How to Clean and Restore Carpet Even If It’s Old, Stained, and Disgusting

By Mary Hunt
Mary Hunt
Mary Hunt
Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.” Mary invites you to visit her at her website, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at EverydayCheapskate.com/contact, “Ask Mary.” Tips can be submitted at Tips.EverydayCheapskate.com. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Copyright 2021 Creators.com
July 5, 2021 Updated: July 15, 2021

If you hate your carpet because it’s old, stained, and bordering on disgusting, I have great news. There are steps you can take that will have you falling in love with it all over again.

Years ago, when we remodeled our home, we replaced some of the carpets with hardwood. What a revelation. I could finally see the dirt and dust and, honestly, I couldn’t believe what accumulated in such a short time on those wood floors. Of course, I never saw it on the carpet, but I know it was there all along. What a wake-up call it was to see the old carpet removed, rolled up, and hauled away.

Here’s what we need to know and never forget: Regardless of the color, brand, or style—carpet hides dirt. This is not a good thing.

Vacuum Regularly

As often as you sweep, mop, or dust your hard surface floor, that’s how often you should be vacuuming the carpet. Just because you can’t see the dirt, dust, debris, footprints, crumbs, and hair doesn’t mean they’re not there! Allowing any of that to burrow down into the carpet pile is going to turn your carpet into a disgusting situation.

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As often as you sweep, mop, or dust your hard surface floor, that’s how often you should be vacuuming the carpet. (Alfred Gruener/Shutterstock)

Treat Spots Immediately

Sugary liquids, sticky food, grease, mud, pet urine, and excrement: These are the bane of beautiful carpet. If you don’t want to hate your carpet, you’ll pick up and remove spills and then deep-clean the area as soon as possible after they occur.

Allowed to remain for any period of time, spots become stains, and stains will be difficult, if not impossible, to remove. I rely on and highly recommend CarpetAid+, which is available online and from some stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s. It is fabulous!

Wash Frequently

At least once every three months, wash (shampoo, steam clean) your carpet. Investing in your own carpet-cleaning machine would be a wise choice. The machine will pay for itself the first time you use it instead of calling in the pros.

You won’t find a better machine than the Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner, which retails for about $150. I’ve had mine since 2008, and it’s working as hard now as it did when it was new.

DIY Carpet Shampoo Solution

You can purchase commercial carpet shampoo or make it yourself: Use 1 cup of Oxiclean Stain Remover powder (NOT Oxiclean Detergent), 1 cup of Febreze, and 1 cup of white vinegar. Pour the ingredients into the carpet-cleaning machine and add hot water to the fill line. This will not only clean your carpets, but also deodorize them. This should be safe for all carpets, but be sure to test it in an inconspicuous place (such as inside a closet) first, just to be safe. I offer no guarantees for how any recommended product or appliance will react in your specific situation.

One Last Thing

If you are getting ready to replace your carpet, don’t select a color because you think it will “hide the dirt.” No! You want a color that will point out every bit of dirt, every spill, and every stain.

You want to see those things so you can immediately take steps to clean them up in the same way you care for your beautiful wood, laminate, and tile floors.

You are not alone if you have come to hate the carpet in your home, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It might take a few go-rounds with vacuuming, stain-removing, and deep-cleaning, but if you are diligent, you and your carpet just might fall in love all over again!

Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.” Mary invites you to visit her at her website, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at EverydayCheapskate.com/contact, “Ask Mary.” Tips can be submitted at Tips.EverydayCheapskate.com. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Copyright 2021 Creators.com

Mary Hunt
Mary Hunt
Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.” Mary invites you to visit her at her website, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at EverydayCheapskate.com/contact, “Ask Mary.” Tips can be submitted at Tips.EverydayCheapskate.com. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Copyright 2021 Creators.com