As a mother of three rambunctious toddlers, I have learned to make and keep a strict cleaning schedule. I do a quick cleaning at the end of each day, vacuum once a week, and steam clean the carpets once a year. It sounds simple but it took some time before I perfected the system.
Steaming was particularly hard because I always forget the steps I took the year before. In exasperation, I wrote a household manual on what I call my best practices in steaming the carpets.
Keep The Carpets Clean
Sure, I only schedule one day a year to steam clean, so how hard can it be?
It turns out that it’s very hard if you let the dirt and grime settle down. To prevent this, you need to follow the schedule as closely as possible. Do not leave spills for the next cleaning day. Its why I learned to set aside at least 30 minutes a day to do some mini-cleaning.
Put a rug outside entryways to catch dirt and grime. If your entire house is carpeted, use carpet slippers inside. Every house will have a different cleaning challenge, so address them so that dirt will not pile up.
Choose the Right Steam Cleaner
Not all steam cleaners are created equal. In the beginning of my marriage, I wanted to hire professionals to do it, but my husband put his foot down.
Instead, he brought me to a store to buy a steam cleaner. But since it was our first, we tried to scrimp and bought the cheapest one. It was cheap for a reason – it conked out the following year.
In fairness, I used that steam cleaner several times because the carpet in the house was very dirty. After a few trial-and-error, we found the right steam cleaner at the price that was affordable to us.
Move The Furniture Out of the Way
This is probably the hardest part of the annual steam cleaning. I usually employ the help of my husband and the kids. That’s why when buying furniture, consider their weight especially if there is no one to help you. Or you can do what one of my single friends did – buy a lifting equipment. She has some Victorian pieces which she refuses to part with, so that piece of equipment was a big help to her. If that’s too expensive, roll some aluminum foil underneath so that water will not keep there. Otherwise, you might find yourself with water spots around the house that will eventually emit an odor.
Once the room is ready, load the cleaning solution in the steam cleaner. Be sure that the cleaner is compatible with your rug/carpet. Most steam cleaners either come with a cleaning solution, or with a suggestion of the right cleaning solution to use. Don’t McGyver it unless you know what you’re doing.
One friend for example, mixed vinegar and some citrus fruits and turned the solution into an orange tint. You don’t want that to happen to your carpets.
Use a tried-and-tested solution. If you want to experiment, do a patch test first before using it on the rest of your carpet. Move the steam cleaner forward and backward, starting from the area that is furthest from your exit. Slowly work the room until every inch is covered.
Steam cleaning is not rocket science. But it does need some amount of common sense. Always read the instructions and watch what you’re doing so that you don’t have a disaster in your hands. Hope you found some of these tips helpful. Feel free to share this with anyone you think might benefit from this information.