Carpet Cleaning

Deep Cleaning When, Why & Who

Daily vacuuming is the most important cleaning activity, but restorative cleaning must be performed to remove stubborn or embedded soil. It is recommended that carpet be cleaned using a restorative cleaning method every 12 months before soiling shows. Use a cleaning method recommended by the carpet manufacturer to maintain your warranty.
Professional Cleaning Services should be considered before your carpet and rugs begin to show soil. Letting carpet and rugs become excessively soiled will make cleaning more difficult and shorten the carpet's useful life.

Obtain recommendations from satisfied friends, carpet retailers, the Better Business Bureau, and local business groups for reliable,certified cleaning professionals in your area.

In order to determine the amount and type of cleaning services needed, have the cleaning representative come to your home for a visual inspection. He or she can check the carpet for problem stains or excessively soiled areas that require additional attention.

Obtain a written agreement for all work to be performed. Under normal circumstances, there should be no extra charge for moving furniture,preconditioning, and routine spot and stain removal.

Beware of pricing that is "too good to be true." Professionals should charge only for services that are authorized in writing before cleaning begins. Most cleaning is based on the total number of square feet to be cleaned. Many firms have cleaning specials; however, pricing by the room or low prices quoted over the phone may have hidden restrictions or additional cost add-ons. A reliable firm will tell you the steps needed to clean your carpet and provide a written agreement before work begins. If you question the need for any required add-ons, contact the carpet manufacturer for assistance.

Do-It-Yourself Cleaning

For any do-it-yourself cleaning method, the following points are critical:
  • Always vacuum first to remove as much dry soil as possible.
  • Follow instructions carefully!
Consider the following precautions with a wet-cleaning method:
  • Remove furniture from the room before cleaning or, if impractical,place plastic film under and around the legs of chairs, tables, and other furniture to prevent rust or furniture stains from developing on the carpet.
  • Use only the recommended cleaning solution strength. Stronger solutions may cause accelerated re-soiling. Be sure to rinse all detergent from the carpet to prevent accelerated re-soiling.
  • Do not over-wet the carpet. Over-wetting may cause separation of the backing, separation of the seams, shrinkage, discoloration, and odor.
  • The carpet should be dry within 12 hours. Provide proper ventilation or use fans to accelerate the drying process and exhaust any existing solution-related fragrances.
  • Allow the carpet to dry completely before walking on it.

Spot Cleaning

Stain-resist treatments provided on most carpets are designed to repel most acid-based dyes in many, but not all, foods and beverages. With proper patience and prompt attention, most common household spills can be removed. For successful spot removal, the following suggestions should be followed. It may be necessary to contact a carpet-cleaning professional for assistance with stubborn stains that require a great deal of extra effort to remove.

Spot Removal Procedures

Act Quickly! Most carpet available today has been treated with a stain-resist treatment, so many spills can be removed if immediate action is taken. The longer the delay, the higher the probability of a spill becoming a permanent stain. Remember, staining is influenced by many factors, and no carpet is completely stain proof. Complete removal of many common spills may require repeated use of a single solution, or the use of a combination of solutions. Always use the solutions in the concentrations recommended. Continue using each solution as long as there is noticeable improvement or transfer of the spill. Follow the simple steps carefully, in sequence.

Spot Removal Steps

Step 1
Blot liquids with a dry, white, absorbent cloth or white (no printing) paper towels.
Do not scrub the area! Scrubbing can cause pile distortion in the affected area. Continue to use a dry cloth or paper towels until the area is completely dry. For semi-solids, gently scrape up with a rounded spoon. Solids should be broken up and vacuumed until completely removed. If the spot can be identified, locate the substance in the Spot Removal Guide below, and follow the directions carefully.

Step 2
Pretest any spot removal agent in an inconspicuous area to make certain the solution will not damage the fiber or the dye in carpet. After applying several drops to the testing area, hold a white cloth on the wet area for 10 seconds. Examine the carpet and cloth for color transfer, color change, or damage to the carpet. If a change occurs,select another cleaning solution.

Step 3
Apply a small amount of the selected cleaning solution to a white cloth, allow it to sit for about 10 minutes and work in gently. Work from the edges of the spill to the center to prevent the spill from spreading. Do not scrub! Blot, absorbing as much as possible, and repeat if necessary. Continue using the first cleaning solution as long as there is a transfer of the spill to the cloth. It is not necessary to use all of the cleaning solutions if the first solution removes the spill. Be patient! Complete removal of the spill may require repeating the same step several times.

Step 4
After the spill has been completely removed, rinse the affected area thoroughly with cold water, and blot with a dry cloth until all solution has been removed. Some cleaning solutions will cause rapid soiling if the solution is not completely removed. Apply a one-half inch layer of white paper towels to the affected area, and weigh down with a flat, heavy object that will not fade. Continue to change paper towels as needed.

