Your carpet cleaner works hard to ensure your carpets are clean and fresh. However, despite your best efforts at cleanliness, carpet will eventually become the victim of drops, spills, accidents, and whatever's on the bottom of your shoes. After a professional carpet cleaning service, many customers want to know when they should schedule their next cleaning, and what they can do to maintain the results of the latest cleaning. We’ve spoken with Bryan Angstman, owner of Naturally Green Cleaning, to help us understand what gets a carpet dirty in-between professional cleanings. “There are lots of ways people can keep their carpet looking as fresh and clean as the day we do our carpet and upholstery cleaning services."
Check out these tips to keep your carpet in its best shape in between your regular professional cleanings:
Pro Carpet Cleaning Tip #1: Vacuum, Vacuum, Vacuum
One of the best things you can do to protect and keep your carpet clean is to vacuum frequently. For example, oily dirt tends to attract more oily dirt. The less of it that’s on your carpet, the longer your carpet lasts. For the best result, our expert recommends that you should “vacuum your entrance areas and high-traffic areas twice a week to keep it clean.” You can vacuum the remainder of your carpeting at least once a week. Every second or third week you vacuum, make sure to clean the edges of the room, and under your furniture. This way, you will ensure that dirt pushed under tables and couches, and into the corners of the room, won’t stay and dirty up the surrounding areas.
What is the best vacuuming technique? Our expert reminds us that “it’s not a race.” Instead, you should “vacuum slowly enough to get out as much dirt as you can.” As the expert explains, “slower passes remove ground-in dirt more effectively than several fast passes.” For low-traffic areas, one good pass is usually enough. Do two or more slow passes over higher-traffic areas. Also, you should check the bag or dirt cup and filter. In fact, a full dirt cup or bag, or clogged filter, can cut a vacuum’s suction power in half. “This is one of the biggest reasons bag-less vacuums stop working- people don’t bother to change the filters.” Replace or wash (if possible) the filters on bag-less vacuums every three months. For bagged vacuums, replace the vacuum bags when they are three-quarters full.
Pro Carpet Cleaning Tip #2: Use Entry Mats to Contain Dirt From Outside
Coming home to a clean carpet is always nice. But just because your shoes aren’t muddy, doesn't mean they are not tracing dirt in from outside. Every time you step through that door, your shoes are bringing in whatever dirt (and other stuff), and tracking it all over the carpet. “A coarsely textured mat outside your doors helps remove soil from your shoes and will make a carpet cleaning project much easier” our expert explains. “You should also look for water absorbent material for your mat, because it will help dry wet shoes before they can get wet soil on your carpet.”
Even better, our expert Bryan explains, is to simply keep shoes off the carpet entirely. In several cultures “it is a custom to remove your shoes before entering the home. You’ll notice that their carpets are really clean. There’s a reason for this." In fact, according to a study by the University of Arizona, they found hundreds of thousands of bacteria hitching a ride on the bottom of people’s shoes. In addition, 96% of them were found to have traces of human and animal fecal matter. Our professional carpet cleaning expert also warns of other chemicals that could hitch a ride on your shoes. “Street water can have gasoline in it and additional caustic chemicals, and those get on your shoes and can be brought into your home.”
Pro Carpet Cleaning Tip #3: Spills Happen - Deal With Them Fast
Accidents will happen. Someone might spill a glass of juice, or a bit of gravy from their plate onto the floor. When they do, act fast to mitigate the stain. The longer you wait, the more likely the stain will set in the material and absorb into the carpet fibers. Not only does this cause the stain to remain, but it can also absorb into the carpet padding underneath. This can lead to odor and mold growth deep in your floor. So don’t just let that stain sit there, take care of it immediately.
Pro Carpet Cleaning Tip #4: Use the Proper Stain Removal Product and Technique for Your Spill
Every stain and spill is going to be different. Depending on whether the stain is oil or water based, you will need different cleaning solutions to remove it. Bryan mentions “using the wrong stuff on a stain won’t clean it, you’ll just grind it in more." Therefore, it is crucial that you use the right cleaning solution to properly treat the stain. Spot treating solutions are good to keep the stain from setting in until you can get the proper product to treat it.
