Carpets are a fantastic addition to a home. They help to bring that warm, fuzzy feeling to your feet first thing in a morning and they’re there to sit on early on a Christmas morning with the family. Every home has a carpet, and they’re great.
However, not every home has a nice and well-kept carpet. A good hoover every week or so is great to get all the little bits off, but it doesn’t always dig deep and pull out the dirt below. To give your carpet the longest life possible, a good clean can help to keep it looking nice.
In this article, we’re going to cover the best ways to clean your carpet, how you can do it at home and what to expect from a professional cleaning company. To help you find the section that you’re after, see the headings below:
Let’s get into it!
Why Clean Your Carpet
Cleaning your carpet is a fantastic way of keeping your home looking clean and tidy. Not only this but did you know to have a clean carpet can be better for you and your family? A carpet can act as a net to catch any fallen dirt, dead skin cells, dust mites, pet hair, dust and more, so keeping it nice and clean can keep your family safe from any nasty bacteria that may form and grow.
A carpet can hold up to 4 times its own weight in dirt, and because it’s on the floor this is something you’ll never truly notice. The colour of your carpet will start to fade into a different colour very slowly, so you’ll hardly notice the difference. It’s only once it’s been properly cleaned you’ll see the change, so it’s important to keep it clean to keep the dirt out.
Looking at some statistics, 90% of people spill food onto the floor before picking it up and eating it. Bacteria can live for up to 4 weeks, and a carpet is a great place for bacteria to thrive. Dark, warm and full of food for the bacteria makes it a perfect home, so keeping it clean means that 90% of people will be less likely to fall ill from bacterial ingestion.
Lots of people (3/4!) walk on their carpets with outside shoes on. This brings in lots of dirt and mess from the outside world, which can range from something like dirt and mud to things more sinister, like dog muck… All these things get pushed deep into your carpet and over time slowly fill up your carpet.
Hoovering is a great way to pick up dirt that sits towards the top of your carpet, but it doesn’t get deep into your carpet. Hoovering presents health risks to you and your family too. Hoovering pulls things out of your carpet with some force, but doesn’t always pull the dirt into the hoover itself. There’s always the tiny bacteria that will be pulled out of the carpet and thrown into the air, so you’ll need to be careful that you don’t breathe it in, especially if you have respiratory problems. Statistically speaking, the room of your house you’ve just hoovered is one of the top 5 dirtiest places in your home! (Source)
Now we know the importance of cleaning your carpets, let’s take a look at what you’ll need to make this happen.
What Will I Need?
To get scrubbing your carpet clean you’ll need to have a couple of different things lined up at the ready. The tools you’ll need are:
- Carpet Steam Cleaner
- White Vinegar
- Sponge with Scourer
- Thick Bristled Brush
It’s an odd assortment of tools, but they’ll really get the job done. The carpet steam cleaner isn’t something that everybody has lying around the house, so you may well find that you’ll need to hire one. This isn’t too costly though and will help make sure you get the most out of your cleaning. Let’s take a look at the method below:
How To Clean Your Carpet
Let’s jump straight into it.
Step 1 – Move the Furniture
To get a deep clean of your carpet, you’ll want to move as much furniture out of your way as possible. This will ensure that you’re able to reach every area of the room without any hesitation or delay, saving you time and making the most out of your cleaning efforts.
Not everything will be moveable, such as a wardrobe for example, but there will be lots of things you can move out of the way. Even if you move them into the middle of the room temporarily, then once the edges of the carpet have been cleaned you move them back to their righteous place and clean the middle of the carpet, this will work just fine.
Step 2 – Spot Cleaning
Run across the room with some hot water and your sponge and look for any obvious bits of mess or dirt. Things like mud can be broken up into your carpet, so if you can get rid of these before you get started this will be a huge help to you.
Step 3 – Hoover and Hoover
You’ll need to make sure that you hoover over the room as best you can to give yourself every opportunity to get the floor as clean and mess-free as possible. Try to hoover in all different directions to break up the fibres in the carpet and get into the deeper part of your carpet, the bits that house most of the dirt and dust.
This is a crucial step to make sure that your carpet is as clean as it possibly can be. This helps the steamer to get deep and really clean out the carpet without any obstructions.
Step 4 – Get Those Stains Gone
A homemade mixture will be sure to get deep into the stains and help pull them out, bringing your carpet to look like new. Simply mix one part salt, one part borax and one part vinegar to form a paste and apply this to your carpet. Let this sit and it’ll slowly dig away at the stain as it dries. Once it’s dry, simply hoover it away!
