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What To Use To Clean Carpet

Kids, pets, day-to-day routines - with everything we have going on it’s easy for carpet messes to happen and for them to not get noticed or cleaned up. Before spills occur, make sure you know how to clean them up quickly, so those sudden spills don’t turn into lasting stains.

Natural light coming in through windows to show a carpeted living room with two couches and a coffee table

Learning how to get stains out of carpet requires two things. The first is knowing what kind of fibers make up your carpet and the second is having all the right cleaning agents to help remove the spot.

Types of Carpet

Before you can choose a carpet cleaner solution, you will need to know what kind of fibers make up your carpet. Using the proper cleaning agents and techniques for your specific carpet helps avoid potential damage and provide the most effective clean. If you’re not certain which type you have, it’s important you do some research to figure it out. In short, there are two types of carpet fibers: synthetic and natural.

Synthetic Carpet

Today, synthetic carpets are the most popular style of carpeting with the vast majority of carpets sold in the U.S. being made from synthetic material. Synthetic fibers are machine-made fibers with common types including: nylon, polyester, triexta, and olefin. Overall, these fibers are much more stain-resistant than natural fibers and tend to be less expensive.

Nylon vs. Polyester Carpet

Since both are synthetically-made, people often question which carpet fiber is better: nylon or polyester.  Nylon is very durable, abrasion resistant, and runs more expensive compared to Polyester. Polyester, on the other hand, is stain resistant, strong, and softer to the touch than Nylon. Nylon and polyester are relatively easy-to-wash and mildew resistant. In the end, both are quality materials for carpet, so it really comes down to personal preference and choice.

Natural Carpet

Natural fibers are made from materials found naturally and constructed that way. Most carpets are made from at least some synthetic material so natural carpets and rugs are valued for their rich textures and natural weave. Wool is the most common type of natural carpet fiber. These fibers easily absorb stains and are typically better at insulating sound and heat.

Your carpet cleaner solution will need to be based on what kind of fibers make up your carpet. If you’re unsure what kind of carpet you have in your home, here’s a carpet identification guide.

Once you know what kind of carpet you have, you can finally narrow down how to clean your carpet. You can do this by making your own carpet cleaner or buying a store-bought cleaner. 

How to Make Homemade Carpet Cleaner

Creating a homemade or DIY carpet cleaner can sound like a tedious project, but it's actually quite easy. In fact, many of the solutions used to make the cleaner are common household items that you probably already have lying around. If not, a quick run to the grocery store will help you gather up supplies. Below is everything you’ll need for your homemade carpet cleaner:

  • Water
  • Dish detergent
  • White microfiber towel - it’s important that it’s white because colored towels run the risk of transferring over fabric dye onto your carpets
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Ammonia - before you choose to use ammonia, do a test in a small spot on your carpet to reassure there will be no damage to the fibers
  • Clear spray bottle - Similar to need a white towel, a clear spray bottle prevents any color transfer from the bottle.

How to Clean Synthetic Carpet

  1. Vacuum - Vacuum carpet thoroughly to get any surface-level dirt or dander.
  2. Use Baking Soda for Fresh Stain - If a stain is fresh or still wet, sprinkle baking soda to absorb the moisture and vacuum up.
  3. Create Cleaning Solution - Combine one cup of water with two teaspoons of dish detergent into a clear, spray bottle.
  4. Spray Stain - Spray water and dish soap mixture on the carpet paying special attention to the stain.
  5. Blot with Towel - Using the white, microfiber towel, gently blot the stain. 
  6. Repeat - Repeat the spraying and blotting steps until the dirt is lifted.
  7. Add Ammonia if Needed - If the stain is colored and will not lift, add ammonia to a microfiber towel and blot until the stain is gone. Remember to test an inconspicuous part of your carpet to make sure ammonia is safe to use!

How to Clean a Wool Rug or Carpet

  1. Vacuum - Vacuum carpet thoroughly to get any surface-level dirt or dander.
  2. Create Cleaning Solution - Combine one teaspoon of dish soap, one teaspoon of vinegar and two cups of water into a clear, spray bottle.
  3. Spray Stain - Spray solution on carpet focusing on the stain. Don’t overwet. A key to caring for natural fibers is not to soak them. 
  4. Blot with Towel - As soon as you lightly spray the carpet, lightly blot with a dry, clean towel.
  5. Repeat - Repeat the spraying and blotting until dirt is lifted.

Our Carpet Cleaner

Stanley Steemer Spot Remover™ is safe to use on natural and synthetic carpet fibers. It’s an easy and effective carpet stain remover that helps get stains out of carpet.  

If the stain has settled over time or is too tough for your homemade carpet cleaner, you can always turn to the professionals for help. Stanley Steemer is the best carpet cleaner because we use EPA approved carpet cleaning agents combined with our proprietary hot-water extraction process to achieve the best results possible.

For a professional cleaning that makes your carpet like new, call 1-800-STEEMER or schedule instantly online!