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So, you decided you want to clean your own carpet.  Whether it is just a spot, cleaning a high traffic family room, or deciding to tackle cleaning the carpet in your whole house, here are some tips from Heaven’s Best Carpet Cleaning of Denver to help ease you through the process of properly cleaning your own carpet and maximizing the results.  If you have just a small spot or spill to tackle, please reference our handy Spot & Spill Remover guide located at the top right of the page.  If you are planning on cleaning one or more full rooms, plan on allowing plenty of time to do the job properly and follow these steps:
 

1. Vacuuming

  • Always make sure your vacuum bag/canister is empty and no obstructions exist to reduce the airflow of the vacuum.
  • While lowering your vacuum beater bar would appear to get “deep down dirt”, it can instead suffocate your vacuum and create little suction.   Adjust the height according to the fiber height/length of your carpet to maximize your vacuum’s suction.
  • Vacuum in such a manner that you are overlapping almost 50% on each pass and heavy traffic areas may require vacuuming from multiple directions.
  • Don’t let a vacuum with a beater bar sit running on the same spot on the carpet without moving it. Some carpets, especially berbers, are susceptible to friction burns.

2. Pre-spraying and Pre-spotting

  • Pre-treat heavy traffic areas if possible and allow a little dwell time.
  • Pre-treat pet spots with a pet specific product, usually an enzyme.

3. Extraction
  • Don’t over wet the carpet.  It is much easier to make a second pass to add a little more moisture than it is to pull out excess moisture, especially if it reaches the pad.
  • Many times 2-4 dry extraction passes may be required to remove excess moisture.

4. Grooming
  • If you have a carpet rake, raking the carpet will speed up drying and also make the carpet nap look better

5. Drying
  • When done properly, carpet should be dry 6-8 hrs after you have cleaned it.  Carpet left wet for longer than 8 hrs can result in mold growth, or damage to the carpet itself.
  • Turn on your A/C or heat to keep air moving in the house and help speed up drying.
  • Opening windows or using fans will help too, but make sure not do to this on a dusty day or with a dirty fan as wet carpet attracts dirt easier than dry carpet.
 

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Rug Doctor Tips: 

If your rented a Rug Doctor to clean your carpets, please be aware that these machines are heavy and cumbersome when they are full of cleaning solution and waste water.  Try to make sure the units have very little solution in them and that the waste recovery tank is empty when you are preparing to move them from one floor to the next.


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Home Upright Carpet Cleaner Tips (i.e Hoover, Bissell):

If you regularly clean your carpet with your home “steam cleaner”, remember that these units do not have the suction required to remove the amount of solution they put down in one pass.  Multiple “dry passes” are usually required to remove an appropriate amount of moisture from the carpet.  Also, since many store brand cleaners are soap based and potentially leave residue behind, Heaven’s Best Carpet Cleaning of Denver recommends that every 3rd or 4th time you clean with a home carpet cleaner, try running just water through the unit. This will give you a good gauge of how much residue is being left in the carpet when you clean.  If the tank has any suds in it, that means residue is being left behind when you clean, which causes your carpets to get dirty faster.

 


 
Spot Cleaners (i.e. Green Machine & Spot Bot):

These machines are good for spots, and when used in conjunction with our Heaven’s Best Spot and Spill Chart, will help you get out many accidents.  The number one thing to remember when you are cleaning an “accident” is that the sooner you attempt to clean the spot, the better.  Also, if you are cleaning an accident spot in a high traffic or dirty area, you may end up with a “clean spot” that stands out dramatically.  If this is the case, you may want to consider have the whole room cleaned. Once carpet “appears dirty”, damage is being done to the carpet by the soil that is present.


 

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Upholstery:

Extreme care should be used if you attempt to clean your upholstery.  Many upholstery fabrics have natural fibers in them, such as cotton, and leaving these fabrics wet for even a short period of time can lead to water rings, color bleeding, and possibly shrinking.  Also, removing the fabric and cleaning it in the washing machine is not recommended by most manufacturers.  Some furniture will have cleaning codes listed on the tags.  Most of these tags, however, do not list the fabric type, but rather by law only have to list the contents of the interior cushion batting.  Many times is it just best to use a white cotton towel dampened with either water or a safe cleaning solution, and try to blot up any spills that occur on upholstery.

Area Rug:

Area rugs made of synthetic fibers (nylon, acrylic, polypropelene, olefin) can usually be cleaned like regular carpet, although if you are cleaning them on a hardwood floor, use caution not to get the wood wet.  A waterproof tarp underneath the rug is usually a smart idea. Use extreme caution if you are trying to clean a natural fiber rug (wool, cotton, silk).  Color bleeding, dye migration, and shrinking can easily occur with these types of rugs, and more often than not, the cleaning should be left to professionals.


