I am renting a house with old worn carpets and everything seems to make them look worse. Within 48 hours of cleaning they look as though they've never been cleaned. I have tried dry cleaning, foam, and steam cleaning. Please help.
By Vicki from Staunton, VA
I am a carpet cleaner. And should not really share this with you tricks of the trade LOL. If you have ever heard of something called traffic film remover it is used for washing cars. You can buy from any good motor shop it's a heavy duty degreaser and will lift any stain. Use this as a pre spray than suck it up with something like a rug doctor.
I have 14 year old carpets in a mobile home. They are worn and filthy, but I cannot afford to replace them at this point. Please give me your best tips. I don't have a steam cleaner, and am not sure about renting one and getting everything dry enough, as I live in an extremely humid environment. Thank you so much.
By Tara from Dothan, AL
If you live in a larger town, look on craigslist for free carpeting and or floor tiles and get yourself some newer carpet. Or call a remodeling place and ask if they every have decent carpet left from a job. Figure out how many square feet you will need and have carpet tacks and stripping on hand and ready to go. Put the word out and it will come to you.
It's not good to live with funky old carpet: pet hair, pet and people dander [skin flakes], dust mites, slowly decaying fiber, and street dirt; you are breathing that in. (02/23/2010)
I have lived in houses with dirty old carpets like that, since where you live is very humid I would look at dry cleaning the carpet. Resolve makes a decent product. Often you can rent a dry cleaner for carpets too from a furniture store. That being said the best way I know to get carpets really clean is the same way you wash clothes. See if you can't find a rental place or janitorial supply that will rent you a professional vacuum unless you yourself have one with excellent suction. Vacuum thoroughly, and then mix one part hot water with one part hot white vinegar and 1 tsp (good like in Wisk) laundry detergent and put that into the tank of a rental steam cleaner.
Now here is the secret when you are using it, lift on the handle of the steam cleaner, so that the front of the steam cleaner sucks into the carpet. This will get it cleaner and suck out more water at the same time. Do your whole room this way and then go back over it several times just using the suction. Get some fans (borrow some if you have to) and get the air circulating. Once you have done this you can find recipes on here for homemade foaming carpet cleaner that you can put down and vacuum up.
To keep it clean. Spot clean with half vinegar half water; it's an amazing carpet spot remover. You will be amazed! You may have to do this once a month or so for a while until your carpets are a lot better. I have cleaned carpets from the forties that were black with grease and who knows what else this way and had them come clean and nice looking again. Good luck! (02/25/2010)
I should add that I take some Fels Naptha laundry soap and a scrub brush and scrub spots and stains and go back over them with the cleaner. Using vinegar this way will remove most old pet odors from carpet, too. A big plus in my opinion! (02/25/2010)
We live in a humid place, too, and moved into a 50 year old house with carpeting that was at least 15-20 years old and in really bad shape, too.
Looking back on it, I think we spent more money trying to get them clean through and through (which really didn't work completely in the long run, anyway beneath them all was mold from years of bad housekeeping and high humidity).
We ended up tearing out all the carpeting and either making do with the bare floors beneath or heading off to our local Habitat for Humanity Re-store for wood flooring, planking, and tile, for some rooms, room by room as we could afford it. The cost for us to tile two rooms and lay down wood plank in two others was less than one room would have been if we'd gone to the "Depot" and bought new or even clearance materials.
