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How to Clean Your Carpet and Protect Your Investment (Learn the Basics)

by Garrick Dee on Oct 13, 2015

If you look at statistics, more than 50% of homes in the United States alone have carpet installed inside their homes.

The purpose is actually two-fold, first it helps insulate your home from the cold during winter and it helps with sound insulation because most homes in America are made from wood.

Second and not a lot of people know this but the carpet is the biggest filter inside your home. It absorbs all the dust, soil, sand, pet hair and all the nasty stuff that comes from our bodies and environment.

Why you need to clean it

If you don’t clean it regularly dirt piles up and the grit from all the sand will tear the base apart.

You probably don’t realize this but the carpet flooring inside your home is probably the biggest investment or second biggest investment.

Let’s say you building a new home and want to install carpet. It will cost around $5 per square foot, so for a 500 square foot home that’s roughly $2,500! That’s only the cost of installation and it excludes the cost of removing old carpet.

It isn’t cheap.

So it is important that you protect that investment.

The Basics

The most basic step in keep your carpets clean is to regularly vacuum with an upright vacuum or a canister vacuum that is capable of deep cleaning.

This is an essential step so dirt such as pet hair, sand and other potential allergens don’t pile up and pollute the indoor environment.

Experts say you need to do this for at least once a week. On high traffic areas, obviously you need to vacuum high traffic areas like the living room.

Stain Removal Basics

Carpet stains are inevitable so it makes sense to be always prepared. You’ll need the following in your tool basket – a clean white microfiber towel, some vinegar, laundry detergent, baking soda, borax, spatula and a steam iron.

These tools will be able to remove basic stains on most synthetic carpet material.

Some tips to keep in mind when cleaning carpet stains

  • Don’t rub the stain because it will only spread the stain to a larger area
  • Only use a blotting motion starting from the middle then slowly work towards the edges
  • Clean it as soon as you can
  • Scoop out excess spills using a blunt knife or spatula
  • Steam (coming from a steam iron) works wonders on treating old stains
  • Always test the cleaner on a small inconspicuous area before using it on highly visible areas

Deodorizing Carpet

Over time depending on how well you maintain your carpets, it can develop a funky smell because of mildew or uncleaned pet urine. When it develops odor, do not worry using the right products and technique you will be able to remove these odors.

One of the most potent combinations that a lot of people use is baking soda and vinegar. Professionals even use this!

What you do is mix 2 cups of distilled white vinegar and 2 cups of lukewarm water inside a spray bottle.

Spray this mixture on the stained area then sprinkle baking soda over it (you’ll notice that it will fizzle). Let it sit for around 5 minutes for the vinegar and baking soda mixture to work its magic at deodorizing and removing the stain. Make sure to vacuum the dry clumps of baking soda afterwards.

If the urine stain is fresh make sure to blot dry the excess urine using a clean towel.

Another way to deodorize carpet is by dry cleaning it. Yes, your carpet can be dry-cleaned but the process is different from dry cleaning your suit or wedding dress.

Instead of using steam, you’ll sprinkle a cleaning agent (e.g. baking soda) over carpet let it sit for a few hours then vacuum it using a full sized upright or canister. Remember that the vacuum cleaner that you use should be strong enough to deep clean for this to be effective.

Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning hands down is one of the best ways to deep clean and disinfect carpet and it needs to be done once every 12 to months so your carpet will be not only look great but also smell great.

There are two ways to go about this.

First and the easier route would be hiring a professional carpet cleaner to do the job for you. The benefits of course is you don’t have to do any heavy lifting or figure out how the carpet cleaning machine works, downside though is you’ll need to spend at least a few hundred dollars, depending on how large an area you want to clean.

Second option is to do it yourself. It’s the cheaper option but you’ll need to do a lot of heavy lifting like moving furniture out of the way then learn how to properly use a carpet cleaning machine. Add to that the rental cost of the machine. Or you can buy your own.

Remember that to have a clean indoor environment at home make sure to take the time and clean your carpet. Not only will this give you a cleaner place house but it will also save you money in the long run in terms of carpet repair or installation bills.

Doing these steps will easily stretch the lifespan of the carpet 3 fold. Instead of it lasting just 5 years, it will easily last 15 to 20 years or more!

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