Step 5 – Get The Steamer Ready
A steamer is a fantastic tool that will dig deeper into your carpet than you ever could do. The high-pressure steam gets pushed deep into your carpet and pulls back a lot of the dirt that’s hiding down there, whilst killing off any germs that have made residence.
To use one properly you’ll just need two ingredients. A certified detergent that’s safe to use in a steamer, and some water. Mix the two as per the instructions on the detergent and you’re good to go!
Step 6 – Get Steaming
Once you’ve got the steamer up and running, it’s time to get to work. Start in the far corner away from the door and work in straight lines across the room. This helps to ensure that you don’t miss any areas of your carpet.
Once you’ve gone over the room, stay away from there for a little while. For some people, the fumes can cause headaches so only be there as much as you need to be to avoid you getting ill.
Note: Try to get steps 1 – 4 done the day before if you’re renting a steamer. You’ll give yourself much more time to use the steamer and make the most out of your rental!
Step 7 – Let the Carpet Dry
Get some windows open as much as possible and let your carpet dry naturally. It’ll take a couple of hours, so make sure to do the cleaning during the summer months when it’s nice and warm outside!
Make sure to have a fan pointing in the direction of the window too. The chemicals in the carpet could become overwhelming if they linger in the house and could give you a headache, so keep a fan blowing the chemical smell out the window.
Avoid walking over the carpet as much as possible, and if you really need to make sure to use plastic bags over your feet to help prevent any dirt from making its way into the carpet whilst it dries.
Step 8 – Do it Again!
You’ve gone to the effort to move the furniture out of the way and in some cases to rent a carpet cleaner. Make the most of the efforts and start again, giving it another good clean! Wait until the carpet is dry from the first pass for the best results.
Step 9 – Get The Furniture Back in Place
Once the carpet is mostly dry you’ll be able to get some of the furniture back in place. There’s a couple of things you can do to prevent the furniture or the carpet from becoming damaged:
- If you have flat-pack furniture, avoid putting this into the room just yet. The wood may warp at the bottom from the wet carpet.
How to Get Rid of Stubborn Stains
Nobody likes a dreadful smelling carpet with stains. Before this smell and stains put you off and you decide to get rid of your carpet and buy a new one, consider using these tips which will help you to get rid of stubborn stains and will also give your carpet a nice and fresh smell. This will be more cost-effective and less damaging to other bits and pieces at your house than taking off the carpet and putting a new one on.
- Act fast! The quicker you act in getting rid of the stain, the greater is your chance of quickly removing it, with less hard work. As soon as you notice a stain, get on to removing it without further delay as the stain might get settles in and hard to remove.
- If there is any visible debris present, remove it with the help of a fork or butter knife. When that done, gently rub the carpet surface with a damp cloth or paper towel. Do not rub it too hard as the debris would settle in the deep layer of the carpet.
- A secret tip here is to add a little bit of hand wash or shampoo in the cloth too, to get rid of the stain and it will also make your carpet smell nicer!
- Use plain paper towels or cloth without any dark colours because you don’t want to stain your carpet with another colour.
- When the stains are hard, you might have to repeat this process a few times to properly get rid of the stain.
- Always use cold water not hot as hot or warm water makes the stain removing even harder.
- Use a good quality commercial carpet stains remover solution.
- For pets’ pee, use the specially designed pets’ messes remover. Never treat it with a steam cleaner, as the heat will make both the stain and the smell even worse. Blot the spot with the solution, do not rub.
DIY Carpet Cleaning Solutions:
You can even make your own carpet cleaning solution if you are not fond of using commercial chemical cleaners.
- You will need, a quarter cup of vinegar, 3/4th cup of water and some drops of dishwashing liquid. Now soak a clean and colour-friendly cloth in your solution. Dab the cloth on the carpet and iron over it. The iron will transform the stain onto the cloth. For more stubborn stains, you will have to repeat the process a few times.
- You can also use, half ammonia and half water solution for harder to remove stains.
- Another method is to take 2 tablespoons of salt and half a cup of white vinegar. Dip a cloth in the solution and apply to the stain. If the stain remains after a few attempts, add 2 tablespoons of Borax to the solution.
- For fruit stains, mix 1 tablespoon of washing powder with 1.5 tablespoons of white vinegar, add it in 2 cups of water, use a cloth to apply the mixture.
- For coffee and tea stains, use white vinegar and water in equal quantities.
- For grease stains, make a paste of corn starch and milk. Apply the paste to the greasy area and leave it to dry. Clean it up with the help of the hoover.
- You can also use salt and rubbing alcohol solution in a ratio of 1:4, for grease stains.
