Cleaning your carpet is always a dreaded task for some people. Carpet is a resistant, durable material and it can last for a long time if preserving measures are taken because it can be sensitive to damage.
Here are some guidelines for cleaning your carpet flooring and keeping it in perfect condition:
Don’t mess up your carpet in the first place
What’s the best way of keeping things clean? Not messing them up in the first place.
You should enjoy your home to the fullest and feel free to use your space the way you want to. However, sometimes the greatest victory is not having a battle in the first place.
Your footwear will be the one in contact with your carpet all the time. Set up a shoe rack in your foyer and if you don’t have an entryway or foyer, there are dozens of ideas to create a similar space with functional, compact furniture, the size of a nightstand.
We’re talking about something as cheap as 10$. That’s a no-brainer!
You could also get a custom-made furniture piece, or even turn this into a DIY project if you feel like it! You can also buy them and choose from a variety of designs: open cabinets, closed cabinets, storage benches, hangers, you name it.
Countries like Japan follow this habit and most homes keep a space on the entrance designed specifically for leaving your shoes as soon as you get home.
If you adopt this tradition, your flooring, no matter what type, will be preserved so much longer.
You can increase benefits even more by getting a couple of slippers for you and your guests! You’ll create a healthy habit, stay comfortable and maintain your carpet flooring at the same time! Win-win-win.
Get to know your carpet before cleaning
Knowing your carpet is also a big part of not ruining it. There are two major types of carpet: synthetic and natural fiber. Each one comes with its own cleaning process. As you may know, organic materials can be a little more sensitive than synthetic.
This doesn’t mean they are any more or less durable than synthetics, this will depend on the material and the traffic it’s exposed to.
If you haven’t installed carpet floors yet and you are weighing the idea, take your time to do proper research. Perhaps one material will be more appropriate than the others if you have allergies. Some materials can be more prone to staining, for example.
Natural fiber carpets are more eco-friendly because they are biodegradable and require fewer chemical processes to be produced in the first place. Keep that in mind if this is something important for you.
Wool and nylon are the most common types of natural and synthetic carpet floors, respectively. Wool is very durable and easy to maintain, but it can cost twice as much as nylon.
Natural fibers also attract carpet moths, which may happen if the area you live in is very humid. Cities like Dallas can get high levels of humidity depending on the time of the year, so keep that in mind and do some research about your city humidity levels before choosing your carpet.
Other popular types of carpet are olefine, polyester and acrylic.
Olefin carpets shouldn’t be steam cleaned because they’ll turn brown with time. Polyester is resistant and easy to clean but it can suffer from color fading if exposed to sunlight constantly.
Acrylic carpet, on the other hand, is hypoallergenic and moth resistant because it’s synthetic. However, it’s not very resistant to stains, so you’ll need to be careful with grease and dirt; and it doesn’t last as much as wool, for example.
Clean Your Carpet Flooring Constantly By Vacuuming
Carpet can absorb so much dirt and bacteria that the only way to keep it under control is to vacuum constantly. Clearly, sweeping won’t do the job so make sure to invest in an efficient vacuum and if possible, a model and/or an attachment that is designed for carpet cleaning.
Vacuuming twice a week is the norm, but that depends on your traffic. For example, if you have pets, you will probably need to vacuum at least 3 times a week, especially if they are shedding hair.
This schedule should be applied as well if you have kids or if you have allergies, to avoid allergens being present constantly on your floors.
There are hundreds of vacuum cleaners on the market. Depending on your budget, you could get yourself a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air (filter), which means that it will be extremely effective when it comes to absorbing particles of dust, bacteria, fungi, and other types of allergens.
Those allergens are floating around in the air and will eventually end up on top of your floors. It’s like having an air filter combined into your vacuum cleaner.
A vacuum cleaner is now very affordable, including those with HEPA Filters. However, these types of devices do improve their quality, effectiveness and resistance significantly with a higher budget (around $200 will get you a good vacuum cleaner). And if you’re short on dough, you can find them for as cheap as $50.
Talking about pets, here’s one thing you need to consider: they like marking their territory. And carpet floors are known for absorbing odor and liquids.
