A few cleaning tips: Carpet pros do a more thorough job than you can, but hiring a pro is expensive. So the next-best approach is to alternate between DIY and pro cleanings. DIY “steam”-cleaning machines can be effective if you understand how to use them and take the time to clean your carpet carefully. You can rent a steam cleaner from a grocery store or home center. If you pick the machine up late in the day, many stores will charge you a half-day rate and let you keep the machine until the next morning. The detergent cost is additional. Typically you should use a tablespoon or less per gallon of water.
Beware of the three most common ways do-it-yourselfers (and inexperienced pros) damage carpets: Over-shampooing, Over-wetting, Failing to protect the wet carpet from furniture. Over-shampooing occurs when either too much shampoo is used or the carpet is not adequately rinsed. Both are practically inevitable with some wet do-it-yourself approaches. This is the biggest reason why even hard-core do-it-yourselfers should occasionally use a professional. If they don’t, the build-up of soapy residue can be impossible to clean out, leaving a carpet that is a virtual dirt magnet.
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Clean your hairbrush quickly with washing up liquid and water: We don’t really think about cleaning our hairbrushes (other than to remove hair) but when you think about it, it makes sense that they get grubby with grease and product build-up, just as our hair does. Get rid of residue from hair spray, dry shampoo or any other hair products by mixing washing up liquid and warm water and giving it a dip.
Few carpet stains are as obvious as blood. But suffering a paper cut on your finger and getting a few drops on the carpet doesn’t mean your shag is ruined. “Hydrogen peroxide will get out blood all day long,” Tarbox says. First, loosen up dried blood with water mixed with a mild detergent. Then scrape off as much blood from the fibers as you can. To get the remainder, apply hydrogen peroxide directly to the stain. The solution will immediately foam when it contacts the blood, so don’t be surprised. Then dab the hydrogen peroxide with towels to dry the carpet. Discover additional details at bookcleany.com.