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Published on Jun 27, 2022
Carpets are a luxurious investment in our home and the way we clean and maintain our carpet will help determine the life of your carpet and the enjoyment it brings you. Clean and stain free carpets are a wonderful addition, whereas stained and dirty carpets can detract from a home.
The key to getting the best possible life from your carpet is to have an effective maintenance plan, including the know-how and products to deal with accidents and common carpet stains when they appear. There’s nothing worse than a large red wine stain or pet wee stain in the middle of your living room carpet – we can show you the best methods to remove these types of stains.
This article will give you a cleaning guide on getting longevity out of your carpet including how to treat stains, how to clean carpet yourself, and when professional carpet cleaning is required.
Carpets and rugs act as indoor air-filters, trapping air-borne pollutants including dust and allergens, so that you breathe cleaner air in your home. Clean carpets can trap more air-borne pollutants than dirty carpet, so regular maintenance is essential. Clean carpets also last longer as the abrasive dirt and grit that sits in-between the carpet fibres will wear away at the carpet. This means dirty carpets will wear faster and suffer a shorter life.
The best way to keep your carpets and rugs clean, is regular vacuuming. The Australian standards for carpet cleaning recommend using a vacuum with a beater bar which loosens the abrasive dirt and debris from the carpet fibres, and a HEPA filter. The best vacuum option for carpets is still an upright vacuum, however the newer, high-end, stick vacuums are quite effective carpet cleaners.
The best maintenance program for clean carpet includes weekly vacuuming with a 50% overlap on each vacuum pass. It’s also important to vacuum north-south and east-west to loosen and lift the dirt from each side of the carpet fibres.
There’s a lot of chemistry involved in carpet maintenance’, and whilst many stains from carpet can be removed with diluted dishwashing detergent, there are many that require specific stain removal solutions.
These are our pro tips for removing these types of stains out of carpet.
If you or someone around you is bleeding, your first thought might not be about the carpet stains. Blood stains however, can be a significant issue, especially if you leave it too long.
The best way to remove blood stains is to blot excess liquid with a paper towel or clean white cloth. Once the excess is removed, blot the affected area with cold water using downward pressure, and don’t wipe the stain from side to side as you may spread the problem. As your next step, blot with a diluted solution of cold water and dish soap and then repeat rinsing with cold water. Never use hot or warm water to treat a blood stain as it will cook the protein in the blood and set the stain. Remember to blot dry afterwards.
If you’re not able to remove the entire blood stain, use an enzyme stain remover which can usually be purchased at your local supermarket. These are usually advertised as a “Pet Stain Remover” but are quite effective on blood stains. Large blood-stained areas will require professional cleaning to extract the blood from the base of the fibres. If the stain keeps coming back after you treat it, we recommend calling a professional.
Got a new puppy and didn't think having carpet instead of wood floors would be a problem? You're not alone.
The best approach is to act fast so that you treat the urine while it’s fresh. Pet stains are so problematic because when urine leaves the body it’s acidic but when exposed to oxygen over time, urine becomes alkaline. When this chemical change occurs, oxidisation or bleaching can occur in some carpets, causing a permanent stain.
To treat pet urine, blot the area dry and treat it with a diluted solution of dishwashing detergent. The alkaline dishwashing liquid will neutralise the fresh acidic urine. You might want to use a safe, off the shelf, carpet stain remover cleaning product instead of dishwashing detergent but always rinse with fresh water afterwards.
Off the shelf enzyme stain removers are very effective at treating urine stains and odours but should be used as quickly as possible when you remove pet stains. Take care not to overuse enzyme stain removers as they can damage carpet.
Ink stains are among the most difficult to treat. These dyes are problematic because their purpose is to change the colour of absorbent materials like carpet fibres. The best way to neutralise the effects of the pigments within ink is to use isopropyl rubbing alcohol. We recommend Isocol, which can be purchased from your local chemist.
However, this can damage the carpet, so patch test this first by gently blotting the area. Never rub the stain.
We understand that not everyone has a massive stockpile of carpet cleaning products or stain removers lying around, so it can be stressful when you have a spillage. Fear not; a host of items likely already in your pantry have exceptional stain removing properties.
