DIY Projects for Frugal Home Owners: Carpet Cleaning Basics

This article is a part of the series “DIY Projects for Frugal Home Owners”, an attempt to get me (and hopefully a few readers) more interested in handling simple DIY projects around the house and saving some money along the way.

No matter who you are, there is a good chance that your home will get dirty from time to time. This holds true even if you clean your home each and every day. The most common area for dirt and grime are the carpets since it gets the most wear and tear. Carpets are what people walk on every day and are always coming in contact with dirty shoes, grease, dust, pets etc. The good thing is that you do not have to live with this type of dirt in your home. You can clean your own carpets very easily in order to present a better home.

Some homeowners think that they need to hire a professional to clean their carpets, but nothing could be further from the truth. Do it yourself projects, such as cleaning carpets is quite easy to complete. Sure, you are going to have to put a bit of time and sweat into these projects, but in the end you will be glad that you did this on your own. A job well done is a reward in itself – if that isn’t good enough there is all the money you can save by doing things yourself :)

Cleaning the carpets is all about getting the deep down dirt. The first step however is to start with vacuum cleaning to get rid of the surface dirt. I would highly recommend investing in a good vacuum cleaner. I have been drooling over a Dyson for a while, but we decided to settle for a Bissell (that was available on sale). The problem with such run of the mill vacuum cleaners is that after a few uses, they seem to lose the suction or worse, start to kick up dust. By the time we have kids, it will probably be time to retire this vacuum cleaner anyway, and maybe then we will buy a Dyson.

A neat trick I learnt from the time that we called maid service is to use a carpet cleaning and deodorizing powder. I think she used the “Resolve” brand and I really liked how fresh it made the room feel. It is supposed to contain absorbent granules that attract the tiny dirt particles in the carpet to attach to it. And since the granules are heavy and not “stuck in” they can be vacuumed right off. Leave it in for a few minutes and then vacuum, to get a clean fresh smelling carpet.

If you have set-in stains, you may need to spray a stain remover and scrub the area first before using a vacuum cleaner. Personally, we have a bit of an obsessive compulsive streak and we keep a can of carpet stain remover handy. Anytime there is a spill we immediately spray the foam and scrub it with the brush attached to the canister and then mop it up with a towel or paper napkin. Since we do not usually allow a stain to set in, I do not have much experience with removing set-in stains, but here is an index for removing pretty much any stain that you can think of from your carpet.

When regularly used, good vacuum cleaners can be quite effective in removing surface dirt and preventing it from settling in. However, if you prefer a more deeper cleaning, then it is time to get a heavy duty rug scrubber. You have two options here. You can either buy a rug scrubber so that you can use it whenever you want in the future, or you can rent one. If you anticipate deep-cleaning your carpets on a regular basis (got toddlers?), you might want to consider buying one. But in most cases, I suspect renting is going to work out just fine.

Rug scrubbers are available for rent in most big chain grocery stores as well as home improvement stores like Home Depot, Sears, Lowes etc. For a 24-hour period rental, they cost anywhere from $19.99 to $29.99 depending on the type of equipment you choose. You can choose to buy a deep cleaning solution or use warm water and soap (or a mild shampoo). The rug scrubber (“Rug Doctor”, “White track” etc) often comes with instructions about how to use it. If the instructions require you to stay off of the area for 12 to 24 hours make sure you plan your cleaning schedule accordingly.

Cleaning carpets is part of being a homeowner. Dirt will get into the house no matter how careful you are. But if you do what it takes to rid of it, you can reap some great benefits while trying to sell your stain-free house some day. Even though prevention is the preferred choice, the cure is not all that hard. The only thing that it needs is a bit of elbow grease :)

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Marsha said...

I just cleaned the carpets in my house this weekend! (well, all but one room)

I used a Bissell upright that steam cleans. I decided it was worth purchasing this machine - it's about the same price as one professional cleaning, and, of course, I can use it many times.

It was minimal work - operating the machine is about as much work as running the vaccuum cleaner except for the extra work of emptying the water tank. The carpets look brand new!

Marina said...

Carpet cleaning tips:

Regular vacuuming is not enough to ensure a clean and hygienic carpet. Dirt particles and oil particles and smudges cling to the carpet fibers. Professional hot water extraction process every 12 to 18 months is what we would recommend your carpet cleaning needs, which will ensure that your carpet exudes a fresh appearance always.

Looking for more information on carpet cleaning

check out your guide to carpet cleaning.