You’re here because you searched “how to clean heavily soiled carpet.” An accident must have happened. Perhaps there was a water leak that soiled your carpet. Whatever the circumstances, you need help, and we’re here for you.
But we’re giving it to your straight. The steps and tips seem easy enough to follow, and they are, honestly. Still, the thing about carpet cleaning is that it takes muscle work...and time. So, if you’re thinking of doing this rather daunting task yourself, be sure you’re absolutely willing to do it.
Easy Steps for Cleaning Heavily Soiled Carpet
A clean carpet really makes a difference to your home...and health. So, cleaning it occasionally is actually something that you need to do.
You can always ask professional carpet cleaners to do it for you. But if you want to take matters into your own hands, you can certainly do so. Our steps here can guide you, especially if you haven’t cleaned the carpet yourself.
1. Check Your Carpet
Assess the damage first. Inspect every nook and cranny, so you’ll know which parts of the carpet need more attention. Take note of stains that may need extra cleaning.
2. Vacuum Away
Vacuum the entire carpet area. To ensure good coverage, vacuum in different directions. Take your time, and don’t rush. Repeat the process at least three to four times more. You might think this is overkill, but running your vacuum once through the carpet is not enough if you aim for deep cleaning.
3. Apply Stain Remover
After vacuuming, focus on the stained areas. Pre-treat tough stains with your go-to stain remover. If you don’t have one yet, don’t worry because you have plenty of options in the market. You’ll find one in no time.
You can also opt for a DIY mixture instead of a ready-made stain remover. To do this, mix 1/4th cup each of salt, borax, and vinegar.
Let the paste sit on the stain for a couple of hours until completely dry. Vacuum the dried mixture to remove the stain.
4. Steam Clean for Extra Love
After spot-cleaning the stains, steam-clean the carpet. It’s the best way to clean your carpet thoroughly and effectively.
Load the steam cleaner with hot water. This alone can actually eliminate most of the grime from the carpet. But you can also add a cleaning solution that works well with the fabric of your carpet.
Again, you can ditch the carpet shampoo, especially if you wish to avoid heavy chemicals, and use hot water alone. But if you really want to take steam cleaning up a notch sans heavy cleaning agents, add 1 cup of white vinegar to about 2.5 gallons of hot water.
One round with a steam cleaner may not be enough. Go over your carpet twice or more to ensure it's clean enough.
5. Lastly, Dry Your Carpet
Drying the carpet is just as important as cleaning it. A wet carpet is a haven for mold and mildew, which are major health risks. You really need to take this part seriously.
To dry the carpet, use the steam cleaner’s water extraction mode. While in this mode, go over the carpet three or four times to ensure that most of the water has been extracted.
Open the windows. Natural air flow can help the carpet dry faster unless it is extremely humid outside. Also, turn on any home appliance that can help speed up the drying process, such as a floor fan, ceiling fan, or dehumidifier. If your vacuum has a water extraction feature, you can use it to hasten drying.
NOTE: Don’t use a regular vacuum to dry the carpet. Dirty water could damage it. You could risk electrocution in extreme cases where the carpet is too wet.
Sometimes, you may have to remove and hang the carpet outside, where natural sunshine can help it dry much faster. The whole thing is a hassle, but it is what your carpet needs.
Home Items That Help Clean Your Carpet
In this section, you’ll find a few DIY spot cleaners you can easily make from stuff you already have at home.
NOTES: Before using vinegar and hydrogen peroxide as a spot cleaner, look for suitable cleaning agents for your carpet’s material.
Baking Soda for Grease
Baking soda works well as an all-around stain remover, but it's particularly great at absorbing grease and oil. Because oil and water don't mix, using a damp cloth to scrub it is ineffective. The cloth won’t be able to absorb the greasy residue and might actually just spread the stain.
Apply baking soda to the oily stain and give it time to absorb the residue. Blot it away with a wet cloth and repeat as needed.
Another option is to mix baking soda and water into a paste. Apply the baking soda paste to the stain with a damp cloth, and then wipe it away with a clean cloth.
Hydrogen Peroxide for Tannin Stain
A DIY carpet spot cleaner made from hydrogen peroxide and dish soap could work for coffee, wine, tea, and mustard stains. These are water-soluble stains from plant-based ingredients, as you might have noticed. They’re relatively easy to remove if treated right away. Otherwise, they may be challenging to get rid of.
Mix two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide and one tablespoon of dish soap. This ratio typically works well, but you can adjust it as needed, depending on the size of the stain.
Vinegar for Pee Stains
Vinegar is another all-around dirt and stain remover for carpets. It also works well for urine because it neutralizes the bacteria and masks the odor. Aside from removing stains, it refreshes the look of worn carpet fibers.
Mix one cup of vinegar (100% apple cider or white) and one cup of water in a spray bottle. Spray the affected area as needed. Allow the mixture to soak first before blotting it with a damp rag.
Get Help from Professional Carpet Cleaners
Sometimes, you need help from professional carpet cleaners. You can manage a few stains here and there and deep clean the carpet if you feel like it. But if the damage is extensive (like damage from the flood), it’s best to leave matters to people who really know what they’re doing.