Our carpets regularly take a beating from dirty shoes, dropped food, spilled drinks, pet accidents, and assorted kid messes. All that dust and soil can accumulate on carpet fibers, causing carpets to look dull and retain nasty odors, plus it can eventually wear out the carpet backing and fibers.
With frequent vacuuming, spot cleaning, and deep cleaning you can extend the life of any type of carpet.
We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to cleaning your carpets so you can learn how to remove heavier soil, restore the buoyancy of the fibers, and brighten colors. Keep reading to find out more!
How Often to Clean a Carpet
Whether you have wall-to-wall carpeting or area rugs, regular vacuuming at least once per week is smart, but you might want to do this more frequently if you have pets or kids. Spills and stains should be treated as quickly as possible.
How to Get Rid of Dust & Pet Fur
In order to minimize the dust and dander that settles within your carpet, make sure you keep up with a regular vacuuming routine. As we said, once a week should suffice, but higher traffic areas will likely need a more in-depth cleaning. We highly suggest sprinkling a bit of baking soda around you carpet before you vacuum to fight odors, and you can finish by spritzing a small amount of white vinegar around the carpet to kill any lingering odors and even some bacteria.
You should also be in the habit of using a lint brush to remove pet fur from your carpets to help keep them tidy between deep cleanings. Use the brush in areas where there’s visible build-up, and also focus on areas where your pet lays most often. Brush and groom your pet more frequently to help keep your carpets clean.
How to Disinfect & Deodorize a Carpet
We can all agree that no one wants a stinky carpet. Here are some suggestions on how to tackle specific odors and neutralize unappealing scents.
✨ Pour baking soda into a colander, and sprinkle it over the affected areas. Baking soda is a natural absorbent, so it’ll eat up those odors, plus it’ll seep all the way to the base of the carpet. Walk around on top (no bare feet) so that there’s an even coating everywhere, and let it sit for 30 minutes. Vacuum it up for a fresh start.
✨ Soak up any moisture from your carpet with a dehumidifier or several fans pointing downward. Once the area is dry, mix 2 cups of warm water with 1 cup of white vinegar, and spray the carpet. The powerful acidity in the vinegar will dislodge the odor-causing compounds and exterminate them. Try not to get the carpet overly saturated while treating it, or you’ll just be perpetuating the mildew problem. Don’t worry, when the carpet dries, that vinegar scent will fade away.
✨ For stubborn odors like bacteria and mold, we recommend hitting the carpet with a shot of vodka. The alcohol will break up the odor-causing compounds. Pour a bit of vodka into a spray bottle, and spritz any moldy areas. Let the alcohol sit for 15 minutes, then blot the spot with a clean rag. If the mold persists, sprinkle some baking soda onto the spot, let sit for 30 minutes and then vacuum up any residue.
✨ Soak up the stain as best as you can with a dry towel. Combine 2 cups of warm water with 2 cups of white vinegar in a bowl, and (slowly!) add 4 tablespoons of baking soda. Once you’ve stirred it all up, pour it into a spray bottle, and apply the mixture to the stained area. Let it sit for 5 minutes, and blot the spot with a clean, damp rag.
✨ Club soda is a fine substitute for pet pee because its aerated carbonation lifts stains up and out of carpet fibers. Just pour some over the stain, and let it sit for a few minutes. It helps to open a window or turn on a fan in the room so the carpet can dry faster. Blot it up, and repeat until the odor goes away.
✨ All those home workouts might have your carpet smelling a bit like a locker room. A spray of Febreze Fabric should help, neutralizing odors and replacing them with far better scents, like lilac or violet.
Removing Stains from a Carpet
Whether you’re tackling a spot on the carpet that has been there for a while, like a pet stain, or impressing your friends with how easily you can clean up wine or a dropped plate of food, simple cures are a good party trick and an essential life skill.
First, no matter what type of paint you’re using, do this:
✨ Use a spoon or putty knife to collect extra gobs of paint from your carpet.
