The 10 Best Carpet Shampoos
The Importance Of Cleaning Your Carpet
Laying carpet in your home is a great way to give it a warm and welcoming feel. Unfortunately, carpet tends to be a catch-all for dust, dirt, bacteria, dead skin cells, and more. In fact, carpet can actually hold four times its weight in foreign particulates. Everything from pet hair to insects and mold gets trapped in carpet.
Many people feel that vacuuming carpets regularly is cleaning enough, and that steam cleaning isn't necessary, but this is untrue. Did you know that an area being vacuumed is one of the five dirtiest places in your home? This is because of the way a vacuum cleaner functions. It sucks up air along with dust, dirt, and other material. That air is then released from a vent. While the vacuum's filter is supposed to trap the majority of the dust, dead skin cells, and dirt, it can't catch them all. Instead, some of the foreign particles sucked up into the vacuum are [recirculated back into the air](https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/756531, before they land somewhere in your house once again, most often back on the carpet.
If you have environmental allergies or asthma, choosing to solely vacuum your carpets instead of implementing a regular schedule of steam cleaning along with your vacuuming can be seriously hazardous. Only steam cleaning can effectively remove the majority of dirt and allergens that have found a home in your carpets. It also helps to improve your indoor air quality, so there are less potentially irritating pollutants circulating around your house.
If you have young children in the home who often crawl around on the carpet, regular steam cleaning is doubly important. If a child crawls or plays on dirty carpet, they may pick up bacteria that could potentially cause them to become sick. There may also be insect colonies hiding in the carpet that eluded the suction of the vacuum cleaner. Steam cleaning can help to minimize the chances of you or your child being bitten by such insects.
Steam cleaning isn't just about the health of your family either, it is also about appearances. Carpet that is stained and soiled makes a whole house look dirty, even if the rest of the surfaces are spotlessly clean. A well-maintained carpet tells people that you care about the cleanliness of your home. It can give the entire home a fresh feeling.
What To Look For In A Carpet Shampoo
When choosing a carpet shampoo, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you end up with the best product for your needs. If you have kids or pets in your home, or are sensitive to chemicals, an all-natural shampoo is a smart choice. These contain ingredients like orange peel or grapefruit seed extract to remove stains and leave behind a fresh scent. Many are also bio-enzymatic cleaners, which means they contain microbial nutrients and enzymes that can degrade chemical and organic waste. Working in conjunction, these types of ingredients not only remove stains, but also odors to leave behind spotlessly clean carpet with a fresh scent.
All-natural cleaners are non-toxic, eco-friendly, and biodegradable, so not only are they safe for you and your family, but the environment, too. Unlike chemical cleaners, all-natural cleaners rarely leave behind any sticky residue, which is very important. When a carpet shampoo leaves behind a sticky residue, it actually causes the carpet to become soiled again more quickly. This is because dirt and other foreign particulates will adhere to the residue, causing a build up of grime.
The downside to some all-natural cleaners is that they may be less effective at removing really old or stubborn stains. If you think an all-natural option may not be powerful enough for your needs, there are some very good chemical-based options. Ideally, you should choose a chemical option that doesn't leave behind any scents to minimize the possibility of it causing irritation to anybody in the building.
Any carpet shampoo you choose should be able to penetrate deeply into the carpet to get at the source of unpleasant smells and extract older stains that have seeped in. Most people would do well to choose a shampoo that contains some form of protectant, as well. This way it creates a barrier against future stains.
How To Maintain Your Carpet Between Cleanings
Maintaining your carpet between cleanings is actually relatively easy. Despite the many drawbacks of vacuuming, it is still an ideal way to help minimize the dust and allergens that are trapped in your carpet. It is important, though, to vacuum regularly, at least once a week. For high-traffic areas or if you have pets, it is a good idea to vacuum twice a week. If you vacuum regularly, the foreign particulates that land on your carpet won't have a chance to get ground in, and will remain closer to the surface, making it easier for the vacuum cleaner to do its job.
It can often be helpful to open the windows while you vacuum, too. This brings in fresh air and expels some of the dust blown around by the vacuum cleaner. When vacuuming, go slowly. Most people make the mistake of vacuuming too quickly, which hinders the vacuum's ability to do its job.
If you spill something on your carpet, clean it as soon as possible. Many times, going at the stain before it has a chance to set will allow you to completely remove it. Never rub a stain. Instead, blot at it with a towel to suck up as much of it as possible. Then apply some of your carpet shampoo to a fresh, clean cloth and continue to blot at the stain, working from the outside inwards. Next, use another, slightly damp, clean cloth to blot the stain in the same way. Finally, lay some dry towels on top of the stain to suck up any excess moisture. It can sometimes be helpful to leave a stack of paper towels on top of the stain with a heavy object placed on top for a few hours, as this will draw up even more of the leftover moisture.