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Tips on Do-It-Yourself Carpet Cleaning

Everyone knows that a deep cleaning of carpets done every year or so will keep carpets looking fresh and prolong their useful life.  And many people find that doing the carpet cleaning themselves better suits their schedules and budgets than hiring professional carpet cleaners.  If you decided to take on the challenge of steam cleaning your carpets, consider the following tips to make sure your end results will meet your expectations.

First, before beginning the deep cleaning process, remove as much furniture as possible from the room, and do a thorough vacuuming.  The more soil you remove before cleaning your carpet, the better your results will be.

Check the several cleaning systems that are available for rent before making your selection.  Some rental companies have cleaning equipment that is similar to what the professionals use; however, the equipment that is often available for rent in retail or grocery stores may not have enough power to extract all the cleaning solution from the carpet.  The equipment should have enough vacuum capacity to allow the carpet to dry within 12 hours after cleaning.   If you are uncertain about the ability of any equipment to do a top quality job, consult with your carpet manufacturer or retailer for their recommendations.

Avoid over-wetting the carpet.  Too much moisture can cause damage to the carpet or its backing, and prolonged dampness may encourage the development of mildew and bacterial.  Most problems resulting from do-it-yourself cleaning stem from using too much water or detergent.

Your carpet manufacturer or retailer can recommend which products are best suited for your specific carpeting, but double check to make certain it has a pH less than 10, and proclaims to have no sticky residue.  If your carpet contains wool or other natural fibers, chose a cleaning solution specially formulated for them.  A clear water rinse after the cleaning will should remove any remnants of the cleaning solution.

If your carpet is “stain resistant,” it must be cleaned with products formulated for that purpose, or the stain resistance will be impaired and the carpet’s warranty may be voided.  Also note:  the warranty may be voided if not professionally cleaned regardless of the stain protection.  Do not use any cleaning solutions that contain bleaches or brighteners, since they may discolor the carpet.  Avoid using any silicone-based anti-soil treatments -- their long term benefits are minimal, and can cause real damage to your carpeting.

Help your carpet dry as quickly and completely as possible.  You can use fans to move air across the carpeting, and a dehumidifier or air conditioner to pull moisture out of the air.  The quicker the carpet dries, the better.  12 hours is a reasonable time to expect drying to complete; 24 hours is too long.

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