How to Make your Carpet Last Forever

Though a good looking carpet is the most important component to a home’s appearance, replacing a carpet is expensive! Since you want your carpet to last as long as possible, use the following tips to extend the life of your carpet:
Tip 1: Padding is important because it absorbs shock for the carpet. Carpet without padding or with crushed padding has a small fraction of the useful life as carpet with good padding.  Padding should be no more than 7/16-inch thick, unless your carpet came with it attached. Also use pads under small rugs, and rotate them from time to time.

Tip 2: In carpet areas that get a lot of direct sun exposure, keep your drapes or curtains closed to prevent fading or browning.

Tip 3: Leave dirt outside. Dirt wears out carpet.  Though you may feel a bit uneasy about asking guests to remove their shoes, leaving footwear at the door keeps the dirt out. Take the time to sweep your home’s sidewalks.  Invest in heavy-duty doormats to prevent excess dirt from entering the house.

Tip 4: Confine all snacking to the kitchen. Even though your family may protest this rule, it’s the only way to prevent spills from staining your carpeting. Sauces, chocolate and juices are lethal to your carpet’s aesthetic value. If food does find its way to your carpet, be sure to clean it up immediately.

Tip 5: Run the vacuum often. In high-traffic areas, carpets should be vacuumed daily. In less-traveled areas, vacuum one to two times per week. Vacuuming often will remove damaging dirt from the fibers. Buy an upright vacuum fitted with beater bars.

Tip 6: Keep your socks on. While walking without shoes will help to make your carpet last longer, you shouldn’t walk on your carpeting with bare feet. The oils present on the skin will stick to carpet fibers and attract dirt and grime.

Tip 7: Change the room’s layout often. To break up the same old traffic pattern and to avoid wearing the carpeting down in the same spots, move your furniture around. This will create new foot traffic and your whole carpet will last longer, not just one area.

Tip 8: Call in the professionals. You should hire a reputable carpet cleaning company to service your carpets at least once or twice per year. Make sure they have the hot water extraction equipment that won’t leave detergent in the fibers.

Treating a Carpet for Pet Urine

Treating pet urine issues is done on a case by case basis. There are many factors that go into urine cleaning that include: animal size, age, breed, diet and illnesses such as kidney problems.

If you have a new puppy or small toy dog, then the urine is mostly likely on the surface and clean up is relatively easy. Now big dogs are a different story; big bladders mean big problems. If a large dog empties its bladder on one area of a carpet then it mostly soaked into the pad. This requires a deep cleaning treatment.

Step by Step Pet Pee Removal

Step 1: If the area is still wet, you should first attempt to absorb the dog urine. Leaving it there to dry out will only encourage bacterial growth which causes the smell. The best method is to place several layers of paper towels over the wet area and tread on it so as to soak up as much of the dog urine as you possibly can. You may have to repeat this several times until no more urine can be soaked up.
Sometimes dog urine accidents have already dried because you did not notice them previously. You can find dried urine spots on your carpet with the aid of a black light. The dog urine stains will glow under the ultra violet light in a darkened room.  All expert carpet cleaners carry black lights to check for pet urine and other stains.

Step 2: The next step is to mix a solution of fifty percent white vinegar and fifty percent water. You must use a liberal amount of this solution to reach the carpet fibers deep down. Work the solution in with a scrubbing brush to ensure it penetrates the carpet fibers below. Now blot the area again using the paper towel method above. The vinegar will neutralize the ammonia in the dog urine. If you own a wet and dry vacuum extractor use that to remove excess moisture.

Step 3: When the area has dried or almost dried sprinkle a good handful of baking soda over the soiled area. Mix half a cup of hydrogen peroxide with a teaspoon of detergent. Ordinary liquid dish washing detergent is quite suitable. Do not use caustic dishwasher detergent. Always test this on an inconspicuous area first to see if it has “bleaching” effect.

Put on a pair of rubber gloves and slowly pour the hydrogen peroxide and detergent mixture over the baking powder. Work the dissolving baking soda well into the carpet, first with your fingers and then with a scrubbing brush.

