Carpet Cleaning Tips
Carpets need to be vacuumed regularly. Once a week is an absolute minimum, but if there’s significant footfall, at least twice a week is a must. Carpets pick up pieces of grit and other small but substantial particles. If these are trampled in, they’ll start to cut away at the fibres, and over time this will destroy the carpet. It’s very important, therefore, to get rid of as many of these particles as you can. Before you vacuum, briefly sweep the carpet with a broom. This will lift up the carpet fibres and loosen the particles, making it easier to pick them up when you start with the vacuum cleaner.
When you’re cleaning, take your time. Split the carpet into zones, and clear each zone before you move on, rather than simply passing the vacuum over the floor a few times. Move slowly, so that the vacuum has the chance to suck all of the dirt and particles from each section. Don’t vacuum in the same direction, but try and alternate. With the first stroke, you’ll lift the fibres and loosen the particles in the carpet, and these will then be sucked up when you bring the vacuum back in the following direction. Some professionals recommend using a criss-cross pattern rather than going forwards and backwards. It’s particularly crucial to be thorough when you’re focusing on a part of the carpet that sees a lot of use – the space in front of chairs, or under tables, for instance.
Where possible, buy carpets with a stain guard, as these do a good job of minimising the long-term damage caused by spillages and leaks. Even so, carpets will still pick up stains and marks that no amount of vacuuming can remove. For these situations, add a drop of vinegar and a small amount of water to a dry cloth, and place it carefully over the stain. Try and use the cloth like blotting paper, rather than as a scrubber, as the scrubbing motion can cause damage to carpet fibres. Be very careful not to use too much water, as this can infiltrate the carpet and create a musty odour. If the latter happens, sprinkle the area with baking soda, and leave for a few hours before vacuuming.
Vacuuming is fine on an everyday basis, but you should try and work the carpet with a steam cleaner every so often. Even a good vacuum can’t match a steamer for restoring the brilliance of carpets. There’s no need to use any chemicals, so steam cleaning is very sound environmentally. Do, though, ensure that the water is boiling hot. If water by itself isn’t enough to bring the old colour back, add around a cup of vinegar to every two and a half gallons of water. Use the dedicated floor cleaning head, if you have one. In contrast to vacuuming, it’s important to move across the surface at a reasonably brisk pace. Don’t hold it down over one area for long periods, and be very careful not to over-soak.
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