Carpets / Rugs Cleaning TipsCarpets and rugs are meant to get dirty. They sit on the floor, where our dirty shoes track in grime, grit, mold, you name it. The #1 thing you can do to keep your home clean is to ask all visitors to take off their shoes when they come in the door. We do it here at our home, the Japanese do it by matter of course, and it has become quite common in many parts of the world. It's hard enough to keep your house clean without people actively tracking dirt and mold into it every day!
The problem with rugs and carpets is that they have tons of nooks and crannies to trap and hold dirt. You could vacuum every single day and still only get the loose dirt at the top of those fibers. The dirt that sits down at the actual base of the carpet accumulates, grows mold, and becomes a problem for even the least allergic breather. Those who do have allergies may feel less and less well as the weeks go by, and never realize that the problem is right underneath their feet.
Here's an experiment for you. Rent a carpet cleaner for a day, the kind that uses hot water and/or steam. Vacuum one of your home carpets until you think it's "clean". Then run the carpet cleaner over that same rug. You will be shocked and amazed at how black the water you end up with is. You could probably re-clean that exact same carpet 3 times in a row and still bring up more dirt. That is what you have been living with all this time.
I realize that steam cleaners are sort of expensive, but I really have to say, it's well worth it. Save up and get one of the cheap models, if you have to. At least you'll get most of the dirt out of the carpet that your regular vacuum could not handle. This cleaner will also help with stains - even quite old stains. The key for removing any stain from a carpet is to clean it up QUICKLY with hot water. Just about any stain will set and try to become permanent if left. Grab your carpet cleaner and run it over the spot with hot water. If you're having a party and really don't want the cleaner out, grab a sponge and hot water and do it manually. The key is to act quickly and to blot away the stain.
Don't over-use detergent, when you are doing a carpet washing. Think of it in this manner. When you wash your hands with soap, the soap and water help the dirt lift away from your skin. However, if you just grabbed a bar of soap so that your hand got "soapy" and then went out into the garden, that soap scum on your hand would actually cause dirt to stick to you more easily. The same is true with your carpet. You want a little soap with the hot water to lift away the dirt. You don't want to LEAVE any soap behind on the carpet when you're done, though, because that sticky soap would more easily attract dirt going forward.
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