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Thursday, June 20, 2024

How to Keep Your Carpet Clean: Tips and Tricks

It is incredible how much dirt and soil remain on the carpet even after thoroughly vacuuming. It’s true that once dirt goes into the carpet, it doesn’t easily come out. To be able to enjoy a clean carpet for longer, you need to introduce some rules for all your house members, and you need to know a little more about how to clean stains, how to remove carpet odours, which solutions are suitable for carpets, what are the carpet cleaning methods offered by companies, and most importantly – how do they work.

Basic Carpet Care Tips

If you want to prolong the life of your carpet and keep it stain-free, there are some simple rules to follow. They won’t cost you a fortune and can ease your cleaning routine a lot. Let’s see what they are:

  • Introduce a no-shoes-indoors rule, and ensure everyone respects it. The less dirt gets into the carpet, the less you will have to clean.
  • Try to vacuum the carpet at least once a week and move the vacuum according to the placement of the carpet fibres to preserve their good condition for longer. Invest in a powerful, easy-to-use vacuum cleaner, and you’ll never regret the decision. The investment pays off in the first couple of years.
  • Your choice of cleaning solutions is also essential. Avoid harsh chemical cleaners, and always spot-test a new detergent before applying it to the entire carpet. Pick a hidden spot or a corner, apply a few drops of the detergent, and wait a few minutes. Don’t use this detergent further if you notice discolouration or any damage on the spot.
  • Avoid placing carpets in high-traffic areas. They may make your bedroom look cosy or look stylish under the table in your living room, but if you put one on your stairs or in the hallways, you probably won’t be able to deal with the amount of dirt it would collect every single day.
  • Protect the carpet by strategically placing walk-off mats on both sides of doors or before stairs. They will collect some of the dirt and make the cleaning easier.

Common Carpet Stains and Removal Methods

No matter how hard you scrub a stain, it only pushes the spill deeper into the fibre and causes it to tangle. Blotting is a way more effective method of treating a stain. First, use a clean cloth or paper towel to cover the spot and blot up the spill. Then, press down to soak up the liquid and repeat using dry towels until it is absorbed. Here are a few tips on how to deal with stains on carpets:

Water-Soluble Stains

You can easily remove ice cream, jelly, wet paint, alcoholic beverages and milk with 1 tbsp of non-bleach detergent mixed with 1 litre of water.

Oily Stains

You can extract fat, wax and oil stains from the carpet with a paper towel and an iron. Place it on the spot and iron set on a warm setting. The paper should absorb the oil, leaving the carpet fibres clean and dry.

Blood, Wine and Coffee Stains

Mix 1 tbsp of ammonia in 1 cup of water and treat the stain with the obtained mixture. It also works well for cleaning chocolate, mustard, tea and vomit stains.

Urine Stains (Pet Accidents)

Remove the excess by blotting. Then spread some baking soda on the stain and leave it for half an hour to absorb the remaining moisture. Next, vacuum the stain, then apply an enzyme-based cleaner or some white vinegar diluted with water (one part vinegar, two parts water). It will take care of the residual smell.

Mildew Smell

Buy a bottle of tea tree oil and mix a teaspoon of it with 2 cups of water. Spray on both sides of the carpet and wait until it dries. The odour will be gone after a while; keep pets and kids away until then.

Professional Carpet Cleaning Methods

If you want to prolong the life of your carpet and keep it stain-free, it’s recommended to have it professionally cleaned at least twice a year. You’ll be amazed by how much dirt can accumulate in your carpets and rugs, and relying on the help of experts can ease the cleaning load and provide excellent results.

Every carpet cleaning company uses expert equipment of choice in all their work. Including industrial vacuums, special steam cleaning machines, rotary carpet cleaning machines and all kinds of detergents suited for all types of stains. There are four general types of carpet cleaning services you can easily get:

Hot Water Extraction

Hot water extraction is one of the most common carpet cleaning methods. It involves injecting hot water, mixed with detergents, deep into the carpet, using specialised machinery. Then the water is extracted with a powerful vacuum along with the dirt and soil from the carpet.

Hot water extraction generally suits most synthetic and natural fibre carpets, including nylon, polyester, olefin, wool, and cotton. However, certain delicate or antique rugs may not be suitable for this method since the hot water and detergents can cause damage or colour bleeding.

Ensure the cleaning method won’t damage or discolour any carpet by checking the manufacturer’s instructions and testing a small, inconspicuous area before using hot water extraction. Additionally, hiring professional carpet cleaners who are trained and experienced in using hot water extraction is recommended to ensure the best results and avoid any potential damage to the carpet.

Benefits: This method is suitable for old stains, fights pet odour, and provides a deeper cleaning.

Negatives: Leaves your carpet wet for a few hours or even a day, depending on the quality of the machinery. Water oversaturation can lead to bad hygiene. In addition, you’ll be unable to walk into these rooms until the carpets are completely dry.

Carpet Steam Cleaning

As the name suggests, this carpet cleaning method uses steam to break down dirt and stains. Professional carpet cleaners use specialised machinery to apply hot steam directly to the carpet fibres to loosen dirt and debris, which is then extracted using a vacuum. By using high temperatures, steam sanitises and deodorises the carpet, making it an effective way to remove tough stains and odours.

Like hot water extraction, steam cleaning is suitable for most synthetic and natural fibre carpets but can damage delicate and antique rugs. The high temperature and moisture can cause shrinkage or damage to the carpet fibres.

