There is a very wide array of beautiful home flooring options, yet carpet remains a firm favorite, especially for bedrooms and family living areas. It lends warmth and comfort to your home, and it requires less upkeep and maintenance than a lot of hard-surface flooring options. Yet when it comes to keeping it clean and looking its best, carpet does have its challenges – even more so if you have kids or pets!
Carpets (and rugs) will inevitably at some point fall victim to spills, splashes, and stains, as well as whatever you bring in from the outside on the bottom of your shoes.
Here are ten essential basic carpet cleaning tips to help you keep your carpets looking and feeling fresh and like new.
1. Caring for New Carpet:
Maintaining new carpet is key to its enduring appeal. Protect it from dirt, stains and spills, and wear and tear by:
- Choosing durable carpet or avoiding carpeting high traffic areas
- Vacuuming weekly – the more you vacuum, the better your carpet will look
- Avoiding wearing outdoor shoes inside
- Place doormats at every entry point
- Remove spills immediately
- Treat stains promptly and appropriately
- Invest in carpet protection when you have your carpets laid and/or professionally cleaned
- Consider restricting areas that pets have access to
- Restrict kids from regularly eating and drinking in carpeted areas
2. Reviving Old Carpet:
Old, tired carpet can be given a new lease on life with professional steam or dry cleaning and attention to the pile. The pile of the carpet is its fibers; when these show wear and tear, your carpet looks flat and grubby. Protect your carpet pile by regularly moving furniture slightly to minimize flattening and using rugs in high-traffic areas.
3. Remove Stains and Spills:
Spills and stains need to be removed immediately (or as quickly as possible) when they occur.
- Don’t rub or scrub at the stain! This will further stain deeper into the pile and damage your carpet.
- Gently blot spills with an absorbent cloth (make sure it is colorfast – a white towel is best) from the outside in to avoid spreading the stain.
- Gently dab the stain with a clean cloth and appropriate cleaning solution.
4. Remove Pet/Child Urine:
You need to neutralize pet accidents to not only remove stains but also neutralize the smell. Mix 1 litre of warm water with 1 teaspoon of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of mild detergent. Apply to the stain and allow the carpet to dry. Repeat if necessary. Vacuum.
5. Remove Blood:
Blot up as much blood as possible, then apply 3% hydrogen peroxide directly onto the stain. As it contacts blood, the peroxide will fizz and foam, breaking down and removing the bloodstain. After a few minutes, blot up the stain with a paper towel or a white cloth.
6.Remove Red Wine:
Blot up the spill and dilute the red wine stain with white wine. Clean with cold water, then cover generously with table salt. Wait up to half an hour (longer if possible) and vacuum to remove the salt.
7. Remove Coffee:
Blot the spill and mix 1 liter of warm water with 1 teaspoon of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of mild detergent. Apply to the stain and allow the carpet to dry. Vacuum.
8. Remove Vomit:
Blot/scrape up as much as possible, then dilute the stain with soda water or a paste of baking soda and water. Apply a solution made of 10 parts water to 1 part ammonia. Rinse with cold water, then allow it to dry. Vacuum.
9. Remove Odors:
Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda mixed with cornflour and a few drops of essential oil on your carpets; leave for half an hour, then vacuum thoroughly. This helps to lift odors. If your vacuum cleaner has a bag, you can also add baking soda to the bag to help combat odors.
Regular Professional Cleaning:
- Nobody does it better than the professionals! A professional carpet deep cleaning once a year is well worth the financial investment. But be careful – not all carpet cleaning companies are equal; to a great extent, you do get what you pay for. If a price or deal seems too good to be true, it probably is (this writer has unfortunate, first-hand experience of this). Get recommendations from family, friends, work colleagues or neighbors for great carpet cleaning companies that deliver on their promises.
Other things to try when removing spills include:
- dish soap to cut grease
- shaving cream directly on most stains
- a simple all-purpose solution of
- ¾ cup hydrogen peroxide
- 5 drops essential oil of your choice
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- 3 litres hot water
- 2 tbsp dish soap
Look after your carpet properly and it will last many years, looking, feeling, and smelling great!