Carpet Care- Spot Removal
Cleaning Agents And Equipment
A good checklist to handle spills should include the following items. Do not use any household cleaners other than those listed, since many household products contain chemicals that may permanently damage your carpet.
- A solution of a mild liquid detergent (no more than 1/4 teaspoon of detergent to 32 ounces of water). A clear, non-bleach liquid dishwashing detergent such as Dawn, Joy, or clear Ivory is recommended. Do not use detergents which are cloudy or creamy because they may leave a sticky residue.
- A solution of white vinegar and water (1 part vinegar to 1 part water).
- White cloths, white paper towels.
- An ammonia solution of one tablespoon of ammonia to one cup of water. Do not use on wool.
- Non-oily nail polish remover.
- Chewing gum remover (freeze or solid type).
- Non-flammable spot remover specifically for grease, oil, or tar, such as Carbona, Energine, or K2R.
Prompt attention to spots and spills is essential.
- Remove as much of food spills as possible by scraping gently with a spoon or dull knife.
- Absorb wet spills as quickly as possible by blotting repeatedly with white paper of cloth towels.
- Always blot; never rub or scrub abrasively, as a fuzzy area may result. When blotting, work from the outer edge in toward the center of the spot to avoid spreading the spill.
- Always follow up with water to remove detergent residue that may become sticky and cause rapid re-soiling.
- Draw out any remaining moisture by placing several layers of white towels over the spot and weighing them down with a heavy object that will not transfer color.
Stain Removal Procedures
The following recommendations are for spot cleaning.
A. Water Soluble Stains. Absorb as much as possible with white towels. Blot the stained area with white towels dampened with cool water until there is no more transfer of the stain onto the towels.
If any of the stain remains, use the detergent previously described. Spray lightly onto the spot and blot repeatedly with white towels, working from the outer edge in toward the center of the spot to avoid spreading.
Rinse thoroughly by spraying with clean water, and then blot or extract. Do not use too much detergent because the residue will contribute to rapid re-soiling.
B. Oil Based Stains. Blot as much as possible with white towels. Apply the special oil and grease spot remover to a paper towel and repeat blotting. Do not pour or spray directly on the carpet pile, as damage to the backing or adhesive underneath could result; use the towels to transport the solvent to the carpet. Repeat as much as necessary.
Provide adequate ventilation! Do not use flammable solvents! Follow with procedures in A .
C. Gum and Wax. Freeze stains such as chewing gum and candle wax with ice or a commercially available product in an aerosol can. Shatter with a blunt object and vacuum before the chips soften. Follow up with solvent as in B .
7 Rules for Deep-Cleaning Your Carpet
- Shop Smart When You Rent (or Buy) a Carpet-Cleaning Machine
Choose one that you're able to lift and maneuver easily, and remember to factor in the
cost of cleaning solution as you're budgeting.
- Time It Right
Extra moisture could invite mold and mildew, so open windows when your carpet is drying.
- Vacuum First
Before you deep clean with the machine, suck up loose dirt and debris with a thorough vacuuming. Otherwise, you might end up grinding dirt deeper in the fibers.
- Remember to Spot Clean
Give your carpet's dirtiest spots and spills attention first.
If your pets are accident prone, be sure to use a pretreating solution with enzymes (check the packaging).
- Clean a Test Spot
Follow the carpet cleaner's instructions for washing and rinsing, but try a test spot in a hidden area before you tackle the whole carpet. This will help you get comfortable with the machine.
- Know When to Seek Professional Help
You should have your carpet cleaned professionally once a year.
- Keep It Clean
Regular vacuuming is your carpet's best friend. Dirt is gritty, and actually wears at the fibers.
Carpet Care- Regular Vacuuming
The most important step in the care of your carpet is vacuuming. Vacuum thoroughly and frequently, particularly in high-traffic areas, to remove the dry soil. As particles of dry soil work down into the pile, they are more difficult to remove and can scratch the fibers leading to premature wear of the carpet. High-traffic areas might need to be vacuumed daily. The whole house should be vacuumed once a week. Change the vacuuming direction occasionally to help stand the pile upright and prevent matting.
