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How to clean your carpet

When it comes to finding the right type of flooring for your home, there are plenty of options from which to choose. Wood, laminate and tiling are all popular, for example, but few styles have stood the test of time quite like the humble carpet. Available in every colour, pattern and texture you could possibly think of, it's suitable for almost any room in any building.

Laid on the floor of an average household, a carpet can last up to five years, or sometimes even longer. When three or four people are walking over it every day, though, it's likely to take some beating during its lifetime - standing up to muddy shoes, spilt drinks and dropped food on a daily basis. So, when the time comes to give it a good clean, how's best to go about it?

To the shop

Take a quick trip to your local hardware store, or even the household aisle of the nearest supermarket, and you'll likely find a wealth of powders and potions claiming to be the perfect solution to your carpet cleaning concerns. Simply put, some will work, and others won't - you probably won't know until you try. If this is the route you'd like to take, though, there are a few types to consider.

You have powders, foams, shampoos and sprays - all of which are applied in different ways, using various gadgets and gizmos. Some, like the foams, are suited to deeper stains, while others tend to be more effective on blemishes and light marks. Either way, it pays to do your research and look into the ingredients and applications of each to ensure there's no risk of damage or any additional costs.

If smaller stains are taking the shine off your carpet, you're in luck -  Stikatak's Carpet Stain Remover is the perfect solution. Not only is it inexpensive, it's proven to remove all signs of grubby blemishes and liquid-spillage mishaps.

Should you want to try something else to restore your carpet, the following 'traditional' methods may be handy.

Vinegar

Many people choose to steam clean their carpets on a monthly basis, or sometimes even more regularly. While this can be effective, most machine instructions will ask you to fill the tank with one of the aforementioned store-bought solutions. You should find that full-strength white vinegar is a great substitute, though, and it's considerably cheaper. Basically, you'll just need to take the cleaner/water ratio and replace the former with the vinegar. Be mindful, though, the room will stink while you're cleaning, but once the smell subsides, you should be left with a much cleaner floor and some change left in your pocket.

Baking soda

Baking soda - or bicarbonate of soda - is a common fixture at the back of the average kitchen cupboard, moved only when the time arrives to bake a cake. It's a little more useful than you might think, though - especially when it comes to cleaning. While it's not ideal for restoring a whole floor to its former glory, you will find it effective on one-off stains.

Start by mopping up the worst of the spillage, removing any excess food or drink, and then sprinkle baking soda liberally over the stain that remains. Leave it overnight to get rid of the smell and then sweep it up with a brush the following day. You might want to get rid of any residue with a vacuum cleaner, but the results afterwards should be impressive.

...or a mix of both!

Combine vinegar with baking soda and you have the makings of a school science class volcano model, with lots of bubbling foam. What you also have is an effective, deep-cleaning stain remover. Start by soaking the affected area in vinegar, before sprinkling baking powder over the top. Wait for a few minutes while it absorbs the offending substance and then wipe and vacuum as before. Then, sit back and marvel at the results.

The only complete solution

The suggestions above might get the job done to a certain extent, but you'll always be wishing your carpet looked like it did the day it was laid. The only way to really achieve this is to start afresh, and lay a new carpet. Thankfully, there are carpets in existence that have been designed specifically to handle everything daily life can throw at them. Those made by brands like  Associated Weavers, Abingdon Flooring, Lano and Victoria Carpets are all great examples here.

That's not to say you shouldn't be looking after them, though - and your upkeep should start from day one. Begin by installing your chosen carpet with a high-quality underlay. This will help not only to keep heat and sound in the room, but to improve comfort, appearance and lifespan too. Then, when everything is in place, be sure to vacuum regularly to prevent dust and dirt from settling.
 
Providing you give your new carpet the love it deserves, it should remain in tip-top condition for many years to come!