Carpet cleaning is an art form. Professional carpet cleaners seem to have some magic trick that obliterates the stains and wear marks making the carpet as good as new. How they do that to me is unbelievable. However, I live within a budget and professional carpet cleaning services are just not in the budget more often than once a year. The first thing for me, in cutting back on these services was to find a way to maintain the carpet for as long as possible. I added an extra large entrance mat on the inside and outside of the door. A bench and shoe rack was placed outside in the vestibule area of our garage to encourage shoe removal.
One problem with keeping our carpet clean is that my daughter is a flip flop lover. Along with this comes dirt from her feet which leave marks on the carpet over time. I cannot handle dirty feet so when I am home I make her wash them but that is not always the case. I have found with dirt that has been tracked in the best remedy for stain removal is water and white vinegar. I combine this mixture in a spray bottle and squirt the affected are, not saturating it. I then take a clean white cloth and gently blot the stain until it is removed.
I have found that rubbing stains causes the stain to spread and often just squishes it deeper into the carpet fibers. I also find that being overly aggressive will cause the carpet fibers to weaken making the carpet appear older than it is. In order to thoroughly and deeply remove the stain take a thick white cloth and a heavy object and place in on the spot after you have blot removed the stain. Leaving this overnight will help the stain seep from deep within the carpet onto the cloth leaving the carpet not only clean on the surface but also deep down.
I find that by vacuuming often I have cut down on the amount of stains that I visually see. One member of our family takes a turn every other night vacuuming. Thankfully we love in a ranch and the areas are easy to reach with the vacuum. This helps keep pet stains down and allows us to spot stains quicker than when we were doing this chore only once a week.
Another trick I had read included using a blow dryer or iron to help dry the area after a stain was removed. This is never a good idea for any type of carpet no matter how wet it appears. High heat will only set it stains that may be hiding deep within the carpet. The best solution for wet carpet is circulating air. A large oscillating fan placed within the affected area should be enough to dry the area thoroughly. It may take more than a day or two depending on how saturated the area is.
Many people ask me if I like clean carpet because I have issues with being overly clean but really it goes way above the fact that I enjoy a clean house. Having carpet cleaning done allows all of the allergens that are building up to be removed. It also prevents homes for organisms that will make homes in your carpet to be eliminated. The thought of carpet bugs disturbs me especially because we enjoy family time hanging out on the floor. The last thing I want to think about when playing a board game on the floor with my kids is the invisible creatures crawling among us.
Have a professional carpet cleaner out to your home at least once a year is maintenance that will not only benefit the look of the carpet but also the health of your family. Routine spot cleaning and protection will help keep your carpets looking clean in between cleanings. Obviously prevention is the key piece needed to improve the longevity of the carpet but with kids, pets and living in general that is not always possible.