The Best Method to Clean Carpets

Carpeting is warm, soft, and a pleasure to walk on. Unfortunately, carpeting also gathers and holds a lot of dirt, dust, and stains that other floor material doesn’t. If your carpeting is starting to look dirty and a little dingy, and you’re on the hunt for the best method to clean carpets, you’re in the right place. Our cleaning pros have some tried-and-true methods to share that will help you banish dirt and spills, and revitalize your carpet in no time. Our practical tips will teach you how to clean very dirty carpets and keep them looking their best. Whether you have Plush, Berber, or Frieze carpeting, it’s time to come clean with our proven carpet cleaning methods, so let’s dive right in!

Regular Vacuuming

Person vacuuming carpet in living room.

The foundation of carpet care begins with regular vacuuming. This vital step helps keep your carpets looking fresh by removing dirt, dust, dust mites, and other particles that naturally settle into your carpet. Removing these particles from your carpet will keep it looking good, while eliminating these allergens from your home will help improve your indoor air quality, too. Start your carpet maintenance by vacuuming at least once a week. For high-traffic areas, more frequent vacuuming may be necessary.

Address Spills Immediately

Coffee mug spilling onto carpet.

Unlike a tile or wood floor, spills on a carpet are a lot less forgiving. As any carpet owner will attest, spilling food and drinks on your carpet is inevitable, but that doesn't mean they have to remain there permanently. The secret lies in quick action. When a spill happens, tend to it immediately using the right cleaning products and techniques. Spills are easier to eradicate when fresh. Responding quickly can keep food and/or liquid from setting into the carpet backing and padding. If carpet cleaning results in new stains appearing, it’s due to a previous spill that soaked into the carpet backing and padding,  which is now coming up to the surface. Taking immediate action is a great stain-fighting method and one of the best methods to clean carpets effectively.

Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning carpet.

An essential step in maintaining your carpets is steam cleaning. This technique, also known as hot water extraction, is often regarded as the best method to clean carpets. Steam cleaning goes beyond the surface to remove embedded dirt, allergens, and bacteria. This thorough cleaning method is an excellent option if you're wondering how to clean a very dirty carpet and improve your home's air quality in the process.

Avoid Rubbing A Spill

Person scrubbing spill on carpet with a sponge.

When food and liquid wind up on your carpet, the best way to get them out is without rubbing. While it’s tempting to scrub vigorously at a spill on your carpet, it’s important to avoid rubbing it in further.. Rubbing can push the substance deeper into the carpet fibers, making it more difficult to remove and potentially damaging the carpet or creating a permanent stain. Instead, gently blot with a clean, damp cloth or paper towel to lift the food or liquid out without causing damage. Once you have most of the food or liquid removed, you can try the following methods to remove it completely.

Use Shaving Cream to Remove Tough Spills

Person using shaving cream to clean spill on carpet.

One of the best methods to clean carpets is not widely known—the use of shaving cream. Its foaming, soapy nature is ideal for breaking down tough substances like coffee and grease. Apply it directly to the spill, and the soap within the foam goes to work, separating the spilled particles from the carpet fibers. Let it sit for about 15 minutes, then gently blot with a clean, damp cloth.

Use Club Soda & Vinegar for Spills

Wine glass spilling onto carpet.

Another way to clean a spill on your carpet without using industrial cleaners, resides in your pantry. Club soda and vinegar are effective, nontoxic alternatives that can deliver professional results. Begin by blotting the spill with club soda, then mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray the area and let it soak for 10-15 minutes, then blot up the solution with a clean, dry cloth. This powerful, eco-friendly approach can remove stubborn spills without the harsh chemicals often found in commercial carpet cleaners.

Use the Freezing Technique for Chewing Gum Mishaps

Person pulling gum off carpet.

Chewing gum on a carpet creates a sticky situation for everyone involved. Fortunately, there’s a way to break the ice and keep that gum from becoming a permanent fixture on your carpet. Pop a few ice cubes in a plastic bag and press it against the gum for a minute. The cold will harden the gum, making it easier to remove with a scraping tool or butter knife. Just take care not to damage the carpet fibers. For any leftover residue, apply a few drops of a rub containing methyl salicylate (like Bengay), then finish with a mild carpet cleaner and a warm water rinse. Voila, your carpet is gum-free!

Use Dishwasher Detergent for Greasy Spills

Person scrubbing carpet with dishwasher detergent.

Confronted with a grease spill on your carpet? If you’re not sure how to clean this type of spill, the solution might be as close as your kitchen sink. Liquid dish soap, known for its grease-cutting abilities, also works wonders to remove grease from your carpet. Simply combine 1 tablespoon of the dish soap with 2 cups of warm water. Apply it to the spill with a clean, white cloth (to prevent dye transfer), making sure to blot, not rub. Follow up with the vinegar and water solution, then rinse again with plain water. Remember to test this cleaning method on an inconspicuous area of the carpet first.

If you're dealing with stubborn protein-based liquid, like cat urine or coffee, a cleaning product containing enzymes is highly effective. It's engineered to combat such liquids, but be careful when using on carpets made of silk or wool fibers. The enzymes may harm the natural carpet fibers while tackling the protein liquid.

Use the Heating Process to Get Wax Out of the Carpet

Candle being lit with a match.

Getting rid of rigid wax may seem like an impossible task, but don't despair. One of the best methods to clean carpets and remove stubborn wax is a heating process. Lay a clean, absorbent towel over the wax stain and gently press a warm iron on top. The heat from the iron will soften and melt the wax, which will then be absorbed by the towel. If you don't have an iron, a hairdryer can also be used to gently heat and loosen the wax. Remember to take safety precautions. Never leave the hot iron unattended, and always test on a small, inconspicuous area first.

Contact a Professional Carpet Cleaning Service

You now know the best methods to clean carpets. But sometimes, it's best to leave the heavy lifting to the professionals. Call on Molly Maid® for our tailored home cleaning services. The Neighborly Done Right Promise™ backs all our work, so you can count on being delighted with our services. Request a free quote today!

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