Guide to Cleaning a Carpet

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The most important lesson in carpet care is to follow a strict and consistent regimen of cleaning and maintenance. Regular vacuuming combined with occasional shampooing can keep a carpet looking pristine for years.

Before beginning the shampooing process, there are several things to remember. First, remove all furniture from the area to be serviced. This will save time later and will eliminate the chance of dirt rings or rust stains being left by the feet of chairs or sofas once the carpet is damp. Next, vacuum, vacuum, vacuum. Surface dirt and debris, if not removed, can be pushed down into or spread throughout the carpet as it is shampooed.

Choosing a carpet-cleaning machine can be a daunting task considering the numerous types available as well as the fact that the price of a good industrial strength extractor (providing the best results) can easily exceed a thousand dollars. If only cleaning home carpets, it is probably a good idea to rent. A small industrial extractor can be rented for $20-$40 a day. Often local grocery or rental stores carry these types of machines and can provide attachments, shampoo, pre-spotter, and de-foamer, as well as answer questions.

There is one more thing to do before beginning work. Make sure to use a pre-spotter on any stained or heavily soiled areas. Spray the affected area(s) thoroughly and let sit for ten to fifteen minutes (on heavier stains agitation with a brush or sponge may be necessary). This will give the pre-spotter time to work before beginning the shampooing process.

Once you start your project, there are two important things to remember in order to get the best results. Don’t use too much shampoo, as it can leave sticky, invisible residue in the carpet, causing it to collect and retain future dirt more quickly. Also, use a consistent speed when working the extractor across the carpet, allowing the machine to do its job but not over-saturating the carpet. Too much water can create carpet bubbles or cause the carpet to loosen, ripple, or mildew.

If by chance the carpet does become too wet, use a fan (industrial strength blowers can also be rented) or open windows to dry the carpet faster. Finally, check your work once the carpet is dry. There may be spots that need to be cleaned again depending on the soil level and traffic patterns of the area.


This article is for informational purposes only. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is at the reader’s discretion.


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