14 Carpet Cleaning Tips from the Experts
Picture this: you have beautiful carpet in your living room, the perfect color to match the decor, furniture, and use of the room. You watch in horror as your child accidentally spills a fruit punch juice box, right in the middle of the room. What are you going to do?!? Have no fear; we’ve got some great carpet cleaning tips for you!
What Am I Going to Do?!
Professional carpet cleaners do the best job at getting stains, spills, and odors out of your carpet. However, there are some quick and easy carpet cleaning tips you can use to avoid the stain getting worse and even to prevent stains from happening in the future.
1. Don’t Panic – But Don’t Wait!
When you notice a stain, spot, or pet mess, clean the area immediately. This will reduce the risk of the stain setting, as well as the substance seeping further into the carpet and the padding. Remove the debris as best you can. With liquid stains, it’s best to dab the area clean with a white cloth. More solid residue can be removed gently or by vacuuming the area. Immediately scrubbing the stain may permanently damage the carpet or cause the stain to not come out.
2. Blot, Don’t Scrub
Blot the stain with a cloth, and avoid rubbing or scrubbing the area. Scrubbing the spot may cause the stain to set deeper into the carpet or rug, making it more difficult to remove. You don’t want your kid’s bright red sports drink stain as a permanent reminder!
3. Try Water First
Before you dive into using harsher chemicals or hauling out your steam cleaner, try to get the stain out with water. Depending on what has been spilled, it’s possible that it may come out with some warm soapy water. Be sure to rinse the area really well, and then dry it. The easier you are on your carpet, the longer it is going to last.
4. Test for Colorfastness
It’s important to test your carpet for colorfastness to make sure the color will not fade, bleed or otherwise be ruined by your efforts. Test a small area of the same carpet, such as in the back of a closet or other hidden area. If your carpet looks fine after spot-testing the hidden area, you are good to go on cleaning up the major stain.
5. Pre-Treat the Area
If you’ve determined that simply blotting or using water on the stain will not work, it’s time to pre-treat the area with your chosen cleaner. This will allow the cleaner to saturate the carpet in that section. Allow the pre-treatment to saturate the carpet fibers all the way down to the pad of the carpet, to make sure you get all of the stain out.
6. Work From the Edges of the Stain
To avoid the stain spreading or getting worse, start on edge of the stain and work your way inward toward the middle. Dabbing from the edges will help you avoid accidentally re-staining the area surrounding the spot.
7. Rinse with Water After Cleaning
Rinsing your carpet stain with water after you clean it will allow you to see if your efforts were fruitful. It’s also important to do this to avoid getting build-up on your carpet after you are done. Also, if your carpet isn’t completely clean, any dirt or debris will collect on that spot.
8. Use a Steam Cleaner or Rug Shampooer
A steam cleaning machine or rug shampooer can be a good investment if you have children and/or pets. The hot water along with the suction allows for the deepest and most thorough clean for non-professional carpet cleaning. Renting a steam cleaner or shampooer can be another option.
9. Don’t Air-Dry
Letting your carpet air-dry might sound like the smart thing to do, but it’s actually the opposite. Fans and specialized equipment will allow the moisture in the carpet to evaporate more quickly. This will help you avoid the possibility of mildew and mold to grow in your home, as damp carpet and fabrics can trap the moisture, giving it a warm place to grow.
Preventative Carpet Cleaning Tips
Along with the suggestions above, we also have some tips for prevention of stains, dirt build-up and other carpet fiascos.
- Use welcome mats to collect dirt and mud, and prevent them from being tracked into the house
- Have a “shoes off” rule in your home
- Deep clean your carpets regularly to keep ahead of the mess
- Vacuum often, using cross-wise strokes to pull up as much dirt and debris as possible
- Use HEPA filters in your vacuum and on your furnace to trap allergens
Try Eco-Friendly Options
There are many different organic ways you can clean your carpets, not just with a stain, but your entire carpet, as well. Club soda and vinegar are two popular eco-friendly options for carpet cleaning. You can also use baking soda, lemon juice and salt, ammonia, and hydrogen peroxide to clean your carpet or to spot-clean.