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And a few carpet cleaning mistakes to avoid, too

How you use a shampoo carpet cleaner will affect your carpet’s life. If you have never used one before, these tips on how to use a shampoo carpet cleaner will help you get your carpet looking like new again, and with the least effort.

How does a shampoo carpet cleaner work?

A shampoo carpet cleaner is designed to make the job of cleaning carpets easy. You fill the tank with cleaning solution and run the machine over your carpet. As you do so, the solution is released. Nylon brushes spin to scrub the carpet, creating a foamy shampoo as they do so. Simultaneously, the machine sucks up the water, which is collected in a dirty water reservoir. Used correctly, a shampoo carpet cleaner will bring your carpet back to life. These 15 tips will help you get your carpet super clean.

1)     Read the manual!

Each shampoo carpet cleaner works a little differently to others. Make sure you know how to set yours up and operate it before you start.

2)     Make sure you have the right shampoo and cleaning solution

Refer to the manual and the carpet manufacturer’s recommendations.

3)     Remove all furniture

This ensures you clean the whole carpet and avoid staining your furniture.

4)     Vacuum the carpet

This helps to remove dust and dirt particles, as well as expose all the stains on the carpet.

5)     Spot clean the worst stains

Make sure you avoid the three big mistakes when cleaning stains from your carpet: over-soaking, rubbing, not blotting, and using a colored cloth.

6)     Test the cleaning solution

Before using the shampoo carpet cleaner, test the cleaning solution on a piece of carpet that will be hidden by furniture when it is returned.

7)     Fill the shampoo carpet cleaner as instructed

Remember reading the manual? Always follow these instructions. Using too much carpet shampoo in the cleaner leaves more residue on the carpet. Dirt sticks to this, and your carpet will look dirty again very soon.

8)     Never rush shampooing your carpet

Take your time to get the best results.

9)     Work systematically and thoroughly

Follow a pattern of cleaning to make sure that you cover the entire carpet several times.

10)  Remove dirty water regularly

If the water becomes dirty, remove it from your shampoo carpet cleaner, refill, and continue. Shampooing your carpet with dirty water does no good.

11)  Continue cleaning until the waste water runs clear

You may need to go over the carpet several times, and particularly on the dirtiest spots. Only when the waste water runs clear is the carpet clean.

12)  Remove all shampoo from the carpet

Leaving shampoo on the carpet leaves dirt in the carpet fibers. Use a tank of clean water to do this.

13)  Hand test for excess moisture

Press your hand into the carpet. The carpet should be no wetter than damp. If it is, you’ll need to use the carpet cleaner to suck up excess moisture. If you don’t do this, you might find that excess moisture produces the perfect conditions to encourage mold growth on and beneath your carpet.

14)  Let the carpet dry thoroughly before replacing furniture

It could be anything between two and 24 hours before your carpet is dry enough to replace your furniture. Keep the room well ventilated to help the drying process.

15)  Vacuum one last time

Before replacing your furniture, vacuum the carpet one last time. This will remove any loose dirt particles before people walk on the carpet and grind them into the fibers.

Carpet cleaning mistakes to avoid

Even following the tips above, it’s easy to make mistakes and undo all your good work. These five are the most common.

1)     Overworking the shampoo carpet cleaner

You don’t need to push the cleaner down into your carpet. If you do, you risk damaging the cleaner – and it won’t make your carpet any cleaner. Guide the cleaner across your carpet and let it do the work.

2)     Over-shampooing

Never use too much shampoo in the carpet cleaner, or leave residue in the carpet. That residue simply attracts dirt.

3)     Over-wetting

Make the carpet too wet, and you risk color from the carpet’s backing seeping into the fibers. You may also find that your carpet shrinks. Then there’s the added problem of mold. Over-wetting is probably the biggest mistake you could make when shampooing a carpet. It’s also the most common among DIY carpet cleaners.

4)     Walking on a wet carpet

If you must walk across the carpet while it is drying, use white towels underfoot. Keep children and pets away.

5)     Replacing furniture on a wet carpet

Many items of furniture will release dyes when they become wet. This will ruin your carpet. Metal legs could rust, again staining the carpet.

If you use a shampoo carpet cleaner properly, your carpet will look better and last longer.

If the stains on your carpet are particularly deep or difficult, contact Porter's. In addition to full carpet cleans, our comprehensive carpet cleaning services include spot removal, deodorizing, dealing with difficult pet staining problems, carpet repairs, and on-location dry cleaning.

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