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Traffic Soil Rating Carpet Owner/Maintainer Professional Carpet Cleaner/Restorer
Vacuuming Spot Cleaning Heavy-Use Area Cleaning Restorative Cleaning
Light Soil 1x per week Daily or as soon as spots are noticed Traffic areas every 12 to 18 months Every 2 years or per manufacturer warranty
Normal Soil (families with children, elderly) 1 to 2 x per week Daily or as soon as spots are noticed Traffic areas every  6 to 12 months Annually
Heavy Soil (families with pets, smoking) 2 to 4 x per week Daily or as soon as spots are noticed Traffic areas every  3 to 6 months Semi-annually (2x annually)
Extreme Conditions (large families, multiple pets) Daily Daily or as soon as spots are noticed Traffic lanes every  2 to 3 months Quarterly (4x annually)
 
 

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Burns
Burn damage can be remedied only by reweaving, retufting, or resectioning the damaged area. However, in some cases, the appearance of an area of charred carpet can be improved by carefully clipping off blackened ends of tufts using small, sharp scissors. Trim surrounding tufts to minimize indention. Remember, clipping blackened ends of tufts are permanent.

Crushing
Crushing is the loss of pile thickness due to foot traffic. It is not a manufacturing defect unless specifically cited in manufacturer’s warranty. Regular vacuuming can help reduce crushing. Manufacturers’ definitions of crushing may vary.

Depressions
The weight of heavy pieces of furniture can put indentions in carpet. Use furniture glides or cups under the legs of heavy pieces, or, occasionally move your furniture a few inches backward or sideways so that the weight is not concentrated in one place. If depressions do occur, apply water to the indentions with a spray bottle. Hold a hair dryer, set on medium, a few inches above the indention. As the spot is drying use your fingers to gently work the pile upright and in the opposite direction.

Fading or Color Loss
Protect carpet from direct sunlight to minimize fading or color loss. Fading can be caused by emissions from heating fuels or chemicals, such as pesticides, household cleaning agents, and other household items.

Filtration Soiling
Filtration soiling may appear as dark or grayish lines on carpet along walls, stairways, around vents, and under doors. It is caused by airflow over and through the carpet that allows fine, airborne soils to settle on the carpet surface. This type of soiling, while sometimes permanent, requires special treatments for effective removal. Contact a carpet cleaning professional for assistance.

Fluffing or Shedding
The balls of fluff found on carpet or in the vacuum cleaner bag, are merely loose bits of fiber left in the carpet from the manufacturing process. The removal of loose fibers does not affect the carpet life or quality. With proper vacuum, using a quality vacuum cleaner, most shedding gradually disappears within the first year after installation.
Carpet Maintenance Guidelines
January 30, 2012 P a g e | 21

Matting
Matting, the untwisting of the fiber and intermingling of the yarn tips, is usually the result of concentrated foot traffic and possibly inadequate maintenance. But other factors, including improperly specified cushion or cushion failure, can also be the cause. Matting is not considered a manufacturing defect unless specifically cited in the manufacturer’s warranty. Manufacturers’ definitions of matting may vary.

Shading, Pile Reversal, “Watermarking” or “Pooling”
Shading is not a change in color, but a change in pile direction that sometimes randomly appears in a carpet or rug. It may look darker or lighter from different directions. Shading may be more prevalent in a solid color cut pile carpet than in patterned and textured styles. This is not considered a manufacturing defect and is usually permanent and has no known cause.

Soiling
The secret to maintaining the beauty of your carpet is to vacuum often and clean it regularly before it becomes excessively soiled. Dulling is caused by the deposits of all types of soil that abrade the carpet’s fibers. Still, the original color is not lost, but is present under the soil film. If the soil is allowed to remain, the carpet is much more difficult to clean. Frequent cleanings are important to avoid excessive soiling.

Sprouting
Occasionally a yarn tuft will rise above the pile surface of a carpet. Just snip these tufts off level with the tufts. Do not pull them out. If a long run has occurred, consult your dealer, installer or professional cleaner promptly. It is frequently possible for the yarn to be retufted (reburled) or glued back into place.

Static
The static electricity generated by some carpets is aggravated by low humidity. That is why it is most bothersome in colder weather when the relative humidity is low. The use of a humidifier can help, by reducing the buildup of static and reducing
annoying shocks.

Be cautious about using anti-static treatment on carpets, as some can cause the carpet to soil very readily. For the same reason, never use fabric softeners made for home laundry, as they may leave sticky residues that will cause rapid soiling.


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