Steam Cleaning Your Carpets

by Lecia DeBrine
(last updated April 22, 2013)

I have used my steam cleaner to get out almost everything you could think of staining a carpet. Using a steam cleaner to remove stains can give you amazing results, depending on what you use in the machine. Investing in a personal steam cleaner can be a great decision, especially for home owners and those with small children. Of course as with any stains, how quickly you react effects the difficulty of removing it, the sooner you take care of it the easier it will be to get out. If you are unsure about cleaning your carpet yourself, here is how I do it.

  1. Vacuum First. Removing the everyday dirt is a very important step in cleaning your carpet. If you skip this step the dirt that is in your carpet can get pushed further into or get set into the fibers creating a permanent stain. Regular vacuuming is vital to extending the life of your carpet, the dirt that gets in it can damage the fibers of your carpet and overtime weaken the carpet.
  2. Use Hot Water. Using tap water is fine if you let it get as hot as possible before filling your tank. The heat and the steam are what really do the cleaning for you so if you want you can skip the cleaners and just use this. I have done this many times and it gets out more stains than you might think.
  3. Cleaners. You can buy cleaning agents to go in steam cleaners that will help remove stains, they are available in most stores and come in many different strengths. If you determine how deep the stain is and what caused the stain you can figure out which one is best for the job. If you do not like using cleaners, I often use denatured alcohol in my water. There are some advantages to using this in place of a cleaner. Alcohol is an excellent stain remover and will penetrate most it is used on. I also like that the alcohol will get rid of odors in the carpet. If you have pet stains or smoke damage that is stinking up your house, this is a great way to get rid of the smell. The alcohol will dry quicker than any cleaner and will not leave a residue in you carpet. Most cleaners leave behind a soapy residue that will attract more dirt and debris into the carpet.
  4. Go Slow. Steam cleaners have pretty powerful vacuums but that does not matter if you are not giving it time to suck up the water. If you do the room a section at a time you will not feel the need to rush through the job. Spraying the water as you move forward with the cleaner and then pulling back very slowly to be sure you are pulling out as much of the moisture as you can. The way most machines work, the brushes only move as fast as the cleaner. What I do on particularly stubborn stains is spray the area, and then move the steamer back and forth fairly quickly so the brushes can work at the spot. Then I spray it one more time before pulling back slowly to extract the water.
  5. Let Dry. The moisture left in the carpet will take some time to dry, avoid walking on the areas cleaned to keep any new dirt and other particles from getting stuck in the wet fibers. If you need to walk through over the carpet you can place a clean towel on the floor to create a barrier between your shoes and the carpet, and this will also help to pull out some of the moisture.
  6. Vacuum Again. The steam cleaner picks up a lot, but it cannot pull everything out of your carpet. Once the floor is completely dry you can go over the carpet with a vacuum once more to get any loosened particles that did not quite make it into the steamer. You may have to wait a few hours or even a day before you can do this however, so be patient.

If you still feel that your carpet is not clean enough you can call in a professional. Make sure you learn as much as you can about the service you are using and do not leave the hired cleaner in your home alone to do the work. Stay home so you can keep an eye on how he/she is doing the job, this way you do not come home to an unfinished carpet or a result you are unhappy with.

Whether you are cleaning the carpet yourself or hiring a professional you want to learn as much as possible about your carpet and any stains there may be before you clean. If you know how to care for your carpet and what the problem areas are you are more likely to make the right choice in how you go about cleaning your floor. Clean carpets make a cleaner and better smelling home for everyone, next time your carpets need to be cleaned try doing it yourself.

Author Bio

Lecia DeBrine

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