A dreary, dirty, worn and stained carpet – what could be more of a downer than that? It’s even worse if you’re planning a move and need to sell up because even if the people who come on viewings don’t notice it, their subconscious might. They’ll leave, perhaps not quite certain why they don’t like your property, but knowing without doubt that they don’t. Spills, thrills, accidents and age all bear down on a carpet over the years unless you go the neurotic, impolite and inhospitable route of asking people to take their shoes off; that’s even more depressing than a dirty carpet. So it’s always worth having a few tricks up your sleeve for good carpet cleaning. We’ve got plenty and here are just a few of them:
- If you’ve reached the end of the road with marketed carpet-cleaning products like Vanish, try the ‘off-label’ approach. Good quality brands of soap (e.g. Floris rather than Dove) can work wonders on long-standing, dried-in stains. Keep a bar handy as part of your carpet-maintaining equipment. Other good ‘off-label’ solutions include shaving foam. Apply it to the stain, leave for half an hour, then blot it up and apply a rinse of half vinegar/half water.
- Blot, blot, blot. Blotting and dabbing is a better approach than rubbing. Where rubbing pushes the stain further and deeper into carpet, applying firm but gentle pressure using sponges, cloths and paper towels soaks the stain up. Remember to blot from the outside of the stain, travelling inwards, rather than the reverse approach which can encourage the stain to spread.
- After dreaded cigarette burns, the next worst mark on a carpet can be chewing gum, innocently stepped on in the street and then deposited in gluey chunks on your lovely floor. But there’s a solution! Freeze the residue by rubbing it with ice cubes for a minute (or less). Once it’s hardened, you can cut it out of the carpet and it should be possible to do so without having to cut a noticeable amount of carpet along with it.
- Greasy marks are best broken down with washing-up liquid. Just a little drop should help you cut through the oily substance. Do more than one application if the mark is stubborn.
- Crushed chocolate is one of those stains that seems to have a will of its own, so resistant can it sometimes be to efforts to eliminate it. After giving it a scrape with a knife, use the soap method, applying it with a wet sponge.
Also keep in mind the following useful treatments – hydrogen peroxide (good for blood), ironing through a paper towel (good for candle wax), soda water (good for red wine marks).