DIY carpet cleaning may make financial sense, but when you get it wrong, you’ll wish you’d opted for a professional carpet cleaning service instead.
Here are five common carpet cleaning gaffes that can curtail the lifespan of your carpet, and cost you, big time, in terms of Rands and cents.
Over-saturating the carpet
When it comes to lifting stubborn stains and ugly marks from the carpet, there’s always the urge to splash lots and lots of foamy detergent onto the offending area. However, when it comes to cleaning a carpet, more is definitely not better.
In fact, when liquid permeates down through the fibres and deep into the pad, disaster strikes in more ways than one. You’ll quickly learn that a saturated carpet can shrink, discolour and attract more dirt, dust and pet hair than ever before.
If you think that’s bad, just wait until the mould and mildew take hold. You’ll be hard pressed to get rid of the nasty black spores, but eradicating that sickening damp odour is a zero-sum game.
Scrubbing rather than blotting
Similarly, as a DIY carpet cleaner you may be tempted to use brawn rather than brain in an effort to get your fabric floor covering sparkling clean and sanitised. The harder you scrub, the better the results? Umm… no, that’s not quite how it works.
Brisk, forceful scrubbing has the opposite effect. Instead of lifting the dirt and grime, it drives the mess deeper and deeper into the pile.
The active agitation of the carpet fibres can even cause them to unravel and fray, leaving you with carpeting that resembles an unshorn sheep, rather than a smooth, silky centrepiece.
So what’s the optimal carpet cleaning strategy? A bit of concentrated blotting with a clean white cloth, of course.
Carpet spoiler alert – use a coloured cloth or sponge to actively mop up the spills, and there’s a good chance the dye or tiny fragments of sponge will infiltrate the material and create a horrible mess.
Using the incorrect carpet cleaning solution
Not all carpets are equal. They are manufactured in a wide variety of materials using different techniques. When you use a detergent formulated for acrylic or polyester on pure wool, for instance, you can permanently damage your carpet.
So, before you attack the spills and stains with whatever carpet cleaning solution you have in your cupboard, read the label and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter.
If you’re still unsure about what detergents to use, you can always get up-to-date information off the internet. Don’t just swing it; find the best carpet cleaning product for your carpeting material, or be prepared to pay the price!
Failing to do a spot test
Even when you have found a suitable cleaning solution for your carpet, a common mistake is to neglect to do a spot test. Remember, it’s a lot cheaper to lose a tiny piece of carpet to collateral damage than it is to replace the whole shebang.
Find an area of carpet that’s concealed by a piece of furniture or hidden behind a door. Then test the compatibility of the detergent with the material. If there’s no discolouration or bleaching, you’re good to go into full carpet cleaning mode.
Piling on carpet deodoriser
Liberally applying deodorising powder to your carpet may seem like a great idea. It leaves the room fresh, fragrant and aromatic. But when you apply too much, too frequently, you’re left with a tacky residue, and a dull lifeless carpet pile.