Want to turn a house in a home? Deck all the floors in carpets. It’s warm on your feet during winter and nothing beats a carpet’s softness during summer when you walk around barefoot. You’re welcome to lie on it next to a heater or fireplace with a book and it’s quite comfortable when you make a pillow fort. Carpets give you the makings of a true home and because they are such a long term purchase, their maintenance far exceeds the mere weekly vacuum runs we make. But we’re here to give you 17 carpet cleaning hacks to keep your carpeting pristine.
#1: Lint Roller to the Rescue
Have you had the sensation that no matter how hard you vacuum, there’s just crud, crumbs as well as hairs that your vacuum cleaner can’t handle? This is a common issue you have to deal with when you own long-hair carpets and even the most powerful vacuum cleaner can’t clean the fibers to a higher standard.
The solution is to purchase a lint roller for those problematic areas and put some elbow grease until you collect all the stubborn particles. Depending on the carpet type, you might not spend more than five minutes total per carpet.
#2: Eliminate Pet Hair with a Squeegee
Pet hair is notoriously difficult to remove with just a vacuum cleaner. Lint rollers might also not be quite useful as we’re talking about cleaning the whole surface area and with some pets, shedding might be overwhelming. If your carpet has very short hairs, then you’re all set with the trusty squeegee.
The squeegee might be intended for windows, but its design is made to dislodge gunk, frost and other substances that form thin layers and stick to a surface – exactly like pet hair on a short-hair carpet. Water the squeegee and just use it as if you would on a window.
#3: Remove Stains with an Iron
Stain removal has tested the willpower and intelligence of homeowners since carpets became the thing you own to tie a room together and you’ll encounter several schools of thought on the matter. The one we present right now is a three-step process.
First, you vacuum the stained area to get rid of hard particles and leave you focusing only on the stains at hand. This is crucial prep work.
Second, treat the spots with a mixture of water and vinegar with a ratio of 3:1. You need to let this mixture to work its way into the stained textile. Five minutes should be enough.
Three, place a towel on top of the stained area and apply a heated iron. The pressure and the heat cause for the stain to be transferred into the towel much like a reverse temporary water tattoo.
#4: Always Rub, Never Blot
It’s an instinct to rub dirt away. You do it when you polish shoes, wash dishes, even when a stain persists on sheets, but with carpets, rubbing leads to spreading. There’s also a high chance you might work the stain into the fabric – the surest way to permanent discoloration. No matter what cleaning solution you use, please be aware that only blotting wishes the stain away as you’re applying pressure on the spot that leads to liquid being absorbed into the cloth or sponge. Another way to protect carpet fiber is to pay attention to what direction you blot in. Blotting inwards from outside the stain ensures the stain doesn’t spread further.
#5: Homemade Deep Clean Carpet Cleaner
Yes, you can buy all the detergents your heart desires for deep cleaning carpets, especially if you have your own carpet shampooing machine. But those might not be the best option when you’re trying to lead a healthy, organic life. If you’re team Nature and want to minimalize the effect you have on the environment, then this recipe is for you.
The ingredients are as follow: a ¾ cup of Hydrogen Peroxide, a ¼ cup white vinegar, 5 drops of essential oils, 2 tablespoons dish soap, 2 tablespoons of fabric softener and one gallon of hot but not boiling water. This is a much cleaner alternative compared to store-bought ones and you get the same results easily. Lock and load in your shampooing machine and you’re ready for a thorough deep clean.
#6: Baking Soda Combats Oil Stains
Oil has to be the most frustrating substance to remove from carpets and sometimes you can’t exactly treat these stains with hot water and the dabbing technique. You need a special way to extract oils from carpets and this is where baking soda saves your life and your carpet. Apply liberally on the stain area and leave it until the baking soda absorbs the stain and for a sort of dry crust, which you can effectively vacuum and leave you with a much lighter stain. After most of the oil has been absorbed, you can proceed to dabbing the stain.
#7: Baking Soda Masks Pet Accidents
With a risk for this article to sound like a baking soda endorsement, I also have to include baking soda as an effective treatment for when you’re housebreaking pets. Accidents happen and pet owners will agree animal urine does not give up without a fight. There’s the smell and the discoloration, but a liberal amount of baking soda absorbs the smell and then allows you blot away the rest of the mess. You’ll discover this is a life saver when you’re training a very energetic puppy to wait until you take him out on a walk.
#8: Rubbing Alcohol Does Remove Nail Polish
You might not want to risk to apply rubbing alcohol on carpets, because it might damage the dye and lead to bleaching, especially when the offending stain is nail polish. However, trust me when I say that nail polish remover and other types of clear rubbing alcohol are not nearly strong enough to bleach a carpet. So, wait until the nail polish has dried. Chip off as much of the dried nail polish as you can with a blunt tool, preferably a butter knife, and then gently dab with a cloth or a paper towel until the nail polish dissolves and is absorbed into the material.
