When you’re #blessed with wall-to-wall carpet in your apartment, the best way to deal with it is to make sure it’s sparkling clean. But if you have pets, small children, or maybe just a really messy roommate, that task can prove quite challenging. If your carpets are smelling — let’s just say less-than-factory-floor new — then there are definitely some steps you can take to get it clean once and for all.
Here are some deep cleaning strategies to get your carpets looking and smelling great this fall:
First, Invest in a Good Vacuum
Remember that old and pathetic excuse for a vacuum you bought in college? It’s time to step up your appliance game and go with something that actually works and picks up dirt effectively. Of course, not everyone has Dyson money, but there are still some fairly affordable and good-quality vacuum brands like Bissell and Hoover out there that are sure to get the job done. It’s recommended that you vacuum your carpet at least once a week, and daily in high-traffic areas or places where your pets walk. If you don’t have the time for all that housework (and honestly, who does?), consider investing in a robot vacuum cleaner.
Next, Take Care of the Stains
Before you begin your deep cleaning carpet treatments, it’s best to treat any stains that are on your floor, from pet and mud stains to the large wine stain you’ve been covering up with the couch for months now. Although there are plenty of carpet stain treatments that you can purchase at your local grocery or home improvement store, the best remedy for them is a mixture of a half-cup of white vinegar and two tablespoons of salt. Apply the solution to the stained area and let it dry completely before vacuuming.
If you find that the stain is being stubborn, you can step it up a notch by combining one tablespoon of laundry detergent, two tablespoons of white vinegar, and a cup or two of water. Apply the solution to the carpet and blot it carefully with a clean microfiber cloth.
Stain still not coming up? You may want to see if a local carpet cleaning professional can come out to assist you with your problem. If the stain was in the carpet before you moved in, ask your landlord if they’d be willing to take care of it for you.
Rent a Steam Carpet Cleaner
Now that your floors are completely vacuumed and all stains are invisible to the naked eye, it’s time to steam clean your carpets.
You can rent a steam cleaner at some grocery and hardware stores for periods of about 24 hours. Once you’ve gotten your rental home, clear all the furniture out of the room you’re cleaning and vacuum the area again for good measure. The deep cleaning treatment will be more effective if the carpet is completely free of pet hair, human hair, leaves, and visible dirt. It might also be a good idea to find a babysitter for your kiddos or fur babies for the day just so you can ensure that there won’t be any new muddy footprints or paw prints to worry about while you’re in the process of cleaning up.
Once the furniture has been taken out and the carpets are freshly vacuumed, you’ll want to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for loading the steam cleaner. It’s likely that it will say to add a solution to the machine, which you can either purchase in-store or make yourself by adding one cup of white vinegar to every two gallons of hot water you use for a more natural approach.
Every steam cleaner has different instructions on how it operates, but most likely you will just be dragging it back and forth as it picks up all the dirt and grime that’s been lingering on your carpets. After you’re done steam cleaning, don’t put the furniture back into the room until the carpet is about 90 percent dry to the touch.
Seek Professional Carpet Cleaning Help
If you’re finding that renting a steam cleaner just isn’t an option for you (maybe you live in a third floor walk-up or you don’t have access to a truck or SUV to haul the machine home), then you might want to consider hiring a professional carpet cleaning company.
It’s recommended that you get your carpets professionally cleaned once a year because dirt, grime, and who knows what else gets on them and can soak down into the pads. After a while, your carpet can get dingy and dark, making it look unattractive and the rest of your home a little worse for wear.
There’s no “best” time to get your carpets cleaned, but it’s generally a good idea to get them cleaned when it’s not too muggy or in inclement weather so you don’t risk immediately soiling them after the carpet cleaners have left.
Before you hire a carpet cleaning company, be sure to inquire about the chemicals they use and whether or not it’s safe for small children or pets to be in the home when the carpet is drying.