(Note: Areas of soiling that appear after spot cleaning are most often caused by inadequate removal of spot removal solutions or spills that leave a sticky residue.)

Descriptions of Spot Removal Solutions

Always use cleaning solutions in the concentration recommended, not any stronger.

Select a spot removal solution that does not contain optical brighteners that can bleach or discolor fibers.

Dry Cleaning Fluid/Solvent - Use caution when using a dry cleaning fluid or solvent. A nonflammable, spot removal solution is preferred. Transfer to the spot with a white absorbent cloth - not by pouring the fluid directly on the carpet. Direct contact may destroy the backing.

Nail Polish Remover - Use a nail polish remover without conditioners.

Detergent Solution - Mix 1/4 teaspoon of a clear dish-washing liquid(non-bleach, non-lanolin, no optical brighteners) with 1 cup of warm water. Allow the detergent solution to remain on the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes to lift the stain. It may be necessary to rinse with warm water several times to completely remove residues. Never use an automatic dishwasher detergent because many contain bleaching solutions that can destroy the carpet color and damage fibers. Never use a laundry detergent of any type, because laundry detergents may contain optical brighteners (fluorescent dyes) that dye the fiber.

Warm Water Rinse - Warm water should be used in most cases for rinsing.

White Vinegar Solution - Mix 1 cup white vinegar with 1 cup of water.

Ammonia Solution - Mix 1 tablespoon of household ammonia with a cup of water. Be aware that ammonia, if used improperly, can cause a color change. Be sure to test a hidden area.

Spot Removal Solutions - Some available carpet cleaning solutions may have a pH higher than 10 and/or optical brighteners which may distort the carpet color voiding out manufacturers warranties. Also, some available carpet cleaning solutions may leave a detergent residue causing carpet to quickly re-soil. If you choose to use an available carpet cleaning solution, follow the label directions and be sure to rinse, rinse, rinse.

Call a Professional - Refer to Deep Cleaning When, Why & Who above.

Vacuum - All dry spills should be scraped up with a blunt object and then vacuumed to lift and remove as much of the remaining substance as possible. Pouring any liquid onto a dry spill can create additional problems.

What about difficult spots?

Unusual spots and stains may require specialized removal procedures to avoid permanent damage to fibers or dyes. A carpet-cleaning professional may be able to restore the original appearance with special treatments, re-dye the affected area, or replace the damaged area.

Animal Urine, Feces, and Vomit - (Use the following procedure only after following the chart below). Blot the excess liquid and use a rounded spoon to scrape up semi-solids. Apply several applications of water, and then apply a solution of one part white vinegar and one part water. Blot excess liquid and dry rapidly. If the spot remains, apply a detergent solution and blot. Reapply the vinegar solution, and allow itt o remain on the spot for about 15 minutes. Blot excess liquid and dry rapidly. Not all urine stains can be easily removed and may require enzymes (found in pet shops or from veterinarians) to remove the lingering odor.

The preceding treatment is effective on the majority of fresh spots. If a color change takes place, consult a carpet-cleaning professional about possibly re-dyeing the area.

Spot Removal Guide

Acid Substances - Strong acids, such as battery acids and some tile-cleaning compounds require prompt action to prevent serious damage to carpet. First, flush the affected area with water. Using a white absorbent cloth blot up the excess liquid and repeat the process several times until the acid is diluted and washed away. Finally, blot the area with a solution prepared by adding one (1) tablespoon of baking soda to one (1) quart of warm water. Rinse again. Dry the carpet as quickly and thoroughly as possible.

Acne Medications - Benzoyl peroxide is a strong oxidizing solution used in most acne medications and is capable of destroying most carpet dyes. Benzoyl peroxide can be transferred through direct contact of the skin with the carpet, or through the shedding of skin scales containing benzoyl peroxide. Because of a slow reaction time, this chemical will remain on the carpet fibers for months before activation by moisture or humidity. As the chemical reaction continues, the center of the affected area can be bleached white with a pink or orange halo around the outer edges.

Bleaching Solutions - Many household cleaning products contain bleaching ingredients that can destroy carpet color, leaving a white or yellow discoloration.

Blood - To remove blood, use only cool cleaning solutions to prevent setting the stain.

Burns - Burn damage can be remedied only by reweaving, re-tufting, or re-sectioning the damaged area. However, an area of charred carpet can be improved by carefully clipping off blackened ends of tufts, using small, sharp scissors. Trim surrounding tufts to minimize indentations.

Candle Wax or Chewing Gum - Freeze with ice by placing the ice in a metal pan and setting pan on top of wax or gum. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes, until frozen. Break with a blunt instrument (e.g. a knife handle). Vacuum up the pieces. Repeat until removed. Using alcohol or a dry cleaning solvent on a white absorbent cloth, blot the spot to dissolve the remaining residue and remove with fingers.

