Hardwood flooring may be the new “in” thing right now, but not all of us are blessed to possess a home with all hard floors. So, how do you best go about keeping those carpets fresh and clean? And how do you do so without harsh chemicals? Follow these tips and your carpets will look fresh, stay clean, and do so in a healthy, natural way.
Clean Carpets Begin with Vacuuming
Regular vacuuming will keep your carpets looking their best even in heavy traffic areas. You should vacuum at least 2 to 3 times a week, to keep the dirt and detritus from becoming ground-in. Follow these tips for the most effective clean carpet vacuuming ever:
- You need 5 to 10 strokes or “going over” with the vacuum in each spot, to ensure that all the deep-down dirt has been removed.
- Overlap your vacuum strokes, to avoid missing any areas.
- Change filters and vacuum bags regularly, to make certain your machine is working at its best, and you’re getting the best clean for your time and effort.
- Move all your furniture at least 2 to 3 times a year and vacuum every bit of carpet in the room. Dust and mites can still get in under your furniture, and can cause allergy problems as well as clean carpet issues.
Clean Carpets And Stains
Some carpet brands come with a built in stain guard. The inevitable always seems to happen, though, and your new puppy, or your girlfriend’s wine glass, or your kids’ muddy feet end up staining your carpet. You can restore a stained carpet to clean carpet looks with a little time, a little effort, and a couple different household products from the kitchen or bath.
- Get at it while its fresh. Don’t wait until the next time you clean your carpets to try and remove a stain. Jump on while its new and you’ll have a better chance of it being a temporary spot instead of a permanent stain.
- Blot, blot, blot. Never try to wipe a stain. All you’ll do is smear and spread it, increasing the size of your problem.
- Start at the edge and work your way to the center. Again, this avoids making the stain larger than it needs to be.
- Try a homemade stain remover to avoid the harsh chemicals and noxious fumes of many carpet cleaning products:
- Hydrogen peroxide. Keep one bottle in the bath for “ouchies” and one in the kitchen for carpet cleaning. It works great on all organic stains – coffee, tea, wine, juice, etc. – and some inorganic materials like inks and dyes (like those found in candle wax, for example.) Simply pour some hydrogen peroxide on the stained area, wait a couple of minutes and blot dry. There’s no need to rinse, as exposure to sunlight turns hydrogen peroxide into water vapor.
- Vinegar and baking soda – Create a paste of white vinegar and baking soda. Work it into the carpet with a toothbrush. Allow to dry. Vacuum the carpet clean.
- Dish detergent and water – For oil based stains, dry mixing up a bit of bleach – free dish detergent and warm water. Blot the stain then rinse with clear water. To keep your clean carpet clean looking, always rinse any soap off as the soap residue will actually attract more dirt.
Clean Carpets End With Shampooing
Most professional carpet cleaners and those “for hire” machines at the store use chemicals to clean your carpets. If you’d like to avoid these chemicals (and who wouldn’t) from invading your home, here are a couple of homemade, non-toxic solutions to use in your home (or rented) carpet cleaning machine.
- Vinegar and water – Use equal amounts of white vinegar and warm water in place of the commercial solutions. White vinegar cleans almost anything! (To get rid of the vinegar smell, go back over the cleaned carpet with a solution of vanilla extract and warm water. Vanilla kills the smell of vinegar quite effectively and leaves your house smelling more like a bakery than a pickle factory.)
- Hydrogen peroxide and water – Again, equal parts hydrogen peroxide and warm water make an effective, and less smelly, carpet cleaning solution.
- Wait a few hours, or even overnight if possible, before walking on your freshly shampooed carpets. This gives them plenty of time to dry.
If you follow these few carpet cleaning tips, your carpet will stay looking new and last even longer.
Do you have any useful tips for cleaning the carpet in your home? We would love to hear about them in the comments below.