Carpets are an essential part of your home. They add warmth and texture to space, and they protect you from cold hard flooring or stone tiles. But carpets also attract dirt, dust mites1, pet hair, and other contaminants that might harm your health. Therefore it is crucial to maintain them in good condition by disinfecting them regularly. This article will discuss how you can quickly disinfect carpets at home using common household ingredients!
How Often Should You Clean a Carpet?
Carpets should be cleaned at least once every three months. This helps keep the carpet looking fresh and new for more extended periods and reducing how much dirt gets ground into the fibers over time. Keeping a timer on cleaning is one way to make sure you don’t fall behind in your schedule.
What You’ll Need
- Vacuum cleaner
- Rubber gloves and protective clothing if you are sensitive to chemicals.
- A soft brush or vacuum attachment for removing dust particles on the surface of your carpet. This is especially important before vacuuming so that it doesn’t just get redistributed through the fibers instead of sucked up into the machine’s bag!
- Detergent solution: mix dish soap (or any other all-purpose household cleaner) with water in a spray bottle or bucket until sudsy; an alternative method is to combine shampoo with some water in a towel/rag rub over the affected area. Do not use hot detergents as they can permanently damage carpets.
How to Disinfect Washable Carpets
#01. Remove Loose Debris
Remove any loose debris left over from your last vacuuming session (or dusting off the furniture or anything else in the room).
#02. Select the Washer Settings
Select the washer settings that are appropriate for your carpet type and load capacity.
Use a cool or warm water setting with detergent only or shampoo if needed for low to medium pile carpets.
For high pile carpets, select hot water with detergent only or shampoo as needed. The amount of soap you need will depend on the size of your carpet and its pile height.
For small or medium carpets, fill the machine with up to three gallons (12 liters) of water. For large or extra-large carpets, add up to four gallons (16 liters). If you have a heavy load–it may be because you’re washing curtains.
#03. Add Detergent and Laundry Sanitizer
When you have a carpet stain, the first thing to do is determine what kind of cleaning product or detergent will work best on it. You should be able to identify this by looking at what has spilled or stained your flooring. If water alone doesn’t take care of stains, scrubbing with the appropriate product might help loosen and remove them.
Add detergent or shampoo to the washer. If you’re using a jug, pour it into the soap dispenser in your washing machine before filling it with water.
If you do have a spot that needs scrubbing, be sure to use the fibers of your carpet rather than its backing. Scrub in an up-and-down motion and cover as much ground as possible with each stroke.
After rinsing the detergent out, use clean water to rinse your carpet.
#04. Dry the Carpet
When it’s finished, gently shake the rug from end to end and then hang or lay it upside down on a plastic mat for air-drying in an area that is well ventilated and not too close to a heat source.
How to Clean and Sanitize Your Carpet
#01. Clear Furniture Off the Carpet
Clear all furniture off the carpet. If something is too big to move, like a bed or couch, cover it with plastic and tape down the edges so that nothing can slip underneath.
When you’re done disinfecting your carpet, throw out any contaminated cleaning supplies following your region’s hazardous waste disposal2 requirements.
#02. Vacuum to Remove Loose Soil
Vacuum the carpet to remove any loose soil or debris, including food scraps. This is especially important if children in your household might drop crumbs on the floor while eating. A good rule of thumb – vacuum at least once a week for everyday use and more often if you have pets that shed heavily (like dogs).
Learn more: BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Review
#03. Apply a Disinfectant Solution to the Carpet
Mix one teaspoon of liquid disinfectant with five gallons of water and pour it on your rug or carpet, working from the outside edges towards the middle. Spray gently until you’ve covered as much area as possible. Allow this solution to sit for at least five minutes before blotting up any excess water with a towel.
Repeat this process if the carpet is very dirty or soiled, and allow it to dry completely before letting children play on it again. If you’re using a disinfectant labeled as “odorless,” be sure to test it in another inconspicuous area first for color fastness3.
#04. Use a Steam Cleaner
Fill the cleaner with water and disinfectant. Then, please turn the machine to its highest steam setting for deep cleanings or at least 20 minutes of continuous use (you might need to adjust this time depending on your rug size). When you’re finished using it, turn off the device and wait for all steam to dissipate before proceeding.
Suppose you don’t have a steam cleaner. In that case, there are other options to disinfect your carpet: Soak the rug in hot water and white vinegar for at least an hour (mixed with one cup of hydrogen peroxide if it’s heavily soiled) or use a bucket that contains half a gallon of vinegar diluted with a gallon of water.
#05. Air-Dry the Carpet
After you disinfect your carpet, hang it outside on a clothesline to dry. This will help kill any remaining bacteria and prevent mold from forming in the rug’s fibers.
If this is not possible, allow the rug to air-dry indoors for at least two days before putting anything back onto it—including furniture or pets.
Tips to Keep Your Carpet Clean
- Vacuum your rug at least once a week. This will remove any dust or debris that could cause dirt stains on the carpet.
- Use an attachment with brushes to vacuum upholstery, typically where most of our household allergens4 are found.
- Try steam cleaning your carpets every six months if it’s in good condition.
- If your carpet is water damaged, don’t wait to fix it! Instead, get the problem taken care of as soon as possible so mold can be prevented.
- It’s essential to disinfect a rug after experiencing an illness or any other event that may have caused contamination and germs, for example, sicknesses like measles, chickenpox, and more. You can disinfect your rug by using a hot water solution mixed with white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide in equal amounts to the amount of liquid you have available.
There are many ways you can go about disinfecting your carpet, but our favorite one to use on carpets is hydrogen peroxide mixed with hot water in equal amounts to what you have available. The solution should be applied liberally over the entire carpet and left to sit for half an hour. The mixture will bubble up while it does its work, ensuring that you protect furniture with a plastic covering or something else beforehand.
The best homemade carpet cleaning solution is a mixture of water and vinegar. The ratio should be one part water to two parts vinegar, so pour the ingredients into your spray bottle before spritzing the top layer of dirt on your rug.
There are many types of carpet cleaners. Some cleaners are stronger than others, so the cleaner you use will depend on how strong and what kind of carpeting you have.
Baking soda can disinfect a carpet, but it is only effective if the baking soda remains in contact with the rug for an extended period.
It is crucial to take measures to disinfect a carpet. This will help with allergies and other effects that may result from not doing so. Be sure to disinfect a rug as soon as possible after an illness or any other event that may have caused contamination and germs.