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Carpet Cleaning Tips

Sure, that weekly vacuuming you give your carpet makes the room look nicer. However, that weekly vacuuming is not enough to protect your carpet from the oily film that builds up after months of exposure to cooking vapors, air pollution, and debris dragged in by muddy shoes.

Carpet: Clean Frequently
This gross, oily film should be cleaned every 12-18 months to avoid it from growing thick enough to discolor your carpet. If you live alone, or with one or two other family members, a full-blast professional steam cleaning every 18 months should give your carpet the protection it needs. If, however, you live in a huge household, you might want to make an investment in a professional carpet cleaning once a year.

Consider Hiring A Professional
You should consider hiring a professional to help you with your carpet steam-cleaning. A professional cleaner will know how to best treat your particular carpet, taking into consideration its make and the types of fibers. The professional will bring a powerful hot water extraction system into your home, spray your carpet with water and detergent and use this system to suck back the oil and the water.

Of course, you may choose to rent a steam cleaning machine and do the cleaning yourself, especially if you have already had your carpet professionally cleaned and have an idea of what type of equipment to look for. Be careful, though: do-it-yourself rental units do not clean as thoroughly or as powerfully as professional units. In fact, some cleaning units may actually damage the carpet. That's why it's important to look around and check out several carpet cleaning systems before making a final decision as to which one to rent.

Tips When Renting Cleaning Equipment

Here are some carpet cleaning tips to remember when renting cleaning equipment:

Retail Rentals May Lack Power
Be choosy when deciding to rent a carpet cleaner from a retail or grocery store. Many of the units found in these stores are signficantly weaker than what the professionals use. As a result, you may find yourself with a much too wet carpet that ends up causing damage. Do your research and be sure you know what you're doing when you rent a carpet cleaner.

Use Water Sparingly
It doesn't take much to inspire mold and mildew to start growing. If you use too much detergent or over-wet your carpet, leaving it damp for more than 24 hours, you may just be cultivating your very own bacterial carpet not to mentoin the funky smell that may start filling the room. The excess water can also cause your carpet backing to separate.

Choose Minimum Residue Solutions
It's all about the right solution when it comes to carpet cleaning. The ideal cleaning solution for carpets has a pH of about nine (it should always be less than 10) and should have very little, if any, non-sticky residue.

Wool Carpet Solutions
Wool and wool-blend carpets are different from regular carpets and require their own special cleaning solution. Look for one that has been formulated specifically for wool and other natural fibers. Also, make sure the solution has a mild pH, somewhere between five and eight.

Stain Resistant Solutions
If you have stain-resistant carpets, you'll want to use a cleaning solution that is designed for just these types of carpets. Using another type of cleaner may actually diminish the strength of the treatment and could even void the warranty on your carpet. To avoid discoloring your carpet, always steer clear of any type of cleaning solution that contains bleach or optical brightners.

Choosing Anti-Soil Treatments
Never use an anti-soil treatment on your carpet that contians silicone.

Reduce Carpet Drying Time
To help your carpets dry faster (and avoid the risk of mold and mildew growing), use any fans you have in the house to push the air across your carpet. If you have a dehumidifier, then drag it out to help get the moisture out of the air. An air conditioner can also do this job. Using these drying-aids, your carpet should be dry within 12 hours.

Hammer Talk to others, share advice and ask questions on our Floors forum if you need more assistance with carpet concerns.