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August 10, 2016

how to clean carpet by hand

What I Learned from Cleaning my Rug (BY HAND!)
There's an impulsive part of my brain that wants to buy things that are highly impractical. Like high heels, even though they make me look & feel like the 50 foot woman. Or tubes of lipstick that totally don't match my skin tone (shoutout to that Wet n' Wild hot pink I wore every day in the 11th grade). Or white rugs even though we have pets. Yeah. Guess who has heels, weird lipsticks, & a bright, white rug? Worth it though, because this rug is like my favorite thing about our living room.
Before & After | How to Clean Carpet by Hand
Heather & I both had serious reservations about getting this rug (I seem to remember having to sweet-talk her into it). If you're a fellow pet-owner you can understand my concerns with THIS MUCH WHITE on the floor. It's not as hard to keep clean as I thought it would be. I vacuum it once a week (a little less in the winter when the pets shed less), & rotate it every few months to keep the wear even. It's kind of hard to tell in the pictures, but after a year of use a thorough cleaning was definitely needed, especially the spots where we (the dog included) tread on it most often.
Cheapest rug-cleaning option - and totally doable
Rather than rent a carpet cleaner (gotta save for that honeymoon!) I decided to clean it myself. Like, by hand. With elbow grease, sweat, & tears. Technically it was with dish soap & a scrub brush, but let me tell you what, it was a workout. You can call me crazy (you're crazy!), but the decision to hand-wash our rug totally paid off. It was cheap, easy, didn't take nearly as long as I thought it would, & it actually worked. Here's what I used:
& here's what I did: First, I vacuumed the rug thoroughly. Then I moved it into a spare room (away from curious pets). I mixed 1 cup warm water to 2 pumps (about 1/2 teaspoon) dish soap together in a bucket, & set to work. I cleaned the carpet in sections, working my way across the carpet like you would read a page in a book. I would scoop a bit of the soapy mixture onto the carpet, aiming for somewhere north of damp but definitely not soaking wet. I then worked the brush in different directions, loosening the dirt. I worked in this manner across the entire carpet.

I wanted to test this method out before cleaning the entire carpet, & so I cleaned a small section of the carpet & let it dry overnight. I did one portion using the soapy mixture, & one portion doing soap plus a rinse in clear water. In the morning I vacuumed both spots & saw the same results. Cleaner, fresher, & the non-rinsed portion didn't feel or look any different than the rinsed portion. Win for me, because that's half the work. 
How to clean your rug & get a workout at the same time
After I was done scrubbing the heck out of the rug (this 5x7 took about an hour), I dabbed the entire thing with a towel to absorb as much excess liquid as possible. Then I propped it up so it was off the floor, & left it to dry - with the aid of some fans to expedite the process. If you have access to an outdoor space, I'd recommend letting it dry in the sunshine. Once it dried (overnight drying recommended), I vacuumed it again to remove any dirt agitated to the surface during the scrubbing process. 
Cleaning carpeting on a budget
Donut could care less if the rug is clean. I don't know if it's because I scrubbed it for an hour so I'm all proud mama about it, but I can really see a difference. The yarns aren't as matted down, the color is even again (a.k.a. the dirt is gone), & it doesn't smell like dog. 10 out of 10, would do again. I don't think its worth it to clean it more than once a year, but I feel like the longevity of the rug just went up in a big way.
Get rid of that pet smell with this cheap and easy carpet-cleaning method
So here's what I learned: Cleaning a rug by hand actually works. It saves money, & I'm pretty sure my biceps are now totally ripped as a result of all the arm-work. 


P.S. Photobomb by this previous DIY.

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