Natural carpet cleaners are all the rage and are especially useful for more minor stains that may be easier to remove. Here are some everyday household products that are a safe and effective way of removing stains:
salt (to absorb red wine stains)
To get your carpet clean, you’ll need the right equipment. We strongly recommend a hot water extraction cleaner instead of a carpet shampooer. Here’s why:
A carpet shampooer cycles a carpet shampoo/detergent solution into the carpet, using the same solution over the whole floor. Whilst a shampoo will help break down oily soils that hold dirt to the carpet, it will usually leave a shampoo residue and doesn’t do a very good job of lifting soils.
Hot water extraction cleaning, often called steam cleaning, injects water into the carpet and extracts it back out, bringing out the dirt and grime with the extracted water.
Hot water extraction cleaning works very effectively but you need the right combination of cleaning solutions, agitation, water pressure and heat to get a great result. Hot water extraction cleaning machines can be rented from some hardware stores which make them a great option for DIY carpet cleaning.
If you’re going to use a hot water extraction cleaning machine, we suggest following these cleaning tips:
Vacuum the carpet thoroughly. You’re going to inject water into the carpet so if there’s dirt in the carpet it will mix with the water to create mud, which is very hard to remove.
Treat the stains first. When you rent the carpet cleaning machine, you should be able to buy a spot remover solution that you can apply to the stains.
Spray the carpet with your general carpet cleaning solution and agitate. We suggest using a broom to agitate the cleaning solution into the carpet fibres as this will give you the best possible cleaning results.
Clean the carpet with your hot water extraction machine. For the best results:
Make sure you use hot water in the machine
With each pass of the carpet cleaning wand, have a 50% overlap
Perform a dry pass over the carpet after cleaning. This is where you use the carpet cleaning wand with the suction on, but without injecting water into the carpet. This will help remove excess moisture to assist drying and give a better carpet cleaning result.
Hot water extraction cleaning is usually the best DIY method for cleaning a rug, however the key to effective cleaning is to remove as much dirt and debris as possible. Because a rug is often in a high traffic area, it will usually contain a lot of dry soil that requires removal.
We have 2 suggestions to get the best possible rug cleaning results:
Vacuum the front and back of the rug. When you finish vacuuming the front of the rug, turn it over and vacuum the back. If you have a high-quality vacuum with a beater bar, it will dislodge the dirt from the rug fibres, with the dirt landing on the floor. It will usually take 5 mins of vacuuming on a 6 sqm rug to get the best possible result.
Place the rug over a railing or beam and beat it with a stick, then stand back and watch the dirt and dust fall out. This is the way rugs were cleaned by our grandparents and it’s just as effective today. Keep in mind it can be hard to find somewhere to hang the rug safely.
Once you’ve removed as much dry soil and dirt as possible, we suggest cleaning with a hot water extraction cleaner, following the steps above. Not all rugs are suitable for hot water extraction cleaning, so we recommend checking the cleaning instructions first.
If your carpet is a bit pongy, it might be best to treat your carpet with a deodoriser after cleaning. You can usually buy carpet cleaning deodorisers from your hardware store or supermarket, and their effectiveness varies depending on the cause of the odour.
If your carpets always smell musty or mouldy, this could be due to hidden mould growth in your carpet. In this instance, create a mixture of 1:2 white vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture onto the carpet to help kill the mould and prevent ongoing mould growth. Unfortunately, this means the carpet will smell like white vinegar for a while, but this will dissipate.
The cleaning equipment isn’t powerful enough to effectively clean your carpet
The carpet is left too wet. This is usually because the vacuum in the machine isn’t powerful enough
The cleaning solutions are not effective enough to do the required job.
DIY carpet cleaning machines that can be rented from a hardware store are much less powerful than the machines the professional cleaners use. You’ll also find that the cleaning solutions aren’t’ usually as effective. This means that if you’re going to clean your carpet yourself you need to allow for a lot of time for repeated cleaning to get the result you’re happy with.
If you're exceptionally gifted at house cleaning and organising or removing stains, you might wonder whether you can get away with cleaning your carpets yourself. If you follow the above steps, you should do a pretty decent job at maintaining your carpets. However, carpets are an investment, and so is the cleaning process.
If you hire a professional carpet cleaning service like Electrodry, you can access specialist cleaning solutions to handle the toughest stains. Our carpet dry cleaning service can remove many more stains and smells than traditional steam cleaners, so you enjoy cleaner carpets for longer and leave your carpet looking their best.
We also provide pest control, hard floor refinishing, and upholstery cleaning services to keep your home looking and feeling great. So, why not contact us now to see how we can help you keep your carpets and rugs in the best condition possible.