Most modern carpets these days are stain-resistant because the manufacturers have treated them during the production stage through various methods.
However, that doesn’t mean you carpet will never become stained. On the contrary, over the lifespan of your carpet, the fibres will trap all manner of dirt, oils, mud and bacteria which will slowly degrade and discolour your carpet, not mention, cause it to give off a variety of odours and smells. All is not lost, though, because by using a few tips and tricks, and delving into all manner of I-never-thought-of-that ideas, there are many ways to keep your carpet as fresh as the day it was laid. And of course, a large part of that includes steam cleaning.
Some tips on steam cleaning your carpet
Carpets can be sensitive things. Any little abuse can wear them down, tear them or cause ugly looking stains. With certain types of carpet, a steam cleaner can be considered abuse. Let’s face it – how would you react if somebody poured the contents of your kettle over your head or held your face over the escaping steam? You wouldn’t be happy I guess. And so carpets can react in the same way too. Without the swearing.
Before setting your steam cleaner loose on your carpet you’ll want to test it on an out of the way patch just see how it reacts. This might be on a bit of spare carpet you have hanging around or in a corner behind a door. This is especially true if your steam cleaner uses a detergent such as the Vax steam mop or cleaner range. They say it’s perfectly fine, and it probably is, but do you want to try it your expensive carpet without testing it first?
Once you’re happy that your carpet isn’t going to melt – then it’s time to get to work. And work is the important word here. Your steam mop or cleaner will glide effortlessly over the tiles in the kitchen, but carpets tend to give off a bit of resistance. And depending on the style or type of carpet, a bit could become a lot. If you have obvious stains you want removing, then expect to be back and forth a lot, bending over often and depending on your model of steam mop, back and forth to the kitchen to refill the water tank. With the heat and steam from the cleaner itself, it won’t be long until you build up a bit of a sweat and the job will put a bit of physical pressure on your body. So before you start – do a bit of stretching and bending to get yourself ready for this physically demanding chore.
Don’t be adding general detergents you bought off the shelf to your steam cleaner without contacting both the manufacturers of your carpet and cleaner first. Different carpets and cleaners work in different ways and there’s no guarantee that a 3rd party chemical will do anything good for your carpet or steamer.
It was mentioned above that some makes of steamers – such as those made by Vax – do suggest the use of their own detergent. And only their own. Of course they do – they want future on-going sales from you. Again, check with the manufacturer of your steamer if you want to use something different. It should be fine to go ahead anyway, but there is always the possibility that some chemical in another detergent might react badly with something in your steam cleaner which could lessen its life. Unlikely, but you never know. Worth checking anyway.
Tricks When Steam Cleaning Your Carpet
It might be obvious to most reading this, but a steam mop or cleaner isn’t a vacuum. They don’t suck up dirt and bits of paper. Through the power of hot steam, the break down dirt, grime and grease and then hopefully mop it up. Before using your steamer, run the vacuum cleaner over your carpet to pick up all the bits that will otherwise get ignored. This should be even more the case if you’re planning on focusing on a particularly stubborn stain.
If you don’t use the vacuum first, you’ll end up forcing any dirt, mud or bits and pieces deep into the carpet and into hard to reach places when you apply the powerful forceful steam and racking up future problems.
In addition, the best stain is the stain that never had chance to take hold in the first place. Make it a matter of course to blot stains the moment they happen and reduce their impact on your carpet straight away. You can use club soda or a mix of one part vinegar with three parts of water to attack colourful stains, like wine or juice, as they happen to lessen the effect they have on your carpet.
Keeping Your Carpet Clean
We all know that vacuuming and steam cleaning your carpets is one of the most fun chores you can do in your home, but life would be so much easier if we didn’t have to do it so often. The longer you can manage to keep your carpet clean and steam free, the less often you’ll have to pull out the steam cleaner to clean up the mess.
So place a doormat in front of every entrance to the room and maybe include a little reminder to friends and families to wipe their feet on their way in. Even if people do forget to wipe, the doormat will pick up a little dirt from shoes that would otherwise would have ended up on your carpet.You could, of course, ban any outdoor shoes from walking on your lovely clean carpet completely. It might be a bit extreme but some people are known to do it. Whatever your plan, shoes carry dirt and so what you can do to limit the shoes impact on your carpet, the better.
Stains come about when something is spilled on your carpet. Wine, juice and coffee are usually the main cause of stains in peoples homes, when people put a glass or cup down and then it gets kicked over. I’ve done it a million times and no doubt you have too. Always put glasses and cups on side tables when you’re not drinking from them – and ideally with a table mat to (to protect your table!). There are other types of stains to look out for such as food or oil stains (sometimes people who work with engines can have it on the shoes or clothing). The same tricks as above work with these type of stains and you should attempt to limit your carpets exposure to them as best you can.
Look – lets face it – no matter your efforts your carpet is not going to be as pristine as it was when first laid for the entirety of it’s life. Accidents happen and at some point you’re probably going to have to resort to steam cleaning your carpet. If you follow some of the tips above, then you’ll do much to keep your carpet in the best possible condition it can possibly be.