Regularly vacuuming your carpet keeps it free from debris and dirt, but it is hardly enough to keep it germ-free. Bacteria and other pathogens find their way onto our carpets when we drag them in on footwear and feet, as well as deposit them via bodily fluids ejected when we sneeze and cough. To take your cleaning to the next level and eliminate these germs, you need to sanitize your carpets occasionally. Learning how to sanitize carpets properly will help you to effectively get rid of harmful micro-organisms and all manner of contaminants.
Here is a step-by-step guide outlining how to sanitize a carpet without running the risk of ruining your precious oriental or fine rug in the process.
Vacuum Clean Your Carpet to Remove Loose Debris
In order to sanitize your carpet effectively, the first step is to get rid of all loose dirt and debris by vacuuming. You may also choose to shake it thoroughly outside the house. Doing this will enhance the disinfection process allowing the cleaning solution to reach the deepest fibers with ease.
Select a Sanitizing Cleaner
While a majority of carpet-cleaning solutions assist to break down dirt and lift it to the surface, they do not necessarily sanitize. Take time to choose a carpet sanitizer, preferably one that is certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A popular alternative to this is a homemade solution consisting of one part white vinegar and one part water. White vinegar contains acetic acid which holds some sanitizing properties, but it does not work as efficiently as a certified sanitizer. If you choose to use it, opt for one with a high acid content, ideally 6%.
Sanitize Your Carpet
Start by testing your store-bought or homemade solution on a small, inconspicuous part of the carpet. Let it sit for five minutes and then use white kitchen towels to blot it while checking for discoloration. Only use the product if there is no color transfer.
Rent or buy a steam cleaner and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to sanitize your carpet. Remember to follow the instructions provided for mixing the cleaning solution before use. As you steam clean, release a blast of steam every 30 seconds at the very least so as to sanitize every inch of the rug thoroughly.
If you are unable to rent or buy a steamer, you can sanitize smaller rugs in the washing machine or take them to the laundromat where there are higher-capacity washers. Use the hottest setting allowed on the rug’s care label and mix detergent with a laundry sanitizer such as bleach or hydrogen peroxide.
Dry Your Carpet
Give the rug adequate time to air dry out completely before allowing traffic back on it. You can either air dry it or tumble it dry on high heat if it has no rubber backing or if it is a 100% cotton rug. For wall-to-wall carpets, leave a large fan running in the room or open up windows to speed up the process.
When to Call in the Experts
Though this is the best way to sanitize a carpet, it involves quite a bit of work. From selecting an EPA-certified sanitizer and getting a steamer, to cleaning it properly and drying it thoroughly, it is a cost-intensive and time-consuming project. To skip all these, why not just call in professional rug cleaners who have the right equipment and expertise? In addition to saving on costs and getting the job done right, they will also spare you the possible heartache of ruining your precious rug accidentally as you go through the rigors of sanitizing it.