There is nothing like that first barefoot step onto fresh, brand new carpeting. And chances are you intend to keep it looking brand new by ONLY walking on it with bare feet, socks, or slippers. And of course, you plan to require everyone else to remove their shoes upon entering, and the dog is banished to the kitchen from now on, where his shedding fur can be easily swept up and his muddy paw prints mopped away.
Unfortunately, despite your best intentions, eventually the dog uses his puppy-dog eyes to work his way back into the banished area, kids come running in with their shoes on, and spills happen. Before long, you are faced with the choice to spend more money on the carpet you’ve already invested a good sum of money into—for cost and installation—by hiring professional cleaners, or you can try to deep clean your carpet yourself.
But is there any way to restore your carpet to its former glory by yourself? How do you deep clean your carpet without professional help?
Buying or Renting A Carpet Cleaner
The first option in deep cleaning your carpets at home is to buy or rent one of the best carpet cleaners and use it yourself to deep clean your carpets. If you’ve already paid a hefty price for great carpeting, it might benefit you in the long-term to buy your own carpet cleaner to keep your carpet looking fresh for years without having to hire professionals to do it for you. Today’s best carpet cleaners are highly effective and reasonably priced.
To get the best results from a carpet cleaner, start by removing obstacles. This means moving all the furniture that you are physically able to move out of the room, for even cleaning. If you don’t have room for the furniture in another room, you can move all furnishings to one side of the room while you clean the carpet on the other side, and then reverse the process. Carpet cleaners are so deep-cleaning that your carpet color will likely lighten a shade, and not removing furniture will result in noticeable lines, streaks, and color differences.
Then, be sure to run your vacuum cleaner over the carpet to remove any loose dirt and debris.
Then get your carpet cleaner ready to go. The majority of carpet cleaners have two compartments, one for holding water and carpet cleaning fluid or shampoo, and a second compartment to hold the dirty water. Be sure to add the cleaning fluid, and then fill with water all the way to the fill line. Some carpet cleaners have separate compartments for cleaning fluid and water. Be sure to follow all instructions for your particular carpet cleaner.
Most carpet cleaners are upright models that are pushed like a vacuum cleaner, but they are typically heavier and not as easily maneuverable. The weight of the machines helps them to clean deep within your carpet’s fibers for thorough cleaning and fluffing.
Experts recommend using a carpet cleaner at least once a year to keep your carpets looking and feeling like new.
Carpet Cleaning Without a Carpet Cleaner
If you don’t want to buy or rent a carpet cleaner, you can still clean carpets at home yourself with these simple tips.
First, spot treat any major stains. You can do this using several methods. You can purchase a carpet spot-treater, or you can use the products you have at home, such as shaving cream. Shaving cream makes an excellent carpet stain remover. Apply the shaving cream directly to the stain and let it sit for five minutes. Then blot with a dry cloth. It’s best to use a white cloth to avoid transferring dye onto your carpet. After blotting, spray the area with a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water and then gently wipe away with a clean cloth.
After spot cleaning, you can clean a larger carpet area by filling a spray bottle with water and a small amount of liquid dish or laundry detergent. Only about half a teaspoon is necessary for a large spray bottle. Don’t shake the bottle, but swirl it around and then let it sit for five minutes to allow the soap to diffuse.
Meanwhile, mix table or kosher salt with baking soda in a 50/50 mixture and sprinkle over the entire carpet area to be cleaned. Then spray the area with the soap and water mixture and let it sit for five minutes. Then, use a large-sized, stiff-bristled scrub brush and scrub the carpet in one direction. Lift and discard any clumps of hair and debris that are brushed to the surface. Then repeat the process, brushing in the opposite direction.
Soak up most of the dampness by pressing the carpet surface with a terry cloth towel. Then refill your spray bottle with plain water, spray the carpet surface area, and then blot again with another towel. Allow to air dry, and then run a vacuum cleaner over the entire area.
Tips and Tricks for Removing the Worst Stains and Spots
Wine is Fine
Using club soda to remove wine stains from carpet works just as well as it does from clothing if it’s used correctly. Apply club soda to a clean cloth and blot—don’t rub—the stain away. A mixture of white vinegar and water in a 50/50 ratio sprayed onto the stain and blotted can also remove tough wine stains. Repeat as needed, and then blot with clean water and brush the carpet nap in its natural direction.
Greasy stains can be removed by mixing a few drops of grease-cutting dish detergent into a cup of warm water and pouring it into a spray bottle. Spray onto the grease stain and blot with a clean cloth. Repeat as needed and then use a clean water rinse spray and blot again.
If you’ve accidentally tracked in gum and it’s stuck to your carpet, do not fear. Use one or two ice cubes to freeze the gum into a solid and then lift as high off the carpet as possible with a spoon. Then cut any attached carpet fibers as close to the gum as possible to remove it.
If your carpet is marked with dried wax from dripping candles, you can remove it by placing a white cloth over the wax and then pressing the cloth with a hot iron. Once the wax softens, scrape it away with a butter knife.
No one wants blood stains on a carpet. While this may not be effective on an entire crime scene, a few spots of blood can be removed by first moistening the spot with warm soap and water, and then pouring a few drops of peroxide onto the stain. Allow it to fizz for a few minutes and then blot it away.
Keeping your carpet clean involves a little effort and upkeep, but putting the time and energy into maintaining your carpet can keep it looking like new for years, making good carpet worth the investment.
Resources— FirstforWomen.com, PopularMechanics, Hunker.com