Maybe I’m in the minority when it comes to floor coloring, but whether it’s hardwood or carpet, I prefer a deep, dark color. The carpet wouldn’t be quite as awful if it wasn’t that typical, oatmeal-puke looking color that seems to be the standard for most rental apartments. It’s not so bad when it’s brand new, but with normal wear and tear, I just can never get it looking the way it did when I first moved in. But I can try. Renting a carpet cleaner or hiring a local company to do this for you can be costly, and while sometimes even necessary, I have learned some tips while living here to try to get my carpet looking its very best.First of all, while as obvious as this may seem, it is really important to get a good vacuum cleaner. I’ve gone through about three vacuum cleaners since I’ve lived here, so I should probably start listening to my own advice. In between vacuum purchases, though, I’ve noticed that sweeping the carpet works just as well, maybe even a little better, than a vacuum cleaner. It’s definitely more exhausting than sweeping tile or hardwood floors, but no piece of dirt gets left behind as a broom can really get in all the nooks and crannies that a vacuum sometimes cannot. My advice for those who cannot or do not want to purchase an expensive, long-lasting and durable vacuum: Do not settle for a less expensive one in the meantime. It will most likely still leave things behind that it shouldn’t. Save up for a good one, and use a broom in the meantime. And it may sound a little strange, but a lint roller for a final touch works great, too.
Before you begin vacuuming (or sweeping) begin your carpet cleaning routine by eliminating odors. Carpets seem to have a tendency of trapping odors, and this is especially true if you have pets. I wanted a cheap and non-toxic way to get rid of these odors, and I discovered that baking soda works wonders. Buy a large box and sprinkle the majority of it throughout your home. Let it sit in the carpet for a few hours so it can absorb the odors before cleaning it up; the longer, the better. I recommend doing it before bed and cleaning it up in the morning.
To clean it up, simply vacuum or sweep it away. After a few hours, most of it has absorbed and your carpet smells new and fresh again. If you have a flea infestation in your home, you can do the exact same thing with Comet powder. However, I’d recommend not having your pets around when you do this – unlike baking soda, Comet isn’t quite as gentle (it has the power to kill fleas and their eggs, after all) and you don’t want them walking around in it and liking their paws afterwards. My mother has used Comet a few times in the past to accomplish this, and it does a great job.
Now that your carpet is odor-free and cleaned of all dust, dirt, and other miscellaneous debris, it’s time to eliminate any stains. This is one reason why I hate the color of my carpet – any little stain shows up. If you spill something or forget to take your shoes off when you come in, the evidence will be obvious. One thing I swear by for removing stains in carpet is Resolve.
On tough stains, you may have to repeat the process a few times, but it will get the job done. Go through your home and thoroughly spray any stains you see, letting the cleaner set for about ten minutes or so. Go back with some paper towels and clean up any remaining cleaner, and then repeat the process once or twice more. Before the final clean-up, I like to lightly spritz resolve around the whole carpet and let it set for a few minutes before blotting it up with paper towels. This is a great way to remove any normal wear and tear that has become apparent, and will help to freshen it up a bit and make it look new again. When using Resolve (or any carpet cleaner) for the first time in a new home, be sure to do a test spot somewhere in the corner of the room to ensure that the color won’t be altered.
If you have any carpet cleaning tips, please share!
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