Owning a home means you have to put effort into keeping it clean. Although it might seem tiresome to regularly do the dishes, fold laundry, and clean up the yard, it helps to protect your investment. The same logic applies to learning how to use a steam cleaner on a carpet, as it keeps your floors clean over the years.
Whether you’re interested in selling your property or if it’s time for your annual spring-cleaning, you might be thinking about what it takes to get stains and embedded dirt out of your carpets. With the help of this guide, you’ll know the ins and outs of steam cleaning and why your carpet will need it.
The Benefits of Steam Cleaning a Carpet
There are plenty of reasons as to why you should opt to steam clean your carpets, especially if you have children and pets in the home.
- Eliminating Chemicals: Much like its name suggests, steam cleaning means you get to leave chemicals at the door. All that’s needed is water and heat, both of which work together to get rid of traces of bacteria and germs that could be infecting your carpets.
- Protecting the Carpet: It can be incredibly difficult to steam clean a carpet with chemicals if you’re doing it by yourself, especially without the right products. You’re going to want to maintain the integrity of your flooring, otherwise, you could be left with permanent stains as a result of bleaching or improper chemical use.
- Getting Rid of Residue: It’s often that home owners find the texture of their carpet changes after using chemical cleaners instead of steam cleaners. There’s nothing worse than once having soft and plush carpeting and now dealing with starched and stiff fibers. It not only takes away from the appearance of the floors but from how they feel as well.
- Softening Carpets: While on the topic of the feel of your floors, it’s important to know that steam cleaning is perfect for loosening fibers and making your floors feel softer than ever before. During the hot water extraction process, you’ll be creating much more comfortable carpeting to walk on.
The Steps to Learning How to Steam Clean a Carpet
Once you’ve decided that steam cleaning is needed in your home, it’s time to learn how to do it. The process is simple, especially when you’re equipped with the right at-home tools.
Step 1: Moving Furniture
The last thing you’ll want to deal with is being in the middle of a steam clean and having to move furniture as you go. It’s better to remove all décor and items that are on the carpets prior to beginning the process. You can easily rearrange furniture from room to room as you steam clean your house.
Step 2: Vacuuming
Much like you would clean any other surface in your home, it’s important that you vacuum to get rid of traces of dirt and dust. Unless you’re able to find a 2-in-1 vacuum and steam cleaner, you’re going to want to get surface debris removed. Not doing so will result in dirt embedding itself deeper in the carpet’s fibers once wet.
While vacuuming you need to pay special attention to high traffic areas, nooks, and crannies. Take advantage of the included cleaning attachments such as the crevice tool and telescopic wand to get the dirt out of hard-to-reach areas. Also, pay close attention to baseboards as they attract a lot of dust and hair.
Step 3: Treating Stains
The majority of steam cleaners help to get rid of surface stains, but every home has one or two areas where staining could be deeper than what you can see. Before you start to do the overall clean, take the time to treat these deep stains separately. You can either use an all-natural stain remover or a more industrial cleaner.
Step 4: Preparing the Steam Cleaner
To help make the units more user-friendly manufacturers typically make it easy to prepare the steam cleaner. All you’ll have to do is remove the water reservoir from the unit, fill it with distilled water, and then place it back on the cleaner. Once this is finished, plug it into the wall and wait for the water to warm up to the desired temperature.
Step 5: Steam Cleaning in a Pattern
To ensure that you get every inch of your floors clean, it’s important to steam clean in a specific pattern. Most people find it easier to go vertically across a room instead of horizontally. You’ll want to make sure that you leave symmetrical lines just so you can get a better idea of what places have been cleaned and which haven’t.
It’s also important that you steam clean yourself out of a room, rather than being trapped in a corner. Start from the furthest section from the exit and work your way back. This method helps you to not have to walk on your freshly cleaned carpet to move to the next room.
Step 6: Steam Cleaning Slowly
The most important part of steam cleaning carpets isn’t how you clean the floors, but more how slow you go while operating the machine. It’s important to remember that with every stroke, the cleaner will also be extracting water to help dry the carpets.
You won’t want to go too fast; otherwise you’re going to leave a lot of water behind which could result in the padding getting soaked and not drying. This leads to mildew, mold, and other unappealing odors that will be trapped in your carpeting forever.
Step 7: Allowing the Carpet to Dry
Just because your steam cleaner also extracts water doesn’t necessarily mean that you can replace the furniture immediately after steam cleaning. It’s advised that you wait at least 1-3 hours to ensure the carpets are fully dry.
If you don’t have enough time to wait, you can always cut squares of wax paper and place them under the feet of your furniture and décor to make sure they don’t absorb any excess water. Otherwise, be prepared to open windows and turn on ceiling fans to help expedite the drying process.
Steam cleaning at home is far more affordable than hiring a team of cleaners, and it gives you the flexibility of getting your carpets cleaned whenever you see fit. Whether you have children and pets or if you’re getting ready to put your house up on the market, cleaning your carpets is a great way to add life back into your home.