Including a nice looking rug on your living room floor is almost mandatory to complete the overall design of one’s living room. Deciding whether to use carpets or rugs for your home will depend on your style. Each has their own unique appeal but both need to be cleaned often.
Having a large carpet underneath your living room furnitures such as your sofa, recliner and coffee table, works well to pull a living room together.
Area rugs such as the one in your living room, get a lot of foot traffic, of course, it’s a good thing when you have visitors, but this does translate to your carpet getting dirty. Everyone’s shoes carry all sorts of debris and dust from outside which unfortunately end up in your carpet.
There are many different kinds of carpets, and whatever type you have in your living room, we all dread the possibility of spilt coffee or of the house pet having another accident. It can be a real headache not knowing how to handle various carpet stains, that’s for sure.
I know the urge to just call the professional carpet cleaners is ever present when encountering stains on your prized rug but don’t be too hasty. These straightforward cleaning methods on how to clean carpets and remove stains are easy to do when you follow these simple instructions.
How to clean carpets
Since you will be moving and taking carpets off the floor, it might be best to learn how to organize living your room. This would be a huge help!
Check the care label – This is usually found on one of the corners, under the rug itself. When your carpet is small enough for you to flip over, check the back of your rug, this is typical for most oriental rugs. This is typically the first step on how to clean oriental rugs. You can do this for smaller area rugs as well.
Vacuuming – This is term is almost synonymous with carpet. It is automatically understood that if you own a rug and especially if you have a room with carpeted floors, you would have to use a vacuum cleaner to clean the rugs as mentioned earlier.
Step 1: Pre-clean the room
Temporarily relocate your furniture, this initial phase will allow you to clean hard to reach areas usually covered by your furniture. Pick up any debris or random items on the floor that could get sucked into the vacuum cleaner possibly damaging the filter or internal mechanisms.
Dust the furniture and windows, you don’t have to worry about catching the dislodged dust since you will be vacuuming anyway. It is best not to wear your shoes when vacuuming, wear indoor flip-flops or just socks would work to ensure you are not bringing any new dirt or dust into the room.
Step 2: Spot clean
Dab or Blot Stains
It is best to target stains before vacuuming or steam cleaning. Only blot stains out, do not rub the stain going outward, instead, blot the stain from the outside going inward.
If you rub or scrub the stain, you will end up just spreading the contaminant and creating an even more significant mess.
White washcloths only
Use a clean white washcloth; this is another essential piece of information when you are spot cleaning your carpet. Do not use coloured rags or washcloths, their colours could get transferred to your carpet, and you would then have another problem.
Make sure to use white washcloths, or even regular paper towels work great during the spot cleaning process.
Of course, the most obvious and convenient choice would be to purchase a carpet cleaner which usually comes in a spray bottle for ease of use.
If you do not want to go to the store, a good homemade replacement is either club soda or equal parts water and vinegar, put in an empty spray bottle for your convenience. There are several options on how to remove hardened set in stains, and I will list them out here for you to go through.
Wet wipes – Perfect for when you are in a rush to clean up stains in your carpet. Blot the stain with a mixture of water and dishwashing soap on one end of a washcloth then use a piece of wet wipes to blot the mess clean. The follow up with the dry end of the washcloth to dab it dry.
Hydrogen peroxide – This works as a great alternative to remove blood and other biological accidents. You need to first dab the stain with a mixture of water and dishwashing liquid on one end of a clean white washcloth. Then apply hydrogen peroxide directly onto the stain. It will foam then just pat dry with the other end of your clean washcloth.
Shaving cream – Surprisingly this works great to clean almost all kinds of stains from carpets. First blot the stains with a damp washcloth then apply the shaving cream directly on the stain and wait a few minutes. Follow it up by dabbing the stain with a clean, dry washcloth.
Ice cubes – This method works great for removing stuck bubble gum or chewing gum from your carpet. First, remove what you can from the mess then put the ice cubes in a plastic bag and lay on top of the gum.
It should freeze solid or harden after a few minutes, and it would just be a matter of removing the hardened substance. Try your best to scrape off the hardened gum with a butter knife or spoon.
These are only a few of the homemade carpet cleaners available. Check out this in-depth list to view all the various homemade carpet cleaners you probably already have in your home.
Step 3: Vacuum thoroughly
While it is common practice to vacuum vertically in a grid-like pattern, it is essential to vacuum horizontally as well. This is important because the fibres of the carpet need to be cleaned on all of its sides.