It is important to note that some steam cleaning machines are different, and some may produce too hot or too wet steam for certain types of carpets. Hence, before using a steam cleaning machine on any carpet, you should check the manufacturer’s instructions or consult a professional. Moreover, testing a small, inconspicuous area first before steam cleaning the whole carpet is recommended.

Benefits: Steam cleaning sanitises and deodorises carpets, removes dirt and allergens, kills bacteria and germs, and can be environmentally friendly. It is also effective at removing tough stains and odours.

Negatives: Steam cleaning may be less effective at removing some types of stains, can cause oversaturation of carpet fibres, may lead to damage if not performed correctly, and can be time-consuming due to drying time.

What’s The Difference Between Hot Water Extraction And Steam Cleaning?

The terms “hot water extraction” and “steam cleaning” are often used interchangeably to describe the same carpet cleaning method, but technically there is a slight difference between the two.

The main difference between the two carpet cleaning methods is the water temperature used in the cleaning process. While hot water extraction uses high-temperature water to achieve a deep clean, steam cleaning relies on the power of steam to achieve similar results. However, both methods use similar equipment and cleaning solutions and effectively remove dirt, dust, and stains from carpets.

Carpet Dry Cleaning

Unlike steam cleaning, the dry cleaning technique focuses on chemical-based treatment. The process consists of scrubbing a mixture of chemicals into the carpet with a pad. The padded fabric takes the dirt; however, good vacuuming should be performed afterwards to suck up the remaining soil and chemicals from the carpet fibres.

Dry carpet cleaning is generally suitable for most carpets, including delicate or antique rugs that may not be suitable for wet cleaning methods like hot water extraction or steam cleaning.

However, it is essential to note that not all dry carpet cleaning methods are the same, and some may use harsh chemicals or solvents that can damage certain types of carpets. For this reason, it is important to read the manufacturer’s instructions and test a small area before proceeding. In addition, hiring a carpet cleaner with experience and training in dry carpet cleaning is highly recommended for the best results.

Benefits: It allows you to walk on your carpet right after the cleaners are gone. Cheaper than steam cleaning and has less water usage.

Negatives: It won’t remove stubborn or liquid stains. Appropriate for light-stained carpets, as it only treats the outer layer of the rug.

Bonnet Cleaning

The bonnet cleaning method is similar to dry cleaning but is a wet process. First, the cleaning detergent is mixed with some carbonated water and sprayed on the carpet. After that, a bonnet machine is used to spread the cleaning product. The bonnet also has an absorbent pad on the bottom, which absorbs all the dirt. When the pad gets dirty, it can be replaced with a new one.

Bonnet cleaning is a surface-level carpet cleaning method that is typically used in commercial settings, such as hotels or offices. It’s generally suitable for low-pile, commercial-grade carpets that require frequent cleaning to maintain their appearance.

Since it’s not a deep cleaning method, it may only effectively remove some dirt and soil from the carpet. Also, using harsh chemicals or improper techniques can cause damage or discolouration to certain types of carpets. That’s why always check the manufacturer’s instructions and seek the advice of a professional before using bonnet cleaning on any carpet or rug.

Benefits: The brush cleans the carpet very thoroughly. The carpet is left almost dry and completely germ-free.

Negatives: The machine can damage the carpet if not handled professionally.

Do People Confuse Dry Carpet Cleaning And Bonnet Cleaning?

There is sometimes confusion between dry and bonnet cleaning since both methods involve using machines and specialised cleaning products to clean carpets. However, their techniques and results can differ significantly. In contrast, bonnet cleaning involves a surface-level cleaning method best used for routine maintenance, and dry carpet cleaning penetrates deep into the carpet fibres to remove dirt and allergens.

Other Carpet Cleaning Methods

There are also other not-so-popular methods to clean a carpet. Some of them include the following:

  • Encapsulation cleaning – It involves applying a cleaning solution to the carpet that crystallises into a powder as it dries. The powder can then be vacuumed up, taking dirt and soil with it.
  • Shampooing – The carpet is cleaned with a foamy cleaning solution applied by a machine and agitated with brushes to remove dirt and soil. After drying, the solution is vacuumed up.
  • Rotary jet extraction – This method is similar to hot water extraction but uses a rotary tool with multiple high-pressure jets to agitate and rinse the carpet fibres, providing a deeper clean than traditional hot water extraction.
  • Dry foam cleaning. – The carpet is treated with a foam cleaning solution, which is then worked into the fibres with a machine. In the drying process, foam traps dirt and soil, which is then vacuumed up.

It’s important to note that each method has strengths and weaknesses and may not be suitable for all carpets. Therefore, it’s best to consult a professional carpet cleaner to determine the best method for your specific carpet and cleaning needs.

Takeaways

In conclusion, maintaining a clean and fresh carpet requires implementing specific rules and cleaning techniques and investing in the right equipment. Vacuuming frequently and using walk-off mats are effective methods to reduce the amount of dirt and soil that gets into the carpet. However, choosing the proper cleaning solutions and spot-testing them before applying them to the entire carpet is essential. Additionally, dealing with stains on carpets requires specific techniques, depending on the type of stain. Finally, hiring a professional carpet cleaning service is recommended for tougher stains and deeper cleaning. Ultimately, following these tips and investing in proper care will help prolong the life of your carpet and keep it looking clean and fresh for years to come.

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