How to Sanitize Carpets

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Sanitizing your carpet is a must for routine carpet maintenance. It will help get rid of germs residing in the carpet fibers and will also help eliminate any odors that may begin to develop over time. You have the option of purchasing or renting a carpet cleaning machine to get a really in-depth clean, or you can apply a home remedy to sanitize your carpet.

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Clean the Carpet First

There is a difference between sanitizing, disinfecting, and cleaning. The terms ​disinfecting​ and ​sanitizing​ are commonly used interchangeably, but they are not the same. It is actually impossible to disinfect soft materials such as carpet as this requires killing all the microorganisms found within the carpet, which can't be done. So the best method for renewing your carpet is to clean first and then sanitize.

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Cleaning the carpet first removes dirt and debris from your carpet, which will allow you to move ahead with proper sanitizing. Sanitizing is simply bringing the carpet back to a safe state that is suitable for people to be around. To clean your carpet, use either a vacuum or a stiff-bristle broom depending on the density and composition of your carpet fibers. If vacuuming, use the appropriate attachment to get as much dirt as possible out of the fibers.

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Home Remedy With Steam Cleaning

One go-to method that will refresh and sanitize your carpet is a home remedy that consists of applying diluted vinegar to the carpet fibers. Fill a spray bottle with equal parts of distilled white vinegar and cold water. Spray the carpet but do not saturate it so that it gets wet. Mist the carpet so the fibers trap the moisture and let the carpet air-dry.

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Once the carpet is dry, use a steam cleaner on the carpet for a thorough cleaning. Combine water and white vinegar in a 3-1 ratio and use this mixture in the fluid compartment on your steam cleaner. After waiting a few minutes for the steamer to warm up, run the steamer over the carpet, activating the steam trigger approximately every 30 seconds and making sure to cover the entire carpet. Let the carpet air-dry completely, with the windows open if weather permits, before walking on it again.

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Cleaning Without a Machine

Steam cleaners can be costly, and you may not wish to spend that much on sanitizing your carpet. The good news is that you can clean your carpet just as well manually with homemade cleaners.

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Make a mixture of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water and dip in a basic scrub brush. Use the brush to rub the mixture into the carpet, making sure not to soak it. As you go, use an absorbent cloth to remove any excess moisture that could remain in the carpet fibers and let the carpet air-dry.

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Another DIY method is to use baking soda on the carpet once it has been vacuumed clean. Sprinkle it lightly everywhere and let it sit for five minutes. While the baking soda is resting on the carpet, mix together equal parts of cold water, vinegar, and liquid dish detergent until foamy. Put a small amount on the bristles of a scrub brush and begin working it into the fibers, starting at one corner and working your way across and down the carpet, making sure not to soak it.

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Once the entire carpet has been scrubbed, "rinse" it using a clean cloth and clean, cold water. Rub it into the carpet the same way as before with the scrub brush. Let the damp carpet air-dry, and vacuum it once more to remove any remaining soap and baking soda residue that you may have missed during the rinsing process.

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