“How often do you clean your carpets?”
It is one of the most common questions I get.
“How can I freshen up my old carpets?”
“How do I protect my carpet from spills and stains?”
“How do I remove carpet indents?”
“What do I do about moldy odors?”
Of course, the answer depends. So I’ve put together this handy guide to keeping your carpets clean, fresh, and… most importantly… lasting for years and still looking great.
If you want a simple and easy way to keep your carpets fresh and smelling wonderful, this the cheatsheet, including:
- How often to vacuum and clean your carpets
- Natural DIY carpet deodorizer recipe to keep your carpets fresh
- Reversing indentations
- What to do about those musty smells
The Carpet-that-Lasts Cheatsheet
- General – 5-7 days
- High Traffic – 3-5 days
- With Children – 3-5 days
- With Pets – 3-5 days
- With Children and Pets – 3 days
“Frequent vacuuming helps reduce the level of dust mites, which trigger asthma and allergy attacks. It also means getting rid of surface dirt on carpets before it has a chance to get ground in. A vacuum cleaner with strong suction, rotating brushes and a HEPA filter (so the dirt and dust won’t get blown back out in the exhaust) is best. Go back and forth over the same spot several times, especially in high traffic areas, to get all of the dirt and dust.” http://www.healthychild.org/easy-steps/clean-carpets-without-dangerous-chemicals/
- General – 12 months
- High Traffic – 6 months
- With Children – 6 months
- With Pets – 6 months
- With Children and Pets – 3 months
Don’t forget the carpet warranty – recently bought carpets will include instructions for carpet cleaning, often requiring professional cleaning at least once a year.
What’s that Fresh Scent? It Could Be Your Carpets
There’s clean, and then there’s clean smelling.
Imagine waltzing into the room, the carpets are clean, fluffy, and looking fresh… and a natural, uplifting scent gently floats to your nose.
Your day is officially brightened.
Your mood brightens just a little at the natural scent, without a chemically induced Glade plug-in deoderizer in sight.
Your kids are safe, your pets are safe, but there’s that little extra in the air making you feel good.
Cleaning and vacuuming will get rid of the dirt and keep your carpet healthy, but why stop there? Carpets can be the armpits of your home, and could use a little deodorizing of their own to keep them and the entire room smelling wonderful.
A few simple make-at-home, natural solutions will help between cleanings to keep your carpets smelling fresh and wonderful.
They are super-easy, natural, and can shaken over the carpet shortly before vacuuming to further clean and deodorize. Baking soda, as seen in our green cleaning recipe guide, also helps to add a little extra cleaning power. Just vacuum it up after it’s had some time to do it’s magic!
For more information be sure to check out these great resources:
- Keeper of the Home – Natural Homemade Carpet Freshener: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2013/04/natural-homemade-carpet-freshener.html
- Thriving Home – DIY Carpet Deodorizer: http://thrivinghomeblog.com/2011/11/diy-carpet-deodorizer/
- DIY Natural – Homemade Carpet Deodorizer with Essential Oils: http://www.diynatural.com/baking-soda-carpet-cleaner-deodorizer/
- My Mom Made That – DIY Natural Home Deodorizer: http://mymommadethat.com/2016/04/diy-natural-home-deodorizer/
- Sustainable Baby Steps – An Introductory Guide to 1000’s of Uses for Essential Oils: http://www.sustainablebabysteps.com/uses-for-essential-oils.html
- Nature Moms – 45+ Every Day Uses for Essential Oils: http://naturemoms.com/blog/2013/02/28/45-every-day-uses-for-essential-oils/
- Wellness Mama – Risks and Uses of Essential Oils: http://wellnessmama.com/26519/risks-essential-oils/
“Oops!” Emergency Response: Stains, Spills, and Sticky Messes
Of course, not all cleaning is set to a schedule.
- Your beloved guests spilled that delicious, fruity wine…
- That little guy dropped his gum right on the carpet with that oh-so-innocent look…
- The furry beast you just can’t stay mad at peed inside… yet again…
Alert the emergency response team!
Quick action is critical for those sudden surprises to keep your carpet clean and get the best results before you call in the professionals.
Critical Stain and Spills Quick Tips:
- Carefully pick up the solids, taking care not to spread or rub it in
- Don’t scrub – carefully blot the stain!
- Be gentle and patient
- Test stain solutions on an out-of-the-way section to make sure it doesn’t bleach or discolor
(Stay tuned for our complete reference to natural cleaning recipes for your carpet, rug, or upholstery)
But be careful. If it’s just not coming out, hire a professional. Overdoing the DIY stain removal can make the situation worse, and actually make it harder for the professional to clean out the stain.
Quick Tip: Magically Reversing Indentations in Carpet
Carpet indentations not rebounding to that smooth even surface you want? I know, as soon as you notice them they stand out like a giant zit on the face of your carpet. But… as we revealed in our article on reversing carpet indentations, there’s a magic trick to try.
If nothing else worked, try placing small cubes of ice in the indentations. (Don’t overdo it! Just small pieces so you don’t soak your carpet) As they melt, watch them help bring those downtrodden indents back to life.
“Oh no, I’m Smelling Mold!”
You know the smell…
That musty, moldy smell that seems to infuse the room.
Yet it’s not just the smell, it’s the health effects…
“In 2004 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition. The IOM also found limited or suggestive evidence linking indoor mold exposure and respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children.”
– the CDC »
So what do you do?
Sad news, friends… if mold has truly set hold, it’s already too late. So clean early and often and don’t ever leave a water saturated carpet.
If you sense a slight moldy smell happening, get it professionally cleaned right away in the hopes you got it early enough.
Too often, here’s what happens:
Jarod thinks, “That rental steam cleaner is so cheap, I’ll just do clean my carpets myself.”
He lugs the big heavy machine into his living room and jumps into running it thinking,”How hard can it be, these things should be pretty foolproof since it’s a rental.”
Next thing he knows, the carpet is dripping wet for hours…. for a day… then two days…
The moisture is seeping into his furniture and starting to mold in the carpet. Mold spores are spreading deep in the fibers. It’s growing into the padding beneath the carpet. The problem is all of the microscopic pores in the fibers and the padding for the mold spores to hide in and make it impossible to thoroughly remove.
If you catch it early enough, a good, thorough carpet cleaner can help. If it’s really set in, it may need to be replaced.
But there are some natural methods to at least help with just some musty smell:
- The deoderizer recipe shown above, given ample time to do it’s it thing, before vacuuming thoroughly.
- Diluted white vinegar – equal parts water and vinegar sprayed lightly to the musty area and blotted up with a white cloth or sponge. Dry as quickly as possible, and check for any discoloration effects first.
If the musty smell is coming from the padding beneath the carpet, I’d hire a professional.