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The Best Cleaning Methods for Different Carpet Materials

Updated on June 2, 2014

Not all carpets are created equal

A few decades ago, people only cleaned their carpets when it is visibly dirty and soiled. The most common way of cleaning was to use water, soap and a brush and scrub it until the soil was gone. There are recent innovations, however, with cleaning methods that are less intrusive and far more effective than the traditional ways. One in particular is the use of different types of detergent for each material. These detergents would take into consideration pH balance and ingredients that would not damage the material. Another would be steam cleaning to speed up the drying process and remove the smell that may ensue due to long immersion in water. There are better ways of cleaning different types of material like wool, cotton, and polyester carpets:

A Wool Carpet

Cleaning a wool carpet
Cleaning a wool carpet

Cleaning Wool Carpet

For starters, wool cannot stand too much stirring and should not be cleaned with water temperatures beyond 150 degrees. Wool can shrink and carpets can pull away from the wall when very hot water is applied to it. Another thing to remember when cleaning wool (like Berber wool carpets) is that it is hard to dry if they have been fully immersed in water. This may result in an unpleasant odors and irreversible shrinkage of the material.

Wool is best cleaned using neutral detergents of pH 5.0 to 8.0 and dried up quickly to avoid yellowing and browning. It should not be exposed to excessive heat, and proper knowledge and care is required in order to clean it. Wool spot removers are essential for spills and stains. However, there should be not much agitation applied, since it may cause damage to the pile. It is always advisable to do blot cleaning with mixture of warm water, wool carpet cleaner, and a soft towel to remove the stain. Wool carpets should be cleaned every two years by professional cleaners who are familiar with the process of cleaning wool carpets.

A Cotton Carpet

Cleaning a cotton carpet
Cleaning a cotton carpet

Cleaning Cotton Carpets

Cotton is a cellulosic fiber and may be cleaned using regular cleaning methods, depending on rug construction. Cotton fibers may brown if an alkaline solution is used or if there is prolonged drying. It cannot withstand excessive agitation and may shrink if much water is applied. The material is organic and must therefore be dried quickly to limit the growth of microbes. The use of highly alkaline solutions should be avoided like any other material.

The cleaning method for cotton depends on the types of dye that is used, the finishes applied, and the percentage of cellulosic fiber content. You should pre-test all cotton colors in using any cleaning method because it has the tendency to bleed. If a flame retardant has been applied to the material, you must see to it that the cleaning agent would not remove this property. Cotton is susceptible to browning when a high pH cleaning agent is used. Cleaners with a pH balance of 7 or less is recommended for better results.

Polyester Carpet

Cleaning a polyester carpet
Cleaning a polyester carpet

Cleaning Polyester Carpets

Polyester is a synthetic type of carpet that can usually withstand plenty of punishment. One of the biggest brands of this carpet type is Shaw Carpeting. Polyester is usually stain-resistant, but when accidents happen, it is advisable to use white paper towels to immediately blot off the liquid spill until it is thoroughly dry. If the stain is caused by a solid material, you must first gently remove the solid material and vacuum it, before you attempt to clean up the stain. A commercial stain remover may be used but you must wait for a few minutes to test the agent for color-fastness. If the chemical affects the carpet a gentler solution like the 1:1 vinegar and water solution may be used. When the stain is gone you need to soak a clean cloth with cold water and press it to the carpet to remove all odors. You must immediately blot the area dry.

Regular cleaning like vacuuming, stain removal, and annual overall cleaning is needed to keep the carpet in top condition. Vacuuming regularly would help remove debris and dirt before they become embedded and wreak havoc to the carpet. Vacuuming should be done more in high traffic areas to extend the life and sheen of your carpet.

Even home made cleaning is an option

Why Clean Carpets Regularly?

Regular cleaning like vacuuming, stain removal, and annual overall cleaning is needed to keep the carpet in top condition. Vacuuming regularly would help remove debris and dirt before they become embedded and wreak havoc to the carpet. Vacuuming should be done more in high traffic areas to extend the life and sheen of your carpet.

There is a need to clean the carpets regularly not only for aesthetic purposes but for various other reasons. The biggest reason is health. Carpets trap soils, gases, and human or animal excrements. Routine cleaning is also necessary to maintain the appearance of the carpet since it can be a big investment. Cleaning it regularly will ensure that there is no damage that could ruin your carpet and negatively affect home design.

Even a house like this should have clean carpets.

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