Stepping onto a clean, plush carpet is one of the most relaxing feelings for our feet; but with great comfort comes great responsibility. Whether you are a proud owner of a brand new carpet, or a weary-eyed carpet veteran longing to remember what a clean floor looks like, we’ve got tips for you:
1. Use the Right Vacuum—and stick to it!
Maintaining a clean-looking carpet is a lot like maintaining a clean-looking lawn: if you want beautiful, eye-catching lines, you should be using equipment that can handle the task.
Luckily, investing in a quality vacuum does not have to break the bank. For under $200, you can buy an effective cordless upright vacuum that will do the job perfectly. Upright vacuums are the best choice because they are flexible, which helps you maneuver in and around hard to reach areas.
Before you even start vacuuming, pick up anything that could potentially damage your new equipment—large objects, coins, pins—and remember that your vacuum is really only designed to lift dirt, dust, debris, particles, & hair from your carpet. If you are unsure if your vacuum could consume something, chances are that it shouldn’t.
When vacuuming, be sure to use slow, straight, back-and-forth motions: only extend as far as your arm can reach, and to achieve those much-desired carpet lines, cut the machine at an angle when going back. Once you have an effective vacuum, remember to empty the bag regularly, & if it is bag-less, replace the filters often.
In a perfect world, you should vacuum every day, but since most people do not have the time or energy for such a commitment, a weekly vacuuming regime will do just fine.
2. Act On Spills Quickly
Seems like a no-brainer, right? Well, if you have ever hosted a party before, you know that sometimes we brush off small spills to keep the atmosphere fun & care-free; however, any stain – alcohol or otherwise – is harder (but not impossible!) to get out once it settles into the fibres of the carpet.
To lift a freshly spilled beverage from your carpet, blot (don’t rub!) it with a white towel or cloth. Once you absorb the spill, feel free to cover the affected area with baking soda. Baking soda is great because it is a cheap, natural deodorizer: instead of just masking unpleasant smells, it absorbs them; therefore, thoroughly scrub the baking soda into your carpet. If your carpet emits a stench that has lingered for years, cover your entire carpet with baking soda & let it get to work!
Of course, there are other things besides beverages that make their way onto our carpets – blood, ink, food colouring, and urine – and there are a few ways of dealing with these types of accidents. For most situations, try using a mixture of white vinegar & soapy water first.
If that does not work, you can mix ¾ cup of hydrogen peroxide, 3 tablespoons of baking soda, & a few teaspoons of dish detergent to create a stronger stain-removing solution. To combat a stain with this mixture, spray it on a white cloth; blot the stain & use a fan or blow-dryer to speed up the drying process.
Naturally there are many commercial stain-removing products on the market today, and if the above methods prove futile, give Oxi-Clean a try. As with any cleaning product, make sure that you read the instructions to ensure that it will be beneficial to your current issue.
3. Deep Clean Your Carpet
As important as it is to vacuum religiously, you should deep clean your carpet at least twice a year. Luckily, you don’t have to buy your own carpet-cleaner. For $20 – $40, you can rent a Bissell or Hoover carpet cleaning machine for 24 hours. These machines use spinning brushes & hot water to revitalize your carpet: the brushes bring the dirt & grime to the surface while the hot water & cleaning solution are mixed to create a layering steam.
As it cleans, the machine deposits everything into a waste reservoir while simultaneously drying the carpet. Since these rental companies offer different cleaning solutions, make sure that you use the solution that is designed for your carpet. Once you finish deep cleaning, vacuum thoroughly to ensure that you remove any remaining residue from your carpet.
4. Utilize Rugs, Mats, and Runners
Have you ever seen a couch wrapped in plastic? Well rugs, mats, and runners serve a similar purpose: they offer a literal layer of protection. While you shouldn’t put them over your entire carpet, (that will look tacky!) you should definitely place them in high-traffic areas.
For example, use a welcome mat at the door. This will serve two purposes: it will encourage people to wipe their feet before entering, and if you establish a “shoes-off” rule, it will act as a perfect shoe-deposit area.
Similarly, runners will protect hallways, and rugs will cover more ground. The advantage here is that rugs and mats are typically much less expensive than a brand new carpet, and if you had to discard a rug or mat, it is comforting to know that it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to replace them.
Bonus Tip: Hire a Professional
If you are serious about maintaining your carpet’s integrity, then you should have it professionally cleaned annually. In fact, most carpet warranties become null and void if you do not have your carpet regularly cleaned by professionals.
While deep cleaning with a rental machine can be effective to a degree, professionals use high quality equipment and chemicals that are simply unmatched by comparison. For instance, professionals use large steamers that are transported to your house by a van. These machines are significantly more powerful than a standard Bissell or Hoover; needless to say, if your carpet is riddled with stains that refuse to leave, let the professionals pay you a visit.