Step 4: Allow the area to dry completely and then vacuum thoroughly.
If you don’t have hydrogen peroxide on hand you could substitute it in an emergency for a spray laundry stain remover. Check the bottle. If it says ‘Oxy’ anywhere on the label then it probably contains hydrogen peroxide.

In areas that have been heavily soiled with dog urine you may have to repeat the process again.

 IMPORTANT: Never use ammonia or ammonia-based products on the carpet to remove pet pee. One of the ingredients of urine is ammonia and your dog or puppy may well be encouraged to re-offend in the same area if it detects the smell of ammonia. Many household cleaner cleaners contain ammonia so be sure to read the label.

Extreme Cases

Sometime a home cleaning is not enough because the urine has soaked all the way to the floor boards or concrete. In this case you would need to call in professional carpet cleaner. Most carpet cleaners have methods that go below the carpet to do a sub-surface cleaning.

Carpet Blood Stain Removal

It is easiest to remove blood when it is still wet. Dried blood stains are notoriously harder to remove. Also be sure throughout the process to blot the stain, not rub it, as this will only push the stain further into the carpet fibers. Use the following steps along with the appropriate cleaning solution for your carpet type.

You Will Need:

• Cleaning solution
s

– Wool: 1 teaspoon mild, non-alkali detergent with 1 cup cold water

– Synthetics: 2 tablespoons household ammonia with 1 cup cold water (most carpets are synthetic)
-

– Oriental: 1 part white vinegar with 2 parts cold water

• Clean white towels
• Spray bottle (for cleaning solution)
• Rinsing Solution:
- 2-6 drops mild, non-alkali dish detergent with 1 cup cold water
• Water bottle

How to Remove the Stain:


Step 1:
Begin by blotting with a clean cloth to remove as much of the blood as possible. It’s very important to BLOT throughout this entire process DO NOT SCRUB. Your goal is to “lift” the stain, not rub it into the fibers. Working from the outside of the stain towards the center will keep the stain from spreading.

Step 2: Spray stain with cold water and blot to remove as much of the stain as possible.

Step 3: Spray a small amount of cleaning solution on the stain. Then blot with a clean dry cloth until no more stain shows on the cloth. You will need to change your cloth often or use a clean patch of the towel each time as you are blotting to be sure you are not spreading the stain. Repeat until the stain is no longer noticeable.

Step 4: Spray with rinsing solution and blot with clean cloth to remove. Then spray with clean water.

Step 5: Cover stain with clean cloth or stack of paper towels and put heavy weight on top (heavy books, etc.). Leave set for several hours to absorb any remaining liquid. Remove weights and cloths and let area air dry. If the spot turns brown when it dries, mix 1 part vinegar with 2 parts water. Apply the solution on the dried spot and blot to dry. This can be repeated ONE time.
If all else fails call your local carpet cleaning professional. Most professionals will have industrial grade solutions to remove blood stains from carpet.

Removing Candle Wax from Carpet

Candle wax is a tough but very common problem. You will need paper towels and an electric iron. Very absorbent paper towels are recommended for the best results. Use white towels only as dyes may bleed onto the carpet when exposed to the heat of the iron.
Before beginning the procedure, use a brush or your hands to pick away at any of the excess wax that you can get out of the carpet fiber. Be gentle and be careful not to unravel the pile when brushing.

Step by Step

Step 1: Plug the iron in and turn it on to the lowest setting possible.

Step 2: After the iron heats up, take a paper towel and place it over the wax. Gently apply the warm iron to the paper towel. The wax should begin to liquefy and the paper towel will absorb it. Do not set the temperature of the iron any higher than the warm setting, or you may harm synthetic fibers. For berber or some sculptured carpets, you may have to press down harder with the iron. Be especially careful with the berbers and do not pull on any fibers or loops. Pulling on those loops can cause a “run” much like the runs in panty hose and can ruin the rug, as the run will travel across the length of the carpet.

Step 3: Continue working the iron and paper towel until all of the wax is absorbed. You may need to turn the paper towel several times as the area where the wax is being absorbed becomes saturated. If it is a large spill you may need more than one paper towel. The watch word here is patience, as working this process can take time.
To remove stains left from colored wax, try gently dabbing the stain with a rag dampened with rubbing alcohol.
If you have tried all the above steps and you still have some wax in your carpet you may wish to call a professional carpet cleaning company.