Common spills and stains include:
- Sauce from food plates (often oil based)
- Cosmetic products (may be oil based)
- Syrup or chocolate
- Pet urine/feces (pet waste cleaner is recommended)
As for technique, our carpet cleaning expert urges: “Don’t scrub that stain- blot it instead." Using a small amount of pressure ensures that you don’t rub the stain in, instead of working to get it out. “If you rub, you’ll just grind the particles into the fibers of your carpet," our expert explains. “The more it gets into the fibers, the harder it will be to pull the stains out later." When blotting the stain, always blot from the outside of the stain inward. Blotting outward will help to spread the stain, while working inward will help to contain it.
Pro Carpet Cleaning Tip #5: Brush and Bathe Your Pets Frequently to Reduce Pet Hair
It’s great to have pets in the home. Unfortunately, with pets comes hair and dander. “I love my dog. She’s absolutely the best, but her hair gets all over the place, and it drives me nuts! That’s why I brush her regularly, and give her frequent baths." Even with regular cleaning and brushing, pet hair accumulates on carpets and upholstery over time. But vacuuming doesn’t always pick up all the pet hair on a carpet.
Our carpet cleaning expert’s solution? “A squeegee works really well to get hair out of a carpet." This is because the rubber on the squeegee’s end will loosen and grab the hair out of the fibers. This allows you to easily pick up that hair and get rid of it. "It's really good for under couches and places your vacuum can't really reach," our expert said. “You can even use it on your couch for a quick and effective upholstery cleaning.”
Pro Carpet Cleaning Tip #6: Keep High Traffic Areas Clean With Area Rugs
“High traffic areas are the hardest to clean," says our expert. And it certainly is true- any place you have lots of traffic will tend to wear your carpet fibers more. In addition, higher traffic areas tend to accumulate more dirt and soil from underfoot. There are other places where your carpet can take a beating, such as where it meets tile, in front of the family couch, or in hallways.
Hot spots include:
- Where the kitchen meets the living room
- Hallways from the foyer or living room to bedrooms
- Where the bathroom meets the hallway or common area
- Doors from the backyard to the inside
- Between garage and common areas (if connected)
A great solution to high traffic zones is to use area rugs. “Rugs come in all shapes, sizes and colors, and make a great carpet cover for high traffic areas." In addition, you can give your home an added touch of class and charm with a beautifully decorated rug. The best part is that can you clean them separately and replace them if they get worn. “If area rugs aren’t your thing”, our carpet cleaning expert adds, “you can get cheap plastic runners to protect the area, and pick them up when company comes over, revealing the lovely clean carpet underneath."
Pro Carpet Cleaning Tip #7: Keep Dust from Blowing in Through Your Vents
One common issue our expert deals with are concerns about dark lines that appear around door openings or door jambs, or along carpet baseboard. Bryan calls these carpet stains Filtration Line Soiling. “When you turn on your heating and air conditioning, all the built-up dirt and dust inside the vents blows all over your carpet." Places where air moves more rapidly, such as underneath doors, will accumulate more dirt. Keeping your home’s ventilation system clean is a great way to help reduce airborne particles and dust in the air, and keep it off your carpet. “You can also install a filter for your air vents, and that will add protection to help keep dust off of your carpet," our expert adds.
The Biggest Tip of all- Keep up Your Professional Cleaning Schedule
Finally (you knew this was coming, but it is true), having your carpets professionally cleaned regularly is guaranteed to extend the life of your materials. “New carpets created for today’s homes are made to last. And they will, if you take care of them.” And that means a visit from your local carpet and upholstery cleaning professional. Our expert Bryan recommends a professional carpet cleaner visit once every six months for a family of four. A professional carpet cleaner knows the best techniques to penetrate the fiber all the way down to the backing and keep your carpet in tip-top shape. “Don’t let your carpet ‘ugly’ out long before you ‘wear it out’. Take the effort to keep your carpet clean, and your carpet will take care of you."
Do you have any carpet cleaning stories, tips, or warnings? Please share on Naturally Green Cleaning's Facebook page.
And if your carpets, floors, or furniture need a good cleaning or freshening, give Bryan Angstman and his team at Naturally Green Cleaning a call today at (310) 467-6809. Naturally Green Cleaning's mobile team comes to you, and practices safe, eco-friendly green cleaning techniques to keep your home and family happy and healthy.