Like most things, the lifespan and beauty of your carpet depends greatly on how well you take care of it. Proper cleaning and maintenance will add several years of attractive life to your carpet. In general, proper maintenance can include: vacuuming on a regular basis and periodic shampooing. Quality results of do-it-yourself work will take some time, but if you follow these steps and guidelines, you will see your carpet come back to life right before your eyes.
Before you begin cleaning your carpet, remove any furniture that might be in the way. Next, vacuum the entire area until it has picked up the majority of dirt and debris. Regular vacuuming is essential as it helps maintain the surface appearance of your carpet, while at the same time removing different soils that can damage your carpet's fibers. Preferably, vacuuming should be done at least once a week throughout your home and twice a week in heavily soiled areas. However, vacuuming alone is not enough to keep your carpet looking vibrant because it only cleans surface dirt.
Whether you are using your own carpet shampoo machine or a rental, the equipment should have enough power to suck up most of the liquids and cleaners out of the carpet. It's important, during DIY carpet cleaning, that you make sure the carpets do not become overly saturated as this can cause damage to your carpet and could eventually lead to health problems for you and your family. Note that all carpets are different and some can claim a high resistance to stains, so you may need to find a specific carpet cleaning machine for that type of material.
Now, before using the carpet shampoo machine, spray your carpet using a pre-spray or spot cleaner, paying close attention to those heavily soiled areas. This process will help cut down on the amount of carpet shampoo needed. After you spray down the carpet, fill the machine's hose or reservoir with hot water (not boiling). It is a good idea to read over the instructions on how to use the machine and how much carpet shampoo is recommended for use. Just remember, you don't want a carpet that's wet for a long period of time. You can help maximize the amount of water removed from the carpet by making a water-extraction pass with the water spray on, then again with the spray off.
Ideally, your carpet should be dry within eight hours. You can help speed up this process by circulating the air in the room with fans. If possible, open a few windows for fresh air. Your carpet should not remain wet for more than 12 hours. If the carpet is oversaturated, use a wet pick-up vacuum to help remove any excess moisture. Be sure not to allow any traffic on the carpet until it's fully dry to the touch. After the drying process, give the carpet a once-over with the vacuum and remember to continue vacuuming on a regular basis.
Carpeting is an important element to many households, and chances are you have spent a great deal of money on yours. So protect your investments and take the time to give your carpet the proper care and maintenance it needs. You will be surprised at the long-term results regular vacuuming and shampooing can bring – not only to your carpet, but to your entire home.