Brace yourselves. Fall is here. In many places, cooler temperatures and changing leaves will eventually give way to ice and snow. In order to ensure your home is ready for winter, a little bit of preventative maintenance is crucial. Performing a “walk around” is a great way to inspect several key areas of your home. Here are some ways to prepare your home for winter.
If you have carpet throughout your home, you should clean it at least once a year. You may not be able to see it, but tons of dirt and grime collect over the months. We track it in with our shoes or our pets that we let outside. Or sometimes we have accidents and spill our food or drink on the carpet. We try to clean it up the best we can by using a spot remover, but we don’t realize that most of the mess we try to clean up remains.
Many carpet manufacturers note you should have your carpet deep cleaned at least once a year. This helps suck out dirt from deep down in the carpet and remove stains that collect over time. Plus having your carpets regularly cleaned can also help with allergy problems and reduce the amount of bacteria in your carpet.
If you’re thinking, “Yea, my carpet is pretty dingy,” don’t worry; we’ve got some options to help you pick the right carpet cleaning method!
Dry Carpet Cleaning
The first step to dry carpet cleaning involves thoroughly vacuuming the carpet and hitting stains with a stain solvent. After that, a slightly moistened chemical powder or foam is sprinkled over the carpet. This powder functions like a sponge and sucks up oils and dirt in the carpet. Most of the time you’ll want to let this sit a few hours, or overnight, to let the powder absorb as much junk in your carpet as possible. Finally, use something like a shop-vac, which has a bit more power than a regular vacuum, to clean up the powder or foam.
Because it uses little or no water, dry carpet cleaning solutions don’t leave your carpet wet for hours or even days and it’s a bit less labor intensive. While this cleaning method works pretty well, if you have never cleaned your carpets before, you might want to look at something a bit more intensive.
Wet Carpet Cleaning Method
If you’ve never ever cleaned your carpets, using the wet cleaning system might be a better option—especially if you opt to use a steam cleaner. Steam carpet cleaners clean deeper than the dry system and also eliminate more bacteria and dirt hidden in the carpet.
Professional Carpet Cleaning Services
I remember years ago that my mom would call and have a professional carpet cleaning service go through our house. They’d pull up with this big van that had tanks and pipes all over the inside. Professional carpet cleaning systems use incredibly hot water or steam with a high power vacuum system. The major benefits of calling a professional are that most will move furniture so you don’t have to and their cleaning systems are professional grade and generally better than most store steam cleaners. Most companies will also follow up to ensure your carpets were cleaned properly. The problem with professional carpet cleaners is that sometimes they can be expensive because of all these extra perks. Some companies charge by the room and others may charge by the square foot. Make sure to shop around before making an appointment with one carpet cleaning service and watch for specials in the newspaper or on TV.
Renting a Carpet Cleaner
Some grocery stores or hardware stores offer steam cleaning machines you can rent for about $25 per day plus the cost of cleaning chemicals. While these systems work okay, be cautious and check to see if the carpet cleaner you want has a heating element in it. Some of the more popular rental cleaners don’t have a way to heat the water once you put it into the machine. If you put cold tap water into the machine, you’ll be cleaning with cold tap water rather than hot steam. Remember that steam helps kill bacteria and germs in the carpet. Another drawback to renting a carpet cleaner is these are often bulky and difficult to use.
Purchasing a Steam Carpet Cleaner
My parents went out and bought their own carpet steam cleaner several years ago, and man does it do the job! Sure, they did shell out about $400 on it, but it works infinitely better than the rental machines and they don’t have to make an appointment with a cleaning service. Plus with the additional attachments, they can also steam clean the interiors of their cars. You certainly don’t have to spend that much money on a carpet cleaner, but purchasing your own offers lot of benefits. Plus you don’t have to continuously shell out hundreds of dollars when you want to clean your carpet. Good Housekeeping Magazine recommends a few for about half the price my parents paid.
If you plan on steam cleaning your home every year, I would suggest looking into purchasing a steam cleaner. Not only can you have it on hand to clean your carpets any time, you can handle small in-between clean ups or even steam clean your car. However, if you have simpler needs or don’t have a lot of carpet in your house, calling a professional in would be the next best option.
You’d be surprised how much dirt hides in your carpet. When I clean mine, I can always tell the difference from where I cleaned and where I didn’t. Also think about all the bacteria and germs that you can’t see, but are there. To keep your carpets clean and make them last as long as possible, add yearly steam cleaning to your home maintenance list.