10 Commandments of Carpet Care

Commandment I: Vacuum frequently and thoroughly. Most of the wear of carpeting is caused by dirt. Oily soils attract more oily soil and frequent vacuuming will reduce soil buildup.

Commandment II: Get at stains quickly, 99% of all stains can be removed by one cleaning agent or another if they are cleaned in the first few days. The longer a stain chemically reacts with the carpet the harder it will be to remove it.

Commandment III: Test carpet before scrubbing, extracting or spotting. All carpets are different. Some carpets are very sensitive to acid type cleaners and will lose their color quickly. Other carpet dyes are sensitive to harsh alkalis.

Commandment IV: Use appropriate spotters starting with the mildest. Do not use harsh spotting agents unless absolutely necessary and always neutralize high alkaline or high acid cleaners after use.

Commandment V: Never dig or brush spots. The proper procedure is to scrape the spot towards the middle and then tamp the spot into the white towel or cloth using a brush or other tamping devices. A meat tenderizer makes a great tamping tool.

Commandment VI: Do not overuse detergents, shampoos or spotters. Too much detergent will result in residue left in the carpet that thorough vacuuming may not remove.

Commandment VII: Do not over-wet carpet. Our carpet detergents are chemically active enough so they do not need a tremendous amount of wetting. Over-wetting can cause brownout, carpet shrinkage, adhesion problems and all other kinds of nightmares.

Commandment VIII: Extract residue if possible. Hot water extraction with rotary scrubbing will clean the carpet fibers the best by encapsulating dirt and detergent residue.  Extraction will flush out this dirt and other organisms deep in the carpet.

Commandment IX: Never “coat” a dirty or spotty carpet. After scrubbing or extracting a dirty carpet, if you are not satisfied with the results, do not apply a coat of carpet protector as this will result in “gluing in the dirt” making it harder to remove it the next time. Either re-scrub or extract the carpet or leave the carpet until the next cleaning cycle before you coat.

Commandment X: Have your carpets professionally cleaned at least once or twice per year depending on traffic from kids and/or pets.

How to Remove Red Wine from Carpet

Red wine spills are quite common. Here are a couple of strategies to get the red out. Keep in mind that the sooner you treat the spot the better chance you have of success. Before using either method, test on an inconspicuous area such as the inside corner of a closet.

Plan A

Step 1: Drizzle a combination of Dawn dish soap and hydrogen peroxide (must use both) on the spot.

Step 2: Blot with a clean dry cloth until no more stain shows on the cloth. You will need to change your cloth often or use a clean patch of the towel each time as you are blotting to be sure you are not spreading the stain.

Step 3: Rinse with warm water and let dry.

Plan B

Step 1: Begin by blotting with a clean cloth to remove as much of the wine as possible. It’s very important to BLOT throughout this entire process DO NOT SCRUB. Your goal is to “lift” the stain, not rub it into the fibers. Working from the outside of the stain towards the center will keep the stain from spreading.

Step 2: Apply white wine tonic water to the stain. If it is a wool carpet, use white wine only.

Step 3: Blot with a clean dry cloth until no more stain shows on the cloth. You will need to change your cloth often or use a clean patch of the towel each time as you are blotting to be sure you are not spreading the stain.
If all else fails call your local professional carpet cleaner and make sure they use a hot water extraction process to remove red wine.

Getting Coffee out of a Carpet

Coffee has different effects on different types of carpets, but the best way to avoid permanent staining is to clean the area as soon as possible. If coffee sits for a few days it may never come out completely.

Plan A: Tonic Water

Step 1: Start by blotting up as much of the liquid as you possibly can, using a white towel or paper towels. If you have a wet or shop vacuum that works even better.

Step 2: Once the excess liquid has been absorbed, sprinkle the stain with your choice of tonic water, 7-Up, or club soda. Make sure you use a liberal amount and let it stand for about five minutes.

