Expert DIY guide on how to clean your Carpets at Home
Your carpets, like any other surface in your home, need to be cleaned regularly in order to maintain them. Sure you vacuum them, but are they really getting cleaned? Have you ever noticed that when you look down a hall, or into a room, that after time you can start to see exactly where you always walk? Or maybe you finally move a bed or couch and see the fresh, untouched carpet underneath? Well, then it is time to clean your carpets.
We spend so much time wandering around our homes, in bare feet, shoes, and socks, and tracking the same dust and dirt around, from room to room. It is important to give the right amount of attention to the carpets in your home because over time, if left dirty, the fibres can break down and become damaged. Other times, if the carpets in your home are not cleaned thoroughly, they can cause allergies and be a great place for small mites and mould to grow.
Just like any other chore, the more often you do it, the easier it is to maintain. Carpets are no different. Just because they look clean, does not mean that they always are.
To start, it is recommended that you vacuum your carpets in your home as often as you can. Build this task into your schedule, to be done with other cleaning chores. It is recommended that you vacuum at least once a week to every two weeks. This will depend heavily on the traffic you have in your home and other circumstances like kids and pets tracking more dirt into the house.
Cleaning carpets are not hard, and once you have done it a few times, it becomes easier to maintain. Some people like to clean their carpets with machines that can often be rented, and they use water and airflow to penetrate the fabric of your carpet and remove built-up dust and debris, but there are also other alternatives to this too.
For a more natural approach, you can often find what you need to clean your carpets right in your own home. As with any other new cleaning product, make sure to test each method first on a small section of carpet out of sight, just in case it reacts with the fabric.
There are many different methods to clean a carpet naturally, from baking soda to tonic water, to diluted dish soap, and even salt. No matter what you choose to go with, it is always important that if there is a stain, that you never rub it. By rubbing a stain, you can actually spread it, or drive it deeper into the carpet, making it harder to remove.
No matter the stain, you must first remove the solid matter first, whether it is jam, soil, or any other unwelcome debris. Second, if it is a solid spill, you can try to vacuum the area first, making sure that all debris is removed. Once the area is free from solid matter, you can begin to deep clean.
For coffee stains, tonic or soda water works wonders. Simply pour a small amount on the affected areas, or onto a clean sponge, and lightly dab the carpet. The tonic water will help to break down the stain, and the sponge will draw it up from the carpet. Salt is also great for removing fresh stains or wet dirt and can be vacuumed up after the stain has absorbed.
Other harder stains, like jams, gum, paint, or wine require different treatments. Here is a simple “how-to” list for everyday stains:
- To remove chewing gum, simply place an ice cube on the gum and let it sit for five minutes. The ice will solidify the gum and allow it to more easily be removed from the carpet fibres.
- For jam, first, collect up any solid matter and try not to smear the stain any further. Use a butter knife to gently lift it from the carpet. Next, use a solution of one part warm water to four parts white vinegar to lift the stain away from the fibres. You can use a clean cloth to do this, but remember to dab the fibres, not wipe. If the stain is stubborn, repeat. Once the stain is gone, place a clean, dry towel over the area, and place a heavy item, such as a book, over the towel. This will help to draw up the excess liquid away from the carpet.
- For paint, use a clean sponge or cloth to try to absorb the excess first. Continue to dab the area until no more is able to be absorbed from the carpet. Next, using a carpet stain remover, apply a small amount to the area and begin to blot the stain with a clean cloth. Repeat this step until the stain is no longer visible. After the stain is no longer visible, place a clean towel and heavy object over the area, just like with the jam stain, to allow the excess to be absorbed up from the fabric of the carpet.
- For wine, blot up any wine that has not already absorbed into the fabric, using a paper towel, or a clean, dry, cloth or sponge. Make sure that you blot the area until no more wine is transferred from the carpet to the cloth. For red wine on a light coloured carpet, mix one tablespoon of baking soda with warm water to create a paste similar to toothpaste. Gently work the paste into the affected area, and let dry. Once the paste is dry, you can vacuum the area, leaving behind a clean carpet. For very stubborn stains, you may find that you will have to reapply more paste to the area in order for the stain to be fully absorbed. Do not wait too long between treatments, as the stain can become more stubborn with time.
Sometimes it is not even a stain that needs to be cleaned from a carpet, but instead, a bad odour. For this, baking soda will do the trick. Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda to the affected areas, and it will pull the odour out of the fibres. Once you have left the powder on the area for one to two hours, you can sweep away the excess, and vacuum the area clean.
Water and vinegar will also do the same job to deodorize a smelly carpet. This is easy and requires not clean up after the area is treated. First, vacuum the area and make sure that the carpet is as clean as possible. Next, combine 1 cup warm water, with ½ cup white vinegar in a spray bottle, and lightly spray the area. It is important not to soak the area, but to instead shower it with a very fine mist. The vinegar smell will fade quickly, leaving you with a fresh, clean smelling carpet.
Just remember, if you continue to clean your carpets, and take care to avoid stains, you should have no problem keeping them looking fresh and new. Over time, dust and fine dirt can discolour a carpet, and with repeated walking over the area, can grind into the fabric and cause discolouration. By vacuuming and regular cleaning, you can avoid this problem, and enjoy a cleaner home.