How Should Carpet Washing and Cleaning Be Done?

If you’re proud of your home, the last thing you want is to be embarrassed by your carpets when your friends and family come to visit! However, getting them cleaned can seem like yet another mammoth task you never quite get the time to do.

Fortunately, these days it’s perfectly possible to wash the carpets in your living room in just 20 minutes, leaving it dry enough to walk on again in a very short time – that’s quicker than the wash and dry cycle on your washing machine!

The key to easy and speedy carpet cleaning with stunning results is to invest in a good quality carpet washer with deep-cleaning, quick-drying technologies. Then, simply follow our top tips to get the very best results…

Deal with spills immediately
To avoid an accidental spill becoming a stain, deal with it straight away. Your carpet cleaner will be able to collect most of the liquid before it soaks in. If your carpet cleaner isn’t immediately at hand, place some sheets of kitchen roll on top of the spill to soak up as much as possible.

Resist the temptation to rub! This will drive the liquid further into carpet.

Always vacuum thoroughly first
Vacuuming up any surface debris before you wash your carpets will make the job much easier and will stop your carpet washer from getting all clogged up. This is especially important if you’re cleaning up after a Christmas party, as tinsel and pine needles can play havoc with your cleaner.

Use the right solution
It may be tempting to try something other than the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning solution in your carpet cleaner, but it’s really not a good idea. Poorly manufactured ‘one size fits all’ solutions could damage your carpet, damage your carpet cleaner and invalidate its warranty in many cases.

The carpet cleaning solutions designed for use in your carpet cleaner is specially-formulated so that it won’t produce excessive foam, which will block your cleaner, or leave any sticky residues on your carpet, which can attract more dirt. These solutions will also include technologies to tackle high-traffic areas, be kind to allergy sufferers or remove pet odours.

For the very best cleaning results, always use the recommended carpet cleaning solution and if your carpets contain wool, look out for the ‘Woolsafe approved’ logo on the bottle to give extra peace of mind.

Check a small area first
If you’ve never washed your carpets before, it’s always best to try your carpet cleaner in a small, ‘hidden’ area first, just to check the unlikely possibility of the colour fastness of the carpet being affected by the solution or the general cleaning action of the cleaner. Your carpet manufacturer or supplier should be able to help advise on this too.

Pre-treat if possible
For the best results on carpets that are very dirty, deeply-stained or haven’t been cleaned previously, try applying a pre-treatment cleaning solution before you begin general carpet cleaning. Some carpet cleaner models include a pre-treatment kit, typically consisting of a bottle of solution and an applicator wand, or you may need to buy these separately. Spray-bottle pre-treatment solutions are also available.

Spray the pre-treatment solution onto heavily-soiled areas and leave it a few minutes to break down the stain before carpet cleaning as normal, but always follow the instructions on the solution bottle.

Start furthest from the door
It sounds so obvious when you say it, but when starting carpet cleaning, begin in the corner furthest away from the door and work back towards the door. That way you won’t be walking on damp carpet and getting damp feet!

Clean in overlapping straight lines
For the most thorough clean, use parallel strokes with your carpet cleaner, allowing a small overlap to help prevent streaking. An extra tip is to push your carpet cleaner at about half the speed you would push an upright vacuum. Steady use yields the best results!

Don’t over-soak
If you clean to the point of soaking your carpet, it will take longer to dry but be no cleaner afterwards. To avoid getting your carpet too saturated, use no more than 3-4 ‘wet’ strokes per area. Use more ‘dry’ strokes than wet strokes, and finish with a flourish of steady dry strokes, until hardly any water is being sucked up. Hey presto; dry carpets!

Rinse if you can
If you have a carpet cleaner with a ‘rinse mode’ (where plain water only is dispensed,) use this after washing with solution to remove any residue from the carpet, before allowing to dry normally.

Wash stairs and upholstery too
If you want your stairs and upholstery to look just as clean as your carpets, choose a carpet cleaner with a hose and wash tool included. This will give you equally as great results on sofas, upholstered chairs, carpeted stairs and car interiors.

Concentrate on stubborn stains
The most stubborn stains and high-traffic areas, such as doorways, landings and hallways are often best tackled using the hose and wash tool, as this will gives a more concentrated cleaning effect. Pre-treat these areas if possible and then use the wash tool to scrub and break-down the dirt. Oily stains may require more than a single application of pre-treatment solution, as these are very stubborn amongst carpet fibres.

Don’t forget corners and crevices
Some carpet cleaners provide ‘edge-to-edge’ cleaning, reaching right up to skirting boards, but there will always be corners and crevices that you just can’t reach with your main cleaner. Use the carpet cleaner’s hose and wash tool to reach into any awkward corners.

Leave doors and windows open
Your carpet cleaner should pick up most of the moisture laid down, particularly if it has a ‘heated cleaning’ effect. To speed up the time it takes your carpets to dry even further, leave doors and windows open during the summer months, or turn on the heating on a low setting. If you’ve been careful not to over-soak your carpets, they should be dry within the hour.

Wash regularly

Don’t leave it too long between washes! Even if you vacuum every day, to keep your carpet looking at its best you still need to wash it regularly. That’s because a surprisingly large amount of dirt gets trapped between the fibres and can’t be sucked away by your regular vacuum cleaner if it is stubbornly trapped to the carpet.

As you walk on your carpet this embedded dirt gets ground in. As much of this dirt is abrasive, it damages carpet fibres so that, over time, they start to look frayed and worn. Regular washing will prevent this happening, making your carpet look newer for longer and saving you money long-term!