While the winter snow looks like a fresh carpet of white outside, it can wreak havoc on your carpet inside. Wet boots and shoes, melting salts and mud can be tracked into your home during the winter months and cause your carpet to look like a stampede of elephants has ran across it. Such wear and tear on your carpets can be costly, with the average carpet cleaning service charging at minimum $50.00 a room, not to mention the harsh fumes and chemicals that go into such cleaning regimens! Carpet itself is not cheap, and neither is maintaining it. So what is a person to do?
This winter season, don’t let a dirty carpet get you down. By following the tips below on carpet care, you will ensure you keep a gleaming carpet without spending hours on your knees scrubbing or a small fortune on a professional cleaner. It really is a lot simpler than you might think, and can be done on a dime. Take a peek!
Carpet Care Tips:
- Keep a doormat and floor rug by the door. This is a wonderful preventative measure. A door mat at your home entrance will trap dirt before guests even come in. An entry way floor rug will again attempt to soak up any wetness or mud that still exists. By the time guests get to your main carpet, their shoes have gone through two preventative measures.
- Vacuum regularly and vacuum right. Proper maintenance is the best advice for keeping a clean carpet! Vacuum once vertically and once horizontally to make sure you cover each in and get in between the threads of the carpet thoroughly.
- Keep a clean towel by the door. Hang a clean towel by the door just as you would in a bathroom to dry hands on. Except in this case you will use it to wipe dirty shoes or muddy pet paws. This will prevent excessive dirt from being tracked in.
- Have slippers available for clean and soft steps. Not all guests will be comfortable with this, but house slippers are a good way to keep shoes and dirt away from your clean carpets. Keep a basket of inexpensive slippers or booties by the door for you or other family members to switch in to as you arrive home to prevent tracking debris in.
- Stain? Blot and never rub the carpet. If a stain does happen, blot it with a damp cloth and never rub as you would if you are scrubbing a dirty dish. Rubbing may damage the fibers as well as set the stain further into the carpet, making it even harder to remove.
- Move quickly to make a difference. The faster you treat a problem spot, the less likely it will become a long-term stain. Using warm water and a damp towel will take care of most fresh spills. For bigger or deeper spills, try using seltzer water to remove it.
- Put a damp rag weighted with a heavy object on the stain overnight. Some stains may come back after being treated because they go so deep into the pad. Pet stains or wine stains are a perfect example. Using a heavy object will absorb as much of the stain as possible into the rag rather than the pad. A hand weight will do this job well as will a stack of books.
- Use cleaning products intended for carpets. Make sure any cleaners you use are designated for carpets, otherwise they might bleach or stain your carpet fibers. Try not to use heavy cleaning products that can damage your carpets and cause chemical deterioration to the fibers. Amazon.com offers carpet cleaning products which are industrial strength but budget friendly and worth checking out!
- Beware of heat. Have a really bad stain and think heat might help? High heat, like an iron or hair dryer, can set a stain permanently by dying the fibers of the carpet. Yuck! Use only approved carpet steamers when using heat on a carpet. Never use a blow dryer to dry a stain!
- Sprinkle soda. By sprinkling baking soda on your carpets and allowing it to sit before vacuuming, you can absorb nasty odors. No need to buy fancy odor eliminators, instead just use plain and cheap baking soda. Sprinkle generously, let sit fifteen minutes, then vacuum it up!
- Careful with colors. Before cleaning your carpet with any type of solution, test for colorfastness. Moisten a white towel with the cleaning solution that you are going to use, and apply it to an inconspicuous area. If the towel does not pick up any color from the carpet, it is probably safe to use the solution on the entire carpet.
- Give it some air. Carpets love fresh air too. Make sure your room receives proper ventilation to keep carpets smelling fresh and avoid any dampness. Lack of ventilation can lead to mildew and sour smells, and even dangerous mold. Carpets need fresh air to help them stay dry and fresh.
- Repair your own flaws. Did you get a cigarette burn to your carpet? To repair a small area burned down to the carpet backing, snip off the charred fibers and put white glue in the opening. Then snip fibers from a scrap of carpet or an inconspicuous part of the carpet (perhaps in a closet). When the glue gets tacky, poke the fibers into place. If the burn isn’t all the way down to the backing, just snip off the charred tips of the fibers with scissors. A pulled thread? Don’t pull it out, instead snip it level.
- Don’t neglect the hidden stuff. It is easy to forget about the carpet that is under large furniture pieces. Try to move your furniture once a month to clean the carpet that is in these areas. You want it to stay clean and fresh too. Even if it doesn’t get stained or walked on, it can still get damp and stinky, so don’t neglect it!
- Call a professional carpet cleaner for yearly maintenance. Doing regular, deep cleanings will increase the life of your carpet and make cleaning easier for you as well. A regular steam clean is recommended about once every 6 months. Use the same cleaning company each time, so you can always get the best prices for being returning customers. Many offer loyalty programs so ask if one is available and take advantage of it!
Carpet is not cheap these days, and neither are regular carpet cleaning services. So protect your carpet as an investment so that it will last you for many years to come. A clean carpet is not only healthier for your home, but it is attractive and welcoming to your guests and adds value to the resale price of your home. By following these carpet care tips you’ll be giving your carpet the love it deserves and it will love you back!