Clean your home’s wall-to-wall carpet before listing for sale. Proper care will, of course, extend its life, but you may need to call in the pros for this job. Here are a few tips on carpet and area rug cleaning to stage your home in style.
How often should carpets be cleaned?
Most carpet manufacturers recommend a professional cleaning at least once per year. For homes with pets or someone with a high sensitivity to allergens, it might be wise to clean more frequently. For best results, consider hiring a professional periodically in addition to do-it-yourself cleanings.
Does the type of carpet or rug make a difference?
Machine-made versus hand-loomed, tufted, hand-woven, synthetic fibers…yes, the construction makes a difference. A professional will do a “bleed” test to see if the colors or dyes will run. For heirlooms or fine area rugs, a facility will immerse rugs in a bath of sorts to soak.
How do carpet cleaners work?
Rental machines typically use a “hot water extraction” method. The machine mixes detergent with hot water, then works the mixture into the fibers. Afterward, it rinses the carpet with a vacuum that also removes as much water as possible. What are the benefits to hiring professionals with truck-mounted equipment? They’re faster because they do it every day. Also, they’ll use the right amount of detergent, and the truck provides a steady supply of hot water. The hotter the water, the more bacteria will be killed. Professional equipment will also dry your carpet more thoroughly than a hand-held machine.
Should you buy or rent a machine?
For a move-out clean, consider renting from a home improvement store. Renting is the better option if you think you’ll only rarely use the machine. If you need frequent cleanings, either purchase a machine or call a professional to save yourself the effort and ensure it’s done well. Rental machines can clean inconsistently and release too much or too little detergent. Either way – renting or buying – there’s a learning curve. Make sure you read the directions and ask the rental associate for instructions and advice.
Tips for using a DIY machine
Whether you buy or rent, use only the recommended cleaner and only in the amounts specified. More detergent means you’ll leave residue behind or spend more time rinsing. Also have lots of fans for drying. If the carpet takes longer then four to five hours to dry, you’ll risk mildew growth. Be prepared to work quickly, and pre-treat any stains.
What’s the benefit to using a professional facility?
A professional facility will remove your area rug and may use a machine to gently beat the dust out prior to cleaning. This removes dry particles more thoroughly than vacuuming or steam cleaning alone. Depending on how the rug was made, it can be immersed for shampooing, which cannot be done at home. The facility should place the rug on a raised platform which keeps it from coming into contact with the dirty water. To dry, the facility can either spin the rug in a centrifuge or vacuum it out.
Benefits to your home
Besides having clean carpets, you’ll actively reduce the allergens trapped in your carpets and rugs. Dust mites also live in these fibers and can cause breathing problems. Plus, your carpets will look newer longer and will show less wear and tear to potential buyers.
Related – Making Home an Allergy-Free Haven