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deep cleaning carpets, living roomH&L-Martin Hahn, Getty Images

In every household, spills and accidents happen. Muddy feet, grape juice, and ketchup are all the arch-enemies of your carpets. And, if you have pets your rug might resemble target practice.

Rule one, of course, is to clean up a stain immediately. If the carpet absorbs too much of it, it will become more difficult to get out. But even if you are extra vigilant, over time these little stains start to add up and your carpets might begin to look dingy and worn out. No matter how much your scrub, blot or vacuum, you might never get out that last bit of stain or that stinky cat smell.

But there is a solution: Just as you shampoo your hair, shampooing or deep cleaning your carpeting will give it a tidy look and a fresh smell.,feedConfig,localizationConfig,entry&id=877948&pid=877947&uts=1273013384

DIY Warrior: How to Deep Clean Carpets

Food and drink spills, pet accidents, and soil from constant foot traffic are inevitable, but they can take their toll on carpets over time.

DIY Warrior: How to Deep Clean Carpets

Ask yourself these questions to be sure:

1. Do you have pets? If so, urine and even feces can build up in your carpet fibers -- the same fibers that you sit on and your child plays on.

2. Do you have white or light rugs? If your carpeting color is starting to look more brown than beige, a good deep-cleaning can restore them to like-new condition.

3. Are your carpets in high-traffic areas? Rooms that get lots of foot traffic -- like hallways, entryways and family rooms -- can speed up staining and wear.

If you answered yes to any of the above, it's time to deep clean!

DIY Warrior: How to Deep Clean Carpets

Before you rent a machine or purchase any chemicals, find out what your carpet is made of. Common materials include nylon, olefin, and wool. Call the manufacturer for specific info about your carpeting, or look at your receipt and check with the store where you purchased the carpet. The manufacturer or dealer will also be able to offer a recommendation for the appropriate chemical option for your rug.

If you don't know your manufacturer or dealer, contact a local rug and carpet store and see if they have any suggestions. If you inherited your carpet from previous owners or you just don't know anything about it, bring in a small sample (from a closet or inconspicuous area) to a local carpet store and let the experts help you determine what's best.

Tip: When dealing with chemicals, apply to a test spot before you start pouring the substance all over your precious investment. Choose an inconspicuous area and look for any strange reactions like discoloration. If you have a dark carpet, rub a light-colored towel over the spot to be sure the chemical isn't picking the color out of your carpet.

DIY Warrior: How to Deep Clean Carpets

How much time will you invest in deep cleaning your carpets? It depends on the size of the rug or carpet and how many rooms you want to clean. Rug Doctor recommends you go at a pace of one foot per second and two passes, so for a 300-square foot room, you're looking at about 30 minutes including spot treatment. An average 3-bedroom house can likely be done in a weekend if you are able to move your furniture out of the way easily. Remember, the carpet needs to dry thoroughly overnight, so if you're moving furniture from room to room it could take longer.

Even with a machine rental, this job shouldn't cost you much more than $75-$100, depending on the size of the carpeted area.

DIY Warrior: How to Deep Clean Carpets

- Carpet cleaning solution (you can even get green and nontoxic options these days!)
- Pre-treatment conditioner
- Spot cleaner
- A rented carpet cleaning machine, like the Rug Doctor (rent from a local retail store) or a few good scrubbing brushes
- A vacuum
- A carpet rake (optional)

DIY Warrior: How to Deep Clean Carpets

Move couches, tables and chairs out of the room or to one side.

DIY Warrior: How to Deep Clean Carpets

Remove any loose dirt or debris with a vacuum cleaner. Pre-treat with a pre-cleaning treatment to help break up stains.

DIY Warrior: How to Deep Clean Carpets

Carpet cleaning machines spray water and your cleaning solution onto your rug and then suck it up with a vacuum. The idea is that it sucks up all the dirt and gunk from your carpet, too. Even though a carpet cleaning machine is fairly easy to operate, it's important that you read the instructions.

Using even strokes, move the carpet cleaning machine gently over the surface of the carpet. If you're using a brush instead of a cleaning machine, lightly massage the cleaner into the carpet evenly without pushing or rubbing too hard. If there are any stubborn areas, you can spot clean them with the cleaner and a brush. You can also spot clean prior to using the machine if you know of some stubborn areas.

DIY Warrior: How to Deep Clean Carpets

Once you've deep-cleaned the entire carpet, let it dry overnight. Don't walk on it, and be sure to instruct others to avoid it as well. After it's dry, run the vacuum over it one more time and if you want, use a carpet rake to help bring the pile back to life.

DIY Warrior: How to Deep Clean Carpets

You should deep clean your carpets every 1-2 years, especially if you have animals or young children in your home. If your carpet tends to look ratty rather quickly, more frequent shampooing might be necessary.

DIY Warrior: How to Deep Clean Carpets

  • Roberta

    What in the world does hemorrhoids have to do with cleaning carpet??? When is AOL going to put a dang spammer button on here??

  • Adam

    I'm with YOU!



  • JVL

    AOL has no real interest in removing SPAM from your email or patrolling the commentary. Even when you hit the report button, nothing really happens.

    Why? Because SPAMmers are AOL customers, too. And AOL would much rather punish a one-time poster for dropping an F-bomb in a post than eliminate the advertising.

