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Carpets are more ubiquitous than many people realize. A study suggests that about 51% of floors in U.S homes are carpeted.
Well, about a year back, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and got my living room carpeted as well.
I have never been fond of carpets as they trap dust and dirt particles. We had moved into the apartment and were just settling in when one day, my downstairs neighbor approached our super, asking him to tell us to keep the noise levels down. I was aghast! We are very quiet people; this was the first time someone had complained about us! I checked with the building manager, who told me that this was an old concrete building. Even the lightest tread here travels through the floor very vividly. That’s when I decided to get the place carpeted.
You may or may not have a carpet, but you must know how difficult it is to maintain and clean them. And this is the only reason why I had been skeptical about getting them in our last place as well.
Weekly vacuuming only removes the upper layers of spills, dirt, and dust. But the more stubborn dirt and debris remain stuck in the carpet. Also, we can’t wash the carpet fibers whenever they get dirty. I was never comfortable with the standard carpet cleaning solutions.
A few months back, one weekend, I was doing something on the internet when I came across steam cleaning as an excellent solution for this problem. I decided to give it a shot.
Steam Cleaning: Benefits
Till a few months back, my motive to try the steam cleaner was just for the sake of better cleaning. But now, I have realized how regular steam cleaning can renew and extend the life of carpets.
I have wall-to-wall carpeted flooring in my living room. There were many nights when I felt disgusted with the unhygienic carpet while turning off the lights.
But I am glad I gave the steam cleaning machine a try. Here are some visible differences and benefits I felt since I adopted steam cleaning:
It is essential to deep clean your carpets as they trap any dirt, dust, pollen contaminants, and debris. Subsequently, it becomes a breeding ground for dead bugs, cockroaches, and bacteria.
Steam cleaning solves all of this at once. It effectively cleans, sanitizes, and disinfects the carpet making it devoid of stubborn dirt and grit.
Kills Dust Mites
Dirty carpets have microscopic dust mites and bacteria trapped deep inside them. These also create waste products in the form of allergens.
Thus, it is always better to clean the carpet at regular intervals. Steam cleaning kills the trapped bacteria, fungi, and dust mites thriving in the moist environment.
Carpets are at high risk for mold growth. The carpet surface becomes a perfect environment for mold growth as they require moisture, oxygen, and dust. These molds can trigger allergies and skin reactions.
Steam cleaning produces dry steam at low pressure, which can help in preventing the growth of molds.
Extends Carpet Life
Carpets tend to wear off after 2 to 3 by regular wear and tear. I deep clean the carpet once a month with the steam cleaner.
This helps in retaining the original beauty of the carpet and also extends its life.
Earlier, I was always reluctant to walk barefoot in my carpeted living room. It feels great to walk and sit on the carpet as it gives a pleasant and fresh feel upon cleaning.
An occasional deep cleaning helps in renewing and restoring the original charm and luster of the carpet.
Steps To Steam Clean The Carpet
You can’t just roam around the house with a steam cleaner on any given day. Here are a few steps which you should follow to have proper cleaning and sanitization:
Clear The Mess
Push the furniture aside, clear the toys, laundry bags, and floor lamps from the area, which has to be steam cleaned.
If the furniture is too heavy to be shifted, wrap its legs with some plastic or waterproof tape. To have a deep cleaning, the space to be cleaned must be completely unoccupied.
Using a steam cleaner doesn’t mean you don’t have to vacuum anymore. Vacuuming helps in removing the upper layers of loose dust and dirt. I vacuum my carpeted flooring twice, once in one direction and the second time in the opposite direction, to thoroughly remove food crumbs, dust particles, and hair.
Wipe Off Or Treat The Stains
If your carpet has stains of food or wine spills or any other dirty spots, they must be treated before steam cleaning.
I used a stain remover once when my carpet had a lipstick stain. But make sure the stain remover isn’t too strong to cause discoloration or fading.
Prepare The Steam Cleaner
The steam cleaner should have optimized settings for proper cleaning action. Here are some quick preparation steps:
- Fill the detachable water tank with distilled water and add any recommended carpet cleaning solution or white vinegar.
- In general, pure steam produced by distilled water is good enough for deep cleaning.
- After attaching the tank back, connect the cleaning machine to the power outlet and wait for the water to boil.
- Adjust the temperature to about 212 degrees Fahrenheit for effective cleaning.
- Adjust the settings for a low pressure so that only dry steam is produced.
Steam Clean The Carpeted Floor
I prefer cleaning from the farthest corner towards my patio door. This way, I can cover the entire living room. Ensure to clean every dirty corner and messy spot while you make clean straight lines.
Let The Carpet Dry
After the entire cleaning is done, let the carpeted area dry for sometime before you push back all the furniture. I allow the carpet to dry all Sunday afternoon for a couple of hours so that the moisture can completely escape.
Steam Cleaning: Buyer’s Guide
While there are many great steam cleaners available, let me mention some criteria you should check before buying one.
Your steam cleaner’s ability to clean depends on the force with which it emits steam is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). About 40PSI is good for home cleaning purposes, but if you are trying to clean a garage (say) with a lot of grease and oil, you should opt for one that has a higher PSI.
Tank capacity is nothing but the amount of water (in an ounce) that the steamer can hold. The more water your cleaner holds, the less number of times you have to refill it, especially for longer cleaning jobs.
Steam cleaners preheat water to produce steam. The time it takes to preheat depends on two things – the cleaner’s tank size and its ability to heat (usually determined by wattage). Lower preheat time means lesser time to clean.
Steam time is the maximum amount of time the steamer can continue to produce steam with the preheated water. Some steam cleaners offer on-demand variable steam, so you can reduce the intensity of steaming as per your need.
Hose and Cord Length
To get into those pesky corners and crevices, you need to have a long hose on the cleaner. Generally, hose length is about eight to ten feet.
Similarly, if you don’t want to have to keep plugging and unplugging your steam cleaner when moving from one room to another, you should opt for one that has at least 15 feet of cord.
Steam cleaners come with various accessories that determine what all purposes you can use them for. You can also use some steam cleaners for wallpaper removal.
Steam Cleaning: FAQ’s
I know you still have some questions. Let’s see if some of my answers can help you clear your doubts.
Is steam cleaning safe for carpets?
Steam cleaning is best for carpets. Carpets can be filthy and unhygienic by the end of the week. Thus, it is important to deep clean them at least once in a while. Steam cleaning will help you deep clean, sanitize, and restore your carpet’s original beauty.
Is it hard to steam clean your carpet?
Steam cleaning your carpet is as easy as regular mopping. You just need to vacuum the room thoroughly to remove the loose dust particles and crumbs. However, the steam cleaner should be adjusted to optimal temperature and pressure settings to have the best results.
How often should a carpet be steam cleaned?
To keep the carpet clean, you should steam clean it at regular intervals. If your carpeted room doesn’t face much foot traffic, then you may think of steam cleaning it once in a few months.
What is the best method for cleaning a carpet?
The best method of cleaning carpets is usually steam cleaning. It removes over 90% of dirt and bacteria from carpeting. Dry cleaning carpeting is also effective for ensuring carpets are ready for foot traffic as quickly as possible.
The steam cleaner has made maintaining and cleaning my carpeted living room much easier. It cleans the carpet’s surface and kills the bacteria and dust mites that get penetrated deep inside the carpet. Also, handling a steam cleaner is quite easier and convenient than any other electric mop.