Now that the weather is nice and you can leave the windows open to gather a breeze, it’s time to clean the carpets. I don’t know about you, but the winter is hard on my carpets. With the house closed up, pets and kids dragging in wet dirt on their little feet, and all that stuff that comes with a winter season, the carpets just get a work out. Come summer, I’m faced with stains and generally messy carpets that don’t look, smell, or feel clean.
How to clean the carpets is certainly an issue to explore. If I could, I would always hire a professional carpet cleaning service. It’s easier and, with the right company, the results will be better than if you do it yourself. There are several methods to choose from which include steaming and chemical. The few times I’ve hired a professional carpet cleaning system, I was happier with the results of the steaming method. It just seemed cleaner to me and didn’t have any residual soapy or chemical feel or smell.
When you consider the cost, it may not be an option to hire a professional cleaner, although many companies are offering deep discounts trying to bolster their sagging bottom line. Take advantage of these deals if you can afford to. Dirty carpets harbor more than just dirt. For your family’s health and well being, your carpets need to be cleaned somehow.
If a professional carpet cleaning is not possible on your tight budget, consider renting a carpet cleaning machine. But, before you decide, do your homework. Look at all the machines available at the various home centers and compare them. Beware that these machines can sometimes require quite a bit of muscle to operate, so be prepared if you decide to rent one. Also, the machines available at some outlets may not be maintained very well. You may save a few dollars by renting at a grocery store, but they are not in the rental business, therefore may not overhaul their machines like an actual rental outfit would. Just be wary of the condition of a rental machine before you decide.
The solutions sold with rented carpet cleaning machines are not as powerful as the professional grade solutions. Your rental center may require you to purchase their cleaner, but if they do not, there are many other solutions you may want to try. If you have a janitorial supply store, check out their solutions for carpet cleaning machines as these would be closer to a professional grade. You also may want to consider a homemade cleaning solution. Using a simple vinegar and hot water mixture in a rented carpet cleaner has proven to be very effective in most situations for removing soil and deodorizing.
If you decide to clean your carpets the old fashioned way, on your hands and knees using a bit of elbow grease, the cleaning solution you choose will make a big difference. You’ll want to thoroughly vacuum before you begin. Using a cleaning solution that suits you, whether it’s vinegar and water, ammonia and water, a laundry pre-soak like Oxiclean, or a store-bought solution, always begin by making a test for colorfastness of the carpet. Choose inside a closet, make a couple good dabs at the carpet with your cleaner, and wait until it dries to see how the carpet holds up. Use a flashlight if you have to in order to get a good look.
If your test spot is fine, proceed next by pre-treating any stains. Normally, a couple clean, old thirsty towels and some big, clean sponges make good tools for stain blotting and overall cleaning. Once the stains are treated, you’ll be working the cleaning solution you’ve chosen into the fibers the best that you can, covering the entire surface. Make sure you don’t saturate the carpet with the solution. It should be damp, not wet. This method of using a bit of elbow grease is certainly more difficult, but it works well, especially if you have small carpeted areas.
With any method, be sure to have some fans available to move the air around and speed the drying process. Open the windows and doors if you can, or if it’s more humid outside than it is inside, the air conditioner will help suck up the moisture and get the carpet dry. Try not to walk on the carpet until it’s dry, but if you must, lay down some old sheets or towels in your path.
When your carpets are fresh and dry, you’ll get a good feeling again playing on the floor with the family. It’s just nice to know your carpets are as clean as they can possibly be.
It just feels good to have everything nice, inside and out. Now that you’re on a cleaning roll, check out even more Spring Cleaning Tips For Mom.