When you purchase your first new home, you'll immediately notice how beautiful and clean your new carpeting is. The difference in appearance between clean carpeting and older, dirty carpeting is hard to overstate. If given the chance, most homeowners would gladly put in a little extra effort to keep their carpets looking new.
Given the usage, wear, and tear carpeting gets, keeping it clean is no simple task. However, there are a number of easy steps you can take to minimize dirt buildup, and delay the day when your carpet starts to look old and worn.
Stopping Grease Stains
Grease stains are one of the worst types of carpet stains, and some homeowners may assume that once they have grease in their carpet, there is no getting rid of the stain. In fact, most people simply use the wrong tool for the job. Instead of relying on a soap or spray marketed as a "carpet cleaner" to remove grease, grab your dish soap and apply a small amount to the stain. Rub it into the carpet, dilute it with water, and watch your stain wash away.
Club Soda and Vinegar for Cleaning Carpet Stains
After grease, the next toughest stains to remove come from colored drinks, like wine, beer, or non-organic fruit juices. These drinks often include coloring agents that can seem almost impossible to wash out of your carpet. For these stains, the best approach is applying a 1:1 mixture of club soda and vinegar to the stain and the surrounding area. Once applied, do not immediately sponge it up. Give the mixture 15 minutes to soak in, and then use paper towels to blot most of it up. Finally, lay clean paper towels over the spot and place a weight (like a book) on top of them for 12-24 hours.
Regular Carpet Steam Cleanings
For general dirt buildup, there is nothing better than giving your carpet regular steam cleanings. These are performed with a dedicated steam-cleaning machine, which forces steam over your carpet and down into the fibers, where the heat loosens the dirt. Then the machine sucks the dirt back up, in much the same way that a vacuum cleaner would.
Steam carpet cleaners are available from most home supply retailers. If you have the time and dedication to handle the job yourself, then purchasing one can be a good investment. On the other hand, steam carpet cleaning is a time consuming process and it is much less effective if it is rushed. This is why many people opt to hire professional steam carpet cleaners every one to two years instead.
When All Else Fails, Hydrogen Peroxide
For the most resistant stains, such as those caused by blood, the solution is usually applying hydrogen peroxide and letting it soak until the discoloration is gone. If you have to resort to this, first clean the stain with a detergent, and then pour on the hydrogen peroxide. After giving it a few minutes to work its magic, dab it up with a towel.
Keeping your carpet looking new is certainly a big undertaking, but when you know the right cleaning tricks and use them in combination, even new homeowners can keep their carpets looking pristine.