All types of home flooring require specific care, and carpeting is no exception. Though it’s plush under foot, dampens noise, insulates from cold and offers other benefits, carpet can also collect dust, dirt and discoloration over time in a way hard floors don’t. Prompt stain removal and regular vacuuming (as often as twice a week) comprise the majority of carpet care. Every 12 to 18 months, however – or when the carpet becomes visibly stained or discolored – a more thorough cleaning is necessary.
Hiring a professional to perform absorbent-pad, dry-extraction, dry-foam or steam cleaning yields the best results, but it also comes with a professional-sized price tag. The more affordable, do-it-yourself option is often to rent a carpet cleaner and shampoo your own carpets. Here’s how.
Note: always consult your carpet manufacture’s care instructions before cleaning your carpet to determine which cleaning chemicals and techniques are suitable for your carpet. Improperly cleaning can damage carpet.
1. Acquire your supplies and equipment. Rent a carpet cleaning machine from a hardware or rental store and purchase compatible carpet shampoo. Check to ensure that both are suitable for your carpet and have the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) seal.
2. Pre-clean your rooms. Remove as much furniture as possible from your rooms, pre-treat any stains and vacuum the carpet.
3. Prepare to shampoo. Prep your carpet cleaning machine according to the instructions for the machine, its cleaning solution and your carpet. Do not add more cleaning solution than directed – doing so may leave a residue that will attract dirt. Test the machine on an inconspicuous portion of carpet to ensure it does not damage the color or fibers of the carpet.
4. Shampoo the carpet. Starting from the far corner of the room, shampoo the carpet with the machine as directed, making repeat passes until the extracted water appears clean. Be careful not to over wet the carpet, which can increase drying time and invite mold. Empty the waste water tanks and refill the clean water and solution until you are finished cleaning all your carpet.
5. Allow your carpet to dry. Carpet may take anywhere from 2 to 24 hours to dry. Aid the process by keeping rooms ventilated and controlling humidity. Avoid placing furniture on wet carpet as it can interfere with drying or leach color from stained wood into the carpet. Once the carpet is fully dry, vacuum it once more to remove any remaining cleaning residue, and then return your furniture.
Once you’re done, relax and enjoy your newly revitalized carpet!