How to Clean Carpet Floors

How to Clean Carpet FloorIt's tough to beat the style and comfort of carpeting. The one major downside, of course, is that it traps dirt, dust and other debris more than any other type of flooring. Also, even if stains are handled promptly, they're not always easy to remove.

Luckily, though, as long as you're diligent about cleaning your carpets regularly, they should continue looking great for a long time.

Basic Tips for Cleaning Carpet

Above everything else, simply vacuuming your carpeting regularly will keep it looking great. Over time, dirt, dust and other debris works its way between the fibers. It can damage those fibers, and it can even get down so deep that it damages the backing. Eventually, too, carpet will start smelling stale and unpleasant if it's not vacuumed fairly often.

Carpet should be vacuumed at least one time per week. High-traffic areas may need more frequent vacuuming. If there are kids or pets in the house, you may need to vacuum more often too.

Deep Cleaning Carpet

You have a few options when it comes to deep cleaning your carpet. The first is to have a professional company do it for you. Another is to rent a carpet cleaning machine. Finally, you could buy a carpet cleaning machine so you always have it ready to go.

Most carpets should be deep-cleaned every 12 to 18 months. If the carpet is light in color, or if you have pets or kids in the house, you'll probably want to deep-clean it two or three times per year.

Regardless of which of the following methods you use, remove all the furniture, if possible, before starting. Thoroughly vacuum the carpet too.

Water Extraction

This is the most popular option. The machine is filled with a solution of hot water and some sort of cleaning product, and the solution is then injected into the carpet. The machine agitates the area while pulling the dirty water up into a tank. When using this method, move very slowly, but take care not to over-wet the carpet. Doing so can damage the backing, and it can also make the carpet take too long to dry, which will make it smell bad.

With this method, drying the carpet is of the essence. That's why it pays to use as little water as possible. Once you're done, use fans to help the carpet dry more quickly. This will help keep mildewy odors at bay.

Dry Extraction

This option is actually more effective, but it's also a lot more expensive. You apply a dry absorbent compound all over the carpet, let it sit for a while, and then vacuum it up. However, special equipment is needed, and the dry compound is very pricey.

How to Clean Carpet Stains

Clean Carpet StainsEven with regular vacuuming and occasional deep cleaning, you're sure to encounter stains on your carpet from time to time. The first rule of thumb is to take care of them promptly. Use a towel or cloth to absorb as much of the stain as possible. Don't rub at the carpet; doing so can drive the stain in more deeply. Instead, gently blot it. No matter which stain you're dealing with, always work from the outside in. Otherwise, you may spread it out even further.

  • Wax, Fat and Oil - Lay a clean paper towel over the stain, and then go over it with a warm iron. The stain should transfer onto the paper towel.
  • Milk, Soda, Mud and Other Water-Soluble Stains - Mix 1/4 teaspoon of non-bleach detergent or white vinegar with 32 ounces of warm water. Gently blot at the stain with the solution using a clean cloth.
  • Coffee, Wine, Blood and Tea - Mix one part chlorine bleach with five parts warm water. As long as your carpet isn't wool or a wool blend, you can also try one tablespoon ammonia with one cup of ammonia.
  • Cigarette Burns - Using the edge of a dull knife, rub away at the burn spot until it is gone.
  • Gum and Wax - Use an ice pack to freeze the wax or gum, and then smack it with a spoon. Promptly vacuum up the pieces, and then blot the area with a towel.
  • Nail Polish - Just use nail polish remover.
  • Glue - Moisten a dry cloth with rubbing alcohol, and press it onto the stain until the glue is moist. Wipe off what you can. Repeat until the glue is totally gone.

By tackling stains quickly, vacuuming regularly and periodically deep-cleaning your carpet, you will be able to keep it looking like new for a very long time. Prior to trying any of the methods outlined above, though, test a small area first. Whenever possible, refer to the carpet manufacturer's instructions for advice regarding the types of cleaning products and cleaning methods that work best on your particular type of carpeting.

If these cleaning methods prove to be ineffective and the recommended advice from your carpet manufacturer does not work, consider contacting a reputable home cleaning company. They may be able to provide you with a cost effective solution for your cleaning needs.

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