Three Dangers Of DIY Carpet Cleaning And How To Avoid Them

When it comes to cleaning your carpets, you have two basic choices: clean them yourself with a carpet shampooer, or hire a professional. Because the equipment is not generally as good, home carpet shampooing doesn't usually measure up to a professional cleaning. However, it can result in a cleaner, fresher carpet as long as you know how to avoid these pitfalls:

Danger 1: The carpet takes too long to dry and becomes moldy.

Professional carpet shampooing systems have strong suction ability. They can suck so much water out of a freshly cleaned carpet that it only takes a few hours to dry. Home carpet shampooers are not usually equipped with as much suction mechanisms, so many people find that their carpets remain wet for days after using them. Moisture yields mold, and before you know it, your home smells musty. There are a few ways to work around the limitations of your carpet shampooer and make sure your carpet dries faster:

  • Clean your carpets on a warm, breezy day, and open the windows after you clean. This ventilates the room to speed evaporation.
  • After you've shampooed the entire carpet, go over it twice with the shampooer on the "suction only" mode.
  • Make sure the water in your shampooer is fully heated before you begin shampooing. This way, you'll have to use less water to get the carpet clean.

Danger 2: Your carpet shrinks after shampooing.

There are two reasons why this may happen. First, you may be getting the carpet too wet and not taking steps to encourage it to dry quickly enough. This can be avoided by following the advice  to encourage faster drying in the last section. The second possibility is that you have wool carpet, which tends to shrink when exposed to water. If you have wool carpet, you should not attempt to clean it on your own. Contact a professional carpet cleaning service who offers dry cleaning options for wool carpets.

Danger 3: Your carpet looks dull and lack-luster after shampooing.

This happens when too much shampoo residue is left behind. Usually, carpet shampooers have you add shampoo to one compartment, and then water to a second compartment. You don't rinse the carpet after shampooing, so a small amount of shampoo is always left behind. This is fine – it gets vacuumed up the next time you vacuum. However, if you're not diluting your shampoo properly before adding it to the shampooer, too much shampoo residue may be lingering, giving your carpet a dull appearance.

Read the label on your carpet shampoo. Does it say to dilute it with water before adding it to the shampoo compartment? Many do. Follow these instructions, and resist the urge to think that more shampoo is better. Also, make sure you're using a shampoo that's designed specifically for the carpet shampooer you're using. Different shampoos have different concentrations, and using a shampoo that's incompatible with your carpet shampooer can result in a dingy looking carpet.

A professional carpet cleaner can also give you more info about your specific carpet to best care for it.