Just a thought, what's lurking in and under those rugs could not only be unpleasant dirt, but an actual health hazard. And in a humid environment, I just feel like I'm getting the house cleaner dealing with bare flooring and tile as opposed to carpeting. (02/25/2010)
I'd check on your local Freecycle or Craigslist. Sometime people are replacing carpet simply because they don't like the color or type they have or for some other reason. My brother's business is laying carpet and his garage is oftentimes filled with good nice carpet he has pulled up and replaced for wealthy people who have money to throw away. If I were you I would list a wanted ad and if you're not in a real hurry you may find a steal. (02/28/2010)
I don't have a lot of experience with new linoleum, sorry. I would think that the key would be too keeping things well ventilated with the fans so that it dries as quickly as possible. What I do know is that sometimes people put down particle board subfloors over the top of things like linoleum, etc. and put carpet on top of that. Sucking out as much of the water as you can with the machine is another key thing. Also I should have mentioned this before, but after the initial cleaning if you notice your carpet is sticky from the soap you can "rinse" it with half water half vinegar both hot and this should take care of it. (03/11/2010)
I am looking for a good carpet cleaner. I have tried all the ones sold in the store and even rented a machine and bought the special cleaning fluid for it. I have tried foams, sprays, pre-treats, etc. My carpet is old, light blue and is so stained in front of the sofa, chairs, and walkway that I can't stand it anymore. Please help.
Try foam shaving cream. The cheap stuff. I had grease stains from when my husband was a diesel mechanic. Scrub in and let set for a little while. Then wipe. Hope it works for you. (05/19/2004)
We use a Bissel. It is fairly inexpensive and works well on our 15 year old carpet (4 kids, 2 cats, and 1 dog). We had an expensive Kirby, but the Bissel works much better. (05/19/2004)
I just cleaned a 17 year old rug with my Hoover Rug cleaner, I used Hoover rug cleaner with Oxyclean and boiling water. Ran it over at night and came back 4 days later (because I was sick) and ran the rug cleaner with just clear water back over the whole rug. It looks and feels great. Hope I helped. (05/19/2004)
If you have a large chain department store near you, they should sell a product called Spot Shot. It comes in a spray can. The stains disappears before your eyes. (05/19/2004)
I have light carpets, two dogs in training (w/accidents) baby formula spills, grease stains, etc. and the only product I have found that cleans all is Oxyclean. I mix it myself as spot cleaners and use in home carpet cleaners for overall cleaning. Results are great. (02/23/2005)
By Gerri (guest post)
I learned from a used car dealer that you should spray the area with whatever your favorite cleaner may be (I love the oxy-types). Wait at least 10 minutes, more if possible. Take a nice stiff brush and break up the dirt with a few strokes. Then run the cleaner as normal.
Made a difference for me. Even got ink out before.
I shutter to think what he has had to clean over his career. (08/05/2005)
The trouble with steam cleaners you buy in the store is that they are not very durable and you will end up buying more than one in five years, I just about guarantee it. As professional carpet cleaners, I have seen the Carpet Express in action. Yes, they are not cheap (about $650), but they do a great job and are easy to use and maintain. Should last any homeowner a lifetime. (09/21/2009)
I have been cleaning carpets for 10 years now and it sounds like you most likely have stains that will not come out. I recommend a carpet replacement.
Below is a thrifty tip for carpet care that I know works the best.
Vacuum your carpet once a week and really do a deep vacuuming on your traffic lanes. This will keep dirt from being etched into the fibers when fibers are walked on. Once dirt is etched into a fiber, the chances of it being removed are next to nil.
Below is what I recommend to tackle a fresh spill on your carpet.
The first thing to do is set a "dry" absorbent material on the spill. "Do not push" the towel into the spill, but lightly tamp it with your hand to avoid the carpet fibers from soaking in more of the spill. I like to use paper towels for this step. Make sure to get the spill as dry as possible.
The second step it to apply a lightly damp clean cotton cloth to the spill. Lightly agitate the carpet fibers working your way from the outside to the middle of the spill. If this doesn't remove the spill you can use a spot remover chemical to help remove the rest of the it. The best way to apply a chemical to the spill is to use a clean cotton cloth. Apply the chemical to the "cloth, not the spill".
Now to make sure that you do not set the spill into your carpet with the chemical. Rub a small part of the spill with the chemical to see if the chemical works. Call a professional to take care of the rest of the spill if the chemical doesn't work. This will save you a lot of future trouble and money.
An excellent rug stain remover is Carpet Details Spotter. You can buy it at poundsfloors.com. I have two little dogs and my carpet still looks great. You won't be disappointed. (11/14/2009)