Have you ever wondered how to clean white carpet with bleach? I’ve thought of it as well.
Make sense, does it? Since bleach works excellent on making white fabric whiter, it will work the same way on carpets, right?
Not so fast. If you use bleach to clean a white carpet, there are precautions that you need to take.
Is it safe to use bleach on carpets?
If you ask carpet cleaning professions, they would recommend against using bleach on the carpet because it is hazardous, not a great cleaner, and can damage the backing and subfloor.
It should be the last option if you’ve exhausted all possible carpet cleaning home remedies.
Avoid using bleach on wool, and any carpet has a colored dye because bleach will strip the color chemically. The worst-case scenario would be bleach, completely fading it and leaving unsightly yellow stains.
The best color to use bleach on (if you must) is white or dirty white carpet. But before attempting this at home, please consult with the carpet manufacturer and ask them if they allow the use of bleach. If the warranty has expired, test it first on an inconspicuous area to see if it will stain or discolor the fabric.
Cleaning with bleach
Before proceeding, please take the proper precautions and have these tools ready. Since bleach is a potent chemical and hazardous to the respiratory system and skin, wear the proper protective gear.
These include the following:
- A pair of rubber gloves
Don’t use bleach full-strength and dilute it in water. Always check the product’s label for the correct ratio – it is usually a cup of bleach to a gallon of water.
Our goal is to be safe and maintain the white carpet’s life by reducing contact from bleach and other particles such as oil, dirt, and grime.
Get the tools ready
Here is the additional stuff that you’ll need to get started cleaning.
- Spray bottle
- Cloth or paper towels (for drying)
- Shop (wet/dry) vacuum (optional for removing any residue)
Steps to Clean White Carpet with Bleach
Step 1: Vacuum the carpet to remove any surface dirt
Use a vacuum cleaner to rid the carpet of any solid substances and embedded dirt that may be lurking within the strands. If you’re cleaning an area, run, bring it outside, and shake it to release as much dirt as possible.
Step 2: Prepare the bleach and water solution.
Before handling bleach, please wear protective gear such as rubber gloves, masks, and goggles to protect your extremities from direct exposure.
Bleach is a potent chemical that may cause skin and respiratory damage. Ensure that the area you’re prepping the bleach solution and the area that needs cleaning is well ventilated to prevent the odor from lingering and causing nausea or lightheadedness.
Correct bleach to water ratio for cleaning carpet
Never use 100% bleach on the carpet as it will worsen the stain. Mix a cup of bleach to a gallon of water, then pour this mixture into a spray bottle.
Important: Don’t mix bleach with other cleaning products as it may produce a volatile concoction. Mixing bleach with ammonia will create something deadly – don’t mix these!
Step 3: Mist bleach solution
Use the spray bottle filled with bleach and water solution to mist the stained area. It would be best to mist the whole area evenly to prevent any spotting because the bleach will lighten the color.
Keep in mind that bleach can damage the backing of the carpet. Don’t let it sit for too long, either – leave it for 30 minutes max.
Step 4: Rinse the bleach solution, then dry
The last step is to remove any bleach residue from the carpet. One excellent option would be using a spray bottle and a wet/dry shop vacuum to extract the excess. If you don’t have a shop vac, then use a clean paper or cloth towel and stack a heavy object like a book on top to absorb excess moisture.
Important: Avoid scrubbing the carpet during the drying process as it may spread the bleach residue to other untreated areas. Just blot the area until all the water is absorbed.
- Do not ignore the stains. Spot Clean Stains ASAP. The longer the spill stays on the carpet, the higher the risk of it soaking into carpet fibers and padding that is expensive to repair. Once the spills dry up and set, it becomes permanent. The worst is acidic spills that will erode carpet fibers.
- Also, when a stain or spill first occurs, resist the urge to scrub. Doing so only worsens it. Instead, dab the stain with a towel and cleaning solution. The correct technique is blotting from the outer part going towards the middle. Blotting it outward will only spread the stain.
- Do not use bleach on a wool carpet. Since bleach will stain a carpet, only use it on white or near-white carpets. Using bleach on any colored rug will result in discoloration – usually lighter spots.
- Avoid using bleach on the carpet without first mixing with water.
Preventative measures to maximize carpet life
Having preventive measures to prevent damage to your carpet is most certainly the best way to maximize the life of the white carpet. Preventing grit from entering the premises will help reduce the wear-and-tear of your white carpet.
- Entrance matting – One of the best ways to prevent the build-up of grit and dirt is the use of mats. Place these at the entrance before any carpet and use it as a designated area to remove shoes.
- Separate Outdoor and Indoor footwear – Not wearing shoes in the house is one of the best ways to keep white carpets clean. It will significantly reduce dirt, scuffs, daily wear and tear, and lessen cleaning time. Consider having separate indoor slippers or socks.
- Dry pets’ paws when they come inside – Have a towel nearby to clean your pet’s paws before they go inside. It prevents them from trampling dirt into the carpet.
- Rearrange the furniture periodically – This may not be possible in smaller homes, but it’s something worth considering. A fixed furniture arrangement will wear your carpet and have a dirt build-up, especially in areas where there is frequent traffic. Doing this will force the inhabitants to use a different traffic path.
Is it safe to use color-safe bleach on a carpet cleaner?
There are a few things to consider. First, check the carpet cleaning machine if it has a metal sprayer. If it’s plastic, it may not be safe as a chemical reaction might occur between the bleach and plastic components that may discolor the carpet.
Second, if it’s a rental and passes the first condition, do a full rinse cycle to extract any bleach residue within the hoses.
Lastly, check if the carpet can withstand bleach. If so, do a full rinse after the cleaning cycle to remove any residual bleach on the fibers.
Remember that bleach isn’t an ideal cleaning agent for carpet as it is highly toxic, especially to pets and children. If you plan to use it to clean carpets, it is a must to completely extract it after the washing cycle, which is an extra step.
It might be more prudent to use a carpet solution for stains.
How can I get my white carpet white again?
Several factors come into consideration when cleaning white carpet. First, determine the type of carpet in your home. Is it cut-pile or Berber? Determine the fabric used – wool, nylon, synthetic, etc. Ask your carpet manufacturer or read the care guide to determine the information.
Cleaning cut-pile carpet is different from loop type carpet (like Berber), as using the wrong product will damage it and result in expensive restorations.
Methods for cleaning white carpet vary. Some suggest using 3% hydrogen peroxide and white dye to lighten white carpet. Others recommend the use of a combination of vinegar and water.
A safe practice is using a carpet cleaning machine if you’re dealing with a large area for efficiency purposes and making it as even as possible. Popular brands like Rug Doctor and Bissell make good quality carpet cleaners for this task. Combine it with a cleaner with oxygen like Oxyclean to remove tough, ground-in stains.