by Garrick Dee
Updated January 9th, 2019
If you live in North America or Europe, chances are your home has carpet.
This is a necessity because it keeps homes warm during winter months and it doubles as a sound deadener as it absorbs the noise created by footsteps.
It also acts as an indoor filter that’ll traps in dirt, dander, dust, soil and all sorts of debris from the air and outdoors.
Unfortunately this can also be a source of bacteria and allergens that could trigger asthma as well as other respiratory ailments if we don’t take the steps needed to keep the carpet clean and dirt piles up.
My mom’s home had thin pile carpet. But they didn’t do the proper maintenance. So after just 10 years they had to change it to linoleum because it was too dirty.
Replacing it was costly. And was not necessary had they done their due diligence. This is a big reason why I’m sharing these tips so you won’t go through something similar in the future.
You can also avoid costly fees charged by professionals by using simple techniques and tools that are found around the house to remove stains by yourself.
Let’s start off with maintenance.
This is a must do chore for every home with carpet.
You have to do it at least once a week, especially if you have plush carpet.
If we want a clean living environment free from pet dander, dust, dirt, soil and other potential contaminants, we MUST do this regularly.
Doing this regularly lengthens the life of your carpet because it removes abrasive dirt like sand that break through carpet right up to the base which can be a source of molds and other bacteria.
Experts recommend doing this once a week for the entire home and more on high traffic areas like the living and dining room.
Now, I understand that lugging around a heavy upright might not be good for your back.
There are several alternatives that’ll ease the burden.
Cordless stick variants provide an alternative lightweight solution that is perfect for spot clean-ups when bringing out full sized corded cleaner isn’t practical.
These are also great for cleaning hard to reach areas like baseboards and areas underneath furniture.
If you’re really busy and have the means, have a look at robot vacuums that automates this task without you lifting a finger.
But if you truly want to deep clean carpet you’ll need a vacuum with a powerful motor and strong enough agitation to pick up dirt trapped under carpet strands.
Please do check our guide for the best vacuums for carpet for an in-dept guide on the best options available.
Clean Those Stains ASAP!
It’s simple, the longer you wait before cleaning up stains, the harder it is to remove! Always have the tools ready in a bucket or a toolbox so when the inevitable happens you won’t be scrambling around looking for these items because its sitting there in a designated area ready for action.
You need the following tools so that you’ll be ready when the inevitable happens (place all these in a bucket or box if possible):
- 5 to 10 pcs of white terry cloth, cotton or microfiber towel
- Dishwashing liquid like dawn or joy (don’t use laundry detergents as they can be too harsh)
- White vinegar (don’t use apple cider or red vinegar, only white)
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Steam iron (yes the thing you iron your cloths with)
- Spatula – used to remove stuff like spaghetti or chocolate
- Wet/dry vac (for sucking up excess moisture)
- Spray bottle
- A pair of gloves
- If you’ve spilled stuff like spaghetti or meatballs, use the spatula to pick up as much as you can.
- Avoid rubbing fresh stains because this will only spread it to a larger area instead use a blotting technique – place the towel (soaked in warm water) on the surface and gently apply pressure with your hands and let the towel do the work for you.
- The basic homemade cleaning agent consists of a quarter of dishwashing liquid to a cup of water, you can place this mixture in a spray bottle if you want to be really ready.
- Pour or spray dishwashing liquid/water mixture on the affected area, then let it sit for around 5 minutes to allow the cleaning mixture to do its work then rinse with clean water.
- Place a few pieces of clean terry cloth or microfiber towels over the soaked area then place a heavy object on top of it like a pile of books to absorb excess moisture. (Preferably use white towels)
- Check the area if there are still stains left. If there are repeat steps 4 and 5 until the stain is gone.
- If you were able to remove the stain then use a vacuum cleaner fluff the carpet and bring back the texture.
Sometimes there are stains that we might have overlooked that may have dried out.
These always happens after parties or if your pet pees somewhere without you knowing.
Don’t worry, I’ll share some techniques online that have been proven to remove stains, even dog pee.
Scroll down below to see all of these techniques.