Vacuum Cleaner Recommendations:
- A good vacuum cleaner is vital to prolonging the beauty and life of your carpet. An inexpensive machine can remove surface dirt but will not effectively remove the hidden dirt and particles embedded in the pile.
- Vacuums with a rotating brush or combination beater/brush bar are recommended to agitate the carpet pile and mechanically loosen soil for removal by the vacuum. Note that carpet with thick loop pile construction can be sensitive to brushing or rubbing of the pile surface and might become fuzzy. For these products, use a suction-only vacuum or a vacuum with an adjustable brush lifted away from the carpet so it does not agitate the pile.
- Replaceable paper vacuum bags do a better job of trapping the small particles which pass through cloth bags back into the room. High efficiency vacuum bags, also called microfiltration bags, are now available and trap even smaller microscopic particles such as mold and mildew spores and dust mite byproducts, often found to be a source of allergies. This type of bag is sold under several brand names. Verify that these bags trap particles smaller than two microns. All vacuum bags should be checked often and replaced when 1/2 to 2/3 full.
- Make sure the belt is in good condition and that the brush or beater bar rotates when in contact with the carpet. To adjust the vacuum to the correct height setting for the carpet, raise the beater/brush bar to the highest setting and then lower it until it contacts the pile enough to slightly vibrate the carpet several inches away from the machine, but not close enough to cause significant slowing of the motor.
Carpet Care- Preventive Maintenance
- Use walk-off mats at all entrances to absorb soil and moisture. Clean mats regularly so they don't become sources of soil themselves.
- Use a quality pad under your carpet, particularly on stairs. A good pad gives better resilience underfoot and extends the life of your carpet. Some carpets carry warranties with specification requirement. Before purchasing your carpet pad, review your warranty.
- Move heavy furniture occasionally to avoid excessive pile crushing. Put coasters intended
for use with carpet under the legs of tables,chairs, and other furniture to help distribute the weight and prevent mashing the pile. Do not use chairs or appliances with rollers or casters on carpet without a chair pad designed for carpet. Continued use without a chair pad can cause damage to the carpet.
- When moving heavy wheeled furniture (pianos, buffets, etc.), prevent damage by placing heavy cardboard or plywood between the wheels and the carpet.
- Use of area rugs with our carpet can enhance the total look of a room, but be sure to remove and clean them regularly. Also clean and restore the pile of the carpet underneath. After cleaning your carpet, remember to allow the carpet and the area rugs to dry completely before replacing the rugs.
- Protect your carpet from prolonged periods of direct sunlight with blinds, shades, or awnings.
Recommended Basic Vacuuming Techniques For Your Home
Carpets need to be vacuumed once a week and more often in areas of heavy traffic. Frequent vacuuming prolongs the life of your carpet by preventing a buildup of gritty particles that can cut carpet fibers. Every few weeks, use your crevice tool for cleaning around baseboards and radiators and in other hard-to-reach places.
To vacuum wall-to-wall carpeting, divide the floor into quadrants and vacuum an entire quadrant before moving on to the next.
Be thorough when vacuuming your carpet, especially a plush carpet where dirt is sure to be deeply embedded. One pass with a high-powered upright is not enough. Go over each section of carpeting several times, and work slowly to allow the suction to remove all the ground-in dust and dirt.
Pay special attention to the areas where people sit and move their feet. Vacuum these areas of heavy traffic with a crisscross pattern of overlapping strokes.
Soil retardants can be applied to new carpets or to newly cleaned carpets. Follow manufacturers' advice. Apply soil retardants only with professional equipment using the recommended application techniques.
Please Note: Carpets with stain resistant treatments improve your ability to clean, not prevent, stains. No carpet is stain proof. Carpets with soil resistant treatments reduce the rate of soiling and make it easier to clean, but all carpets require regular care and maintenance.
Testing for Colorfastness
Colorfast carpet will not bleed, fade, or change when you are cleaning it or removing stains. Whether or not it is colorfast may change the cleaning method or products you choose.
Here's how to pretest your carpet to find out if it is colorfast.
