The primary perpetrators of carpet grime are your footwear and your furry friends. On any given day, our shoes collect a cornucopia of corrosive dirt, turning our carpet into one giant welcome mat. A good solution for humans and pets is a fresh, clean outdoor mat to take the brunt of the dirt upon entry. It’s also a good idea to keep “indoor-only” slippers near the front door. Channel Mister Rogers when you get home from a long day.
Every home has heavy-traffic patterns that connect the busiest rooms. These create a road map for initial wear, unless you use throw rugs and runners that can take some of the load off. Another option is to occasionally rearrange the furniture to reveal almost-new sections of carpet.
Extend the life of your carpet by vacuuming frequently with a robust vacuum cleaner. Inexpensive machines are inexpensive for a reason, and the highest priced ones are not necessarily the best. Seek advice from independent review sites to find the best one for your price range. Ideally, you’d want a dual-motor model that draws separate power for the suction and beater bars. Powerful air filtration and adjustable brush height are also important for any trusted vacuum.
Even your carpet can get a sunburn. Ultraviolet rays coming in from sunny windows can cause your carpets to age prematurely. Invest in blinds and drapes that can filter enough direct sunlight to protect your carpets.
Last but not least, the do-it-yourself secrets for fresh and clean carpets. Firstly, clean stains immediately by dabbing, but never rubbing, a carpet cleaning agent onto the carpet with a lint-free cloth. Let dry, then remove any residue with a plastic scraper. For pet stains, opt for powerful organic cleaners that are formulated for the job. Some scrubbing may be necessary in extreme cases. Remove odors without spending a fortune on carpet fresheners by adding a few drops of essential oil to baking soda and sprinkling it around the offensive area. Let stand for about five minutes and vacuum.
Need a steam cleaning but you don’t have the time or budget for a team to come in and move all your furniture around? Settle for spot-steaming in the interim by soaking a towel with a white vinegar and water solution and placing it over the stain. Gently run a warm iron over the towel and repeat as necessary until the stain is lifted.
Household agents can work just as well as expensive store-brand carpet cleaners. Cool club soda is a godsend for wine and beer stains. Dishwasher detergent and even foaming shave cream can do the trick when you have the odd spot. For fibers that have been beat down for years by furniture legs, try melting an ice cube onto them. Place a soft, dry towel over these areas and use an iron on a low setting to lift them up. Run the side of a spoon over fibers to fully revive them.
Whether you opt for the no-shoes philosophy, buy a better vacuum, go DIY on your carpet cleaning or commit to all three, you’ll keep your carpet looking like new for a long time by keeping it clean.