Leave Those Shoes Outside
Have separate footwear for indoors and outdoors, this will prevent bringing in sand and soil from your garden indoors! If you don’t have a garage, leave a rug by the door where you can place your shoes in, this again minimizes the transfer of outdoor dirt indoors.
Deep Clean Once Every 12 to 18 months
You can do this by yourself or hire a professional.
Going the DIY route will require you to either rent a machine or buying your own. I prefer the former as these machines cost a ton! And you’ll use it only once every year and a half, not a good investment in my opinion unless you have a business.
Before using any steam cleaning machine you’ll need to thoroughly clean the area.
If you find any caked on stains, Apartment Therapy recommends that you use a mixture of the following
- 1/4 cup salt
- a quarter cup vinegar
- 1/4 cup borax (that is to be mixed into a paste like substance)
Spread this mixture over areas with stains. Let it dry for a few hours and removed residue using a spatula then vacuum excess debris.
Here are some homemade cleaning recipes that have worked wonders:
There are occasions were you’ll find carpet stains in your home that you weren’t able to clean immediately and has dried up. Before calling a professional, try this homemade cleaning solution.
This simple but ingenious solution was submitted by a Life Hacker reader that will work on dried stains than be a pain to clean.
The “proprietary mixture” that professionals use turned out to be a mixture that includes 3 parts water and 1 part vinegar. You can either mix it in a bowl then pour the contains on the stain or pour it in a spray bottle.
The process involves…
- Spraying or soaking the stained area with this mixture
- Covering the soaked area with a clean damp terry towel (should be soaked in warm water)
- Set the iron on steam setting
- Iron the damp terry cloth towel (the idea here is that steam from the iron will pull the stains out of the carpet onto the towel)
- Remove the towels and check the area if there stain is still visible, if it is repeat steps 1 to 4, if not go to step 6
- Blow dry area and vacuum to fluff up carpet
The technique and mixture here is similar to the first mixture, the difference is that this uses a dish washing liquid instead of vinegar.
This will work great on stains that have been there for a few days like pet pee (as you’ll see in the video below). The mixture includes a table spoon of grease fighting dish washing liquid like joy and cup of warm water.
Again, the idea here is to use the steam from iron to lift up stains (using steam from the iron) and transfer it to the stack of towels. This is a simple but clever hack.
- Add a table spoon of dishwashing liquid to a cup of warm water
- Pour the mixture on the stained area
- Place a stack of terry cloth towels on the soaked area then run the steam iron (in steam mode) on it
- Check if the stain is still there, if it is repeat steps 2 to 3
- Use a blow dryer to dry the area
To see the whole process watch this video
You can use this technique on worn stains on fabric upholstery.
I found this technique at this blog! This combo again works great for spot cleaning dried up stains.
- What you need to do here is to soak the microfiber towel (preferably white) in hydrogen peroxide
- Blot/rub the stained area. Now before you say, “I though you said no rubbing”, this technique applies to dried out stains, if it is a fresh one just blot it.
- Blot/rub the area until the stain is no longer visible.
This technique is a bit time consuming as you’ll have to work on one stain at a time manually with your hands but the results are well worth it.
I normally use cornstarch to remove bad odor inside the refrigerator. But little did I know that you can use it to clean stains and absorbing oily stuff!
You can use it to spot clean or clean the whole area.
There are two ways you can do about it.
- Sprinkle corn starch over the stained area after you’ve blotted off excess liquid
- Wait around 15 to 20 minutes to allow the cornstarch to absorb stain and excess oils
- Use a vacuum (preferably an upright) to remove excess corn starch.
- Mix one part cornstarch and one part vinegar to create a paste like substance
- Apply this pasted on the stain and wait for it to harden
- Remove the hardened paste residue with a spatula or a blunt knife
- Vacuum excess cornstarch debris using a wet/dry vacuum
This combo works great for stuff like wax and oil.
Here’s how you do it…
- Place a stack of paper towel or terry towel on the stain
- Set the steam iron on steam or warm setting
- Go over the stain a few times and finish off with a paper towel
If you don’t want to waste paper towels use a microfiber or terry cloth towel instead.
These are some simple but effective tips to keep your carpet in tip top shape.
By regularly cleaning them, you can double your its lifespan and avoid expensive repair or replacement costs.
If you have a tip to share, please use the comment section below.