Let’s face it, we don’t treat our carpets gently. In fact, we walk all over them. Dogs and cats shed – and worse – on them. Guests spill wine on them. Children seem obsessed with destroying carpets and rugs! Many parents will know the despair of finding adhesive, Blu-tac, plasticine and Play-Doh trampled in. It’s no wonder our carpets can look thorough worn out and dishevelled in just a couple of years.
Here however are three simple tips and tricks to help extend the life of your carpet and keep it looking great. Some are home remedies, some are techniques. You can also of course always get in a professional carpet cleaning service. They’ll use professional steam cleaning based on hot water extraction. It’s not cheap, however, and really something that people only do every few years or when trying to sell the house.
1. Vacuum regularly. Yes, it sounds incredibly obvious. But there are tricks with your hoovering to optimise success. You can get about three-quarters of the dirt out of your floor coverings if you vacuum once a week. Twice is even better. Work back and forth as well as side to side, so you’re not just pushing the grain of the fibres one way. Go diagonally too!
Get the best vacuum cleaner with the most power that you can. Buy the best quality you can, to get more suction power. Though more expensive, they should last longer. Also, empty the bag before it gets full. Clean filters and you’ll keep the hoover sucking at full power.
2. Tackle spills fast. As soon as you’re aware of them, do what you can to get them out. A good idea is to get paper towels – or a real towel for big spillages – and place them over the liquid. Then, with clean bottomed feet, tread on them. Keep repeating, using fresh paper or a piece of towel, until no more liquid comes up at all. With coffee and tea or clear liquids, this may be all that’s needed. Make sure no-one walks on the area until it’s thoroughly dry.
If it’s red wine (everyone’s worst nightmare), blot up as much as you can with the method above. Dilute what’s left with a bit of water. Water, amazingly, cleans up a lot of stains all on its own. Then, grab some baking soda. Make a paste with three parts bicarbonate of soda and one part warm water. Work this in with a clean sponge, and let it dry completely. Then, hoover it up.
3. Get the sticky stuff off. To remove plasticine, gum and those blu-tac pieces, don’t let anyone tread on them. That just makes matters worse and you have a flat, black almost unremovable mark. First off, try some MORE blu-tac. It may sound odd, but it likes to stick to itself. Get a small ball and roll it on the piece on the carpet. It will pick lots up. If there’s still some left, get some pure olive oil and work in on with a cotton bud. Rub it in quickly and scrape with a round-ended knife. Amazingly, the sticky stuff will disappear. That goes for plasticine too.
If it’s STILL there or if it is chewing gum, apply an ice pack for a few hours. This hardens the gummy stuff and means it just breaks apart into pieces and can be picked off. The freezing method works really well, and of course, you can shove clothes with gum on in a freezer. Freezing ice packs are the best solution for carpets and rugs.