Let’s face it: your carpet is a warzone. People and pets daily track dirt, grime, and many other less-than-desirable materials onto your lovely floor décor. Worse yet, the inevitable accident always happens—someone looses their grip on their slice of pizza, bumps that cup of coffee that’s too close to the table edge, Rover decides he can’t wait to go outside, or any number of other domestic catastrophes.In these cases, our first instinct is usually to dash for a rag and some commercial cleanser. But is this the best option? Carpet cleaners are expensive, and they contain chemicals that can, over time, do irreparable harm to our carpets, our pets and ourselves. Before you spray that stain remover, take a look at these unconventional methods that can ease the wear and tear on your carpet and protect your loved ones from unnecessary harm.
Use a Scraper
This can be a knife, spatula, or any other semi-sharp, flat object. The goal here is to remove as much excess solid material from your carpet as possible. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, as this can damage your carpet fibers, and we’re trying to avoid that as much as possible. While it’s a little bit harsh and it won’t completely eliminate the offending substance, this will remove as much as possible so that you don’t end up rubbing it into your carpet when moving on to other solutions.
Soap and Water
It works for dishes, it works for laundry, it works for muddy children, and it works for carpet. You want to combine water and dish soap or laundry detergent, and then either hit it with an egg beater or spin it through the blender. Don’t stop until you have a light, fluffy foam. Apply this to the stain, massaging it gently into the carpet, then rinse with clean water.
Use an Iron to Extract Grease
Greasy substances always work their way into carpet fibers and then sit there, mocking you. It looks awful, it feels disgusting on the bottoms of your feet, and it often leads to rules like “no chili-cheese dogs in the living room.” But it doesn’t have to be this way. After scraping, place a paper towel over the offending spot, then apply your iron on its absolute lowest setting. The iron’s heat will loosen the grease, which will absorb into the paper towel. You should promptly follow this up with a liquid-based solution to make sure you get the spot thoroughly cleaned.
Freeze Sticky Substances with Ice
Gum is the bane of carpets; you never realize it’s there until it’s far too late, by which point it’s a solid mass embedded in your carpet like Soviet soldiers in Stalingrad. Luckily, you too can use the tried-and-true Russian tactic of freezing your opponent out. Just put a healthy amount of ice in a thin plastic cup or bag, wrap it in a towel, and place it on the sticky substance residing in your carpet. Let it sit; once the gum (or whatever) is solid, grab your scraper and go to work. Your mileage may vary depending on the severity of the problem, but repeated applications of ice and scraping can work miracles you never thought possible.
Mix Your Own Solution
When soap and water just isn’t enough, you can whip up a quick, convenient, and non-toxic cleaning solution of your own. Mix a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid, a tablespoon of white vinegar, and a cup of warm water in a spray bottle. Keeping the lid handy, add a teaspoon of baking soda, then seal it up tight and get to work. The reaction between the vinegar and baking soda creates carbon dioxide, and the bubbling action will help to get into carpet fibers and loosen stains. Dab the spot with a clean towel or sponge, and repeat as necessary. Note that you can use all of these ingredients separately as cleaning agents, but this is a particularly effective combination. You can also substitute club soda for bubbling action, but baking soda and vinegar are stronger choices.Using these methods, you can get your carpet looking great again in no time. Just as importantly, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that your DIY cleaning solutions are friendly to your family and the environment.