Dye Stains - Many beverages, medicines, cosmetics, foods and other liquids contain dyes that can be absorbed into the fibers, making removal very slow or impossible. Follow dye spot-removal procedures on the chart. If removal does not appear to be possible, call a carpet-cleaning professional for advice. Sometimes the stain can be hidden by spot dyeing, re-tufting, or by repairing the affected area.

Ink (Ballpoint Pen) - Follow recommended procedures on the Spot Removal Guide to contain the spill, using rubbing alcohol as the dry cleaning solvent. Rubbing alcohol (90% isopropyl) can be used as a dry cleaning solvent by applying with a cloth or towel. Do not pour the alcohol directly on the carpet.

Inkjet Cartridge - Blot with dry absorbent white cloth, use a wet vac or extraction machine to remove as much of the residue as possible. Blot with rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) applied with a white cloth, if stain remains, blot with household hydrogen peroxide. (Slight bleaching may occur.) If no change in affected area, consult with a carpet carpet professional.

Insecticides - Some insecticides may attack red dyes used in beige carpet leaving the blue and yellow dyes, which together form permanent green colorations.

Mustard - Some mustards contain very strong dyes that are difficult to remove. Quick action will minimize staining. It may be necessary to remove the stained area and insert an undamaged section of carpet.

Optical Brighteners - Any cleaning solution with optical brighteners should not be used to clean carpet because they contain fluorescent dyes that may bleach or discolor carpet fibers. They may exhibit a lavender cast in areas where the solution has been used and can eventually oxidize, causing a yellow discoloration on the fiber.

Plant Foods - Many plant foods contain oxidizing ingredients that alter carpet dyes, leaving green, yellow, or brown discolorations. These stains typically occur near the carpet backing and migrate up the pile fiber.

Rust - Use one part white vinegar and one part water. Using a dry white cloth, dip into solution and dab solution onto affected area. Immediately apply 1/2 inch layer of white paper towels to the affected area, and weigh down with a flat, heavy object (that will not fade). Leave for approximately 30 minutes changing paper towels as needed. Repeat as long as stain is getting lighter. If no change in affected area, call a carpet care professional.

Strong Chemicals - Some cleaning solutions with high alkalinity, such as laundry detergents, may cause yellowing. Products, such as drain and oven cleaners, may cause permanent bleaching of the carpet color.

Did you know?
Different carpet fibers may require different carpet cleaning methods and different cleaning chemistry. Tough synthetic carpet fibers will withstand a wide variety of carpet cleaning methods and cleaning chemistry, but natural carpet fibers can be damaged by improper cleaning.

Which Cleaning Method for Various Fibers?

The majority of carpet manufactured today is constructed with synthetic fibers, such as nylon, polyester, or olefin, and may be cleaned with most cleaning methods. Other fibers can require special attention. Synthetic fibers can be cleaned by different methods, rely on the carpet manufacturer's recommendations.

When choosing any cleaning method, select cleaning agents sold especially for stain-resistant carpet cleaning, and follow the directions for dilution and application. Never use soap, laundry detergent, automatic dishwasher detergent, or any of the strong household cleaning agents intended for use on hard surfaces, such as woodwork, linoleum, or tile. For best cleaning results, always vacuum the area to be cleaned first and apply a pre-conditioning solution, to begin loosening soil, prior to cleaning. These solutions typically require 8-10 minutes to begin loosening soil.

Natural fibers may require specialized care. Therefore rely on the carpet manufacturer's recommendations for cleaning:

Wool fibers- Excessive agitation and excessive heat should be avoided. Wool is easily damaged by bleaches and alkalines. Clean wool with neutral detergents (pH 5.0 - 8.0) and dry quickly to limit yellowing or browning.

Silk should be cleaned using a dry cleaning process. These fibers maybe damaged by high temperatures, high pH (>9) and sunlight, and will lose strength when wet. The cleaning of silk fibers is best left to carpet-cleaning professionals.

Plant fibers include sisal, jute, coconut (coir), pineapple, ramie, and hemp. For these fibers, it is best to use a carpet-cleaning professional.

Tips For Pet Owners
Having a pet in your home doesn't mean you're banned from carpet. Not at all. You and your pets can enjoy the benefits of carpet very easily in today's market. You can combat pet stains and odors very effectively by vacuuming more frequently and cleaning with products that are specifically designed for pets. Of course quick clean up plays a major role. We do not recommend using a steam cleaner when dealing with urine because the heat will set the stain. Removing the accident with a wet vacuum and then rinsing with cool water will reduce odor. If this doesn't accomplish proper clean up, it may be necessary to call a certified carpet cleaning firm that will have further knowledge and equipment.