Carpets are pretty much the easiest way to bring up the appeal of the living room. They give the room a personality, complement a theme or counter it, and they can even be used as space partitions in a shoebox apartment or as wall decor.
As versatile carpets may be, all their utility is often marred by a single enemy, the ugly carpet stain.
Whether it be a child who tracked dirt in from the playground, a pet who couldn’t control its bowels or a somewhat inebriated guest who splattered their PBnJ sandwich because they thought it was a harmonica, a stained carpet is an eyesore, and potentially a health hazard.
Cleaning your carpet can look daunting, especially since it gets so heavy when soaked. Thankfully, you needn’t lug it around to clean it or hire an expensive rug cleaning service for it. There are a few ways you can do it on your own…
Getting a stain off of a carpet is not terribly tough. Carpet cleaning solutions are available in marts and supermarkets that need only be scrubbed onto a carpet to get tough stains out. A lot of people don’t prefer them, however, and that’s totally fine.
Whether it be because you don’t feel like driving all the way to the mall, or you don’t want to spend money on cleaning products you’re not going to need often, or because you don’t want all those abrasive chemicals in your house, there is a way out.
Turns out, a lot of household things are pretty good for cleaning carpets.
A clean white rag can be used to apply the solution to the carpet (pouring directly isn’t good; it might damage your carpet’s fabric if the solution stays in for long, or the colors of the fabric may start to come off because the poured solution didn’t get a chance to vaporise away). Some easy to make solutions are listed below.
Use dishwashing detergent liquids like Joy, Dawn or any other brands you have lying around (make sure you test a tiny, hidden patch before scrubbing the carpet entirely). Mix 3-4 drops (barely half a teaspoon) into a cup of water and then scrub away with a clean white piece of cloth.
Spilled paint can be hard to remove. Use an organic solvent such as nail polish remover. Scrub the fabric gently, and only the area stained. Avoid this method if the test area loses color or the white cloth appears stained with the color of the carpet.
Mix one part clear white vinegar in two parts of tap water. Use this solution to scrub out the stain from the fabric. The stain should be removed easily.
Carpets which are made of natural fabric need special care, however. They’re often more susceptible to the elements as well as harsh cleaners. If you have a carpet or a rug made of wool or lined underneath with cotton or perhaps silk, you’ll find these solutions help to clean it.
As always, make sure to test these solutions on an inconspicuous patch before going full throttle.
Mix a teaspoon of dishwashing detergent liquid in one cup of water. Use it to scrub your carpet clean.
Lukewarm water works better, in my experience. Avoid hot, or it may cause some fabrics to lose color.
Equal parts of clear white vinegar can tap water can work wonders.
Make sure you do this with the doors and windows open and cover your mouth and nose with a cloth. If you have household ammonia lying around, add one tablespoon of it to half a cup of warm water.
Stir gently and rub the stain out using it. The ammonia can sting your eyes and the smell can persist, which is why this is better done when you aren’t expecting someone, and there is a good amount of ventilation. If the rug is small, it can be best to carry it outside, clean it and then bring it back in when it is all dry. There will be no stench to deal with either.
Not all stains are caused by food or spilled wine. If your kid tracks in dirt from a busy day at the playground, it can be hard to clean it with a cloth, no matter what cleaning product you use. A vacuum cleaner can be a better option.
I usually allow the stain to dry before I tried vacuuming it out. Dry mud doesn’t latch on to carpet fabric as much as wet mud, and so getting it to come off becomes much easier.
Use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner with some force to give a preliminary cleanup to your carpet. It will not be thorough since the mud is still latching onto the fabric. Use a brush to agitate the carpet and get the dirt to loosen up, and then vacuum with some force once again.
Finally, use a carpet rake to even out the surface again.
Sunning a carpet gets rid of mites, germs, fungi, and insects that may be thriving in the folds of the fabric. It also gets bad smells out and makes sure moisture pockets are eliminated. The best part, however, is that there is no hard work involved other than carrying the carpet in and out.
All spilled liquid can be evaporated with little effort, eliminating all chance of development on mold or fungal growth, which can cost you your carpet and also cause health trouble.
It’s a great idea to sun out carpets and rugs along with foam seats you have in the living room, mattresses on the bed and even clothes that have spent a long time in cupboards waiting for the proper season to be worn.
Only, make sure the carpet is stunned with the top side covered or with the bottom facing the sun. Sunlight can otherwise cause some carpets to fade out.
Cleaning a carpet on the surface is easy, as you can see. Getting rid of bacteria and mold is easy too, as you have noticed. But what can be done about the dust that gets trapped inside the folds of the fabric?
That dirt isn’t necessarily harmless. It is only breeding ground for germs and bacteria, plus it can deteriorate your carpet with time by harboring insects and moisture that can rot the fabric.
So, grab a sturdy stick and hang your carpet on some chairs or a strong clothesline. Beat it with the stick, preferably in the sun. The dirt should come loose and drop to the ground. Avoid doing this on a windy day, or too close to a neighbor’s window, or if someone around you has a dust allergy.
I usually hit the carpet several times till the dirt dropping out is insignificant, after which I thoroughly vacuum the fabric on both sides to make sure none of the dirt that I painstakingly kicked out of the carpet goes back in the house stuck to the fabric. It might not remove stains directly, but my carpets look fresher and feel great.
With sunning and beating the carpet, I even manage to get rid of funky smells that were hanging around the house with no apparent source.
Have any more methods to remove carpet stains or clean them in general? Drop me a line in the comments below, or send me a message through the contact page.