Many people opt for dark-colored carpeting thinking it will be easier to keep clean than lighter-colored carpeting. While this may be true to some extent, there are still some intricacies involved when it comes to keeping dark-colored carpets clean and looking their best. Use these tips and tricks to your advantage.
Always spot-test cleaners before you use them.
Some carpet cleaning solutions contain bleaching agents, so when you use them on dark carpet, you might end up with a faded spot. To prevent this from happening to you, opt for a cleaner that states it is ideal for use on dark carpets. Even then, every carpet reacts differently to different compounds and cleaning chemicals, so it's wise to spot-test any cleaner before you use it.
If you have a carpet sample or scrap left behind by your carpet installers, test the cleaner on this. Let it sit for a day or two before judging whether or not it bleaches your carpet. (Sometimes a cleaner may take a while to have this effect.) If you don't have any carpet scraps left, then you can test the cleaner on a hidden area -- such as under the entertainment center or sofa.
Always use a cleaning solution after soaking up spills, even if you can't see them.
When you spill something on a dark carpet, it's tempting to just soak up as much as you can and then leave it. After all, you can't see the spill! But this means that potentially smelly particles are being left behind in the carpet. So, to keep your dark carpet smelling fresh, always apply a cleaning mixture and blot it up after you've spilled something. A simple mixture of 50% water and 50% white vinegar will work just fine in most cases. You can add a little squirt of dish soap to the mix if the spilled liquid is greasy.
Be extra careful to suck up all of the water after shampooing.
When you use a carpet shampooer, the water and detergent are typically mixed together and ejected onto the carpet. If you leave water behind, you're leaving behind traces of detergent, too. And this will often give a dark-colored carpet a dusty, dull look. A good way to suck up more water after shampooing is to go over the entire carpet a second time with the shampooer set to "suction only" mode. You can also use clean towels to blot the damp carpet, absorbing a bit more water and detergent after shampooing.
Be proactive about deodorizing.
When you have a dark-colored carpet, spills may go unnoticed. But just because you can't see them does not mean they are not emitting stinky odors into your space. To ensure any overlooked spills don't make your carpet too smelly, it's important to be proactive about deodorizing your dark-colored carpet. Once a week before you vacuum, sprinkle baking soda liberally over the carpet. Let it sit for at least 2 hours -- all day is even better -- and then vacuum it up thoroughly. It will absorb odors and ensure your carpet stays smelling fresh.
Keep your blinds closed -- or invest in UV-blocking window films.
As good as dark-colored carpeting is at minimizing the appearance of stains, it has another big downfall: its predisposition to sun-bleaching. UV rays shining through your windows may cause the carpet to fade unevenly. Keeping your shades drawn on the sunniest of days will minimize this effect, but if you want to be able to enjoy natural sunlight and vibrant carpet, UV-blocking window films are another option.
UV-blocking window films prevent UV rays from entering your home while letting other less harmful wavelengths of sunlight stream in. As a result, your carpet is protected from fading, but your home is still warm and sunny. These films are easy to install over any window (just stick them on), and they won't change the appearance of your windows.
For more information, or for assistance with a larger stain or odor problem, contact professional carpet cleaners, such as those at Southwest Chem-Dry.