- First find a carpet scrap or an inconspicuous spot, such as carpet inside a closet. Vacuum the carpet.
- Dampen a cloth with the cleaner or stain remover you want to use.
- Lay the cloth on the carpet for an hour, and then blot the damp area with a dry white cloth.
- If the cloth is stained with carpet dyes, test other carpet cleaning products until you find one that does not make the carpet sample bleed.
Cleaning Tips for Long Lasting Carpet
To protect your carpet, vacuum entrance areas and high-traffic areas twice a week and the rest of the carpeting at least weekly. Oily soils attract oily soils, and frequent vacuuming will reduce soil buildup.
Start with a Clean Bag or Filter
A dirty bag, dirt cup or filter can cut a vacuum's suction power in half. The main reason bagless vacuums stop working is that the filters aren't changed often enough. Replace or wash (if possible) the filters on bagless vacuums every three months. Replace vacuum bags when they're three-quarters full.
Vacuum at the Right Speed
Vacuum slowly enough to get out as much dirt as possible. Make one quick pass over low-traffic areas and two slow passes over high-traffic areas. Two slow passes removes ground-in dirt more effectively than several fast passes.
Use Walk-off Mats
Use walk-off mats inside and out to keep dirt off the carpeting. Coarse-textured mats outside your doors remove soil and will make a how to clean carpet project easier. Water-absorbent mats inside prevent wet shoes on the carpeting.
How to Clean a Shag Rug
- SHAKE - To clean your shag rug, start with the oldest rug-cleaning method in the book - shake your rug out by hand. Take your rug outside, hold it firmly by two corners, and powerfully shake it to loosen the dirt and dust. If your rug is too big to shake properly, hang your rug from a clothesline or fence and hit the rug with a broom handle or solid stick. This will send the dust and dirt flying and give your rug a chance to air out. Prolonged sunlight can fade the colors of your shag rug over time, but letting your rug soak up some rays for a short time will help kill bacteria and mites.
- VACUUM - The extra-long pile of a shag rug requires a little extra attention when vacuuming compared to rugs with shorter piles. The long fibers of the pile can get caught in the moving parts of the vacuum and damage your rug, so adjust your vacuum's height setting to high and turn off the beater bars. Or, you can use the upholstery attachment and vacuum the rug by hand. If your rug is in a high traffic area, then you'll want to vacuum your rug more frequently to prevent dirt buildup. Flipping your rug over and vacuuming the bottom side with the beater bars engaged can help loosen dirt from the pile and ensure a more thorough cleaning.
- SPOT CLEAN- When small spills or accidents occur, spot cleaning your rug is the easiest way to treat a soiled area without treating the entire rug. The trick to effective spot cleaning is reacting quickly to spills before they settle in, so make sure to have a stash of carpet cleaning supplies and rags easily accessible. When an accident happens, press firmly on the affected area with a clean rag and soak up as much liquid as possible. Spray the area with a carpet cleaning solution and let it sit for a few minutes before blotting the area dry with a new rag, working from the outside edges of the spill toward the center. Continue these steps until the area is clean. A shaggy pile makes this method harder than with short carpet, so make sure to blot deep into the rows of fibers.
- SHAMPOO - Before doing anything with your rug that involves water, read the rug care instructions carefully. If your rug can handle some moisture, then rent a carpet cleaner to shampoo your shag rug. A carpet cleaner distributes shampoo and hot water into your rug and then vacuums the liquid back up at the same time, lifting soils and stains as it goes. After cleaning, let your rug air dry outside to avoid mildew. For rugs that shouldn't get wet, try a powdered dry shampoo you sprinkle onto your rug and then vacuum up. The powder captures dirt and other particles to clean your shag rug more effectively than just vacuuming.
- PROFESSIONAL CLEANING - The safest and most effective way to clean a shag rug is to have it cleaned by professionals. Some materials need special care to prevent damage from at-home cleaning methods or staining from chemicals. If the cleaning recommendations for your rug require specific care that you can't provide, don't take the risk of damaging your rug by trying to clean it yourself. Even if you clean your rug yourself, it's still a good idea to have your shag rug professionally cleaned a few times a year.