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How To Clean Carpet


Spilled Wine


How-To-Clean-Carpet is your one stop resource for carpet cleaning information.  We'll show you the very best way to clean your carpet based on exactly what type of substance you've spilled onto your carpet.  We'll also show you how to clean your carpet based on its specific style and material.  Please read our general guide on how to clean stains from carpet below and then browse the menu to your left to find more specific information on particular stains.


Basic Guide To Cleaning Carpet


Regularly cleaning your carpet and dealing with spills and stains immediately as they occur can significantly extend your carpet's life.  Failing to do so can lead to the development of unfavorable conditions such as matting, packing, and crushing.  Soil that is allowed to sink into a carpet and remain there will eventually cause permanent damage through abrasion of the carpet fibers themselves.

The good news is that it's very easy to keep your carpet looking nearly brand new for a very long time.  Our first recommendation is that you take off your shoes upon entering your home.  Although not practical in some situations, walking barefoot or in socks will greatly extend the life of your carpet by reducing the amount of soil that enters your home.  When you walk on your carpet with shoes, the carpet in effect "cleans" your shoes.  This means that all the dirt, grime, and general ickyness that your shoes accumulate over the day gets sucked into your carpet.  Just get home from a ballgame at the local stadium?  Did you step inside the bathroom while there?  Then part of the restroom is now embedded in your carpet.  Not a very pleasant thought to have in your head as you're laying on your carpet in front of the TV doing exercises is it?  As soil begins to build up on your carpet, without proper care it eventually reaches the point where for every particle of soil your shoe deposits on the carpet, your shoe picks up another particle thus spreading the grime and dirt out past high traffic areas.

So how do you keep soil from building up on your carpet?  Through regular vacuuming.  To clean cut pile carpet, use a vacuum cleaner with a rotating beater bar.  This agitates the carpet pile which loosens soil imbedded in the carpet.  You should lower the agitator bar enough so that the carpet vibrates a few inches away from the cleaner, but not so much that the vacuum cleaner is difficult to push.  Matting and packing will occur in high traffic areas if the carpet pile is not agitated and lifted.

To clean berber carpet use a vacuum with suction only.  Using a vacuum with a beater bar on berber carpet will damage the loops and cause fuzzing.  We recommend that you vacuum your carpet at least once a week, twice in high traffic areas.  Failing to vacuum regularly will allow soil to become embedded in the carpet leading to permanent damage resulting from abrasion.  You should also empty the vacuum cleaner's bag as soon as it becomes half full.  Once a vacuum cleaner becomes full past the mid point it's efficiency is greatly reduced.

Cooking vapors, air pollution, and random gunk tracked in from off the street sink into your carpet over time dulling it's appearance.  If allowed to accumulate this mixture becomes an icky, gummy mess sealing the pile fibers in your carpet together.  This can cause matting, packing, ridges, and general damage to your carpet.  This oily, gunky mess also attracts dry soil further dirtying your carpet.

So how do you clean this mess from your carpet?  By regularly steam cleaning your carpet (Always consult your carpets manufacturer before having it cleaned.  Some manufacturers recommend dry cleaning instead of hot water extraction).  You should have your carpet professionally cleaned at least once a year.  You should never wait longer than two years to steam clean a carpet as doing so will void the warranties of many carpet manufacturers.  Steam cleaning your carpet is an effective way to clean out the deep embedded gunk that accumulates over time, resulting in reduced carpet wear and an overall improved appearance.

Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are you will eventually spill something on your carpet.  So how do you clean spills and stains from your carpet?  By using the least aggressive approach first.  Never reach for a bottle of carpet cleaner without first attempting to blot the spill clean with paper towels.  Always use the gentlest approach first when dealing with carpet spills and stains, elevating your aggression only as needed.  Because some chemicals in some cleaners can damage or cause fading on some carpet, you always want to choose the least invasive carpet cleaning technique first.

To clean a spill from your carpet grab several dry paper towels and lightly blot at the spill, being careful not to push the liquid further down into the carpet.  Attempt to remove all or as much of the spill as possible with paper towels.  If the spill is especially thick use a spoon to scoop up as much as possible before using paper towels.  Never scrub the spill as this will simply push the stain deeper into the carpet causing the stain to set.  Hopefully at this point the spilled substance has been successfully removed from the carpet.  Unfortunately cleaning your carpet is usually not this simple.  If any of the substance remains, please select the exact substance that you've spilled on your carpet from the menu to your left for further instructions on how to clean your carpet.