#9: Shaving Cream Solves Normal Dirt Stains
Lighter carpets in beige, yellow, white and soft pastel colours get these dirt patches that come from high traffic, dust accumulation or just careless accidents. Having kids around also gives such carpets highly visible skid marks and dirt can be a bother sometimes, but not when you get shaving cream involved. Any kind works, so you can budget well around this. The stain can be old and the main benefit from rubbing shaving cream in the stain and letting it sit is that afterwards, the carpet feels soft to the touch and there’s more fluff to it as well. You might as well call it an anti-aging cream for carpets.
#10: Baking Soda Can Also Freshen Your Carpet
Technically, baking soda is half of what you need to create your own light freshener for when you want to spruce up your carpeting be it for guests or some other more formal event. You’ll need a bottle of essential oil and a 16-ounce box of baking soda. Add anywhere between 10 to 20 drops depending on how noticeable you want the scent to be and go for something fresh like a citrus. Sprinkle your carpet with this mixture the way you would dust a cake with sugar and then vacuum after 5-10 minutes.
#11: Strong Deodorizer Recipe
Have children? Have pets? Want to have your carpets to smell fresh, but you also want to use products that will not harm your loved ones? Right, the recipe is simple. Start with one to two tablespoons of Borax in a large container. Follow the Borax with 10 drops of essential oil, but before settling on one you best research how strong the smell is and what scents might irritate your pets since they have a lot more sensitive sense of smell. Last, follow this with two cups of baking soda.
In essence, it’s a similar mixture to the previous hack, but a bit more potent. The baking soda absorbs bad smells, the oil freshens the carpet fiber, but here you also have Borax, which kills germs, microbes and is safe in these quantities.
#12: Shag Carpets Needs Special Care
Right, shag carpets might have made a return as a must-have piece in your home, but it does not mean the shag carpets have become any easier to clean. On the contrary, most vacuums have such strong suction that it causes these carpets to shed as fibers get sucked in, become frizzy or just generally come loose. It’s as if you have a pet in your home. To avoid these shedding episodes altogether, simply vacuum only with the hose attachment. You get deep to the roots of the fibers without damaging the weave.
#13: Fluff Your Carpet with the Power of Vinegar
Vinegar has its many uses similar to baking soda when it comes to carpet care and one of the most interesting uses is to fluff up high-traffic areas where the carpet just looks worn out and the fibers have been flattened. You dilute vinegar in equal amounts of water and then spray it on the affected area. Once the material has absorbed the mixture, take a regular spoon and run it sideways along the carpeting to loosen the fibers and restore their original texture.
#14: Fluff Your Carpet with the Power of Ice Cube
This trick is meant for those impressions left on carpets from furniture, especially when it’s both heavy and not moved often. These impressions are annoying to see, if you decide on a completely different arrangement. But don’t despair, because as it turns out you can restore your carpet to its former glory with an ice cube. Place a regular ice cube on these dents and leave them to melt. Afterwards, blot the excess water and iron the area until dry through a towel. Once the fibers are almost dry, they’ll be pliable and you can fluff these areas by hand with ease.
#15: Keep Carpets Clean with Shoe Caps
Do you plan on moving? Will there be some occasion such as the preparation for an event that will result in high foot traffic on your carpets? Minimize any damage by having people wear a pair of shoe caps inside as they’ll blunt out imprints from boots, running shoes and stilettos as well as keep people from tracking too much dirt into the house. Prevention is just as important as maintenance and a little bit of foresight keeps cleaning to a minimum.
#16: Area Rugs and Runners Are Your Friends
You’ve fine carpets that you love showing off when you organize gatherings and host parties, but foot traffic has no mercy and without the proper care, such carpets wear out faster. What you can do is buy area rugs and runners to place along the areas that receive the most amount of traffic and then just remove them when you have guests. It saves you a lot of time with vacuuming and you also keep carpets looking new for a lot longer.
#17: Ice vs. Gum
Gum is never a good thing to wind up on any carpet, but although it seems impossible to get gum removed from any fiber, doesn’t mean it’s so. The main problem is when the gum is still soft. It stretches and dealing with it at that point may lead to more damage than any results, so instead, you need to harden it. An ice cube over the gum for half a minute should be enough to freeze it and allow you to scrape it off with a spoon with limited damage to your carpet.
I think we have given you all the tips that we could think of at the moment. Carpets come in so many colors, shapes, sizes and materials that not every tip here is going to be applicable, so be sure to read careful what your carpets needs are going to be before you buy them and act accordingly. If you happen to know another trick that helps deal with a certain type of stain, please feel free to leave us a comment.
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