Take a look at your carpet right now. Or imagine about your carpet if you’re reading this while sneaking in your mobile phone in the office. How does it look?
Is it covered with fur? It probably is if you’re a pet owner.
Does it have dust? If you’ve been walking on your carpet with your shoes on, it certainly has.
Does it have stains? We all get lazy to treat those tiny stains that are outcomes of our carelessness.
Did you ever think of why we have carpets in our home? We just have those. Don’t we? I also bought some carpets and rugs for my newly acquired apartment, even before I had a single piece of furniture. But I never assumed what a task it will be to keep it all clean and healthy.
Like you, I never noticed why I would need to keep my carpet super clean until I started sneezing and got skin allergies. As I looked for the cause behind these health issues, I figured out it is probably because of the dirty carpet and rugs. Yes, my carpet was making me sick. Hence, began my mission to keep them as clean as possible.
Today, I am going to share the steps I followed and the carpet cleaning tips that worked for me.
- Begin with a thorough carpet cleaning
Most likely your carpet is already an ignored and nasty piece of fiber in your apartment. It was in my case. So, the first step to begin with my cleanliness maintenance schedule had to start with a thorough cleaning.
I analyzed my options. Either I could get my carpet cleaning machine, or I could hire a pro. While getting my carpet cleaning machine seemed to be a great long-term investment, I was skeptical about its effectiveness. Neither did I know about cleaning carpets nor was I sure that it would ensure me a right start to my mission of having a super clean carpet.
On the other hand, hiring a pro meant my carpet would be clean, stain-free, mold free and dry. All the issues in the carpet would be fixed for once and all (the latter part, of course, had to be ensured by me). So, I went for professional carpet cleaning. This initially cost me a significant amount, but it was better than those health issues.
- Prepare yourself for stains
Now that you have got a clean slate, you need to prepare yourself for the bad days. Those days when your pet suddenly decides to pee on the carpet, and you try to figure out what to do in this pet accident situation, or your sister brings her kids who behave unexpectedly, or you’re having a sleepover with your friends and too occupied to hold the drink steady... any kind of day which could leave a stain on your now, new-like, carpet.
Here are a few things I got:
- Paper towels
- A spray bottle
- A white cloth (colored ones are a big NO)
- Club Soda (for beer and wine stains)
- Dishwasher detergent (for grease stains)
- Iron (For candle wax)
- Hydrogen Peroxide (for blood stains)
- Organic carpet cleaner (For pet, coffee and sauce stains)
- Cornstarch (for ink stains)
- Salt (for red wine)
- Baking soda (for urine stains)
- Ice (for chewing gum)
- Vinegar (to treat all other kinds of stains)
I considered which types of stains are likely to happen in my case and prepared my stain removal kit accordingly.
But this won’t ensure that you have a stain-free carpet. Following things will:
- It requires immediate action: Stop acting like a stunned magician from a Harry Potter movie! That’s what I used to do when carpet stains happened. Standing there or getting angry over what caused the stain won’t remove it. Your quick action, your stain removal kit and the right technique to remove stains will. Prepare your mind to act quickly and properly.
- Right technique is important: Never rub around the area that has stains. All you need to do is 'dab, dab, dab'. Dab the paper towels over the affected area to soak in the stain. Prepare the mixture of vinegar and water, pour over the stained area, let it rest for five minutes and then use a towel to dab off the liquid again. Now, dab again with a clean towel. Let the area dry. A ceiling fan or a table fan to dry out the area is what I prefer, as even a slight amount of wetness can cause mold growth. (The solution you will need to prepare will depend on the kind of stain).
Following this method, I have been able to treat pet stains and candle wax on my carpet. You would obviously need to prepare the list of what needs to be in your stain removal kit by yourself. It depends on your lifestyle and who lives in your house. Homes with pets and kids require a bigger stain removal kit.
- Stop getting your carpets dirty
Getting my carpet professionally cleaned now and then is way out of my budget. And I assume, even you don’t want to spend a large sum of your savings in getting your carpets cleaned. Right? I only get them cleaned twice a year now.
Then, what do I do to maintain my carpet in a clean and health-friendly state all year long?
- Have rugs at the entrances
I have more rugs in my house than any normal household. One outside the main door (I live in an apartment), one inside the main door and then one outside every room – be it the bathroom, store room, or even kitchen. The rug that lies outside your main door needs to be expensive. It should be capable of catching as much dust as it can so that no one steps inside your house with dirty shoes. No dirty shoes, no dirty carpets.
- Shoe racks at the entrance
Having a shoe rack at the entrance and ensuring that shoes are kept on the rack causes whatever little dust they still have on them to not fall on your carpets. Another rug inside the main door is kept for this purpose. No one is allowed to step on the carpet with shoes that have been outside catching the dust and bacteria that was making me ill.
- Restrict entry of dirty paws on the carpets
What to do with the pets that come back from crazy muddy walks? I make them (I have two large dogs) enter through the back door, take them directly to the bathroom, use an antiseptic liquid to wash their paws, dry them with a towel and then let them freely inside the house. It’s a regular practice, so no dirty paws on carpets.
If you’re a cat-person, you can put rugs at every entry point in your house to minimize the amount of dust entering your house through your pet paws.
- I vacuum the right way
I vacuum my carpets twice a week. I'm sure a lot of you do but are you following the right technique to vacuum your carpets? Start from the farthest corner of your room/house and vacuum towards the outdoor. First, go from left to right and then front to back. Yes, it seems repetitive but for proper cleaning, it’s a must. Go slow when you pull the vacuum towards yourself, as this is the step when most of the dust gets removed. Going slow will catch up maximum dust. Be very slow at the edges, spend some more time in vacuuming these areas. Edges often get black due to excessive dust that stays for longer periods due to ineffective vacuuming.
- Use the right vacuum cleaner
Don’t go for the bulky machine that makes you procrastinate the vacuuming work. As you might have realized while reading this article, regular and quick action is the key to clean carpets. You require a machine which is easy to use and small enough to help you clean the corners.
On the ending note, do keep in mind that the dust that enters into your carpet is very tough to remove. So, the best thing to keep your carpets clean is to stop the dust from entering into your carpet. Vacuuming can help whatever small particles those do get in.
I have used these steps to maintain a much cleaner atmosphere inside my house. I moved from “seeing” dust all around my house to “no dust” even inside the carpet fibers. I know it made a difference for I could see myself getting healthier and free from allergies.
I still never forget to save up enough money for two professional cleaning appointments in a year. They’re a must because you can’t fight nature. Just like right vacuuming technique was super important, hiring a good carpet cleaning professional is also crucial.
Dust and bacteria are a part of nature and no matter what you do they do creep inside your house. Taking precautions and following these carpet cleaning tips would only reduce their amount and harmful effect on you.