✨ Be careful not to spread the paint around to any not-yet-stained areas.
✨ Try not to rub or push the paint deeper into the carpet while doing this part.
✨ Blot excess paint with a dry rag or paper towel.
White Vinegar + Warm Water
✨ In a plastic spray bottle, mix 1 part distilled white vinegar with 10 parts warm water. Shake it well to mix the solution.
✨ Spray the vinegar/water solution directly onto the paint stain.
✨ Blot with a damp paper towel or sponge.
✨ Afterward, use a sponge with cold water to blot the paint stain.
✨ Continue alternatively spraying and blotting until the paint stain has dissolved.
✨ Let the spot air dry completely.
✨ Soak a rag in isopropyl alcohol until it is totally saturated.
✨ Blot at the stain with the alcohol-soaked rag, as needed.
✨ Let the paint stain soak in alcohol for about 15–20 minutes.
✨ Then use a dry cloth to continue to blot the paint stain and soak up any residual rubbing alcohol.
✨ Let the spot air dry completely.
Dish Soap + Warm Water
✨ Blot at the paint stain with a clean, dry rag to clean up any excess paint pooling on top of the carpet.
✨ Soak a rag or paper towel directly into a soapy solution of warm water and a tiny bit of dish soap (we like Dawn).
✨ Wet blot the stain with your rag or paper towel until the stain dissolves.
✨ Blot dry with a clean, dry rag or dry paper towels.
✨ Let the spot air dry completely.
✨ If the paint stain is still visible on your carpet, try hitting the spot with a handheld steamer, and continue to blot with your soapy rag until the stain dissolves.
✨ Blot the red wine stain with a clean, dry rag to absorb any excess liquid.
✨ Pour a bit of cold water onto the red wine stain to saturate it. We recommend ¼ cup or so, depending how big the stain is. The water will dilute the red wine and help with your blotting.
✨ Keep on blotting at the wet stain until it appears to reasonably dissolve.
✨ Make a baking soda paste by mixing together 1 part water to 3 parts baking soda. It should be thick, like cake batter.
✨ Generously apply the baking soda paste to the red-wine-stained carpet.
✨ Let the paste sit for about 20 minutes until it dries out.
✨ Vacuum the baking soda residue from the carpet.
Club Soda + Salt
✨ Blot out excess wine from the stain with a clean, dry rag.
✨ Pour the (ideally cold!) club soda directly onto the red wine stain. The soda’s carbonation should lift the stain out of the carpet fibers.
✨ Dump some salt on top of the club-soda-saturated stain. The salt actually serves as a buffer that prevents the stain from setting.
✨ Let the salty soda solution sit and dry out for about 20 minutes.
✨ Vacuum up the dried salt.
Nail Polish Remover
✨ Be sure to test this method on a discreet section of carpet or rug (think the corner or under a strategically placed piece of furniture) because it could cause discoloration.
✨ Nail polish remover works best on fresh stains.
✨ It’s important that you’re using non-acetone or dye-free nail polish remover.
✨ Nail polish remover works best to remove polish from light or white carpet.
✨ Soak a rag with nail polish remover, and blot or dab at the nail polish stain until it comes off.
✨ Be sure not to totally soak the carpet with the nail polish remover. Only apply it directly to the stain.
✨ Blot, don’t scrub.
✨ If you don’t have nail polish remover, you can substitute rubbing alcohol and follow the same guidelines.
✨ Make sure your hairspray has a high alcohol content, which will be most effective when removing the nail polish from the carpet. Alcohol-free hairspray won’t work on stains, they’ll just make your nail-polish-soaked carpet even stickier.
✨ Hairspray actually works best on already dried stains. Before applying the hairspray, be sure to scrape off as much dried nail polish as possible, and vacuum up the dried bits.
✨ Wet the nail polish stain with cold water.
✨ Spray about 10–15 pumps of hairspray. Yes, that’s a lot of hairspray!
✨ Add a pinch of rubbing alcohol to the stain, in addition to the hairspray.
