Homeowners love their carpeting; it keeps the home warm and welcoming and is a comfort to the feet. Carpeting adds design, color, and texture to a room and defines a space. Carpeting is also an investment that requires proper care and maintenance to assure long life. Following certain simple cleaning protocols protects your carpeting and is the answer to longevity.
Knowing which supplies to use on specific stains is the key, because certain supplies can add insult to injury and actually damage the carpet further. Here is a list to help simplify carpet care.
Keeping it Clean
The main thing is to limit how much dirt gets into carpets in the first place. Perhaps a shoes-at-the-door rule will work for you, but especially a great doormat. Frequent vacuuming is the only way to prevent embedded dirt. Spend the bulk of cleaning time where dirt collects: near outside doors and high-traffic areas.
With carpeting, truck-mounted, hot-water extraction — or steam cleaning — works best for overall cleaning. Doing it yourself with a rented extraction machine is fine, as long as you don’t leave the carpet too wet and don’t use too much cleaner.
Safe and Effective Spot Cleaning
To spot clean without damage, remember that rubbing a stain pushes the spill into the pile and causes fibers to mat. Instead, blot up spills by covering the area with a clean towel or plenty of paper towels. Repeat until all the liquid has been absorbed. A wet-dry vacuum is a great idea if the spill is large, and then blot – never rub.
Create your own spot-cleaning solution by diluting a few drops of mild dishwashing soap in water. (Use less than 1/4 teaspoon per quart of water).
To remove colored spills or spot-cleaning solutions, such as soapy water or vinegar, either mist the area with clean water, or blot it with a wet towel. Then follow by blotting with a dry towel. Repeat these two steps until no more soap residue comes out.
Safely Removing Stains
Commercial spot removers can strip a carpet’s protective coating or break down the dyes that are found in most carpets. Here are a few homemade solutions that are protective. (Be sure to follow the instructions for spot-cleaning, “blot,” “soapy water,” and “rinse.”)
Stain Type – Organic: blood, berries, chocolate, sodas, coffee, gravy.
Cleaner: Hydrogen Peroxide cleans stains without effecting carpet dyes.
Mix: 3 percent solution and use full strength.
Technique: Scoop up solids, blot liquids. Rinse repeatedly. If stain persists, use soapy water, then rinse. Repeat. If improvement stops, dab on hydrogen peroxide. Wait one hour. Repeat as needed.
Mud: Allow to dry. Break off dry pieces and vacuum. Rinse with soapy water. Use peroxide if needed.
Stain Type – Alkaline: pet urine, beer.
Cleaner: White Vinegar, a mild acid, neutralizes alkaline spills.
Mix: 1 cup white vinegar in 1 cup water.
Technique: Blot and rinse. If stain persists, use soapy water, then rinse. Repeat until spot is gone; if stain persists, apply vinegar solution with a spray bottle or a saturated towel. Blot with a dry towel; rinse. Repeat until clean.
Stain Type – Acidic: cough syrup, mixed drinks, ketchup, soy sauce.
Cleaner: Ammonia, an alkali, neutralizes acidic spills.
Mix: 1 tablespoon in 1/2 cup water.
Never use ammonia on wool; it will destroy carpet fibers – use plain water. Never use ammonia on pet stains; it will attract them to make repeat offenses.
Technique: Scoop up solids, blot liquids. Apply ammonia solution with a spray bottle or a saturated towel. Blot out dry towel. Rinse. If stain persists, use soapy water and rinse. Repeat until improvement ceases. If stain persists, use hydrogen peroxide. See above instructions.
Caution: Ammonia is toxic. Use with good ventilation.
Stain Type – Oily/Waxy: tar, asphalt, crayon, wax, metal polish, grease, hand lotion, ballpoint ink, makeup.
Cleaner: Rubbing Alcohol, a mild “dry-cleaner,” dissolves oily or waxy materials and is much safer than commercial spot removers and solvents.
Mix: Use full strength from bottle. Do not use too much or let it pool; it can destroy carpet backing.
Technique: Scrape or blot (for wax, cover area with a brown paper towel, and transfer the wax by ironing with warm iron – wax transfers to the paper). Apply rubbing alcohol with a towel. For deep stains, blot with a clean towel, and repeat until towel remains clean. If stain persists, blot with soapy water and rinse; repeat. If needed, switch to hydrogen peroxide, as detailed above.
With a little time, effort, and a few simple rules, spot cleaning your carpet without producing further damage can be successful. Call in professional carpet cleaners for proper necessary periodic professional cleaning or to deal with extremely stubborn stains and persistent odors. At High Quality Carpet Cleaning, we happy to assist. Contact us through our online form, which can be found here http://www.highqualitycarpet.com/contact, or call us at 732.400.5255.