Can You Bleach Carpet White?

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Is your once-pristine white carpet now a little bit closer to beige in color? If so, you may be temped to break out a bottle of bleach to achieve a sparkling white shade. Resist the urge. Whether you're trying to turn the fabric white again or remove stains (or both), it's never a good idea to bleach a rug or carpet. Instead of damaging your carpet by using bleach, try the following cleaning solutions.

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Home Carpet Cleaning Solutions

Let's be honest: Messes happen, and carpets get dirty over time. But rather than using bleach as a carpet stain remover, it's important to learn the right way to deep clean the fabric as well as how to clean up spills and stains. To clean your carpet by hand, you'll need baking soda, water, towels, a carpet brush, and carpet cleaning shampoo. (Always test a small, hidden area of the carpet with these products first.)

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Sprinkle the baking soda over the carpet and let it sit for several hours. Vacuum it up along with any dirt and debris. Mix two drops of the shampoo in a spray bottle filled with warm water and then spray the carpet with this solution. Blot the carpet with towels.

Next fill a spray bottle with fresh water and spray the carpet again, removing as much soapy residue as possible. Soak up as much moisture as possible with more towels. Open your windows and/or use fans to speed up the drying time. Finish by lightly scrubbing the carpet with your brush.

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Alternatively, you can always bring in the big guns if you don't feel like doing the whole thing by hand (which is both labor- and time-intensive): Hire a professional cleaning service or rent a carpet-cleaning machine. However you decide to deep clean your carpet, you should do so at least once every six months if you have pets and/or kids.

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How to Remove Stains the Right Way

The type of stain you're dealing with will dictate the cleaning solution you should use. The method, however, always remains the same: Blot (don't rub), rinse with hot water, and repeat as needed. Some of the most common stains and their stain removers include:

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  • Water-soluble stains (soda, beer, milk, ink, urine, paint): 1/4 teaspoon of white vinegar or nonbleach detergent mixed with 32 ounces of water.

  • Tough, water-soluble stains (blood, coffee, tea, wine): mild detergent and water.

  • Grease: dish soap and warm water.

How to Prevent Stains and Dirt Buildup

To prevent your carpet from looking dingy in the first place, it's crucial to keep dirt at bay. Here are the best ways to discourage dirt and debris and keep your carpet looking new and fresh:

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  • Stick to a regular vacuuming schedule.

  • Lay down a rug or runner in high-traffic areas.

  • Clean up stains as soon as they occur (and lightly blot rather than rub).

  • Insist on a no-shoes-indoors policy.

One very important final note: It's simply not possible to turn a dark-colored carpet white by dyeing it. You're better off buying a new carpet if you want to change the fabric color.

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