Clean carpets are very important to both the look of your home and the health of the people who live in it. Stained and dirty carpets can reduce the comfort of the home, while allergens and dust in them can trigger respiratory problems. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to clean carpets, depending on the nature of the dirt.
Method 1 of 4: Vacuuming the Carpet
Step 1. Prepare the room before vacuuming
Remove toys, paper, and other objects that can block the movement of the vacuum cleaner.
- Get rid of small objects such as coins that can damage the working mechanism of the vacuum cleaner.
- Remember to check the underside of the furniture as well.
- Clean the dust from the curtains, furniture, window frames, and the edges of the floor first so that the dust that falls can be sucked up too.
Step 2. Attach the funnel to the vacuum cleaner to clean hard-to-reach areas
The ends of the carpet and the edges of the floor often contain dust that must be cleaned first.
If there is furniture that cannot be moved, attach a small hose to reach dust under sofas and other furniture
Step 3. Vacuum both vertically and horizontally
First, vacuum the entire room in a back and forth motion, then repeat this process in a right-to-left motion. Carpet fibers are generally twisted, so by vacuuming in both directions like this, every strand will be within reach.
This is especially useful if you have pets as they can suck up their fur and hair
Step 4. Vacuum regularly
The frequency of vacuuming depends on several factors. In general, it is recommended that you vacuum at least once for each living person or pet weighing about 10 kg per week. For example, a couple living with 2 cats should vacuum their carpets 3 times a week. While 1 person who lives with a dog weighing 30 kg must vacuum 4 times a week. Remember that one of the purposes of vacuuming is to clean the carpet of fluff and hair. Large animals usually leave fur and hair better than small animals.
Even if it's not yet a vacuuming schedule, if the carpet in your house already looks dusty and covered in pet hair, forget this rule and increase the frequency
Method 2 of 4: Cleaning Dirty Parts
Step 1. Use a clean white cloth
Patterned or colored rags can change the color of the carpet, making the problem worse. Unpatterned wipes may also work.
- Be sure to dry any new stains by patting them with a clean white cloth. After that, use another clean white cloth to clean the remaining stains.
- Do not use brushes or bristles as they can damage and untwist the carpet fibers.
- This step aims to clean up spilled stains on a small portion of the carpet and is not part of routine carpet maintenance.
Step 2. Choose the right carpet cleaner
There are a variety of carpet cleaning soaps available in the market. These cleaners are generally sold in spray bottles or cans to make their use easier. While there are many general-purpose cleaners to choose from, read the label to determine if the cleaner is suitable for the type of carpet and stain. Keep in mind that stains from bodily fluids often require more attention.
- If you want to clean fresh bloodstains, apply cold water or hydrogen peroxide. Do not use warm water because it can make it more absorbent. To clean dry stains, rub in hydrogen peroxide and follow up with an enzyme-based laundry soap.
- To clean pet urine, use an enzyme-based cleaner specifically for this kind of stain. If you can't find this specific stain remover, wipe the fresh urine stain with an ammonia solution, and follow up with laundry soap and warm water. Stains that have soaked can be cleaned using a solution of vinegar and water in a ratio of 1:3. Just like fresh stains, continue with laundry soap and finish with water.
Step 3. Test the cleaning product in a recessed area of the carpet
Follow the instructions for use on the packaging and test it on a hidden side. Some products may not be suitable for your carpet, so it's best to get tested first. Pieces of carpet sheets or hard-to-see areas such as carpet under cabinets can be used to test cleaning products.
Do not test cleaning products directly on the stain. The purpose of this test is to check the color resistance of the carpet. If the carpet color has faded or the cleaning product has left a stain, look for another product
Step 4. Apply the cleaner to the stained area
Pour a small amount of the cleaning product onto a clean white cloth and then wipe it over the surface of the stain. Use only a small amount of product to remove stains.
- When it comes to carpet cleaning, more product doesn't mean better. Soap left on the carpet will trap dust and cause bigger stains than before.
- Don't scrub the carpet. Pressing or scrubbing the carpet vigorously will allow the stain to sink deeper into the fibers.
Step 5. Rinse the carpet
Using a clean white cloth and water, wet the remaining cleaning soap by wiping the cloth over the area. Do not wet the carpet with water because it will be absorbed into the cushion underneath and lead to the growth of mold and mildew.
Allow the cleaned area to dry on its own. If it's large, or you use a lot of water, run a fan or carpet dryer next to the rug to speed it up
Method 3 of 4: Using a Cleaning Tool
Step 1. Prepare the room before cleaning the carpet
If possible, remove all furniture. Place a layer of plastic under a large or heavy object that cannot be moved to protect it from water damage.
- If special plastic is not available, simply cut a sheet of aluminum foil or parchment paper and place it under the furniture legs.
