Sure, your brand-new carpets look fantastic when you move into your new home! But, how do you keep them that way when you really live in your new home. Even if your carpet looks clean from across the room, think about everything that might eventually be lurking underneath. The mud your kids tracked in from the backyard this weekend. The glass of wine your aunt spilled last Thanksgiving. Not to mention whatever’s on the bottom of your pet’s feet!
If you have kids or pets or a particularly messy significant other (not pointing fingers!), learning how to clean your carpets properly is a must. You can certainly shell out the money to rent a steam cleaner or shampooer every few months, but that gets expensive not to mention unrealistic -- you definitely want your carpets to look like new forever, but life happens.
Keep your carpets looking just like the day you move in by following our tips for squeaky-clean floors - no steamer required.
Tackle Stains the Right Way, Right Away
We all know you can’t stop spills from happening - they’re just a fact of life. But there are things you can do to prevent stains from settling deep into the fibers of your carpets. It may seem obvious, but it’s best to tackle a stain right away. Don’t leave it until it’s dry. Take care of those stains right away - and do it the right way.
Blot, don’t rub!
Blot stains with a cleaning solution or water using a clean cloth or sponge. Apply minimal pressure to soak up the stain, but not so much you rub it into the carpet. Professionals will also recommend blotting from the outside in, to prevent spreading the stain around.
Take it to the Club
It’s not just a myth. Club soda really can lift out wine and beer stains, as long as you use it properly. Looking back at tip #1, add club soda to a clean cloth or paper towel and gently blot the stain. Remember to blot slowly and deliberately, taking care not to rub or press too hard.
Alternately, you can spray a mixture of equal parts of white vinegar and water on the stain. Let it soak in for 10-15 minutes, then press a clean towel or sponge to the area to soak it up. Repeat as needed until the stain is gone. Be sure to rinse the area with water afterward if you don’t want to smell vinegar for a few hours.
Detergent - not just for dishes
Grease stains are notoriously difficult to remove. But a little trick is to turn to the substance you use to remove grease every day - dishwashing detergent! In a cup, dilute a few drops of dishwashing detergent in a cup of water. Then, put it in a spray bottle or soak a towel in it, then blot using the method from tip #1. Repeat as needed until the stain vanishes!
Blood on the floor? No problem.
Anyone who has gotten a small cut or bloody nose knows the fear of ruining a light-colored carpet. Even darker carpets show blood. Luckily, there’s a pretty easy solution to this.
First, scrape up any dried blood using a mixture of water and soap. Then, apply hydrogen peroxide directly to the stain and wait. It’ll start foaming - don’t worry, that’s normal. After letting it sit for a moment, dab it up with a clean cloth. Be sure to test the peroxide on an inconspicuous part of your carpet, as it could bleach darker rugs. Stick with our other solutions if you have dark carpet or are worried about this.
The Deep-Clean Baking Soda Method
Here’s a method that lets you deep clean a carpet without needing to rent machinery. You’ll need a vacuum cleaner, baking soda, a clean towel, and a spray bottle. Ready?
First, give your entire carpet a thorough vacuuming. You want to get up all the dirt and dust clinging to your carpet fibers. Then, lightly but completely spray your carpet with warm water. You want it to be damp, but not soaked. Next, sprinkle baking soda across the wet carpet. Be sure to have an exit strategy, so you’re not stuck in a corner for hours!
Open your windows or turn on some fans to speed up the drying process. Once the carpet is fully dry, vacuum up the baking soda.
You can supplement any of these tips with a professional deep-cleaning by renting out equipment or hiring local cleaners. Generally, you should plan to clean your carpets every six months using method #6 or with a carpet steamer. Be sure to tackle stains as they come, and enjoy a squeaky clean floor!