Happy Thanksgiving! This time of the year is often spent will family and friends, which means a lot of us are looking to clean our homes – both before and after guests leave. And today, I have a great guest post from cleaning and organizing expert, Donna Smallin Kuper, that will show you how to clean carpets and rugs like a pro!
How to Clean Carpets and Rugs Like a Pro
by Donna Smallin Kuper
Want a healthier home? Clean your carpets more often.
Much like your furnace filter, carpeting and area rugs filter and trap dust and other allergens. But they can only do their job when they’re clean. That’s why it’s important to vacuum more often and deep clean your carpets periodically.
The Right Way to Vacuum
The majority of soil that’s tracked into your home accumulates at the door. That’s why cleaning experts always recommend placing mats inside and outside every exterior door and cleaning them frequently. About 85 percent of the soil in your carpet is dry soil, which gets trapped in the carpet fibers and will cause premature wearing if not removed.
Carpet manufacturers recommend vacuuming once a week for each person living in your home, and more often if you have pets. At the very least, vacuum high-traffic areas frequently, though daily vacuuming is preferable. Always push the vacuum away, which is the positioning pass, and then pull it back slowly for the soil removal pass. Empty the bag when it is one-half to two-thirds full to keep the vacuum cleaner performing at its peak.
Vacuuming is also the best way to eliminate dust mites, the number one trigger of indoor allergies, according to the American Academy of Asthma, Allergies & Immunology. Choose and use a vacuum cleaner with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.
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Why and How to Deep Clean Carpets
Deep clean your carpets, area rugs and bath mats every 12 to 18 months to remove trapped soils. If your carpets are under warranty, it may be void unless you can show proof of having them professionally cleaned every 18 to 24 months by a certified Seal of Approval service provider.
If you do it yourself, know that the biggest mistake people make is using too much soap. More is not better. Too much detergent leaves residue, which may cause re-soiling and a stiff texture. Whether you use your own carpet steamer or rent one, read the instructions to ensure the proper ratio of water to cleaning solution. Also, be sure to vacuum thoroughly before steam cleaning, as moisture will “wick” up to the surface as the carpet dries, carrying with it any dry soil left in the carpet.
Pro Tips for Removing Stains
The fresher the stain, the easier it is to remove. Believe it or not, the solvent that dissolves the most substances is water, so try that first.
Just spilled red wine? Blot with a clean white towel and then pour on salt or cat litter to absorb the stain. Allow to dry completely and then vacuum. Or try treating it with white wine or vodka—it works, but only if it is the first method you try. Otherwise, try three percent hydrogen peroxide.
Hydrogen peroxide can be used to remove older wine, blood or urine stains. Generously spray the stained area. (It won’t bleach the carpet or rug.) Cover with a damp, white towel and grab a steam iron. Set it for the lowest setting and place it on the towel over the stain. Be careful not to touch the iron directly to the carpet or inhale the steam.
Iron the towel for 10 to 15 seconds and then look underneath. You should see some transfer of the stain from the carpet to the towel. Repeat until all, or almost all, of the stain has disappeared. Lightly spray again with the hydrogen peroxide. Place a clean dry towel on the area and weight it with something heavy, like a skillet. Allow to dry overnight.
Easiest Carpet Cleaning
Stain resistance treatment makes soils, including hair and fur, much easier to remove. Almost all carpeting today is treated, but the stain resistance doesn’t last forever. Professional carpet cleaners recommend retreating carpets and rugs with stain resistance with every cleaning of high traffic areas, and every other cleaning of low traffic areas.
Donna Smallin Kuper is an organizing and cleaning expert as well as the author of a dozen bestselling books on uncluttering, organizing, cleaning and simplifying life. She provides great tips for cleaning area rugs and bath mats. To see a selection of bath rugs and mats, visit The Home Depot.