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Cleaning glued down carpets is an either-or situation.
You’ll either manage to get rid of all the stains that aren’t wear-and-tear, or you’ll just have to have it replaced. Take a look at the prices for the latter and you’ll roll up your sleeves this instant!
Well, I got good and bad news on that account.
The good – you’ll most likely manage to make it look presentable if not good as new. On the flip side, it’s definitely going to take serious elbow grease, as well as quite a few methods and iterations.
Now, my general advice is NOT to follow every step of this guide unless your carpet is super filthy.
Instead, start from the top method and work your way down – as much or as little as you need. For example, if methods 1 and 2 turn out to be enough, that’s where you should stop.
How to Clean Carpet That Is Glued Down
1. Suck up the Debris
Vacuuming is a classic way to clean your carpets. But don’t just grab the stick or cordless vac you use for your living room – those are handy alright, but they typically lack power. And it’s the one thing you need right now!
Use a wet-and-dry vacuum instead, or a vac with a HEPA filter. This will reduce particles in the air while vacuuming.
Vacuuming won’t take everything bad and yucky on your carpet. But at least it will catch the nasty little air travelers that trouble our lungs and make the air feel stuffy.
Not to mention the hair and all the grime that so many feet have brought in!
2. Steam Clean
I like to steam clean after vacuuming.
But that’s not the only reason why steam is my #2. If your glued down carpet isn’t terribly dirty, this is likely to be your last step!
Now, don’t listen to what many internet guides will tell you. Steam cleaners do not allow the use of anything except for water in the reservoir.
Not even vinegar!
The thing is, any liquid you’d pour into the tank would heat beyond the boiling point so that water can turn into steam. Anything except for distilled water would leave residue. And this residue has the power to damage your steamer.
Needless to say, vinegary vapor wouldn’t be pleasant to breathe in!
Once you’re done steaming, let the carpet dry. (You can rent out an air mover to speed up the process.)
Are all the stains gone? If not, go ahead to the next step!
3. Let’s Deal With Those Stains
You get many cleaners on the market but they usually contain harmful chemicals and can be pretty pricey. In my cleaning days, there was not a time that I didn’t constantly sneeze when treating a stain!
However, vinegar, baking soda and other household items can be made into an effective solution for tough stains.
Whip up the solution in a spray bottle to mist it on the carpet. This will loosen the dirt that’s stuck deep in the carpet fibers. You can also put some mild laundry detergent or even dish soap in a bottle and mist it for a better effect.
If you have a persistent stain that just won’t give you a break, soak it up well and use a carpet brush to gently rub it into the fibers. Any other grime and dirt will be brought to the surface, so you can scoop it out better.
4. If Nothing Else Helped…
… Time to bring out the big guns!
Sometimes, your glued-down carpet might have dark stains that have set in. This is common in high-traffic areas and can be a real pain to completely take out.
There are several options here, and all of them include chemicals that are pretty harsh. That’s exactly why I left this method to be your very last resort.
- You can buy or rent out a Rug Doctor (or another spot cleaning machine). These are small enough to be portable, and you can only use them on stains. No need to scour the whole carpet! But the reason why I recommend Rug Doctor in particular is that it uses very hot water and has powerful suction. This will typically be my go-to option when the going gets tough.
- Try out commercially available options such as OxiFresh or Zerorez, if available in your area. They will give your glued down carpet a thorough wash. And will most likely be effective enough as these carpets have a thinner pile than your living room carpet. (And no padding.)
- Or give dry cleaning a shot. Typically, dry cleaning won’t get rid of heavy stains on your regular rug. But it should do on glued down carpeting for the above reason.
5. Dry It Well
Most of the time, that carpet won’t dry itself.
It needs a little push! Or else, you’ll be dealing with mold before long.
Open up some windows and doors to speed up the drying process. You can also use your fans, but don’t use appliances that have heat. This could ruin the fibers of your carpet.
Other carpet drying methods include turning on your AC and using dehumidifiers.
But if you don’t have 2 or 3 days to spare, just get an air mover.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do professionals use to clean carpets?
Most professional carpet cleaning companies use hot water extraction. This method uses at least 1 (often 2) chemical agents to pre-treat and treat the carpet, dissolving them in hot (not boiling!) water and rubbing them in with a powerful rotating machine. Then it sucks all the dirty, sudsy water back in.
Not all carpet cleaning companies will call it that way, though. Many have come up with slightly different methods that they branded. But the gist is mostly the same: pre-treat, treat, agitate, suck it up.
How can I maintain my carpet?
Have walk-off mats at the entrances so guests can wipe off their shoes before coming in. Regularly vacuum your carpets and dust off your welcome mats. If you have any stains or accidents, it’s best to deal with them immediately. Once or twice a year, give your carpets a good, deep clean using steam.