If you have carpets or rugs throughout your home, you know how much dust and dirt they can hold, especially in high-traffic areas.
As seasoned landlords, we’ve seen our fair share of carpets that appeared to be beyond salvation.
Time and time again, tenants have left behind carpets that looked like they were destined for the landfill.
With our tried and tested foolproof shampoo method, we’ve managed to breathe new life into even the most stubbornly stained carpets.
In doing so, we’ve saved ourselves $2,000-3,000 each time a tenant moves out!
Today, we’re excited to share our secrets with you, so you too can revive your carpets and enjoy significant savings in the long run.
For times when you don’t want to thoroughly clean the carpet but want to remove any smells, you can make your own carpet deodorizer using baking soda and essential oil.
Table of Contents
Step 1: Vacuum Your Carpet
Start by vacuuming the area before you use any carpet cleaner with a solution.
This step ensures that you’re removing as much dirt and dust as possible before adding the water and scrubbing brushes of the cleaner.
As parents of 3 little kids, Force of Nature is our go-to all purpose cleaner. It's nontoxic but is EPA approved for use against Covid-19.
We love vinegar, but we use Force of Nature every day.
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Step 2: Add Cleaning Solution To Carpet Cleaner
Next, using warm water, fill the basin of our carpet cleaning machine to just below the fill line, then add your cleaning solution.
You can use a name-brand cleaning solution sold in stores, or if you have Shout, Oxi Clean, or any other stain-removing cleaning agents on hand, those will also work well.
I recommend pet-specific products if your carpet has been soiled with animal urine.
If you add the cleaning solution before you add the water, you will end up with a bubble mess, and less water in the basin.
Place the water basin back on the carpet cleaner, plug in your device and get to work.
Step 3: Clean Your Carpets
Work your carpet cleaner back in forth in small strokes to ensure the brushes have a chance to work through the carpet fibers to remove any stuck-on stains and dirt.
Doing several back-and-forth passes while adding water and solution the first couple of times will ensure you thoroughly clean the area.
On the 3rd pass, I like to use the brush and suction to remove any dirt and water still on the carpet or rug.
Step 4: Empty The Dirty, Disgusting, Messy Water
Once you have used all of the water and cleaning solutions in the basin, or have entirely cleaned your area, empty the dirty water into a sink, bathtub, or outside.
If you have pets in the home, add a drain strainer to your sink or tub to prevent pet hairs from going down the drain.
Once you have emptied the dirty water from the reservoir, rinse using hot water to ensure no dirt, dust, or pet hair is left when you store your carpet cleaner or return it to the store you rented from.
Should I clean carpet until water is clear? Yes, shampoo the carpet until the water is clear. Sometimes, actually, often times to revive carpet you will need to repeat this step several times.
Step 5: Let Your Carpet Dry
Allow the area you have cleaned to dry completely before replacing furniture or walking on it.
How long does it take for carpets to dry after shampooing?
It typically takes around 6 to 12 hours for carpets to dry completely after shampooing. To dry carpet faster you can:
- Open windows and doors to increase airflow.
- Turn on fans or air conditioning to circulate air.
- Use a dehumidifier to reduce moisture in the room.
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Are there any things I should avoid while cleaning my carpets?
Avoid these common mistakes during the carpet cleaning process:
- Over-wetting the carpet, which can lead to mold and mildew growth.
- Using too much cleaning solution, as residue can attract more dirt.
- Scrubbing stains aggressively, as this can damage carpet fibers.
- Walking on wet carpets, which can cause them to become dirty again.
What are some professional tips and tricks for effective carpet cleaning?
Here are a few insider tips to get the best results:
- Test the cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area of the carpet first to ensure it doesn’t cause discoloration.
- Use a soft-bristle brush to gently agitate the cleaning solution into the carpet fibers, especially in high-traffic or heavily soiled areas.
- After shampooing, use clean, dry towels or rags to blot any excess moisture from the carpet surface.
How many times do you have to shampoo carpet until water is clear?
The number of times you need to shampoo your carpet until the water is clear depends on the level of dirt and stains present in the carpet.
Generally, for moderately soiled carpets, one thorough pass with the carpet cleaner should be sufficient.
For heavily soiled carpets or those with stubborn stains, you may need to make two or even three passes to get the desired results.
