Cleaning your carpets can seem like a very daunting task, but it’s also an essential one if you want to keep your carpets looking fresh and new.
You could consider hiring a professional cleaner to come and shampoo or powder the carpets, but if you’d rather save the money and do it yourself, then here’s our ultimate guide on how to clean and maintain your carpets –
Don’t forget to vacuum
First of all it’s important to remember that you must strive to keep your carpets from getting really dirty by giving them a regular vacuum. Most carpets need to be vacuumed at least once a week, and maybe even twice a week if they are being used a lot.
Certain areas of your home will get used a lot more, so it’s important to vacuum these areas more often. For example, you may have carpet leading into your home from the front door which gets used a lot when people enter. Or you may have a certain area of carpet where people sit down and move their feet around a lot, which may need more attention.
By frequently vacuuming your carpet you prevent a build up of dirt which can cut and damage the carpet fibres. It’s also important to take your time when vacuuming the carpet, and don’t be afraid to go over areas more than once – and in opposite directions. This will give you a much better chance at picking up all the dirt that embeds itself deep down into the carpet.
Overall, if you don’t vacuum your carpet regularly then it’s going to be much harder in the long run when you come to give the carpet its yearly spring clean and shampoo. You also allow the carpet to get damaged over time and will wear out much quicker.
Removing those spots and spills
No matter how careful you are, at one time or another something will get spilt onto your nice clean carpet. This is especially true if you have small children, and the chances of a stain appearing on your carpet is almost guaranteed!
The first and most important rule to remember when cleaning a spill on your carpet is to do it immediately. The quicker you can attempt to remove the spill, the better chance you have of removing it altogether.
The next step is to carefully dab and remove as much of the spillage as possible before you use a cleaning solution. In regards to the cleaning solution, make sure you do your research and find the right one for your carpet. Using the wrong cleaning solution could result in making things worse, so it’s important to find the right solution for your carpet.
To be absolutely sure you have the right cleaning solution, you could consider testing it on an area of the carpet that is out of sight. For example, in a corner behind the sofa. This should help to make sure the solution doesn’t damage or discolour your carpet.
Once you’ve removed as much of the spillage as possible, it’s now time to apply your cleaning solution. The most important thing to remember when removing any stain is not to rub on the area, as this could spread the spot around your carpet and make it larger. The best way to clean the area is to work from the outside and work your way in.
After applying the cleaning solution you should now attempt to blot up any moisture. One of the best ways to blot and dry the area after you’ve cleaned it is to use a clean white bath towel. Not only will the towel do a great job of drying the carpet, but it should also help bring the nap back up to its original position.
Removing specific carpet stains
Here’s our ultimate guide to removing some popular (or unpopular) stains from your carpet –
Vinegar for example can be very difficult to remove from your carpet, and requires fast action. Look to dilute the area straight away with water and baking soda. You then need to apply a solution of ammonia and water. You only need to use a very small amount of ammonia in the water for this to be effective. Rinse the area off with cold water and leave to dry. Once dry, you can then gently vacuum the area.
Alcohol, blood, chocolate, gravy, coffee
Dilute the area as quickly as possible with water, and then absorb any excess liquid (except for chocolate which needs to be scraped away with a knife). You then need to mix a teaspoon of mild detergent with a teaspoon of white vinegar, and a large cup of water (depending on how big the stain is). Apply this solution to the area and let the carpet dry before gently vacuuming.
Chewing gum is very difficult to remove as it sticks to the carpet. To help remove it you need to harden the gum by using an ice cube. Once the gum has hardened it should be much easier to pull away from the carpet.
If red wine is spilt, you need to dilute it with white wine. Then clean the area with cold water and sprinkle some table salt. Wait about 10 minutes before vacuuming up the salt.
Giving your carpet a well deserved deep clean
No matter how often you vacuum and take care of your carpet, there will come a time when a deep clean is needed. Most carpets need a thorough deep clean about once a year.
A good way of telling if your carpet is in need of a deep clean is when you notice sticky patches and the carpet starts to lose its colour. If you notice this on your carpet, then now may be a good time to call in the professionals. However, if you would prefer to do this yourself, then here’s how…
If you want to clean the carpet right down to the backing, then shampooing is a great way to go. You will need to purchase a carpet shampooer and extractor.
Before you shampoo the carpet however, it’s important to test for colourfastness. To do this, use a moist towel with the cleaning solution you have chosen and apply it to a small area of the carpet. Hopefully the towel shouldn’t pick up any of the colour from the carpet, which means it should be safe to use.
Now remove as much furniture from the room as possible to make things easier. To prevent damaging or staining any remaining furniture, place foil or any kind of plastic film around the legs and base of the furniture.
Finally, before shampooing the carpet you need to give it a good vacuum. Don’t forget to also treat any particular stains or spots that you find. Now it’s time to shampoo.
Following the instructions provided with the carpet cleaner, try to use single strokes over the carpet. Try not to apply heavy pressure with the machine. To help dry the carpet, keep the room well ventilated and don’t let anyone walk on the carpets until fully dry.