Any carpet in a family home will take its fair share of abuse over the years. Constant footfall, a thousand spillages and Father Time will all take their toll. While many people head straight for the nearest carpet store when those first signs of fatigue start showing, this is often a costly mistake.
There still might be some life left in your old carpets — you just need to give them the kiss of life. But instead of investing in expensive carpet cleaners or bringing in a team of experts, the solutions could be natural.
Whether you’re trying to remove stubborn stains or simply give breathe new life into your carpets, there are a few things you can do that don’t involve expensive — and potentially harmful — cleaning agents.
Iron your carpets
Yes, an iron isn’t just for clothes — used correctly it can remove stubborn carpet stains too. Start by thoroughly vacuuming the area to remove any debris and dust. Dampen the stained area with a soft-fibre cloth using a solution of one part water and two parts vinegar. Lay a clean tea towel over the area, and iron it as you would if it were on an ironing board.
This process of applying heat, moisture and acid vinegar can remove a multitude of sins from the average carpet, as well as chewing gum. If you’re removing candle wax, for instance, use grease-proof paper instead of a tea towel. In both cases, the unwanted substance should be transferred from the carpet to either the towel or the paper.
Do the shake and vac… with bicarbonate of soda
If your main concern regarding your carpet relates to some rather unsavoury odours, don’t replace it just yet… and don’t splash out on expensive shampoos and deodorisers. There is a reasonable chance that you already have the ingredients for a very effective homemade carpet cleaner.
Fill a dessert bowl with some bicarbonate of soda, and add a few drops of your favourite essential oil. If you don’t have any oils at hand, some citrus juice or rosemary can be just as effective. Mix the oil into the powder until it has been fully absorbed. Take a handful of the powder, and sprinkle it liberally over the affected area of carpet. Give it 15 minutes of contact time, and then vacuum it up.
Use the power of steam
The latest steam mops are lightweight and versatile, and they can be fitted with an attachment that turns them into powerful carpet cleaners. The deliver of superheated steam dislodges dirt and dust particles deep within carpet pile — which can be vacuumed when the area dries. In addition, the heat involved kills the majority of harmful bacteria. If you’re concerned about any lingering odours, just scatter a few drops of essential oil on the affected area before you start steam cleaning.
De-flatten with a spoon
If your carpet looks a little downtrodden — which is always an issue in high-traffic areas, you can use a solution of water and vinegar along with a spoon to remedy the situation. Spray the solution over the affected area, and give it around 30 minutes to soak in. Blot the carpet to remove excess moisture, and use the side of a spoon to fluff up the fibres gradually. This is time-consuming, but it delivers results.
Remove indentations with ice
If you’ve ever relocated heavy furniture, you’ve probably had to deal with the ugly indentations it can leave on carpet. A quick and natural solution to this is to place ice cubes around the affected area. Let them melt gradually, and you will be surprised at the results.
Too many carpets are thrown away prematurely because they look tired and worn. In many cases, a little TLC is enough to save them from the scrapheap.