Spring is the quintessential time to spruce up your house. This means you’ll probably be knee-deep in scrubbers, scouring pads, brooms and sponges soon. While you’re making your home feel more like a glistening castle, don’t forget that your carpets took a beating this winter along with the rest of the house. Most carpet cleaning issues – stains, shagginess, padded-down spots – can be DIY projects using these clever and non-toxic carpet cleaning hacks.
#1: Removing Stains with an Iron
Don’t put that iron away after you starch the collars on the laundered button-down shirts that will go in your newly-organized closet. It can actually be carefully used to remove some stains.
First, vacuum the carpets so there aren’t any particles left on it. Then, dampen any spots or stains with a towel concentrated with a solution made of one part vinegar and three parts water (tap water is fine.)
Put the moist towel over the stain and use the iron to heat the towel. As you move the iron over the towel, the stain should start to lift into the towel. Stop ironing when the stain is all – or as much as possible – removed.
#2: Baking Soda and Essential Oil Carpet Freshener
Want your carpets to smell so fresh that you’ll feel like you’re walking in a field of daisies every time you step foot in your living room or bedroom? Make your own deodorizer by adding about 10-20 drops of any essential oil (I prefer lavender or wild orange) with about a 16-ounce box of baking soda. Mix it up well so the oils are completely absorbed and store in a glass container. When you want to use it, simply shake some of the perfumed baking soda on your carpet, wait 5 minutes and then vacuum it.
#3: Homemade Deep Clean Carpet Cleaner
Deep cleaning your carpets will help get rid of allergens and dust mites. Most people think you have to use the liquid chemical cleaner with your carpet-cleaning extractor, but you can actually make your own deep green cleaner. Mix the following ingredients together to make a non-toxic deep cleaner for your machine: ¾ cup of Hydrogen Peroxide, ¼ cup white vinegar, 2 tablespoons dish soap, 5 drops of essential oils, 2 tablespoons of fabric softener and one gallon of hot (not boiling) water. Use this in your rug cleaning machine instead of expensive, chemical-filled store brand options.
#4: Properly Cleaning a Shag Carpet
Shag carpeting has come back into style with a vengeance, so if you have a shag carpet in your home, you’ll need to know how to clean it. Most vacuums have too much suction and can cause the shag to go frizzy or get caught in the machinery. If you notice that your carpet is “shedding” regularly, de-shag it by using the hose attachment of your vacuum. Yes, this will take longer, but will allow you to get deep into the fibers of the rug without hurting the strength or look of the shag.
#5: Carpet Fluffing Technique I
Does your carpet look like it’s been walked on my an army? Fluff it up by spraying any hardened, stained areas with a carpet stain remover of equal parts vinegar and water. Allow the agent to work, and then blot up the stain. At this point, run a spoon along the carpeting (hold the spoon on its side) to “fluff up” the fibers and encourage them to stand straight again.
#6: Carpet Fluffing Technique II
Tired of dented-in spots where your furniture put pressure on the carpet? Allow an ice cube to melt into the dents. After the water has completely dissolved, take a soft towel and blot up the excess moisture. Do not press hard; this will dent the carpet again. Lay the moist towel on top of the dented area and run an iron (on cotton setting) back and forth across the towel. When the fibers feel almost dry, stop ironing the spot. Allow the carpet to air dry, then use your hands to fluff up the spot.
#7: Cleaning Different Types of Carpet
Carpets differ in a number of ways. There are low loop carpets (think Berber) and more plush/shaggy carpets. These can come with or without stain protection, and may be made of anything from 100 percent wool to synthetic fibers.
Let’s start with low-pile, looped carpets. While they are great for high-traffic areas, they may not be as apt to give up stains as plush carpets. You have to have patience when cleaning low-pile/looped carpeting; use a lot of elbow grease.
With a little bit of patience, you can have the carpet you love back looking and smelling wonderful again. Plus, if you are saving money for new carpeting, this helps you extend the life of your current flooring a little longer. That means more dollars in your purse AND a beautiful, spring-clean home.