If your carpet gets stained or starts showing its age, it can be tempting to try your hand at cleaning it instead of calling a carpet cleaning service. You may think it’s an easy way to save a few dollars by doing it yourself.
After all, what’s the worst that could happen?
Well, a lot, actually…
- Improper cleaning methods have a long list of consequences, including:
- Making your carpet feel stiff or sticky.
- Leaving moisture behind, which can lead to mold and mildew
- Taking too long to dry so that dirt gets caught in the particles even easier than before
Cleaning your carpet with poor methods for too long will result in you needing to replace the carpet far sooner than it would need to be replaced normally. On the flip side, professional carpet cleaning can make those same carpets last years beyond their life expectancy.
If you decide to tackle carpet cleaning on your own, be aware of these common pitfalls to avoid disastrous results.
Common DIY Carpet Cleaning Mistakes
Our recommendation is leaving carpet cleaning to the pros, but if you’re dead set on DIY carpet cleaning, here are a few things to avoid.
Scrubbing. Maybe you have heard this before, but scrubbing a spill right away is one of the worst things you can do, yet it’s like second nature to most of us when we’re panicking over a spill.
You’ll just end up making the stain bigger and grinding it even deeper into the fibers (and maybe even the carpet backing). Blot the stain first, soaking as much of it as you can into a lint-free towel. Then spray on a pre-treat product and let it sit for a few minutes.
Skipping pre-treatment. Spraying a pre-treating product on the stain once the excess has been blotted away will help release more of the stain particles. Pre-treatment is also a good idea for dirty carpets before shampooing the whole floor.
Having products on hand that are safe for your carpets (ones that won’t discolor the fibers) is a must! In addition, you should keep a brush that is only used for carpet cleaning in the case of acute spills. Prepare now by purchasing these products and having them on hand so you’ll be ready for even the worst stains.
Waiting too long. In the middle of a family get-together or dinner party, it isn’t the opportune time to clean up a spill. But the longer it sits, the harder the stain will be to remove.
Carpet fibers naturally soak up moisture. As the spill dries, those particles will be locked in, trapping dyes (as well as odors) and making them impossible to remove later. Although you might not want to stop what you’re doing to clean up a spill, it will be worth it in the end.
Simply blotting the excess moisture, spraying off your pre-treater, and marking off the area so no one walks on it, is enough to stay ahead of a stain.
Using too much shampoo. It really doesn’t take a lot of carpet shampoo to clean an entire floor. More shampoo won’t get your carpet cleaner than the recommended amount, and you run the risk of leaving shampoo residue behind.
Soap residue makes carpet feel stiff and/or sticky. This results in dirt and debris, pet hair, and allergens being able to stick to your carpet even better. Using too much shampoo will actually make your carpet look dirty again even sooner than before.
Leaving shampoo behind. Virtually the same issue as using too much shampoo, but this problem can actually arise when you use the right amount, but fail to rinse it out completely.
Rinsing the shampoo out may seem like a boring and unnecessary step, but it is actually one of the most important parts of getting professional results. Some DIY carpet cleaning machines are equipped for this purpose, but older or less advanced ones will just end up putting dirty water and soap residue right back into your carpet during rinsing.
Not really a mistake, but more of a “proceed with caution” note… Carpet deodorizers are easy to use and provide quick results when you need to get rid of a carpet odor quickly.
Carpet deodorizers are sprinkled or sprayed directly on the carpet, and then either allowed to dry or vacuumed up. They are an easy fix and handy to have on hand, but using carpet deodorizers too often – or using too much at a time – will cause buildup on the carpet fibers and underneath the carpet backing, which cannot be vacuumed out.
So, you can still use your favorite deodorizer. Just make sure it is a high quality one, and use it sparingly.
The best care – as in most cases – is prevention. Making carpet care a part of your house cleaning routine will lessen the impact of stains and help you extend the life of your carpet. Vacuuming regularly and spot cleaning is enough to protect your carpet from more severe stains.
Professional Carpet Cleaning
Knowing everything there is to know about proper carpet cleaning methods takes a lot of time and experience. Hiring a professional to clean your carpets isn’t an extravagant expense when you know the job will be done right and your carpet last for many more years. A+ Restoration offers carpet cleaning in Panama City FL, Destin FL, Pace FL and Dothan AL.
For most people, the best choice for carpet cleaning is hiring a professional.
Their service will include pre-treatment, in-depth carpet cleaning, and protective treatments (if you desire). The level of clean they are able to provide far surpasses what most individuals are capable of with a rented steam cleaner and little knowledge or practice.
Professional carpet cleaning only needs to be done once a year. Some homes with low foot traffic can actually go longer than that without needing professional cleaning.
When you weigh the cost of professional carpet cleaning (divided across the years between cleanings) its value is understandable versus replacing your carpet – or just learning to live with stains and dingy-looking carpet.
The verdict: Trust an expert for effective, long-lasting results.