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4 Ways to Clean Your Carpets

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Many modern homes have rooms with wall-to-wall carpeting. While plush carpets can feel great on your feet, they can also trap dirt and stains. Even a carpet that is regularly vacuumed can hold dust, pollen, and other particles that can discolor carpets, make a room smell, or even make people sick. To keep carpets clean, you'll need to combine different types of carpet cleaning techniques. No matter how well you clean your carpets, it can be helpful to have your carpets professionally cleaned from time to time. You can find a TrustDALE certified carpet cleaning company here.

4 Ways to Clean Your Carpets [infographic]

Vacuuming

The first line of defense in your carpet cleaning arsenal is regular vacuuming. A high-quality vacuum can pick up a lot of the dirt that gets stuck in your carpet. If you vacuum regularly, you can keep dirt and grime from becoming too lodged in your carpet.

One simple way to prevent your carpets from absorbing extra dirt is to avoid unnecessary debris reaching your carpets. Removing your shoes when you walk on your carpets, and asking others to do so, will prevent a large amount of the dirt that hits your carpets. Also, avoid eating crumbly or messy foods over your carpets. Finally, clean messes and spills quickly so that they don't have time to set in your carpet fibers.

Before you vacuum, make sure that you have cleared the floor of any small items that could clog your vacuum. Search under furniture, as well. If you are going to dust, do that before you vacuum. That way, your vacuum can collect any dust that falls during the dusting.

To get the most out of your vacuuming, vacuum in two directions. First, use a switchbacking motion to vacuum your entire carpet, moving in long rows from side to side. After you've covered the whole carpet, go over the carpet again in rows perpendicular to your first run. Carpet fibers can get twisted, and cleaning in two directions can help untwist them and release as much dirt as possible.

Spot Cleaning

No matter how careful you are with your carpet, messes happen. Food or beverages can spill, pets can have accidents, or a bloody nose can cause huge red spots of blood. Whatever the mess is, the best way to proceed is with some targeted spot cleaning. The best cleaning fluid to use varies depending on the substance that has made the stain. However, the method for spot cleaning is the same for most stains.

The most important tool for spot cleaning a stain is a clean white rag. Rags and towels with dyes or patterns can transfer dye to your carpet, making stains even worse. In a pinch, some plain white paper towels will do, though they are not ideal because they can leave lint.

The first step in spot cleaning is to determine what cleaning fluid you will use. There are many carpet cleaning fluids available, and it is a good idea to keep some on hand. Some fluids are intended for general cleaning and work on a wide variety of spills. Some spills, like blood or pet urine, need more specialized care. For blood, use cold water or hydrogen peroxide. Never use warm or hot water on a bloodstain, as that will cause the stain to set permanently.

Once you have the right fluid, apply some fluid to your rag. If you have never used this cleaner on this carpet before, it's a good idea to do a spot test first. Test it on a small, inconspicuous area of your carpet, like inside a closet. Once you have determined that the cleaner doesn't lift any of the color off the carpet onto your clean white rag, you can go to work on the stain. With cleaning fluids, less is more. Use a small amount of fluid on your rag and dab the stain. Avoid rubbing or scrubbing. If the stain is not coming up, you can add a little more cleaning fluid to your rag. Avoid using so much cleaning fluid that the rug becomes soaked.

After you clean with fluid, be sure to remove any remaining detergent. Leftover detergent can trap dirt, making old stains even worse. To remove leftover detergent, prepare a 50/50 mix of cold water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. Use it to blot the stain just like you used the cleaning fluid. The vinegar will help loosen the detergent so it can be absorbed into the rag.

Shampooing a Carpet

Once in a while, your carpet may need some extra care. If your carpet smells or looks dull, even after routine vacuuming, it may be time to shampoo your carpet. If you don't own a carpet shampooer, you can rent one at most home improvement stores. For the most part, your carpet shampooer should come with detailed instructions. Be sure to follow the instructions as carefully as possible for the best results.

In general, you will have to fill the tank in the shampooer with a mixture of water and a little cleaning fluid. It's always best to be on the low side in measuring detergent. Using too much detergent can leave detergent in the carpet fibers, causing them to retain more dirt. Once the tank is loaded, a heating element in the shampooer heats the water and cleaner mix. The hot solution is then sprayed into the carpet and immediately dried by the shampooer. Typically, pushing the shampooer forward releases the cleaning solution, and pulling it back activates a powerful vacuum. Make sure each time you push the shampooer forward, you then pull it slowly back to remove as much water as possible.

Before you start shampooing, it is best to move as much furniture as possible from the carpeted area. For items too heavy to move, like couches, put plastic protectors under the feet. Once the room is mostly empty, decide how you will exit the room after shampooing. When shampooing, start with the farthest corner away from the exit, and work back towards the exit. That way, you don't have to walk on the freshly shampooed carpet to get out.

Let the carpet dry completely before walking on it. Open windows, use fans, turn on the air conditioning, or rent a professional carpet dryer. The goal is to keep air moving in the room. To avoid mold, try to get the carpet completely dry within 24 hours.

Hiring a Carpet Cleaner

If you really want to get your carpets clean, the most effective option is professional carpet cleaning. Hiring professional carpet cleaners can save you the time and expense of renting a machine and doing it yourself. Professionals also use higher-quality machines and detergents that can get your carpet cleaner than doing it yourself.

TrustDALE has some experience with carpet cleaning scammers. Some carpet cleaners impersonate more trustworthy companies, only to provide a poor cleaning and terrible customer service. So make sure that you have a cleaning company you can trust. Try a TrustDALE certified carpet cleaner today.