet or placing back your furniture.
Hiring a Professional
If buying or renting a carpet cleaner is too much of a hassle, or that stain just won’t come off, your best bet is to hire an expert. Professionals have access to commercial machines that are extremely effective at getting rid of stains and making a carpet look as good as new. One common reservation around professional carpet cleaning services is the cost, but the results are often worth every penny.
Knowing how to disinfect a carpet by misting it with white vinegar and letting it sit overnight always comes in handy, and staying on top of dust and debris through regular maintenance will help prevent the aging of your carpet. But an occasional deep cleaning is necessary to keep your carpet in tip-top shape.
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