If it is too tricky to vacuum in two different motions at the same time, I recommend just vacuuming the carpet twice. The first time vertically, then just turn to your right or left to tackle the other side of the carpet fibres.
Doing so will ensure that every inch of your carpet is cleaned correctly and this will remove pet hair or dander that may be lodged into the rug. This fact is sometimes overlooked, so you end up having a carpet that is half clean.
Step 4: Use the various vacuum attachments
Two accessories come to mind that can help in cleaning rugs thoroughly. The crevice tool attachment which is perfect for corners. This speciality tool is great for the edges of a room. If you have bedrooms that have carpeted floors.
The upholstery brush attachment is good to use to clean smaller rugs carefully. This method would work great if you want to keep Persian rugs clean.
Steam clean carpets
Nothing cleans a carpet quite like a steam cleaner. If you do not own one of these marvellous inventions, I highly suggest making the purchase instead of renting a rug doctor from your local supermarket.
It is indeed worth the investment to own such a powerful cleaning machine and has that cleaning power, at your disposal anytime you would need it.
You can purchase a steam cleaner for the same price as renting one three times, so If you used the steam cleaner more than three times, it has already paid for itself. Check out these options for affordable steam cleaners on Amazon.
Steam cleaners are easy enough to use. Do this as the final step after doing all the stages indicated above. Carefully read the instructions in the user manual, add water and carpet detergent in the appropriate chambers. Turn on your steam cleaner.
Most steam cleaners work by secreting water mixed with the carpet cleaning detergent directly on the carpet when you push it, and it immediately sucks it back up when you pull the machine. It is essential to pull the steam cleaner as slow as you can to make sure it sucks up all the water and dirt lodged in your carpet or rug.
It is advised that you deep clean your carpet a minimum of twice a year to get rid of any microbes that may be present in your carpet.
Also, it wouldn’t hurt to steam clean your carpet every season or once a month. A marvellous idea if you own a lot of pets and just want that extra fresh feeling when stepping barefoot on your carpets or rugs.
When drying your carpet after using your steam cleaner, turn on any available dehumidifiers, blowers or electric fans and aim it at the damp rug or carpet.
You can also use a shop vac to vacuum the moisture from the newly cleaned rug and keep your eye on the water canister and empty it out as needed.
How to clean oriental rugs
Call the Pros if needed
Oriental rugs usually have care labels located at the back corner, carefully follow the instructions.
While it is safe to follow the steps above on how to clean carpets, if the rug is made of delicate materials such as silk or if it is a family heirloom, consider calling a professional carpet cleaning service to avoid any accidental damage from cleaning it yourself.
You can call a professional service, hire them to clean your treasured rug and take notes on what they do. Maybe even ask their permission and video the entire cleaning session for future reference.
Beat the rug
This is probably the oldest most effective way to clean a dirty rug. Take it outside hang it up on a clothesline or patio area and beat the rug senseless. You should be able to visibly see dust particles falling off your rug as you do this. Hit the rug with a broom or even a carpet beater to thoroughly dislodge all dust and dirt from your rug.
This works for small rugs, set your washing machine to the delicate cycle and carefully put the rug in the wash tub. You can also put the rug in a laundry bag to make sure the threads of your rug will not be damaged.
Another way to wash the rug is to grab a hose and soak it entirely with water. Once it is drenched, grab a bristle brush and some mild laundry detergent and gently scrub your rug clean. Do the front part first being careful not to damage it. Then flip it over and clean the back the same way.
Use a squeegee to remove excess water from the rug. You can also hang the rug to dry on your clothesline. If that is too much trouble lay it flat on the floor to dry. Then point an electric fan at the rug for speed drying. You can also use blowers to dry the rug; another option is to use a shop vac to suck the excess water from the rug.
There is a famous saying from Benjamin Franklin, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Since you cannot control where your visitor’s shoes have been, you can certainly control whether or not to allow them to bring their dirty shoes into your home and by extension your living room.
It would be a good idea to implement a rule about leaving shoes by the front door. You can offer flip-flops to guests or have them just sock it through your home.
If you decide against that practical solution that is fine too. You already have a lot of sure-fire methods to clean your rug as indicated on the steps above. Just follow them step by step when it’s time to do some severe carpet and rug cleaning.