Carpets are the most common types of floor coverings, so it is very important to know how clean a carpet and maintain them correctly. Carpets are very strong and durable and most of them are designed to be installed for many years. Carpets can become marked and show high traffic areas so these tips for cleaning and general dirt removal for everyday spills and spots can help keep your carpet looking fresh and tidy.
Cleaning a carpet after household accidents
- Everyday spills and splashes with wine, coffee, soft drink and fruit juice are common everyday problems in the home. If the carpet becomes stained from liquid products the first step is to use highly absorbent towels to pull as much liquid as possible out of the carpet or rug. Use paper towels and blot the area several times working from the outside of the spill toward the center of the spill or stain. Always use new, clean paper towels or cloths. Toilet paper can also be used successfully in an emergency. Do not rub the carpet when trying to remove the spill or stain as this can damage the carpet fibers. Rubbing can also push the spill or stain further into the carpet and possibly into the carpet underlay.
- Fat based stains are best cleaned with a mild detergent. Prepare a concentrated solution of soda water with detergent, pour on the stain and then follow the directions above removing excess liquid. Repeat until the carpet is clean.
- Dirt and soil ground into the carpet should be removed with a vacuum cleaner without touching the surface so the dirt is not spread or pushed further into the pile. Wet dirt or soil is best cleaned after it has dried, then vacuumed and sprayed with water to clean or use a reputable domestic carpet cleaner.
Cleaning solutions for carpets
White vinegar is an excellent natural carpet cleaner. Use a solution prepared from one part vinegar and two parts water.
For resistant or older stains mix 1 tablespoon of ammonia powder with a small cup of soda water. The solution needs to be applied to the stained area then wiped with a towel. For synthetic carpet yarns, and only for them, you can use diluted chlorine: 1 part chlorine and 3 parts water.
Wax on carpets can be cleaned with an iron. Apply several layers of absorbent paper towels over the wax then use the iron at maximum temperature over the paper towels. The stain will get transferred to the paper towels.
Using a commercial foam cleaner can be helpful for small stains and traffic areas. Work the foam into the carpet using a clean, damp colour-fast sponge-mop or cloth. Do not scrub. Leave the foam to dry, this normally takes several hours. Once dry, vacuum after the foam to pull all the soil and debris particles that have been brought to surface by this carpet cleaning process.
If you are cleaning the carpet with any liquid cleaners or solutions it is important to consider the material which it is made of as well the thickness and colour. Always refer to the manufacturers care instructions. With any of these methods, always test on a small or hidden area of carpet to check colour fastness. If possible allow the test patch to completely dry.
How to maintain the carpet
Most carpets are reasonably low maintenance, so weekly vacuuming to keep them clean and free from dirt and dust is the best solution. However, if this is not done properly the dust and dirt will remain in the carpet pile and can contribute to carpet's deterioration over time. In high-traffic areas daily vacuuming is recommended.
Get a professional carpet clean
The methods outlined above are helpful for regular maintenance and for cleaning small stains and spills, but when general carpet cleaning throughout your home or business is need, it is best to call professional cleaners. A properly equipped carpet cleaning company will have advanced cleaning solutions to eliminate dirt, dust and debris and use equipment especially designed to extract dirt and stains from your carpet through hot water and/or steam cleaning. Most professional cleaning companies will also offer sanitizing of carpets and rugs.
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