How to keep your carpets cleaner
Let’s face it, it’s not fun spending $300 to get the carpets cleaned. Surely there is something a homeowner can do to maximize the amount of time between professional carpet cleanings, right? As it turns out, as a professional carpet cleaner, there are a few tips that I can share.
Tracked in dirt & debris
There are many ways dirt and other contaminants can make their way on to your carpets. Let’s start with a major culprit: tracked in soil. This is typically any unwanted contamination that has found its way into your home and onto your carpets on the bottom of your shoes, on your clothes, in your hair or on your pets. This carpet contamination can include tar, car exhaust particles, cigarette smoke residue, pesticides, herbicides, mud, sand or anything else you can possible imagine hitching a ride on your person.
What’s the solution? Use mats around entry doors. This is one of the best ways to battle tracked in contamination. You can buy cheap, throwaway mats for under $20, and many of these mats will hold up to numerous hosing sessions or even steam cleaning by a professional carpet cleaner while he's doing your wall-to-wall carpets. Another practical solution is to remove your shoes and heavily soiled clothing before entering a carpeted room.
Pets are a very common source of carpet contamination as well. Bathe your pets regularly to remove excess oil from their coats. This naturally occurring oil transfers to your carpets and creates a sticky coating which in turn attracts and holds many other soils, which would otherwise be easy to vacuum out. House train your pets, and when an accident does happen, deal with it immediately. Use a wet vac or paper towel to blot and extract as much urine from the carpet as possible. Rinse with warm water and ammonia if fresh, and warm water and vinegar if several hours old.
Food and drink
Many re-occurring carpet stains come from drink spills that have soaked into the carpet’s backing and pad. The spill then wicks up to the surface and causes re-soiling. House train your pets, and when an accident does happen, deal with it immediately. Use a wet vac or paper towel to blot and extract as much urine as possible. Rinse with warm water and ammonia if fresh, and warm water and vinegar if several hours old.
Spot cleaning carpet stains
Using a cheap foaming spotter or many of the other spotters available at the supermarket will only make your carpet stain or problem worse! The reason is that these spotters will leave a sticky residue in your carpet that will re-soil in a matter of days or weeks. You may have removed the stain all right, but you simply traded it for another. Ask your professional carpet cleaner to supply you with a quality, non-residual spotter, such as HomePro Spot and Stain Remover or an equivalent.
Carpet stain protection
Make sure you have you professional carpet cleaner apply a quality carpet protector such as Scotchgard or an equivalent with every cleaning! This is not an add-n service, it’s a product that is applied by the carpet manufacturer for a reason, and it wears and cleans off over time. Restoring this protective stain and soil barrier is vital to ensure maximum soil removal during cleaning and, consequently, longer carpet life. However, this will not prevent your carpet from getting dirty; it will only make your carpet-cleaning efforts easier and more effective.
Using these simple steps will ensure that your carpet lasts as long as possible and stay beautiful at the same time. And when it’s time to call the professionals out again, make sure you call someone who is a real professional, as not all carpet cleaning companies are created equal!
About this Angie’s List Expert: Mahlon Zerh is the owner of Beautiful Carpets and Floors, a IICRC-certified professional carpet cleaning company that serves Washington state’s Walla Walla Valley.
As of March 25, 2013, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.