How to Clean Pet Stains from Carpets
Even the most well-behaved pets can have accidents, leaving unsightly and unpleasant-smelling stains on your carpet. But don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world, or your carpet.
Here are some effective DIY solutions and tips on using a carpet cleaner to tackle those pesky pet stains. We have done these many times over the years.
Pre-Treat the Pet Stain: Before using the carpet cleaner, pre-treat the stain with a pet-specific enzymatic cleaner. Spray the cleaner onto the stain and let it sit for 30 minutes or so.
Usually we just pre-treat pet stains, then go clean the carpet in other rooms, and then go back to the rooms that were pre-treated.
Vinegar-Baking Soda Mixture
This is a great homemade remedy for pet stains. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and warm water, then add a generous amount of baking soda to the stained area.
After applying the solution, let it dry naturally for a day or two. Once it’s completely dry, vacuum up the residue. The vinegar will neutralize the odor while the baking soda absorbs it.
Hydrogen Peroxide and Dish Soap
Another effective solution is a mixture of 4 parts water, one part hydrogen peroxide, and a small squirt of dish soap.
Spray this mixture onto the stain and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes before blotting it up with a clean cloth.
Always do a spot test in an inconspicuous area first to make sure the solution doesn’t discolor your carpet.
How can I maintain my carpets after cleaning?
To keep your carpets looking fresh and clean after shampooing, follow these maintenance tips:
- Vacuum regularly (at least once a week) to remove dirt and debris.
- Address spills and stains immediately by blotting with a clean cloth and using a stain remover if necessary.
- Use doormats at entryways to minimize dirt being tracked onto the carpet.
- Rearrange furniture periodically to prevent uneven wear and tear on the carpet.
One of the easiest ways to extend the life of your carpet is to shampoo them regularly. If you have access to a carpet cleaner, 4 times a year is an excellent routine for high-traffic areas.
If you don’t own a carpet cleaner, renting one is an affordable option for cleaning.
Is it better to shampoo or steam clean carpets?
Both shampooing and steam cleaning have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to carpet cleaning. The choice between the two methods depends on your specific needs, preferences, and the condition of your carpets.
- Uses a cleaning solution mixed with water to loosen dirt and stains.
- Carpet shampooers often have rotating brushes that agitate the carpet fibers, making them effective at removing stubborn dirt and stains.
- Requires more time for the carpet to dry, usually 6 to 12 hours.
- May leave residue if not rinsed thoroughly or if too much cleaning solution is used, which can attract more dirt.
- Also known as hot water extraction, uses hot water and a cleaning agent to remove dirt and stains.
- Injects hot water into the carpet and then extracts it, along with the dirt, using powerful suction.
- Typically dries faster than shampooing, often within 4 to 6 hours.
- Considered more eco-friendly, as it uses less detergent and fewer chemicals.
- May not be as effective at removing deep-seated dirt and stains compared to shampooing.
If you want a deep clean for heavily soiled carpets or need to remove stubborn stains, shampooing might be the better option.
If you prefer a quicker drying time, an eco-friendly approach, and a method suitable for regular maintenance, steam cleaning could be the better choice.
Ultimately, it’s essential to assess your carpets’ condition and choose the method that best suits your requirements.
Wrapping Up: Time To Clean Carpets
I like to clean my carpets and area rugs at night after the kids are in bed. This allows 8-10 hours of dry time, and I don’t have to stress about the kids walking or playing on wet rugs.
How To Shampoo Carpets Using a Carpet Cleaner
- Carpet Cleaner If You don't own one, they're available to rent at most big box stores
- Carpet Cleaning Solution
- Hot Water
- Vacuum carpet or rugs
- Fill water basin to just below the fill line with hot water
- Add recommended amount of cleaning solution
- Return water basin to carpet cleaner and lock all parts into place
- Using water and cleaning solution clean carpets
- Empty dirty water into sink, tub, or outside
- Rinse water basin
- Allow 6-12 hours for carpets to dry completely
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Erin is the mother of identical twin girls and their slightly older brother. She is a domestic engineer, and previously had a career leading customer service teams for a major HVAC company. Cleaning without harsh chemicals, and cooking easy and usually healthy meals are part of Erin's daily life. She volunteers with youth leaders, and genuinely wants to help others win. Erin has a degree in Communications, with a focus on Broadcast Journalism.