Clean Rugs and Carpets: The Dilemma
As a savvy consumer, you’re probably aware that some of the products consumers have traditionally used for household chores can create problems themselves. They can be toxic to one degree or another, and when it comes to carpet cleaner or carpet spot cleaner, our pets can be particularly susceptible because they live closer to the floor.
But you have to keep the rugs and carpets in your Indianapolis, Noblesville, or Carmel home clean. Otherwise they’ll provide a permanent resting place for animal poop, lawn chemicals, lead dust, and everything else someone tracks in from outdoors. They’ll make an ideal home for the dust mites that trigger asthma and allergy attacks, mildew, mold, and a whole host of undesirable microorganisms.
Fortunately, it truly is possible to keep rugs and carpets clean without resorting to toxic chemicals. This guide will show you how.
Clean Rugs and Carpets: Avoid the Need to Clean Them in the First Place
If people take off their shoes at the threshold, they won’t track in dirt from outdoors. If they’d prefer not to go barefoot, they can wear socks, slippers, or house shoes (shoes that never go outdoors.)
Vacuuming twice a week goes a long way toward controlling dust mites and picking up surface dirt before it gets ground it. Going over the same area several times ensures you’ll pick up everything and is an especially good idea if the location gets walked on a lot. Vacuum cleaners with rotating brushes, strong suction, and HEPA filters that keeps what you just picked up from being blown out of the exhaust are your best bet for truly thorough cleaning.
Clean Rugs and Carpets: Immediate Damage Control
If someone spills something, address the spill immediately to fight staining. Use white or light-colored towels or paper towels to cover a liquid spill and soak it up. Get sticky substances up with a spoon or spatula. Whatever you do, don’t rub a spill. That makes a stain spread and harms carpet fibers.
Clean Rugs and Carpets: Cleaning Stains
Despite your diligence at immediate damage control, you likely will have to clean a carpet stain from time to time. Many will yield to soap and water, specifically 1 cup of warm water mixed with half a teaspoon of mild liquid soap like fine fabric detergent or dishwashing liquid. Apply a small amount with a clean white towel, blot, lift, and repeat until the stain disappears. Be patient, and resist the temptation to scrub. After the stain disappears, finish up by rinsing with a few teaspoons of white vinegar to one cup of water and blot with a different clean towel.
Other common household items can also fight stains. Ice cubes harden candle wax and gum, which you can then scrape away. Club soda gets rid of staining by red wine. To get rid of greasy stains, sprinkle them with cornstarch, corn meal, or baking soda and let the sprinkles remain for six hours or overnight. Then vacuum. Then mix a third of a cup of vinegar with two thirds of a cup of warm water, put it on the stain, and blot using a clean towel. Repeat this until the stain is gone.
As a measure of last resort, you can attack a carpet stain with hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol. Apply a small amount to the stain, blot, and repeat until the stain disappears. Be careful, though. Hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol can both bleach or lighten a carpet. Before going after the stain, test on a bit of the carpet that no one sees.
Clean Rugs and Carpets: Getting Rid of Smells
Many commercial carpet fresheners and deodorizers simply cover up smells. It’s much better to get rid of them, and happily, you can use baking soda to accomplish this. Sprinkle it on the offending section of the carpeting, let it stand for a quarter of an hour to half an hour, and then vacuum it up.
Clean Rugs and Carpets: When It’s Time for Carpet Cleaning
Despite the measures detailed above, carpet cleaning is necessary from time to time, but you can still avoid the use of toxic chemicals. Steam clean using hot water without the addition of detergent. You’ll still eliminate a lot of dirt. Or, use one or two cups (two provides a stronger solution) of white vinegar mixed with two and a half gallons of water. This mix is particularly effective in getting rid of any shampoo residue leftover from previous cleanings.
Avoid cleaning on damp or humid days, and keep windows open and fans running to ventilate, This will speed up drying and so combat the growth of mold.
Clean Rugs and Carpet: Consult the Experts
Your carpet manufacturer can furnish tips on keeping carpets clean without the use of toxic chemicals as well as information on what cleaning is necessary to maintain the warranty.
The Carpet and Rug Institute’s website also provides advice on how to clean carpets, generally in accordance with warranty stipulations. Their spot remover tool has information on how to remove many different kinds of stain. Simply be aware that not every method discussed is necessarily entirely free of toxic chemicals. Be sure to check what’s in a particular product before putting it to use.