Cleaning your carpet by hand is an excellent choice for addressing random stains and spills a lightweight vacuum can’t remove, and for when the carpet isn’t quite ready for full-scale shampooing! However, cleaning your carpet by hand is sometimes more difficult than homeowners realize, and the wrong tools and techniques can make a stain bigger or even damage delicate carpeting.
Before you try to clean a dirty carpet with rags and water alone or apply harsh cleansers and shampoos that strip carpet of its color and nap, check out some simple tips for cleaning a carpet by hand the right way! Our bests tips for cleaning your carpet by hand include:
These tips, along with a bit of elbow grease and patience, will help avoid carpet damage while getting out even the most stubborn stains, so your home’s rugs are clean and pristine and comfortable underfoot. Now, let's learn how to use these cleaning agents for cleaning your carpet by hand!
A carpet broom or rake is similar to an outdoor broom but with a stiff rubber head and bristles. You use a carpet broom the way you would an outdoor rake, pulling it toward you in short strokes. This carpet broom loosens dust and debris while “fluffing up” carpet fibers, restoring their nap and texture.
A carpet broom is an excellent choice for matted-down carpets, such as under doorways and where you once had heavy furniture. Vacuums are often unable to restore that nap, as their suction doesn’t pull thick carpet yarn enough to get it to stand upright again.
Along with restoring nap, carpet brooms or rakes also loosen dirt, pet hair, human hair, and other debris wrapped around carpet yarn that vacuums overlook. When you use a carpet broom, you might immediately notice a little pile of debris forming in the area being raked and an immediate improvement in carpet appearance!
This carpet cleaning procedure is also an excellent choice for loosening ground-in or dried items before you apply cleaners or use other cleaning techniques and for removing pet and human hair that tends to get wrapped around rug fibers. As those hairs and other debris tend to clog vacuum filters and wrap themselves around their rollers, raking your carpet not only keeps rugs clean but also reduces wear and tear on your vacuum cleaner!
Club soda is an excellent household cleaner, as its bubbling and fizzing action helps loosen dirt and debris, making it easier to remove those residues from many surfaces, including carpet fibers. However, you need to use club soda the right way to get out stubborn stains and avoid actually spreading them around the carpet!
One common mistake homeowners make when cleaning the carpet by hand is to dump club soda or other cleaners on the carpet and then scrub it with a brush or rag. This often allows stains to set into the rug simply, or just pushes it further into carpet fibers. To avoid this, first start by applying club soda to a dry rag, and saturating the rag thoroughly.
Next, blot that soda onto the stain, avoiding rubbing it in or pushing it around. Notice if the stain appears lighter; if so, repeat with more club soda until the stain disappears. If the stain doesn’t get lighter, mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle and mist this mixture over the stain and soda. Wait 10 to 15 minutes for it to soak in thoroughly, and then press down with a clean rag or sponge.
Repeat this process a few times if needed to remove the stain. Once it appears the stain is gone, set down some clean white paper towels over the soaked area and put something heavy on the towels, such as a thick book, so they pull up all that leftover moisture.
Believe it or not, ordinary shaving cream has a myriad of uses around the house other than for shaving! The foamy action of shaving cream, along with its light cleansers, makes it an excellent choice for cleaning fireplace brick and stone, tile floors, porcelain, stone countertops, and even carpeting.
To use shaving cream when cleaning the carpet by hand, apply a light amount on the stain and let it sit for several minutes to saturate the area. Blot with a clean, damp cloth and then a clean, dry cloth. Repeat this process as needed until the stain disappears.
If you try this tip, avoid using shaving creams with lots of moisturizers, as these might leave behind a grease stain. Instead, invest in plain white creams, which are not only safer for your carpets but which are also typically far cheaper than those with heavy lotions and other additives!