- For vomit stains, apply baking soda generously on the affected surface, after you have wiped off the obvious damage. Pat it with a cloth or paper towel and hoover the residue afterwards. Baking soda not only removes the stains it will also sanitise the affected surface.
- For pet urine, club soda is your best bet. Blot up as much wetness as you can then soak the area with club soda, bot up again with paper towel or cloth. Repeat a few times. This is also good for tea and coffee stains.
- When you don’t know what type of stain you have on your carpet make a paste of one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide, half tablespoon of cream of tartar and a little bit of any non-gel toothpaste. Apply it to the affected area for a few minutes then remove with the help of a damp cloth.
- For juice or oil stains, damp up the area then apply shaving cream on it. Press it in with a cloth, leave it for a few minutes before wiping off with another damp cloth.
Hiring a Professional:
Although the DIY tips for carpet cleaning are great, our carpets do need a bit of pampering from time to time to maintain their softness and comfort. It is also good for their long life and endurance. Immediately cleaning spills or carpet accidents is great and highly recommended but you also need to consider the services of professional cleaners for carpet cleaning as it brings new life to your carpets. There are many reasons why you should consider professional cleaning services, some of them are:
- Carpets are the breeding grounds of bacteria, dust and all sorts of germs. Not to forget the nails, body hair and dead skin cells also get buried deep inside the layers of the carpet. Professional cleaners, with their expert knowledge, are better able to tackle with these pollutants.
- When you get rid of the unwanted debris, dirt and germs, not only will you have a clean carpet but it will also have a positive health impact on all the members.
- Professional cleaners have better equipment and because of that, they can do the carpet cleaning job quickly and efficiently. This means that hiring professional services saves us a lot of time and we all know that time is money! Plus, it brings out the best results too.
- All carpets have to be treated/cleaned differently according to their type, to minimise the risk of damage. Professional cleaners are an expert in that as they know the type, texture and thickness of different types of carpets.
- When you call in the experts you are actually improving the life span of your carpet. As they are an expensive product and you can not invest in a new carpet every year, it is best to have services which improve the life of your product.
- Over the years, carpets accumulate a certain odour in them which is hard to get rid of using homemade cleaners, especially if you have pets at home. Hiring professional services will make it easier to get rid of the smells and leave your carpet smelling nice and fresh.
- A nice-looking carpet adds beauty to the room and is an important part of your home décor. Unfortunately, with time all carpets tend to lose their look and colour due to dust accumulation. Hiring professional services will make your carpet looking as good as new.
Our Favourite Cleaning Products
If you don’t have time to make your own household cleaning products and if you are not fond of hiring professional services with harsh chemicals, then you have a third choice of buying standard commercial carpet cleaning products. Some of these products are mild and will not affect the texture of your carpet. we have highlighted some of the best products to help you choose from.
- Vanish Carpet Pet Expert Foam/Spray; best for pet messes
- OzKleen Carpet Power Stain Remover; For stubborn stains and spills
- Glade Shake n Vac Lilly of The Valley; best for cleaning and getting rid of vomit odour
- Rug Doctor Carpet Wash; protects carpet and upholstery from future spills, also a carpet shampoo
- Neutradol Luxurious Lavender Smart Foam; works as a deodorizer for your carpets to get rid of the odours.
How to Maximise Your Carpet’s Life
Now that you have cleaned your carpet, or hired services to get them clean it for you, you will need some tips and tricks to maintain your carpet’s life and to reduce the chances of damage as much as possible. We have got you some simple tips that will help you to maintain and maximise your carpet’s life.
- Place doormats on all entrances. This will reduce the amount of dust and dirt that goes into the carpet with shoes.
- It is always best to remove shoes before you step on the carpet. Guests should also be encouraged to do the same.
- Hoover every day if possible, this helps the fibres to move in a different direction, which maintains the fluffiness of the carpet.
- If a strand of carpet tuft stands out, it should be gently trimmed to the level of all tufts, do not pull it out.
- If you have a cut pile carpet, its best to use hoover with a beater bar and brushes. For loop pile carpets, it’s best to use a hoover without beater bar and brushes.
- In case of accidents, a quick and immediately clean up is the best remedy you can ever have! Be it a commercial product or household mixture, the trick is to tackle it then and there.
- If you have already tried your best to get rid of the stain or odour but you haven’t achieved a satisfactory result, then consider hiring professional services.
- If you have furniture with easily accessible legs, wrap these in a plastic bag. The metal or paint may run onto the carpet and cause further staining, which will be hard to see until the next time you move the furniture, at which point it may be too late.