A dirty carpet doesn’t just look unsightly it presents a health hazard. Unclean carpets are a haven for small parasites and bacteria that can cause diseases, to say nothing of the havoc it can play with your sinuses and allergies. While a weekly vacuuming is a good first step to a clean carpet, even the most efficient vacuum will still miss particles of dirt, food, and grime that get deep into the carpet fibers. Over time, this build-up will damage your carpet and your health, so it’s important to give your carpet a deep-cleaning every 6-12 months, maybe more if an area is high use, or you have a large family, or lots of pets. Professionals, such as Alpine Cleaning and Restoration in the greater Cache Valley and Salt Lake City areas, can provide you with exactly the kind of cleaning job you need to keep your carpet healthy and extend its lifespan, but not everybody wants to hire professionals. Perhaps you’re short on cash, or maybe you’re just more of a do-it-yourself type. While it is advisable to hire professionals, if you really don’t want to, it is possible to rent the equipment and do it yourself.
So, here are some tips that the folks at Alpine Cleaning and Restoration have provided for helping you do the job yourself if that’s what you want.
- Do the Prep-Work
Don’t just jump straight into shampooing your carpet. Without some pre-work, this will make your attempt to deep clean no more effective than just a regular weekly vacuuming. Do a few steps first.
Make sure to find out what your carpet needs. Different carpets have different cleaning requirements. While a standard shampoo machine will work for most carpets, certain types, especially silk carpets, require an entirely different process to clean without damaging them.
Be sure to remove furniture from the room you are cleaning. While this may be time consuming and inconvenient, removing furniture means you’ll be able to get a full benefit of the deep clean process.
Vacuum first. Before you shampoo the carpet, do a regular vacuuming job first. By getting all of the surface level dirt and dust out of the way first, you’ll be ensuring that the deep cleaning really is getting deep into the carpet. As you vacuum, mark any stains you find for pre-treatment.
Treat any stains you find. Spray stain remover directly onto any stains you find. Be sure to follow the instructions, as different stain removers work differently. You may be able to vacuum up the stain after the remover has been applied, others may require you to dab the area with a cloth. Be sure to read the instructions before starting.
- Prepare the Carpet Cleaner
When looking for a good cleaner, be sure to find one that’s an extractor with a clean water rinse cycle. This will get you the best results. Be sure to read the instructions on the cleaner to find out exactly how much shampoo you should put into the machine. Too much shampoo will leave residue in the carpet that dirt will cling to, negating the effort you went to in cleaning in the first place.
- Shampoo Your Carpet
Thoroughly clean the carpet by running the machine over the carpet several times using consistent forward and reverse strokes. You will need to empty the wastewater tank several times during this process. Start from one corner of the room and continue the process until the wastewater being sucked up is clear. For areas that have been pretreated for stains, it may be necessary to go over them more times than the rest of the carpet to ensure the stains are removed. After the carpet has been cleaned, be sure to remove excess water and soap. If you leave the carpet wet, you’re leaving dirt in it. When you’ve finished, run a tank of clear water over the carpet to ensure that all the soap is removed.
- Dry Your Carpet
Press your hand into the carpet. If your fingers get wet from doing this, you have too much water in your carpet and should suck it up with the machine again. It is important to get out all the excess moisture you can, as leaving moisture in not only attracts more dirt, but can also lead to mold and mildew problems. Use box fans, air conditioning, and open windows to help the carpet dry out faster. The carpet should take no more than 24 hours to dry. If it does, you have left too much moisture in the carpet and need to suck it up again.
Do not be too hasty in putting furniture back. This is a common DIY mistake. If you put the furniture back while the carpet still has any moisture in it, it can damage the upholstery, while the chemicals may cause the finish or stain on your furniture to rub off onto the carpet, which can ruin it. If you must place furniture back in the room, put aluminum foil or plastic under the legs to prevent this. Try to keep pets and children off the carpets before they dry. If you must use the area try walking on towels or cloths instead of walking on it directly.
Trust the Professionals
Don’t be too hesitant to give professionals like Alpine Cleaning and Restoration a call. You may think you can save yourself some money by doing it yourself, but doing it yourself could make it worse if you don’t do it right. Trained professionals know exactly how much water to use, and know the best processes for cleaning to make sure your carpet gets the best deep-cleaning it can.
If you really insist on doing it yourself, then the tips above will help, but remember those are general tips and may not be appropriate for all carpet types. If you have any questions, check with the professionals, or have them do it for you. Better to be safe than sorry.