Carpet Cleaning Tips

Rule Number one in carpet cleaning is prevention! Proper maintenance will not only prolong the life of your favorite floor covering, but it will save you money on expensive cleaning products or on hiring a professional carpet cleaner.

Maintenance Carpet Cleaning

How often your carpet needs a maintenance cleaning depends on the amount of foot traffic and the amount of dirt carried in from outside.

Rug experts estimate that 80% of carpet dirt is dry, which can damage rug and carpet fibers if embedded (the remaining 20% consists of soils from oils and grease). Fortunately, dry dirt is easily removed by vacuuming regularly using a high quality vacuum cleaner and covering the surface in several directions to maximize the amount of debris picked up.

TIP: Prevent carpet dirt and soiling by placing doormats in all entranceways!

Restorative Carpet Cleaning

Every six months to a year, carpets require a deep cleaning:

•1) Steam cleaning (also known as hot water extraction) is the most popular way to deep clean a carpet or rug. You can call a professional carpet cleaner, or you can buy or rent a deep cleaning machine and do the job yourself.

•2) You can also shampoo your carpet or rug using cool water and rug shampoo or mild liquid soap. When it comes to carpet cleaning, the mildest products are always the best solution, although stubborn stains often necessitate a harsher agent.

NOTE: Whenever chemicals are used on a colored carpet or rug, a color-run test must first be performed to make sure the colors don't run or bleed. Simply apply a small amount of cleaner to an unnoticeable part of the carpet or rug; if after 30 minutes the colors have not run, the cleaning product is safe.

Carpet Stain Removal

With the myriad of carpet-stain-removal tips and tricks available today, it's hard to sort the facts from the fiction. The following are the top carpet-cleaning tips for stain removal recommended by carpet experts:

•- Never rub a carpet stain, which can cause the stain to smear and become permanent

•- Clean up spills as quickly as possible to prevent spills from becoming permanent stains.

•- Use plain water as your first line of defense; if water alone is insufficient, an even mixture of water and vinegar may help.

•- When removing a stain using cleaning products, read the label and manufacturer's instructions carefully and use only as directed.

•- To prevent a stain from resurfacing once you have cleaned it, cover the stain with a thick cloth or layers of white paper towels weighed down with a heavy object (until dry) in order for the cloth to absorb the stain.

•- Never dry a carpet stain with a blow dryer, heater, or iron! These actions actually seal stains permanently into your area rug or carpet.

•- Instead of using chemicals, here are the top homemade carpet-cleaning solutions recommended by the experts: a solution of 50% white vinegar to 50% water; a solution of one teaspoon clear household ammonia to ½ cup water; a solution of ¼ teaspoon hand soap or dish soap detergent to one quart of water; pour isopropyl rubbing alcohol on paper towels or a cloth and blot in one direction only (so as not to spread the stain) until stain is removed; for tough stains, spray pure lemon juice from a spray bottle on affected area, let it sit for five minutes, then blot with paper towel to remove stain.