One reason residues like chewing gum and food sauces are so difficult to remove from carpets is that they contain starches, resins, and other ingredients that make them somewhat sticky. Simply pulling on those stains or substances, such as with a vacuum cleaner or even your fingers, is insufficient for getting them out of the carpet.
A better solution is to freeze the item and then remove it! Grab some ice from the freezer and press it onto that sticky substance or stain, and hold it there for several minutes so that it freezes those residues. Wait until you can feel the gum or other debris get rigid and stiff.
Freezing ingredients like starch and resin neutralize them so they don’t cling to carpet fibers. You can then gently nudge the materials off the carpeting with your fingernails, tweezers, a spoon, or other such tools.
Many dish soap brands are designed to dissolve greasy substances from dishes, and they can do the same for your home’s carpeting. If you’re trying to remove a grease stain from your home’s rugs, get a dish soap brand meant for cutting grease and dissolve a few drops in a cup of warm water in a spray bottle. Shake the mixture so the soap dissolves completely and saturate the greasy stain.
Once saturated, use a clean, dry cloth or white paper towels to blot the stain. If it remains, try this process a few times until the stain is gone. Use warm, clean water to rinse any residual dish soap still clinging to the carpet fibers.
While these 5 tips are some of the best methods of cleaning your carpet by hand, you might note some added tips for spot and stain removal and for keeping your home’s carpets as clean as possible throughout the year.
1. Lint rollers are an excellent tool for removing small, loose debris such as food crumbs, broken crayons, and the like. Don’t apply too much pressure when using the roller so you don’t push the debris into carpet fibers, but roll it gently over the residues and they should come up quite easily.
2. Heating waxy substances such as candle drippings loosen them from carpet fibers. Put a thin cloth over the wax and use a warm iron to gently heat it until it gets soft, and then pull it from carpet fibers.
3. Bleach doesn’t get out blood, but peroxide does! The enzymes in hydrogen peroxide dissolve bloodstains from clothes, furniture, and carpet. However, note that peroxide might also strip carpet color, so use a few drops as needed to blot away the stain.
4. Laundry soap is useful for minor stains on carpets. Dissolve a few drops of liquid detergent or a small sprinkle of powder detergent in a cup of warm water and use a spray bottle to soak the area. Blot with a damp cloth.
5. When cleaning anything sweet, such as candy, honey, or sweetened drinks, it’s vital you remove residual sugar so as to avoid attracting dirt, dust, and pests! Saturate the area with plain water or a bit of laundry soap dissolved in water and then blot dry as needed.
6. Baking soda absorbs lots of oily substances and can help pull grease and oil from carpet fibers. Sprinkle baking soda onto the stain and then gently blot it into the carpet, and allow it to sit for several minutes. Use a clean damp cloth to remove the baking soda and residues with it.
7. If a carpet isn’t necessarily dirty but just worn down in some areas, get it wet before vacuuming to help fluff up those fibers! Use a spray bottle to dampen areas under doors and furniture, and then vacuum thoroughly.
8. Steam also helps loosen solid stains and fluff up carpet fibers. If you have a garment or carpet steamer, use this on the home’s carpeting but ensure you vacuum it until it’s dry to avoid the risk of mold and mildew growth.
If these methods of cleaning the carpet by hand don’t work for a tough stain, it’s time to call a carpet cleaning professional. Avoid DIY carpet shampooing as improper tools and techniques can make the stain worse and damage delicate carpet fibers. A thorough steam clean also removes ground-in dirt and debris you might be overlooking while ensuring your home’s carpets are soft and comfortable underfoot.
For those in the West Hartford, Connecticut, area, trust your carpet cleaning needs to the pros at West Hartford Carpet Cleaners. We offer full-scale carpet and area rug cleaning, upholstery cleaning, and stain removal services. Whether it’s a light cleaning your home needs or tough pet stains and odors, when carpet cleaning by hand isn’t sufficient, West Hartford Carpet Cleaners is the name you can trust for all your carpet and rug cleaning needs!