Carpets can get quite a workout in most homes. Foot traffic, pets, and spills can leave floor coverings looking less than pristine in a surprisingly short amount of time. Stains may be inevitable, but with a little planning and extra care, you can keep your carpets looking nice longer. Here are some tips:
- Get care instructions from the company where you purchased the carpet or the manufacturer and follow those guidelines. Using the wrong products and cleaning methods on some carpet materials can possibly cause damage to the fibers and may alter the color.
- Treat stains immediately. The longer stains sit, the more difficult they can be to remove. Most products and methods work best when applied to fresh stains.
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- Keep the recommended cleaning products and solutions on hand to act quickly when a spill occurs. You could lose valuable time locating products while stains set.
- When cleaning stains, avoid rubbing the carpet vigorously. Instead, gently pat and dab the affected area to help prevent fuzzing and pilling of the fibers. Try to blot as much of the spill or stain as you can with a clean cloth before applying a cleaning solution.
- If you wish to avoid chemicals in cleaning products, you can try to remove some carpet stains with white vinegar and baking soda (check your manufacturer’s recommendations first). Club soda can also be an effective remedy for fresh juice and wine stains.
- To be extra safe, test any new cleaning solution on a small, hidden area of the carpet to make sure it doesn’t affect the color or texture of the carpet.
- To help avoid stains from foot traffic, put down mats at all entrances and encourage people to wipe their feet or take off their shoes before coming inside. Consider adding runners to hallways, entryways, and other heavily trafficked areas.
- Vacuum regularly to keep particles from being ground into carpet fibers.
- When serving beverages in carpeted areas, consider using containers with lids. Place plastic under tables or high chairs when children are eating on carpets.
- If you can’t remove a stain, call a carpet cleaning professional. Repeatedly trying different methods could make the stain worse or even damage the carpet fibers. Refer to your manufacturer’s guidelines to find out how frequently you should have carpets professionally cleaned. You may need to have high-traffic areas deep cleaned more frequently than other areas.
To keep pets from staining carpets, ensure they are properly trained and housebroken. Wipe dirt and mud from their paws each time they enter the home and offer a choice of pet beds throughout the house to discourage pets from sleeping directly on carpets. Make sure to keep carpet cleaning products on hand that are specially formulated for removing pet stains and odors for those times when accidents occur.