✨ Use a soft bristled brush (or an old toothbrush would work well), and scrub (yes, scrub!) the stain with cold water.
✨ Let the spot air dry completely.
✨ Apply hydrogen peroxide to a clean rag.
✨ Blot it to the blood stain with the peroxide-soaked rag until it fades away.
✨ Then blot the former stain with a damp rag soaked in cold water to finish.
✨ Dry blot with a clean rag to absorb excess water.
✨ Allow the spot to air dry completely, or use a wet vac to dry the area.
Hydrogen peroxide may seriously discolor your carpet or rug. Best to test this method on a discreet corner of carpet someplace before applying it directly to the stain.
✨ Take an ice cube to the gum stain, and rub it until it hardens.
✨ Using a putty knife (or whatever sharp blade you’ve got handy), scrape away the gum.
✨ If there’s still a residual gum stain, hit the spot with a citrus-based cleaning agent or blot it with some white vinegar to further dissolve the stain.
✨ Finish by blotting the spot with some clean water to remove any cleaning product or vinegar residue.
✨ Place a damp, white towel or rag (preferably one you don’t care about because the wax will transfer from the carpet to the towel) on top of the wax stain.
✨ Take a hot iron (high setting), and run it over the towel for about 10–15 seconds.
✨ Repeat until all of the wax has pulled away from the carpet and adhered to the rag.
Steam Cleaning Carpets
If you have a clothes steamer or steam mop that is usually used on hard-surface floors, they can be used to deep clean carpet, as well.
✨ Vacuum the carpet to remove loose soil and pretreat stained areas.
✨ Follow the same steps for mixing baking soda and salt. Sprinkle the carpet with the mixture and then use steam, instead of cold water, to dampen the mixture.
✨ If you are using a clothes steamer, hold the steamer head about six to twelve inches from the carpet. Allow the steam to completely dampen the carpet. Use a scrub brush to work the damp mixture into the fibers. If you are using a steam mop, use the microfiber mop head or a carpet attachment to go over the baking soda mixture on the carpet. Again, use the scrub brush to clean the area.
✨ Use old towels or microfiber cloths to absorb the loosened soil. Allow the carpet to dry completely and vacuum to remove any residue remaining in the carpet.
What is the Best Way to Clean a Carpet?One of the best methods of cleaning carpets involves blotting a stain with a rag saturated with white vinegar. Vinegar dissolves many types of food stains, pet stains, and other debris. A thorough rinse with another wet rag should remove all traces of stains. Once any stains have been removed, you can treat and remove odors by sprinkling baking soda around the carpet and then vacuuming it away. we can help you work towards a happier and healthier home.
What is the Best Way to Clean your carpet without a machine?
In a bowl or small bucket, mix one part white vinegar with three parts water. Dip the bristles of the scrub brush into the solution and rub them into the carpet. Massage them into the fibers well (without fully saturating the carpet) and follow up with a cloth to help blot excess moisture.
How Can I Clean My Carpet At Home By Hand?
To get the best results when hand-cleaning your carpet, be sure to use these tips:
✨ Try out a carpet broom to loosen dirt and stains.
✨ Utilize club soda to lift the stains away.
✨ Try using shaving cream, especially to clean stone surfaces.
✨ Freeze dry your stains away!
✨ Use dish soap to remove caked-on debris or greasy stains.
When Should Carpets Be Deep Cleaned?
Plan to deep clean your carpets every six months, whether you steam clean it yourself or hire a professional carpet cleaner.
What is the Average Lifespan of a Carpet?
Carpet can last for five to ten years depending on the type and usage of it. If it is in a highly trafficked area, it will not last as long.
You can easily DIY carpet clean if you have a small stain or maintain your newly installed carpet. But, if you’ve been a little negligent with the vacuum, or have incurred pet accidents over the years, the most economical solution for a big mess or tough stains is to call a professional carpet cleaner. Be sure to check in with your favorite cleaning services in Boston to book your services sooner rather than later!