DIY Carpet Cleaning Tips

I have a love hate relationship with carpet. On one hand, it’s nice and cozy (especially in the winter) compared to tile. On the other hand, it is a pain to clean. When it comes to carpet cleaning, I have tried to all, from do-it-yourself to Chem-Dry.

Since I live to save money, I’ve found a few DIY carpet cleaning tips that have worked well for me. When you have children, it seems the carpet is never really clean– but, quick clean up and maintenance is the key to not needing to replace every few years.

  • Clean carpets start at maintenance. Vacuum your carpet weekly (or more) to pick up surface dirt before it gets embedded into carpet. Go over each section of carpet several times, once is not enough to get deep debris.
  • Clean spills immediately! Never rub a spill, instead begin by blotting it with a clean towel. If a stain is still present, use a spot cleaner and continue blotting until spot is removed.

Some stains are more easily removed on carpet than others. Check out these removal techniques for tough spot cleaning:

  • Red Wine– Dilute the spill with white wine (really!) and blot with a thick towel. If stain remains, cover with salt and wait up to 10 minutes. Blot excess and vacuum up salt.
  • Pet Stains – Mix 1 teaspoon laundry detergent with 1 teaspoon vinegar and 1 quart warm water. Apply the solution and blot until stain is lifted.
  • Gum or Candle Wax – While not a true stain, gum and candle wax are enemies of carpet. Use ice cubes to harden and then pull off remaining pieces.
  • Coffee – Blot off excess liquid and then mix a paste of baking soda and water. Apply to stain and let dry. Vacuum excess baking soda.

When spot cleaning isn’t enough, it’s time to buy, rent or borrow a carpet cleaning machine.

  • Use Tide instead of the expensive carpet cleaner. I’ve found the Tide to water ratio to be about the same as the cleaner. Fill the canister slowly to prevent the mixture from bubbling over. You can also add a small amount of Oxi-clean, but make sure to test an inconspicuous spot on your carpet for colorfastness first.
  • Always use hot water in your carpet cleaner. The Steam-Vac we borrowed did not heat itself, but filling with hot water solved the problem.
  • Deep clean or steam your carpets at least twice per year to remove allergens, even if stains aren’t present.

If all else fails, hire a professional. It will still be cheaper than replacing the carpet!

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  1. says

    Spend cleaning time on the traffic areas and just vacuum the areas that are not walked on.
    Dry carpet cleaning compound is excellent for removing draught marks on the edge of carpets.

  2. says

    I agree with what was said about cleaning a carpet or two. But even the expert of experts often don’t derive every possibility. I have cleaned carpets for more than 20 years. I’ve learned so very much more than most people who do this job for a living. I know how to get results. I know what works and what doesn’t. I also know that any diy carpet cleaning efforts can be improved with just a few simple suggestions. Anyone who wishes to clean a carpet needs proper info. Without it, they are barking up the wrong tree.
    Seek out and find the info that works. Don’t go into cleaning a carpet blindly. You need to know what works and works less. One last tip; Proper solutions for carpet cleaning are cheap. You use a small amount every time you clean. It’s a good investment rather than a luxury to have the right solutions for the job.