Unsightly carpets and rugs in a home or office send the wrong impression to guests.
This is especially true of high traffic areas such as entryways and in front of frequently used furniture.
Maintaining a nice-looking rug to showcase a room is easier to do when following the simple steps required to clean a rug.
How Often Should a Rug be Cleaned
This depends on the type of material, amount of traffic, and exposure to elements, children and pets. Most flooring areas do well with hot extraction carpet cleaning once a year.
Areas with a lot of traffic, especially from children and pets, need the frequency shortened to every six months or even less. Carpet areas with little foot and paw traffic are not as prone to wear. Carpet and rugs in a single-occupant home will get by with a cleaning every other year.
1. Prepare the room
Start the process by removing furniture, lamps, and other items on the floor of the room where the cleaning is going to take place. That opens the floor area so you can do the job without anything in the way. For larger areas such as an open office area divided into small cubicles, move the furniture and office equipment to one side of the room while the other side is cleaned.
Once everything is out of the way, vacuum the floor thoroughly to remove excess debris and dirt from the carpet. Start with a new bag and filter in the vacuum so it does not blow dirt back on the area.
Test the carpet for color fastness before applying cleaning solution. As a point of safety, it is recommended to wear gloves and a mask to prevent injury from potentially toxic materials in carpet shampoos. Safety goggles prevent particles from entering the eyes. You could also instead use a natural carpet cleaner solution in your carpet cleaning machine. Watch your step, as well, as dampened carpet is often slippery.
2. Treat the stains
Treating the stains on floor coverings requires a slight amount of muscle. You do not want to apply too much pressure as that can lead to unwanted damage of carpet fibers.
Many stains can be removed by applying a small amount of water and gently swiping the rug with a scrub brush. Stubborn stains require a pre-clean stain remover that is allowed to set and lift the stain.
Another option is mixing water and powdered laundry soap to use as a spot cleaner. After the soiled area has been treated, wipe it with a cloth to pick up loosened dirt and lint fibers.
3. Clean the rug
Once the area is pre-treated for stains, the actual cleaning process begins. As an aside, a rug is generally considered to be no longer than 6.5 feet. Anything larger than that is often referred to as carpet.
The two terms are frequently interchanged and that is okay. Both have the job of covering the floor with a comfortable walking area. It is important to consider what the covering is made of, as wool and polyester are the most difficult to clean. Nylon-based products are more durable and better suited for cleaning, as they are harder to damage during the cleaning process.
The most common type of carpet cleaning is Hot Water Extraction (HWE), sometimes called steam cleaning.
This method works very well in preserving and extending the life of a carpet. The best way is to purchase your own carpet shampooer or cleaner, this way you can use it whenever you need it and you will save a lot of money versus renting.
The method kills harmful bacteria and fungi that may be residing in the carpet fibers and backing. The difference between Hot Water Extraction and steam cleaning is the water temperature. Steam cleaning requires water temperatures at or above 212 degrees.
It is essential to not over-wet the carpet when using the HWE method for carpet cleaning. Another thing to keep in mind is drying time, which can take up to 12 hours.
Let the carpet dry thoroughly before replacing furniture and allowing the normal exposure to foot traffic. Using the rug or carpet too soon will damage the carpet fibers and encourage the growth of prolific mold and other fungi. That leads to potential health hazards to building occupants.
An alternative to HWE is the Low Moisture method. This form of cleaning involves use of a dry compound that helps speed up drying times. Additionally, three dry-cleaning methods are used for carpet cleaning: Dry Powder, Dry Foam, and Bonnet. Each of these methods has its pros and cons, although they achieve the result of a clean, presentable carpet.
Some rugs need to be dry cleaned, so check with the manufacturer first.
4. After treatment
Once the cleaning process, including the drying, is finished, the carpet should be vacuumed once more to remove any remaining loose dirt. It also brings back the tufts of the carpet to restore its original appearance. Take the following measures to keep that look of freshness and prevent premature wear and tear of floor coverings.
In a home setting, remove your shoes before walking on carpet to keep dirt from accumulating.
It is best to walk around in clean socks or house slippers to prevent oils on the feet getting on the carpet and attracting dirt.
Use a small throw rug in entryways or have a mat to wipe your feet before entering the home. It eliminates or reduces unwanted dirt entering the house with you.
Finally, clean spills up by blotting the area with a white terry towel. Do not rub the spill since that action might damage carpet fibers. These guidelines on how to clean a rug will extend its life and look for a considerable amount of time.