    Supposedly, AOL is reviewing its commentary procedures. Apparently, AOL sbscribes to the Celtic Hell. (The phrase is "when hell freezes over", but the Celtic hell is ice-cold already).


    Whitney, Whit, whoever you are it's very annoying, when you shysters who are too cheap to pay for advertisement and try to obtain it under the guise of making a comment, where you apply your product is exactly what you are.

  • Opihi

    AOL doesn't boot these guys because they take out new AOL account each day. How do I know? Click onto their name and you'll see a list of their comments .... it's normally just for one day.

    You know how to get booted from AOL message boards. Point out that there's a hyperlink under all YOUR names and that it was created when you first signed onto ANY of the AOL boards. Yep .... we've all got a list of every comment we've ever made. Bet you didn't know that! I didn't. Click onto your name and test it ...... shocked yet????

    How's that for privacy invasion. You now have an archive of all your comments. AND an activated hyperlink under your name which allows ANYONE to access that profile you didn't know you had.

    AOL claim to ask for your Email address for "verification" and doesn't inform you that it's to "create an unauthorized profile" which will include all your comments.

    On yes .... one more thing., if you've used your real name, that profile will be all over the Internet .... compliments of Google Search.

    Telling the truth will get you booted. Spam won't ....

  • Karen

    The best carpet cleaner is White vinegar and water. Believe me, I have tried everything under the sun for I always have multiple dogs!!

    Vinegar and white also work on bathroom tiles too.

  • jack

    Hot water and rubbing alcohol, is the best cleaner for carpets, vingar will make it mildewed smelling


    Wel... mayby you can try it on your carpet, perhaps it works. JUST KIDDING, people. But on the other hand, there are people who will thank WHIT for his medical advise. Having hammeroids is not fun, ask those who are suffering from it. It's good to have support groups that can help other people in their suffering. Just like the add for deeeeep carpet cleaning, eh. Have a nice day, y'all.

  • Pamela

    Best by far - baking powder. Cheap, easy - shake on dirty area, rub deep into rug, leave as longas possible (days even) and then vacuum. Can never hurt the carpet and gets stains out I never thought would ever be gone. I just happened to try it before I bought new carpetingand it looks great. Well worth a try and doesn't cost much - and can't hurt pets/kids.

  • ff

    Baking soda gets into the motor and ruins the vaccum, as does carpet fresh...don't use it or use sparingly!!
    In carpet spot cleaning- vinegar smells disgusting but oxy clean works great. My spot bot works good to, I recommend it for families w/kids!

    I clean my carpet every 3 months, I could never wait a year or two..........gross. No shoes allowed on carpets either ever!!.......Tile would be even better but I do not have it yet.
    Good luck!!

  • jobobahole

    I would never bring a rental carpet shampooer home. Any time I've considered it, I've changed my mind after looking at the units. They are always filthy, sloppy wet, and caked with nasty crud. One has to assume the previous user was too. I worry I would be bringing flea and bed bug larvae or who knows what into my home. For the time being I'm using a small canister spot cleaner, but plan to purchase an upright machine. I figure it's an investment that will pay for it's self.

  • Elaine Shelley

    I'm with you , I need a upright deep cleaner and been looking for a long time just have'nt found the rightr one . My carpet needs a deep cleaning too bad. Thanks for the advoce about bringing home a cruddie rent machine.

  • L. B.

    I bought a bissol carpet cleaner ( 2 years ago ) use's hot water out of tap still works great.

  • M J

    Just a few words of caution...

    Baking soda or powdered room fresheners are never a great idea.
    You'll have a difficult time vacuuming out all of the powder. These
    powdery residues don't do well with wet cleaning processes. A future
    wet cleaning can leave a whitish residue that wicks back when it dries.
    A residue that's difficult to completely remove. Imagine it's three
    days till your daughter's wedding, everyone's coming over, and the
    stuff keeps coming back every time it's cleaned. It's a common

    Acid dyes are used in many food and drink products. They're also
    used to dye carpets and upholstery fabrics. When a professional
    cleaners run into a "bleeder" one of the first products they reach
    for to stabilze the dyes is an acidic fabric rinse. The low pH sets
    the migrant dyes--or, locks them in. They'll no longer bleed or
    run....and cleaning will no longer remove them.

    While vinegar is a potentially useful home remedy for some things in
    some cases, like for pet urine, it can be your worst nightmare for
    others, like spills invoving acid dyes. The moment the vinegar hits
    that drink spill you've set the stain. It'll no longer bleed or
    run....and cleaning will no longer remove it.

    Do yourself a favor. Have your carpet periodically cleaned by a
    professional, even if it's just the one busiest room in your home,
    every year or so. Find someone you trust and feel comfortable with.
    It's good for your carpet and now when you have a question or a
    problem you have someone you can call for advice......before you do
    something you'll regret later.

  • Jason J

    I prefer the option of having a home carpet cleaner or carpet steam cleaner as they are known. These do not steam clean; they extract water and any chemicals that the machine added to the carpet. A home carpet cleaner can be picked up for around $200 which is so much cheaper than arranging a professional clean. Most will not do quite as good job as a carpet cleaning service, although chooing the right one can pay dividends. Spot removers are great for the small jobs, which includes removing stains.

  • cindy

    If the spill is small I would suggest using a small hand held carpet steam cleaner like the Bissell Spot Bot. For larger stains and overall cleaning, then a Hoover Steam Vac could do the trick.

  • 17 Comments / 1 Pages

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