Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Carpet Cleaning 101

I have two kids, one dog, and a husband that wears shoes all of the time.  Answer me this... WHY DID I BUY A HOUSE WITH WHITE BERBER CARPET?  

It seems like I am always fighting this losing battle with stains, high traffic wear and just plain dirt!  

Carpet sprays don't work out too well because the dog is always trying to lick the floor.  Sprinkle powders don't work because then the dog is constantly sniffing the floor and sneezing... why can't he just learn "If I sniff this floor I will sneeze"?  And I really don't relish the thought of having a professional come in and clean my carpets because of the chemicals that they use to clean the carpet which would likely take me right back to a sneezing dog (or worse)!

Which lead me to searching Pinterest for something to try, I must admit when I saw this post I thought "This is too good to be true".  Since I had the ingredients on hand I decided to give it a try!

A large spot right at the top of our entryway stairs!
A small spot on the entryway stairs!

The first step in the direction was to scrape up the liquid, but these stains are long standing... no need for me to do scrape!

Next I needed to sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch on the stain to let absorb for 10 minutes and then vacuum.  I suspected that this was likely a step for fresh stains but since it was in the directions I did it anyway.  I was correct, there was absolutely no change or value in this step for me.  How do I know that?  Well the first stain posted above was treated with the Baking Soda and the second stain was not.

Now for the magical solution:  Mix 1 Tablespoon dish washing liquid (the directions said clear but all I had was purple lavender so I used it instead), with 1 Tablespoon white vinegar and two cups of warm water. Give the mixture a little swirl to mix but don't do it vigorously enough to create bubbles.

Using a rag, I dipped it in the solution and sponged, dabbed and a little forcefully scrubbed the stain.  I couldn't believe it... the carpet looked stain free.  But I thought to myself "It looks clean because it is wet, I wonder if it really did the trick".  So I waited for it to dry, even after it dried I couldn't believe that it did that good of a job.  So then I thought "Give it 24 hours and see if it changes back to the big ugly stain".  24 hours later and still no stain.

The final part of the original directions was to sponge off with cold water and blot dry... who has time for that??? I didn't do the last step.

NO SPOT at the top of the entryway stairs!
NO SPOT on the entryway stairs!
Now I just have to figure out how to clean the rest of the carpets without having to be on my hands and knees going section by section!  Maybe just rent one of those Rug Doctors and use this as my solution instead of their cleaner!

Please checkout Lizzy Writes for additional tips and comments about this process.  It worked for some folks and not for others.  I however am a I firm believer, it worked for my carpet!

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