Now, imagine that you are going to completely clean your home. How long do you think it would take? What would you focus on with your time?
There are many different rooms to consider, along with individual tasks in each room.
If you plan to do everything yourself in one go, then you may inadvertently miss some things, or not clean them as thoroughly as you should.
One thing that people frequently forget to clean thoroughly are their carpets. Carpets make up the ground material for many homes, yet they normally don’t receive more then just a cursory vacuum.
This can lead to serious health problems because carpets can attract not only dirt, but germs, smells, food, and any number of other things that can be a health hazard. Having a healthy home means taking care of your carpets. However, this doesn’t mean you need to go out and call a professional just yet.
To help you clean your carpets, lets look at 10 different do it yourself carpet cleaning tips and techniques. With any luck, you will be able to give your carpet a thorough clean and in the process make your home healthier.
DIY Carpet Cleaning Tips
Wet Cleaning Options
Carpets can be cleaned a number of different ways. They are normally broken down into two groups; techniques that use water or some other liquid and are known as wet, or those that use powders and are considered dry. Both techniques have their advantages and disadvantages. Lets first take a look at some do it yourself wet cleaning techniques for your carpet.
1. Steam Cleaning
Surprisingly enough, steam cleaning carpets doesn’t use steam, but rather hot water. As a result, you can “steam clean” your own carpet. Try heating up a large pale of water on the stove. You want it to be hotter then what the faucet can provide, but well below a boil. Take this water, and carefully rub it against the carpet.
You do not want to flood the carpet, but you do want the carpet to be damp. After you are done, run the vacuum over the carpet. Most people who have done this suggest running the vacuum over the carpet more then once to get up everything.
In addition, when only using water, you may need to repeat this process another time to get up all the dirt and grime that may have accumulated in the carpet fibers.
2. Hot Water Chemical Treatment
As opposed to the steam cleaning method, people have had great success mixing in hot water with various cleaning chemicals. A popular choice of chemicals is laundry detergent. Found in the home and relatively cheap compared to other commercial chemical cleaners, either powdered or liquid detergent can be added. Add as much as you would do a full load of laundry.
(Of course, if you are happy to spend more money, you can go to Coles or Woolworths and buy carpet cleaning products built for the job).
Where as this will create a higher concentration then normal, it will be applied directly to the carpet, which is normally much dirtier then clothing. While the hot water chemical treatment technique has the advantage of removing built up grime in the carpet fibers quicker, there is the downside of having to worry about the chemicals you used.
While you may not spend any time with your face against the carpet, children or pets will most likely be interacting with the carpet a lot, and will also have the greatest risk against unhealthy chemicals. Like all other do it yourself tasks, rate safety first and research before acting.
Dry Cleaning Options
When it comes to do it yourself carpet cleaning, dry cleaning options rarely rate a mention. That is because unlike wet cleaning, which you can use regular laundry detergent, dry cleaning requires special dry chemicals that both break down the dirt in carpets and also be safe for human and animal contact.
Dry solutions may cost more then typical detergent, it is however still less expensive then hiring a professional carpet cleaner. You can ask a carpet cleaning service what dry cleaning chemicals they use, or go to your local shop and ask if they have anything for the job.
Bunnings and other local hardware stores have a few different pieces of equipment for steam and dry carpet cleaning that you can rent or buy.
Shops like Coles and Woolworths sell dry carpet cleaning powder as well.
3. The Dry Cleaning Option
Once you have the dry chemical cleaner, the next few steps are easy. Remove all furniture from the room and spread the powder over the carpet. Try to spread it out as equally as possible. Let the powder sit for an hour and make sure the room has proper ventilation. Most professional cleaners will open up the windows if the temperature outside is nice, allowing for increased circulation. Vacuum the carpet, making sure to vacuum up all the powder as well.
Other Useful Tips
When it comes to cleaning a carpet, there are many things you can do before and after the cleaning to help make cleaning the carpet more successful. Lets take a look at a few of these time saving techniques as well as what you need to get the task done.
4. Always start with a new vacuum cleaner bag
It cannot be overstated, always start with a clean vacuum cleaner bag. The more full the vacuum cleaner bag becomes, the less effective the vacuum is at cleaning the carpet and the longer you have to spend vacuuming. It loses it’s suction in other words. In addition to speeding up how long it takes to effectively vacuum, having a clean bag causes less stress on your vacuum, increasing its own longevity.
With an empty bag, there is also less chance of dust being partially sucked up, dislodged, and then thrown back into the room as a possible health hazard. If nothing else, having a clean bag is an excellent way to track your progress and have something to show for all of your hard work.
5. Spot Cleaning An Area of Carpet
Sometimes only a particular part of the carpet will be stained. Any person who has dropped wine onto a white carpet can attest to the challenge in removing it. The first thing you should do is to use a clean towel to remove any excess liquid or easily removable stain from the carpet.
After that, pour ¼ cup of cold water on the spill location. Dab the spot repeatedly to help bring out the stain. Do not rub, as this may make the stain more challenging to remove later on. After the area is clean, go over it again with a fresh towel to remove any excess water left from dabbing.
6. Lint Collecting
When cleaning up an area of a carpet, many people find it helpful to lint collect first. Lint collecting involves pre-cleaning an area to remove many of the dirt particles that may stop a more thorough clean from getting at the true grime in the carpet fibers.
Lint collecting begins with wetting a towel with cold water. Carefully rub the top of the carpet, this will cause all loose particles like lint to collect on the towel. This is recommended only if you are doing a small area, as it normally takes a lot of time.
If you come across a particularly challenging stain, then your best bet may be to soak. Soaking is just what it sounds like. Take a chemical solution in liquid, usually a more powerful laundry detergent or specialised carpet cleaning product, which you can get at places like Coles, and soak the problem area for between 5 to 10 minutes. With enough soaking, the stains will be easier to remove later in the cleaning process.
Post Cleaning Techniques
8. Use a Carpet Protector
A number of carpet cleaning companies sell carpet protectors. A carpet protector is what professional carpet cleaning businesses use after they have cleaned. It helps reduce the rate in which grime and dirt bind to carpet strands. The end result is that you can go much longer before your next clean. While this will not help with spilled wine or any other localised stain, it will help keep your carpet cleaner for longer.
9. Post Clean Vacuum
It may make little sense to vacuum, especially if you vacuumed before cleaning your carpet. However, a post vacuum of the carpet serves an entirely different purpose then a pre-clean vacuum.
The post clean vacuum is designed to clean up the chemicals you used to treat the carpet. This is especially true if you dry cleaned your carpet, as you will need to remove any excess particles that may still be in and around the fibers. A post clean vacuum should only occur once the carpet is fully clean.
10. Remove Pockets of Extra Detergent
With all do it yourself projects, there is room for messing up. When it comes to cleaning up your carpets, this most often means having pockets of extra detergent or chemicals on your carpet.
This can be a problem, as excess detergent can be a health hazard. In addition, excess detergent picks up soil and grime very quickly, eliminating some of your hard work. Take a few minutes to remove the extra detergent. All you need is a little bit of water, a bristly brush, and a towel to rub away the extra moisture.
Cleaning your carpets is a challenge, but it isn’t impossible. If you want to do it yourself, then follow the above guide and good luck!
What DIY carpet cleaning tips can you share?