How to clean carpet – the easy (and cheap!) way

How to clean carpet – the easy (and cheap!) way

A nice carpet looks great and feels soft and cosy underfoot. However, without proper maintenance it can easily become worn and damaged. Not to mention all the dirt and germs that hide in it and get missed by the vacuum cleaner! Regular vacuuming only gets rid of a bit of dust, leaving a lot more behind. But fear not: we’ve rounded up our best carpet cleaning tips for you. These will let you ditch the dirt and succeed over stains without having to pay a fortune for professional carpet cleaning services.

Before cleaning the carpet, remember…

It’s always important to tackle the stain as quickly as possible, especially before it dries. However, never rub or scrub stains! This will just push the dirt deeper into the carpet. Start carefully from the outside edges of the stain and work your way towards the centre.

The simple trick of pouring mineral water onto a fresh stain and soaking it up with a towel or cloth can work wonders. If this doesn’t work, you may want to call in reinforcements in the form of something stronger. A good foam carpet cleaner is very effective for getting rid of tough stains. While quality foam cleaners can be expensive, they’re definitely cheaper than hiring a professional carpet cleaner. Always be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging, and handle with care.

Make sure you leave plenty of time spare to clean your carpets, as cleaning products can take some time to soak in. You’ll need to let other members of your household know which rooms are off-limits while you clean the carpet. If you’ve got small children or pets, locking doors or installing stair gates in the doorway might be a wise idea.

Whatever product you’re using, always start with an area of carpet that’s not normally visible – under the sofa, for example. This is to make sure the cleaning product doesn’t fade or damage the carpet material. Better safe than sorry!

man cleaning carpet

Carpet cleaning natural home remedies

Home remedies can be a great way to tackle tough stains on the carpet. They’re cheap and readily available, and all you need to do is raid your kitchen cupboards. As an added bonus, they’re also chemical-free and won’t harm the environment. If your grandmother cleaned her carpets with salt or baking soda, then it must be good enough for your carpets, too!

Baking powder:

Baking powder is a great all-purpose natural cleaning solution for most dirt and stains. Bonus: it even gets rid of bad odours (it’s just one of many natural solutions to get rid of smells). Sprinkle baking powder on the carpet stain then carefully pour hot water over the stained area. Leave the mixture for a few hours, or even overnight, before blotting it carefully. If the stain is stubborn, repeat the process. You can even add a bit of vinegar to the water for a stronger solution. But be careful: this will only work for light-coloured carpets, as vinegar has a bleaching effect.

Salt:

Salt is often said to be the ultimate remedy for pesky red wine stains (along with a few other natural remedies for red wine spills). Apply salt to the wine immediately and leave it to work its magic. Once the salt turns a reddish colour, vacuum it up and repeat this process until the stain has disappeared. Again, start from the outer edges of the stain and work inwards, otherwise the stain will continue to spread. If the red wine has already dried up, create a solution of white wine, mineral water, and vinegar. This can be used to fight the stain, but be sure to try this mixture on a hidden area of carpet first, to test whether it affects your carpet’s colour.

remove wine stains with salt

Lemon juice:

Simply applying a little lemon juice to a stain and then wiping with a cloth can work on even the most stubborn of stains. For particularly tough stains, mix lemon juice with equal parts water and washing detergent. But take care – lemon juice has bleaching qualities just like vinegar, so should only be applied to pale-coloured carpets.

Shaving cream:

Believe it or not, shaving cream can work as a budget alternative to foam carpet cleaner (although for really difficult stains, we’d still recommend going with the real deal). You should always make sure the shaving cream is undyed and doesn’t contain any additives such as menthol. Simply apply it to the stain and allow it to soak for around 20 minutes. Then rub the cream gently with a scrubbing brush. Finally, rinse away the cream with a damp cloth, making sure to blot rather than rub

Steam clean twice a year

While home remedies do a great job at beating individual stains when you have an accident with a big glass of red, a steam cleaner is a solid investment. It lets you to give all your carpets a thorough clean whenever you need, and kills any germs or nasty things hiding there. We recommend once every six months, but if you have pets or a big (or messy!) family, it might be worth steam cleaning more often. A good steam cleaner should last several years, so it is a worthwhile investment to help you avoid the cost of hiring a professional carpet cleaner.

steam vacuum cleaner

We hope you find our carpet cleaning tips useful. If you think there’s anything we’ve missed, let us know in the comments section. We’d love to hear our readers’ carpet cleaning tip, too!

British Natalie lives in Berlin, but is a Parisian at heart. Her love of all things clean and organised means she's always got a useful tip or two up her sleeve.