- Cleaning carpets with a cleaning tool is sometimes also referred to as "steam cleaning." But actually this designation is not correct because this tool only uses hot water and laundry soap, not steam.
Step 2. Prepare the carpet
Vacuum it clean, first in a forward and backward motion, then right and left. Be sure to reach into the often overlooked nooks and crannies.
Clean the stained area of the carpet. The cleaning tool will lift the dust, but it can also make the stain sink deeper
Step 3. Purchase or rent a carpet cleaning kit
These tools are widely rented at hardware stores or department stores along with the appropriate laundry soap.
- If you're planning to rent a cleaning kit, prepare the room beforehand so you don't have to spend more on rent to complete the carpet cleaning.
- Ideally, carpet cleaning equipment should have a water heater. Read the user manual for the appliance and talk to the seller before buying or renting it.
Step 4. Plan your exit
After cleaning, the carpet should not be stepped on to dry. Be careful not to get caught in the corner of the room! Start cleaning from the farthest part of the door outwards.
Step 5. Prepare the cleaning fluid according to the instructions in the package
Some cleaning kits come with shampoo or suggest laundry soap that can be purchased from the same store. In general, you should fill the appliance with water along with a small amount of laundry soap.
Do not add too much soap because it can damage the carpet as well as the cleaning tool. Professional carpet cleaners recommend using less detergent than recommended in the appliance
Step 6. Remove the shoes
A damp carpet will attract more dust, and your efforts will be wasted if you wear dirty shoes while cleaning the carpet. It's a good idea to wear socks or attach a plastic bag to line your socks or shoes. Special boots can also be worn to cover the shoes during carpet cleaning.
Some types of laundry soap may be harmful to the skin immediately after use, so going barefoot is not recommended
Step 7. Let the appliance suck in as much water as possible
In general, cleaning tools are designed to expel water when pushed forward, then suck it out when pulled back. So you should pull the appliance back slowly so that it sucks in as much water as possible.
The carpet will grow mold if it is too damp, or if the pads get wet with water
Step 8. Let the carpet dry by opening all the windows in the room
Open the doors and all the windows in the room so that air can flow smoothly. Make sure the carpet is completely dry within 24 hours to prevent mold growth.
- If you can't open the window, turn on the air conditioner to a moderate temperature (22-25 degrees Celsius) and open the door.
- Carpet dryers, fans, dehumidifiers and air conditioners can all be used to speed up carpet drying.
- Carpets may take 6-12 hours to dry, during which time you should not step on the carpet or return the furniture to its place.
- The protective plastic coating on the legs of large or heavy furniture can be removed after the carpet dries completely.
Step 9. Consider cleaning the carpet twice
The soap that remains after steaming the carpet can trap more dust. To remove the soap completely, mix 1:1 vinegar and water, put it in the appliance, then repeat the cleaning process. The vinegar will help remove any soap residue on the carpet.
Carpets in rooms where a lot of people pass by should be cleaned with a tool twice a year, while carpets in rooms that are rarely passed can be cleaned once every 18 months. Clean early on carpets that are brightly colored but are starting to look dirty
Method 4 of 4: Prevent Stains on Carpet
Step 1. Keep the cause of the stain away from the carpet
Textiles like carpets are generally more difficult to clean than hard surfaces like tiles. This is one of the reasons many people rarely use carpets throughout the kitchen and dining room floors. Try to eat and drink as much as possible in a room that is not carpeted.
Step 2. Take off your footwear when walking on the carpet
In many countries such as Canada and Japan, it is customary to take off your shoes when you enter the house. This is generally intended to prevent dirt from entering the house. So, consider removing your shoes and placing them on a dedicated shelf. This will reduce one of the main carpet impurities.
Step 3. Train pets well
Make sure dogs, cats, or other small animals don't defecate on the carpet. If your pet uses a litter box, place it where it's easy to clean, such as tile or laminate flooring. If you must place the box in a carpeted room, place it on a rubber mat. This rubber mat will prevent spilled dirt on the carpet.
Step 4. Treat the stain on the carpet as soon as possible
Remove stain-causing material immediately. The longer the stain is left to soak in, the harder it will be to remove.
- If you spill any colored liquid, wipe it off immediately with a clean white cloth. Be sure to press the rag up and down, rather than rubbing it left and right. Scrubbing the carpet will only make it worse and expand the surface of the stain.
- Suck small impurities such as dust.
- Scrape off solid impurities such as gum or butter with a dull knife.
- Choose a time when the room will not be used for 6-12 hours to steam the carpet.
- If your carpet smells of pets, the heat in the cleaner may actually make the odor sink in rather than remove it. This tool is also not the right choice for cleaning animal urine. So, you should specifically clean that area using an enzyme-based pet stain remover.
- Try not to get the carpet wet when cleaning the stained area or using steam. Water can seep into the carpet padding and cause mold or mildew to grow.