Carpets can play a huge part in your home’s aesthetic appeal. More often than not, regardless of size, carpets are a huge investment. It gives rooms a cozier feel, but is at the same time harder to maintain and clean than bare floors.
As with most of our possessions, having a carpet at home is give and take. The carpet will beautify your home, and make it feel more livable, but ultimately it needs regular cleaning and maintenance. It has to be treated with utmost care to be able to preserve it for a long time. Also, since carpets allow for the build up of dust and bacteria, it will ultimately need attention if it is to be a harmless piece of home decor.
An old approach to cleaning carpets is vacuuming. Very reliable and safe, vacuum machines can effectively clean carpets if they are used properly. Here are a few considerations when cleaning carpets:
The most important thing to know before cleaning your carpet is the type of carpet that you have. There are many different kinds of carpets, each with specific cleaning methods that best suit them. Using the wrong method for you carpet can result in ineffective cleaning, or even damage of your carpet. (It helps to ask your retailer which cleaning methods would be best for your carpet.)
There are woven, needlefelt, knotted, and tufted carpets. Each kind has its pro’s and cons, with some being more durable, and easier to clean than others. However, knowing what type of carpet you have is not enough—you also have to know the material in which it is made of to be able to clean it effectively without damaging the material. Oftentimes, wool, nylon, polypropylene, polyester, and PPT are used. Again, whether synthetic or natural, each material has its strengths and weaknesses.
Vacuum cleaning does not require any soaps or detergents to be used on the carpet. Other types of cleaning methods require these. Although equally effective, other methods are time consuming, and can cause potentially more damage if done incorrectly. For example, using detergents on carpets are highly effective, but they need to washed off completely. Leaving any particles on the carpet will act like magnets for more dust and bacteria.
Also, other cleaning products can pose health hazards. Certain chemicals are bad for inhalation or skin exposure, which is why if such scenarios arise, it would be best to let professionals handle the situation.
In buying vacuum cleaners, always choose the ones with the strong enough motors, and at the same time the ones with the most cleaning heads to be able to reach corners and sides that are impossible to reach with normal flat heads.
Each cleaning attachment is made suitable for specific areas. For example, there is one for floors which tend to be wider, then there are ones for couches and chairs that are smaller and more pointed to reach corners. Be sure to clear your vacuuming area that may get sucked up by the vacuum and cause it to jam or choke up.
The dirt you vacuum up is gathered in a sack. Be sure to empty the sack of its contents when it is about two thirds full so as not to cause it blow open or tear from too much weight.
When it comes to actual vacuuming of carpets, do light but repeated strokes to get the hard to reach dirt and soil. Try not to go against the direction of the carpet’s bristles so as not to do damage. This will make carpet cleaning effective as well since the hard to reach areas can be reached by proper vacuum strokes. Also, map out a plan of how to vacuum a particular area to make sure that you don’t miss and spots.
At the end of the day, it is best to establish and maintain a regular cleaning schedule for your carpet. Cleaning it daily is best in maintaining the quality of your carpet and prolonging its useful life. Making it part of one’s daily routine will continually eliminate dust and soil build up. On the other hand, cleaning it once a week or such will allow for dust and dirt to accumulate and get embedded in the carpet, making vacuuming harder.
Other carpet problems:
Dust and soil are not the only things potentially damaging to carpets. Liquids, pet stains and even pet odors are perhaps the greatest threats to your carpet, just because of the sheer permanent damage they can cause.
Not one household hasn’t experience spillage of any form of liquid; be it milk, water, or urine, at some point, we have had to deal with this. If these substances spill on the floor, no problem occurs past wiping it off. However, if these get on carpets, cleaning becomes more tedious.
As these liquids make contact with carpets, they slowly seep into the material. The carpet fibers absorb them, and they attach themselves until the carpet pads.
There is no doubt that the best way to attack this problem is by being quick and precise. Do not rub the wet area around because it will only spread the stain. Rather, get the most absorbent material you can find and push down on the stain with as much force as you can. This should initially soak up as much as it can of the stain. After doing so, whatever is left of the stain should be wet with hot water, and then soaked up again. If, after both procedures some part of the stain is still present, use commercial detergents, or any chemicals recommended for your carpet. However, if the stain cannot be solved by hot water and subsequent soaking, it would be best to call in professionals to make sure that no further damage is done to the carpet and that the stain is taken of properly.
Remember that fast is better when tackling stains to avoid the carpet fibers from hardening and causing odors to stick. In worst-case scenarios, entire portions of the carpet are changed.
Animals and animal waste:
Pets are things that most households have. They are part of the family, taking up living space within the house. As real members of a family, they generate waste as well. Unlike most humans, they do not have the luxury of being able to go to the bathroom. Again, if they drop waste on the floor, it would be as simple as sweep-and-wipe. However, if your house is carpeted, most of the time they wind up excreting waste there because of the grassy feel of carpets.
Animal waste is tricky to clean up. You literally cannot touch it while it is moist. If the waste is still moist, moving it might spread it on the carpet, causing for bigger stains. Also, if it is left untouched, certain odors can develop, not to mention bacteria. What, then, is the best course of action in taking care of animal wastes on carpets?
The first step surprisingly lies in leaving the waste alone. You have to allow for the feces or cat litter to dry up. Once it is dried up, you may sweep it off gently, careful not to press on the waste against the carpet and spread it. The dry particles can be vacuumed off if desired. Once this is done, a professional should be called in to remove anything left on the carpet.
However, if one wants a more do-it-yourself approach, the same steps with cleaning liquids off carpets can be followed: start with hot water, and try to get the stain off as you dampen the carpet. If this is not sufficient, and stains or odors are left on your carpet, either try using a detergent/any commercial cleaner available at any store near you, or call in for professional help. There are many carpet cleaning services that are effective and affordable, providing sure fixes for your carpet problems.
In summary, here are carpet cleaning tips that are most important to remember when using a vacuum cleaner:
*Make sure to check which type of carpet you have, and if it can withstand pressure from your vacuum cleaner.
*Be sure to take out huge chunks of dirt or any type of material on the carpet that can clog the vacuum cleaner.
*While vacuuming, make sure to use different cleaning heads for different areas on the carpet—wide heads for wide spaces, and more specialized ones for corners and areas with furniture.
*Vacuum with light, repeated strokes to get rid of dust and dirt deeply embedded in your carpet.
*Also, in maintaining and prolonging your carpet’s useful life, maintain a regular cleaning schedule depending on how busy and populated your house is. It would be best to clean it about five to four times a week to not allow dirt and dust to build up, clog, and harden carpet fibers.
*Remember that vacuuming is not the only way to clean your carpet. It is an effective first step, but never limit yourself to it. When dealing with liquids and animal waste, vacuuming will take away dry particles, but it will leave behind bacteria and smaller particles in the carpet fibers and mat. In such cases, cleaning with hot water, detergents, or even calling for professional help would be viable options for your carpet’s maintenance and care.