Proper care of your floor prevents damage, extends its life and keeps it looking new for years. How do you properly care for your flooring?
If you enjoy going barefoot, or even if you don't, kick your shoes off at the door. Why remove your shoes? If you have a rough board that needs smoothing, you grab a sheet of sandpaper for the job. Guess what's on the bottom of your shoes? Sand and dirt grind away at the fibers in your carpet, leading to an early death.
Take a closer look at the bottoms of those shoes and you'll find oil, dirt and heaven only knows how many bits of leftover dog deposits. Small wonder why your carpet stubbornly refuses to come clean. Do wear slippers or socks inside. The oil from the bottom of your feet also dirties the carpet.
Vacuum your carpet regularly, and do not use liquid carpet shampoos to clean them. Ever wash your hair and forget to rinse out all the shampoo? The same thing happens to your carpet. The shampoo can't be completely rinsed out, leaving a sticky residue. That residue acts like a big magnet pulling the dirt from the bottom of your shoes. Now you have clean shoes and even dirtier carpets. Use dry carpet cleaners instead. Stores selling vacuum cleaners carry dry carpet cleaners.
Getting out old shampoo becomes the trick. Rent a shampoo machine that cleans with water. Mix 1 cup vinegar per 2 ½ gallons of water and clean according to directions. Go back over the carpet with warm water only. The vinegar pulls out the old shampoo, cleaning the carpet as well. It may take a time or two, but your carpets will be soft and free from grime. The hot water reactivates the shampoo already in the carpet, providing the needed cleansing action.
Stains in carpet can be a hassle to remove. Never rub a stain, just blot. Rubbing breaks down the fibers and spreads the stain. Remove most food stains with shaving cream. Spray on and resist the temptation to rub it in, then let it set for 15 minutes. Rinse with a vinegar and water solution.
Club soda generally removes red wine stains. Remove red dye stains (found in drink mixes, Popsicles, dog and cat food) with a 30/70 solution of peroxide to water. Remember, peroxide is bleach, so test an inconspicuous spot first for color fastness. Apply the mixture, wait 30 minutes, then remove as much moisture as possible and rinse with a vinegar/water solution. If the stain remains, add a bit more peroxide to the mixture and retreat.
Brake cleaner also does a good quick job of removing most food stains. Dab a little on a clean cloth and gently blot the stain. Rinse with soap and water. Brake cleaner contains the same chemical professional dry cleaners use to clean stains in clothing. Do not pour brake cleaner directly into the carpet. It could dissolve the adhesive holding the fibers in the carpet.
Oops, the dog had an accident and the stain and smell refuse all attempts at removal. First try an enzyme product. Pour on enough to saturate to the pad and treat an area twice as large as the stain. Urine hits the pad and spreads. Let it set a couple of hours. You'll find enzyme products at pet stores, RV or marine stores. They are used in the holding tanks to dissolve solid material.
Should that not remove all the stain or odor, baking soda and peroxide remain your best hope. Mix a 30/70 solution of peroxide to water adding 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda per cup of mixture. Yes, it bubbles and fizzles, but not before removing the stain and smell. Always test a spot first for colorfastness. Peroxide is bleach and may discolor the carpet. Blot up what you can with an old towel and rinse well with 1/3 cup vinegar per quart of water.
If you see red spots on your carpet where your pet just lost its lunch, switch food to a neutral colored food. The red dye in pet food is the culprit behind those spots. Dogs and cats are colorblind, so they can't tell the difference. Again, use the 30/70 peroxide and water combination for removal.
Oil, grease, magic marker and ink can be the dickens to remove. Most janitorial companies or department stores carry a product called DeSolvit. WD40 or Orange Clean also work wonders at removing these stubborn stains. Rubbing alcohol removes ink. Blot on, allow to set 30 minutes and blot to remove. Rinse with sudsy water. Magic marker is generally permanent and you may not be able to remove it.
Gum - Freeze gum with ice cubes and chip off what you can with the blunt side of a kitchen knife. DeSolveit removes the rest.
Wax - Freeze with ice and chip off what you can with the blunt side of a knife. Wax needs heat for removal. Some of the newer carpets are quite sensitive to heat and scorch easily, so test an out of the way spot first. You can also use a hair dryer set to the hottest setting.
Set your iron to a low to medium heat. The less heat you use, the less chance of scorching your carpet. Take a white paper towel or paper bag with no writing on it (the dye will transfer to the carpet) Put the towel down on top of the wax and iron the towel for no longer than two seconds. Move the towel and redo if necessary. Generally once is enough.