Carpeting is a fantastic flooring option that has been a mainstay for millennia, with the first use going back thousands of years in Central Asia. Today, carpeting is still a popular choice for home furnishing and comes with an expansive list of benefits that set it apart from other flooring types.
Renowned for its comfort, cozy appearance, and ease of maintenance, carpeting is a perfect selection for the homeowner desiring a homey, individualistic style. Like all flooring types, however, proper cleaning and upkeep are crucial to keep it in like-new condition. Luckily, cleaning carpet is a simple and straightforward process that can be done in as little as one day.
Here are some practical tips and methods that you can use for deep cleaning your entire carpet.
How Often Should My Carpet Be Cleaned?
Due to the fibrous properties of carpet, it’s quite susceptible to dirt and grime buildup. Whether you have low or loop pile, you’ll need to take preventative measures to ensure it stays in the condition it was during installation. The best way of doing this is by taking on two types of cleaning approaches:
- Routine Cleaning
- Deep Cleaning
Routine cleaning is what keeps your carpeting looking fresh on a daily basis. Although less extensive, doing so will help keep daily dirt to a minimum. Vacuuming is the most straightforward way of accomplishing this, while also spot-cleaning stains as soon as you notice something was spilled. For best results, establish a routine cleaning regime once a week, or more depending on your use.
Deep cleaning is much more labor intensive but will be highly effective at extending the lifespan of your carpet. Deep cleaning involves tackling harder-to-remove stains and thoroughly removing the deepest bits of dirt and dust your carpet has accumulated. Most experts agree that deep cleaning should be done at a minimum of every 12 months. The more frequently it’s done however, the more pristine your carpet will stay.
How to Deep Clean Carpet: 4 Simple Methods
One of the biggest advantages of carpeting is that its maintenance and cleaning are far less intense than other flooring styles. Hardwood flooring, for instance, can be quickly damaged by excess water, making it difficult to know which cleaning solutions to use.
With carpeting, you’ll be pleased to learn that there are a variety of cleaning methods you can take to address even the most difficult of jobs, and many of these require simple pantry ingredients you likely already have in your home. For homeowners seeking a more aggressive cleaning regime, there are also a variety of commercialized carpet cleaners that can be utilized. The options listed below are some methods others have found success using. Please verify your specific carpet maintenance guide before using these methods to ensure your warranty doesn’t become void.
1. Hot Water and Vinegar Solution
You’ll be surprised to learn that these two simple ingredients are often regarded as one of the most effective ways to maintain clean carpets. Vinegar is a strong, natural product that can be used in conjunction with hot water to both remove stains, and eliminate dirt and dust. Vinegar is also incredibly effective at eliminating odors. Although the smell will linger in your home for a little while, it’ll quickly dissipate as you go back to using the space.
It should be noted that you’ll only want to use distilled, white vinegar. Other vinegar types like apple cider and red wine can simply stain your carpet, leaving you in a worse situation than before.
For best results, follow these steps:
- Mix 2 cups of hot water per 1 cup of white vinegar
- Place in a spray bottle and spray all carpet surfaces until damp, paying special attention to stains
- Allow time for the solution to sink in
- Finish with vacuuming to remove any loose dirt and liquid
- Let dry
2. Hot Water, Baking Soda, and Salt
In addition to warm water and vinegar, baking soda is an effective household ingredient that’ll work wonders on your carpet fibers. It can add a little bit of texture and friction to your cleaning solution, making it easier to remove large amounts of grime. Baking soda can be easily used in conjunction with vinegar for a tougher cleaning approach.
To achieve clean carpets with baking soda, utilize salt. Sprinkle your carpeting with equal parts of baking soda and salt and let it sit for up to 10 minutes. Prepare a bowl of hot water and use a scrub brush to tackle all of the dirty parts of your carpet. If using on a stain, it’s recommended to wash with clean water immediately after the stain is removed.
Although getting on your hands and knees with baking soda and salt is more labor-intensive than other methods, it’s highly effective at removing even the toughest of stains. It's important to note that some carpets may not be fully color fast, so you may want to test this cleaning method in a part of the carpet that is not normally visible, such as corners or under furniture.
3. Carpet Shampooer
While natural, readily available products are a great resource for cleaning your carpets, sometimes the job requires heavier-duty solutions. In this case, consider purchasing carpet shampoos and pre-stain treatment.
With premixed shampoo solutions, your physical labor will be less intense. You will have to utilize a carpet shampooing machine, and these can be expensive. If you’re sticking to a once-yearly deep clean, it may be more economical to simply rent one. Many home improvement and generic department stores have this service available.
Shampooing your carpet allows you to get the benefits of all cleaning methods. You’ll be able to spot-treat stains, remove grime, and also keep the carpet smelling fresh. For best results, follow these steps:
- Thoroughly vacuum loose dirt on the carpet
- Use only the recommended amount of cleaning solution
- Move the brush in straight, vertical lines across the floor
- Do a second pass over with just water to remove residue
Shampooing does put much more liquid into your carpet than other methods, so allow adequate time for the drying process. Your carpet will likely be wet for 24-48 hours.
4. Professional Steam Cleaners
Steam cleaners are the most effective option you can use when maintaining your home. Hot steam extractions are much more effective at getting deep down into your carpeting and will have no problem removing any dirt that resides there. Whereas a carpet shampooer only attacks the topmost layer of the flooring, a hot steam extraction will work to penetrate the entire carpet. Using water over 200-degrees, and thick, bristle brushes, your carpet can get back to like-new condition in no time.
Most carpet manufacturers also require in the warranty that a carpet to be hot steam extracted by an IICRC certified cleaning service every 12-18 months.
Tips for Removing Carpet Stains
Normal wear and tear and grime buildup are to be expected with a carpet. Unfortunately, stains are too. Unlike hard-surfaced flooring choices, you can’t simply wipe up spilled liquid with carpet. It’ll start by pooling on the surface, only to drop down into the lower portions of the carpeting the longer it sits.
When dealing with carpet stains, always tackle them as soon as they happen. If you’re able to remove the culprit as soon as it hits, you’ll be able to avoid the staining process altogether. Carpet is engineered in a way that it won’t immediately soak up extra liquid, allowing you time to address the problem.
If you’re dealing with harder-to-remove stains that have been sitting on the carpet for quite some time, the various cleaning methods discussed above will be able to remove them. Always be sure to let the solution sit for 5-10 minutes before scrubbing so that it can work effectively as possible. Finishing off with a water rinse is also recommended.
Some stains, particularly pet and wine stains, can be more difficult to remove than others. Here are some quick tips for solving them.
Pets are a lovely, friendly addition to the home, but they can also cause plenty of staining. The best way to tackle a mess on your carpet is with the natural methods listed above. For best results, consider a mixture of water, vinegar, and baking soda. This combination will give you the extra grit you need to remove even the toughest of stains, while also aiding in the odor-removal process.
Hot steam extraction can also be incredibly effective, with up to 90% of the stain being removed on the first pass.
Spilling your red wine on your carpet can be quite frightening, but when addressed immediately it’s rarely an issue. Mixing a solution of 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide and a tablespoon of dish soap will be enough. When cleaning wine stains, it’s important to never rub, only blot. This will prevent smearing and additional staining from occurring.
Keep Your Carpet Looking (And Smelling) Fresh
If you’ve made the wonderful choice to invest in carpeting for your home, taking proper care of it is essential for its longevity and appearance. By sticking to a regular routine and a deep cleaning schedule, you’ll be able to maintain the fresh installation look that your clean carpets had on the first day.
At American Flooring, we have the comprehensive product selection you need for your carpet installation. Browse through all our stunning choices today.