Having Pets Means More Cleaning For Your Carpet
Besides, their hair or fur comes with a natural odor, especially if we’re talking about a wet dog or cat. Your pets sweat, just like we do, so they produce microorganisms and bacteria which cause an unpleasant odor.
The bad news is that your nose gets used to that, so you may not notice the smell but your guests will do.
If you don’t want to cause a bad impression, make sure you take action to deodorize your carpet flooring. Besides, constant maintenance will help to avoid the floor being stained or rot over time.
Remove Odors From Carpet With Enzyme Cleaners
Now, if you want to remove pee stains caused by your pets, you can use an enzyme cleaner. It comes in a spray bottle that breaks down the dried urea into carbon dioxide and ammonia, which will evaporate quickly.
Enzymatic cleaners are effective for fresh pee stains. You can start by applying the product to the affected area and leave a damp towel over the spot. The damp microfiber towel will absorb as much liquid as possible. Let sit for 20 minutes, using additional towels as required.
Doing this once per month should keep your carpet flooring odor-free. Of course, this depends on the number of pets you have and how often they have “accidents” on your floor.
As always, remember to test any cleaning product in an inconspicuous place to make sure there are no negative reactions.
Baking soda is a popular homemade deodorizer, but it can clog your vacuum filters. Baking soda is particularly harmful to bagless machines and therefore it’s not a good idea, at least for regular deodorizing.
Enzymatic cleaners won’t have this issue because they’re liquid, but it never hurts to do some research first and see if that specific brand you’ve got can be used regularly.
Use DIY Cleaning Strategies For Carpet
Even though DIY cleaning solutions are usually a great option, be careful in this case.
As always, make sure to test your cleaning agent, whether it’s DIY or not, on a small, hidden area. You can never know for sure how the surface is going to react to your product.
A well-known all-purpose cleaning product is a one-part vinegar, one-part water mix. Make sure you do some research first on your carpet material and the way it may react with a cleaning mix.
Paper towels are also a must if you need to absorb food and beverage stains.
There are some cleaning agents that you should not use for cleaning carpet. Ammonia, for example, is highly likely to ruin your carpet flooring, especially if it’s a wool carpet.
Bleach is another component to avoid as well, because the chemical remains active, which can become dangerous for pets and children. Besides, It can damage the backing and subfloor.
Remember that the right technique is to blot instead of scrubbing, in order not to distort your carpet fibers.
Carpet Deep Cleaning
Besides your regular maintenance, your carpet floors do require a deep cleaning once a year, at least. Again, this depends on its foot traffic, presence of pets, staining, etc.
According to science, steam cleaners and particularly dry steam cleaning machines, are effective for deep, industrial cleaning standards. Carpet steamers are meant for occasional, everyday use but dry steam cleaning machines are not!
Dry vapor steam cleaning machines are extremely successful. They won’t leave any water or dampness behind since they use very little water that is heated to 240 degrees F or above.
Some heavy-duty machines are available for rental, though.
Talking about deep cleaning: If you haven’t cleaned your carpet for years, it’s time to go professional. You’re going to need industrial-glade tools if you want to get rid of the dirt that has been for an extended time, such as the dry steam cleaning machine that was mentioned earlier.
Hiring a professional service is a very reasonable choice if you want to let them deep clean your carpet floors once a year, for example.
In fact, you need to hire professionals if you want to keep your carpet warranty valid, because they will ask for receipts that demonstrate that maintenance was done by experts, no matter how clean you are keeping your carpet floors on your own.
It’s not easy to preserve carpet. Consistency over time is the key feature for well-kept carpet flooring. Knowing your carpet is the first part of the process, whether it’s for a new installment or it’s already part of your home.
Vacuuming and preserving your carpet in the first place will save you from spending more money and effort in the long run.
Talking about long-run investments: get yourself a good vacuum cleaner, preferably with steam-cleaning and HEPA filter features. This will guarantee a safe, clean space.
Keep in mind that vacuuming isn’t the same as deodorizing: pets do generate odor and carpet flooring is known to absorb that easily. Find a good deodorizer from the store or use baking soda if you like homemade alternatives!