Step 3: Next, blot with a towel or extract with the shop vac to remove the liquid. Repeat the cleaning process as many times as necessary to remove the moisture. Finally, rinse the area with clean water and go through the blotting/extracting process a final time to remove excess liquid.

Plan B: Hydrogen Peroxide

Step 1: Sprinkle the coffee stain with hydrogen peroxide, letting it stand for four to six hours.

Step 2: Blot up as much of the peroxide as you can and then reapply more.

Step 3: This time let it stand overnight. In the morning, blot off any excess peroxide. Sometimes hydrogen peroxide has a “bleaching effect” so be sure to first test on an inconspicuous area such as the inside corner of a closet.
 If all else fails call your local carpet cleaning professional, but don’t wait too long because the difference between a spot and a stain is how long it has been sitting on the carpet.

How to Remove Chewing Gum from Carpet

To remove chewing gum from carpet, get out your electric hair dryer and some Ben Gay.

Step by Step

Step 1: Heat the gum, being careful not to melt the carpet fibers. It is a good idea to test in an inconspicuous area first, such as the inside corner of a closet.

Step 2: Use a piece of plastic wrap or a plastic bag to lift the softened gum away. Just allow it to stick to the plastic, then pull it up. This may get most of it.

Step 3: Next, apply Extra Strength Ben Gay, or another muscle rub containing methyl salicylate. Again, test this in an inconspicuous area first.


Step 4:
Use plastic again, or a rag to pull more gum out. Repeat if necessary. Once you completely remove the chewing gum from the carpet, clean the area with a mild detergent solution (a few drops of dish soap in a cup of warm water will work). Rinse with warm water and dry the area.

Using Commercial Carpet Stain Removers

Some common carpet stain removers will work to remove chewing gum from carpet. Goo Gone, in particular, works fairly well. Pull out as much gum as you can, then heat what remains. Apply Goo Gone, using a brush or the edge of the cap to work it in and break up the gum. Pick it out a piece at a time. Patience is required. Repeat the process until you remove all the gum.
Be sure to thoroughly rinse the spot. Use a shop-vac if you can, or just rinse and blot with a white cotton cloth repeatedly. It is important not to leave any cleaning solvent in your carpet for too long, and to rinse it completely.
If you cannot remove the chewing gum from the carpet using either of the two methods here, don’t worry. A carpet cleaner with a hot water extraction unit (a steam cleaner) can get usually get it out.

How to Treat your Carpet for Pet Vomit

The key is to start cleaning the pet vomit as soon as possible. Baking soda and dish soap are two household products that work very well when cleaning up pet vomit out of a carpet.

Part 1: Get the bulk out.

•    Use a knife to carefully skim the surface of the carpet to remove as much of the solid waste as possible. Be especially careful to not mush the waste into the carpet nap.
•    Sprinkle baking powder over the entire stain. Baking powder draws up the vomit’s digestive fluid from the carpet, removing the potential of residual odor. Allow the baking soda to dry. Use a fan to speed the process along if desired.
•    Scrape as much of the dried baking soda from the surface of the carpet as possible. Vacuum up the rest. The carpet should look better already.
Use a gentle dish soap that does not contain and bleaching agents is highly recommended.
Prior to using any detergent, test it on an inconspicuous area of the carpeting – for example in a closet corner. Make sure it doesn’t noticeably change the color of the carpet. This is especially true if it is a wool carpet.

Part 2: Finish up.

•    Get a clean sponge really wet with hot soapy water and start gently scrubbing the stained spot. .
•    Check the stain. If need be, blot with a paper town and scrub again and allow to sit for a couple of minutes before blotting again.
•    Any residual left on carpeting will attract dust and dirt from shoes making the carpet appear dirty again quickly. I recommend you rinse with warm water only.

Considerations

This method works well in most cases but sometimes there is colored food dye in the vomit that just won’t come out completely. If this is the case, you will need to contact a professional cleaner as soon as possible. The difference between a spot and a stain is how long the matter sits in the carpet.
If the vomit soaked through the carpet into the pad, you will most likely have continued odor problems even if the stain is no longer visible. The only way to resolve this is will with a subsurface cleaning. Most professional carpet cleaners offer methods that go deep below the carpet to remove vomit and urine from the pad.