Carpets are a frequently seen object in many homes worldwide, including in Spain. This is because, besides looking very beautiful and giving a decorative touch to any room, they help insulate the heat during the cold seasons when the temperature drops. But, how complicated it is always to keep them impeccable!
Dirt marks, accumulated dust, daily stains, colour changes, irregular wear and tear, all these factors cause it to lose its initial appearance over time and begin to look dull and dirty, despite having been washed recently (especially when there are babies, dogs or cats). Therefore, it is essential to learn how to properly clean a carpet and keep it looking like it was just purchased.
Whether pile, natural or synthetic fibre, wool, cotton or ecological materials, in this article we reveal the best tricks to clean and give special care to all types of carpets depending on their material, size and how dirty they are. Follow these recommendations, and you will never again suffer for these significant pieces of the home. Go for it!
What carpet materials are there, and how should they be cleaned?
For anyone no secret that almost every home area can be a carpet, starting with the living room, hallways and bedrooms. However, the use may vary concerning the characteristics of each family and the place where it is located. If there are pets or small children, the ideal is to opt for a good quality carpet that is as resistant as possible, with solid colours that can withstand several washing items without wearing out.It is also essential that each material receives proper care, as well as special cleaning and products that do not mistreat it, thus ensuring a longer conservation and will look, in addition to clean, in an impeccable state. Note the following:
Carpets made of natural materials
- Wool: One of the great advantages of wool is that it is antibacterial and anti-allergic, does not accumulate static electricity, absorbs moisture and is an insulator. It is recommended in environments with the constant traffic of people, such as living rooms or bedrooms. To clean them, it is best to shake, vacuum without the brush to avoid damaging the fibres and if there are any stains or heavy soiling, rub with a tissue dampened with water, neutral soap and salt (to avoid mixing colours), then dry quickly. We recommend harvesting it in summer, so insects do not damage it (such as moths, for example).
- Cotton: Like the previous one, it also does not accumulate static electricity, resists high temperatures (it is insulating) and absorbs moisture very well, which is why it is so widely used in bathrooms. It is ideal in places with little/medium traffic, for example, bedrooms or bathrooms. For basic cleaning, simply vacuum both sides from the centre outwards (and vice versa). If you want a deep cleaning, rub with white vinegar and water.
- Jute: This is another natural material with a soft touch and great resistance to daily wear and tear, but it deteriorates with humidity. It is widely recommended for living rooms, bedrooms and even outdoor environments (as long as they are covered). Cleaning is simple; vacuuming both sides (top and bottom) and removing dirt with a damp cloth and salt water will be enough. Remember that they are not washable, so do not wet or submerge them, as they will be damaged by water.
- Viscose: It comes from wood or cotton fibers treated with chemical elements. Its texture is very soft and silky, which is why it is not suitable for wet places such as the bathroom but is suitable for dressing rooms or living rooms. This fabric should be dry cleaned so as not to mistreat it, as it is quite delicate.
- Sisal: It is one of the most outstanding for its great resistance to wear and tear and long life, ideal for central rooms or bedrooms. It does not absorb moisture very well or accumulate static electricity. It is advisable to clean it regularly with a sponge or cloth and salt water, without rubbing too much, as the fibres could come loose.
- Bamboo: This is a material that, in addition to being very versatile, is ecological, comfortable, antibacterial, hygienic and very resistant to twisting when dry. They are great in living rooms, dressing rooms, bedrooms and even covered exteriors.
Cleaning is simple; just vacuum them and apply some special oils to preserve the colour. If they are very dirty, they can be washed in a washing machine with neutral soap in a cold water program (without spinning) or by hand. On the other hand, if they are very large, you can brush them with degreasing soap, rinse and let them dry in the sun.
- PVC: often called vinyl or templon. It is highly resistant to deterioration and is hypoallergenic, antibacterial and does not accumulate static electricity. It withstands humidity and constant passage, so it is suitable for kitchens, bathrooms and outdoors (but not in direct sunlight). This type of carpet can be vacuumed, swept or washed with water directly.
- Polypropylene: This synthetic fibre is anti-allergic and very strong, highly sought after for its great resistance to daily wear and tear that causes discolouration and UV rays, for this reason, it is ideal for outdoor use, either at the entrance of the house, porches, patios or terraces. To clean it, it can be washed directly with abundant water, brushed with neutral soap and dried in the sun.
- Vinyl: they stand out for having prints, being very colorful and eye-catching. For cleaning, it is advisable to use specific shampoos or soaps for this type of material, or, failing that, clean only with water when dealing with dust or dirt that is easy to remove.
Homemade tricks to clean heavily soiled carpets
If due to wear, sun or time, the original colour of your carpet has been consumed, we have good news for you: there are techniques to recover it and clean a carpet easily and quickly (and without spending too much money). Learn more about them below:
- Another very effective technique to remove stains is the white vinegar and warm water. With an atomizer, apply this mixture and rub the surface with a cloth or a soft bristle brush and let it act for 5 minutes, remove the product with a dry cloth and vacuum as usual.
- For dirt that seems impossible to remove, mix water and coarse salt in a bowl until a thick “paste” is formed. Pour it on the carpet and spread it out until it dries. After this time, rub with a brush over the entire surface and clean with a vacuum cleaner.
- In case the carpet is dark, spread coffee sediments (a little wet) and remove them with the vacuum cleaner when it dries.
- If the carpet smells bad and is very dirty, sprinkle a little baking soda and salt on the surface, rub gently with a cloth and let it act for an hour. Then clean normally with a vacuum cleaner to remove debris. You can add a touch of essential oil sprays such as cinnamon, jasmine or lavender.
- In case it has been stained with any liquid, the first thing to do is to clean it quickly with absorbent paper, never with a wet sponge! It can cause the stain to spread and become even worse.
- If the stains are caused by oil or grease, sprinkle a little cornstarch or corn starch and let it act for 40 minutes. With the vacuum cleaner, remove the product and reinforce the stain with a brush or sponge. You will see that it will be easier and faster.
- To remove wine or coffee stains, you can mix a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid with 50 ml of hydrogen peroxide and rub the stain with a soft bristle brush. Allow to act for 30 minutes and wipe with a damp cloth to finish.
- If your carpet has gum stuck to it (something I, unfortunately, went through), don’t pull it roughly. Harden the gum with ice until it melts, making it easier to remove.
- And, if pen ink has fallen on it for some reason, don’t despair! With a clean cloth soaked with liquid milk wipe the stain, trying to “grab” it. Could you not rub it? It may worsen the situation.
Recommendations for carpet care at home
- Turn the furniture and tables from time to time, this way, you will avoid that with the passing of time, the weight of the furniture and tables will mark it and wear it out.
- Clean the dust quickly as soon as you notice it, thus preventing it from ruining the fibres and caking on the carpet. Vacuum from time to time only with the tube, not with the brush, as it may affect the fibre structure.
- When you decide to store it (in case it is a winter carpet), take it to a dry cleaner for a thorough cleaning and store it rolled up in newspaper to absorb moisture.