December 3, 2013 1:18 am
To maintain clean, fresh carpets, prevention is the best medicine. Place a high quality doormat at the entrance of your home to stop dirt, mud, and toxins from ever making it onto your carpets. Consider asking family members and guests to remove footwear before entering the home. To make this easier or even fun for your guests, place a boot tray and clean slippers or socks at the door. A friendly sign will serve as a reminder about your home's footwear-free policy.
To freshen carpets quickly when guests are on the way, vacuum with a well-sealed HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuum cleaner. HEPA vacuums contain filters capable of trapping tiny, micron-sized particles. Go over the carpet with three vacuum strokes per section (you might need to go over it as many as seven times if it is heavily soiled). You might be surprised at how neat and clean your carpets will be after a thorough vacuuming.
If during vacuuming you discover spots or spills, try using a wet rag to moisten the affected areas before rubbing borax in with a stiff-bristle brush. Leave the borax on the area until it dries, and then vacuum. This should minimize or eliminate the spot. If you have time to focus your cleaning efforts on a specific type of spot (caused by coffee, gum, or fruit juice for example), check the Web for an online spot removal guide for effective methods for removing a wide variety of substances from carpets or upholstery.
Once you've eliminated any spots or stains, sprinkle baking soda - the classic natural odor eater - over the carpet. Leave the baking soda on overnight; it will soak up any lingering odors. Vacuum the next morning to remove the baking soda and you will have fresh, clean carpets that are ready for your guests.
But what if you have hardwood floors? On short notice, simply use a dust mop to remove any coating of dirt or dust. If you have time for a quick damp mopping job, make sure your mop is twice wrung to protect your floors from water damage. If necessary, you can use a special wood floor cleaner diluted in water for a more thorough cleaning. Use a twice-wrung mop also for laminate floors, but with a cleaner specified for laminate surfaces. Diluted distilled white vinegar is a good natural option for quick floor cleaning; the vinegar smell will dissipate quickly.
Are your guests staying over? Give stored linens a good shake and hang them outside on a clothesline in lieu of re-washing them with chemical cleaners. Turn the items every couple of hours if you have time to give every surface the opportunity to gain a fresh, outdoor scent. The aroma of fresh air is healthier and more pleasing than fragrances mixed into chemical cleaners.
Published with permission from RISMedia.