Stains, foot traffic, pets and kids can all wreak havoc on your carpeting. Short of living in a bubble, what can you do to keep your carpet clean on a daily basis? It’s easier than you may think. Just follow these tips on how to better get your carpet clean.
Vacuuming and Cleaning
While it doesn’t get the deep-set dirt and grime out of your carpeting, weekly vacuuming can go a long way toward keeping surface dirt, dust and hair off the top layer. Sucking up all that dust can keep allergies and asthma at bay, especially if you have pets living in the home. For a more in-depth clean, it’s a good idea to clean your home’s carpets at least every year to year-and-a-half, recommends Better Homes and Gardens. Increase this to a few times a year if you have high-traffic areas, kids and pets. Avoid embedding even more dirt as you walk on it by frequently pulling out the vacuum. Concentrate on places where dirt is most prone to collect. Martha Stewart advises making a dozen passes of the vacuum within a few feet of doors leading to the outside, followed by eight passes in high-traffic areas like hallways and living rooms, and just four passes in low-traffic areas. When it comes to cleaning area rugs, it’s best to roll them up and take them to a professional who specializes in rug cleaning. Wall-to-wall carpeting is best cleaned using truck-mounted hot water extraction – a heavy-duty job best left to the professionals. You’ll see better results with a professional carpet cleaning than with a job you do yourself with a rented machine.
Sometimes, in between full carpet cleanings, it becomes necessary to do spot checks for stain removal. Kids and their drinks are notorious culprits of stains, as are guests at parties with dropped food, pets who have “accidents” and that wine you knocked over on the rug yesterday. According to Best Carpet Value (www.bestcarpetvalue.com), always test for color fastness before you clean the rugs using a carpet scrap or a spot no one sees regularly, such as in the closet. Dampen a cloth with the cleaning solvent you’ll be using, lay the cloth on the stain for one hour, then gently blot the affected area with a clan white towel. If you see the carpet color on the towel, that means the solvent will remove some of the coloring from your flooring. Best to go with a different brand and try again.
The best way to keep your carpets clean over the long haul is to enforce a policy of no shoes in the home for any reason. Encourage this through the use of convenient doormats at all entry ways. At first, you’ll have to instill several reminders for those who forget, but over time, it will become second nature to take off shoes upon entering the home. Wearing shoes inside tracks dirt and germs from outside all throughout the house – from the dog poop your kids just ran through at the neighbor’s to the sticky gum someone stepped in on the sidewalk. Be firm – it is your house after all!