Washing your carpets is an important part of keeping your house clean. You can have your carpets professionally steam cleaned, or you can do it yourself. Many carpet cleaners have harsh chemicals in the ingredients, so if you prefer an alternative, consider using vinegar.
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How Often Should You Steam Clean a Carpet?
Steam cleaning a carpet should be done every year to year and a half, but your carpet may need to be steam cleaned more often. This will depend on whether the carpet is lighter in color, such as white or beige, or if it's in a high-traffic area of the home. Carpet steam cleaners can be rented at hardware stores and many supermarkets, but if you anticipate steam cleaning your carpets at least every year, then purchasing your own carpet steam cleaner may be a good investment.
What Type of Vinegar Should You Use?
There are different types of vinegar, and not all should be used when for cleaning since their acid levels may differ. Distilled white vinegar goes through an additional distilling process and can be used for cleaning. The acid level in vinegar can vary depending on the distilling process. A distilled white vinegar typically has 5 percent acetic acid, while cleaning vinegar has 6 percent, making it stronger and a good option for cleaning.
How Do You Determine the Vinegar Ratio?
Steam cleaning with a vinegar carpet cleaning solution is easy. Before you add vinegar to the machine, it's important to know if your carpet is made of synthetic or natural fibers, such as wool. This will influence how much vinegar you should use.
There is an easy way to determine what type of carpet you have. Gently turn over a corner of the carpet. If the bottom is hard, it's synthetic, and if it is soft, it's made of natural materials. A synthetic carpet needs a 2-1 ratio of of water to vinegar, and a natural-fiber carpet needs 1-1 ratio equal parts vinegar and water. Shampoo is often used when steam cleaning a carpet. Follow the instructions on the machine for how much shampoo to use.
How to Steam Clean a Carpet
Step 1: Move the Furniture
Taking furniture out of the space you'll be steam cleaning gives you access to the entire carpet. Pick up any items on the floor too.
Step 2: Vacuum Before Steam Cleaning
Vacuum the area to remove crumbs, dirt, dust, hair, and any other loose grime that may be on the carpet. This will make the steam cleaning process smoother.
Step 3: Combine Vinegar and Water
Mix the correct ratio of vinegar and water for the type of carpet you have and pour it into the steam cleaner.
Step 4: Read the Instructions on the Machine
Before turning on the steam cleaner, it's a good idea to review the instructions on the machine to ensure a smooth cleaning experience.
Step 5: Steam Clean the Carpet
Steam clean by passing the machine in a straight line from one corner to the other. This ensures that the whole carpet gets cleaned and helps with any difficult stains.
Step 6: Let the Carpet Air-Dry
Carpets usually take a minimum of five hours to dry, though it can take up to 12 hours. If you want to speed up the process, open a window or use a fan.