As a mom with two young children and a dog, messes on the carpet are an inevitable fact of life. But if you have to call a professional carpet cleaner every time somebody spills juice on the rug or the dog has an accident, you’ll end up spending some serious money. That’s why it’s a good idea to learn how to clean carpets yourself.
Limit your carpet cleaning
First things first…prevention goes a long way in keeping your carpets clean. For example, if you don’t allow your kids to eat or drink in places that are carpeted, you’ll have less to clean.
I usually make my kids stay in the kitchen area to eat snacks…or, at least, on the wooden floor, where wiping up a spill is much easier. If they want to have snacks in front of the television, they aren’t going to eat cherry jello or grape juice…I limit their drinks to water, and their snacks to things like crackers, which are easy to clean.
We also have a “take your shoes off when you come in the door” policy at our house. This limits dirt being tracked in and prevents wet or muddy shoes from walking around on the carpets.
But no matter how careful you are with food and drink and shoes, there are going to be potty-training accidents, wet dog feet (since they can’t take off their shoes!) and any number of things that can get onto the carpet.
Home Carpet Cleaning Solutions
You can find lots of guides online on the specific types of cleaning solutions to use on certain stains…for example, using hydrogen peroxide on blood or vinegar on urine stains…but as a busy mom who just wants her carpet clean, I don’t have time to go find the chart that tells me what to use and then hope I have whatever it is on hand (because I never have club soda in my house…)
Your best bet is to keep an all-purpose carpet cleaner on hand, which can work at getting a multitude of stains out of your carpet. I’ve had the best luck with Resolve Oxi Advanced carpet cleaner (affiliate link) for general stains and Nature’s Miracle (affiliate link) for pet stains.
How to Clean Carpet
When cleaning up a spill or stain, you’ll first want to blot up any liquid with paper towels or a clean rag. If there are solids, it’s best to use a spoon to scoop them up.
Don’t rub the carpet, as rubbing causes the stain to go deeper into the fibers. Just blot, blot, blot until you have soaked up as much of the liquid as possible. Then spray the area with your cleaner, following the directions on the bottle. Usually you’ll have to leave the cleaning solutions sit on the carpet for a period of time, then wipe it with a clean cloth and/or vacuum the area.
If you have wax from candles or crayons on your carpet, you can remove it with a warm iron. Simply lay a piece of white paper (brown paper from grocery bags is good too) over top the wax and lightly iron the paper with a warm iron. The wax should melt into the paper, removing it from the carpet fibers. You may have to do this several times to get rid of the wax completely.
Get a good steam cleaning once a year
To keep your carpets looking their best, it’s a good idea to have them professionally steam-cleaned once a year or so, to really get them clean. The professionals have much stronger machines that can get down to the backing of the carpet to remove any dirt or stains.
A professional carpet cleaner can also get out stains that you can’t. For example, when our cat was dying of kidney failure, he had so many accidents in one particular corner, that no matter what I used to clean with, the smell wouldn’t come out. I even rented a steam cleaner from the grocery store to clean the carpet, but the cat urine smell remained.
Finally, I hired a carpet professional, who had a selection of different solutions in his truck. He used one that was specifically for old pet stains, and it took the smell right away and hasn’t returned.
Keeping carpets clean can be a chore, but when you learn how to clean carpets yourself, you can ensure that they always look nice and save money on professional cleaning.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever tried to get out of your carpet?