how to disinfect carpet

Here is a startling fact about carpets – each square inch has about 200,000 bacteria per square inch, This is according to Dr. Philip Tierno, a microbiologist and immunologist at NYU’s Langone Medical Center and author of The Secret Life of Germs. This is something you just can’t get rid of with a vacuum cleaner, hence the need to know how to disinfect your carpet.

vacuum cleaner

Just how dirty can carpets get? Just about 4000 times than a toilet seat- yes, THAT dirty! This is because your carpet catches and traps practically everything into the carpet fibers.

Your carpet gets it all – bacteria from soiled shoes, debris, food crumbs, our pets’ hair, urine, feces, the dead skin we shed off, dust mites, mold, bacteria, allergens, and other organic matter.

The Diseases You and Your Family Can Get from Your Carpet

With the build-up of all these on your carpet, it can be a cause for allergic rhinitis, asthma, skin irritations. Further, because we love to let our little ones play on the carpet, so yes, the toys, the hands of your baby when crawling, can all catch the germs.

dirty carpet

If you could only clean carpets as you would a toilet seat! Unfortunately, carpets are porous and whatever drops gets trapped in the carpet fibers.

So how do you keep your carpet from being breeding grounds of molds and germs? While nothing beats cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing carpets by professional cleaners, here are some tips and solutions to help keep your carpet clean.

Tips for a Cleaner Carpet

Available Cleaning Tools

Vacuum Cleaning Twice a Week or More

Vacuuming your carpet at least twice a week is a must no matter how seemingly clean it is or how careful we are. If there is a baby in the family, it is recommended you vacuum every day. The body sheds 500 million skin cells daily and contributes to the buildup of matter on the carpet.

When choosing a vacuum cleaner, invest in a good one. There are vacuum cleaners that have advanced features such as HEPA filtration.

how to disinfect carpet

Carpet Cleaner

There are also carpet cleaning machines that do more than what vacuum cleaners can by providing deep cleaning for your carpet. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions like specific solutions or disinfectants to use with your unit. It will take about an hour to dry, but make sure you air dry completely before putting the furniture back on it or walking over the carpet.

Use a Steam Cleaner

In-between vacuum cleaning, team it up with a steam cleaner. Unlike vacuuming which sucks off the dirt, allergens, pet hair, dander, dead skin cells, food crumbs, etc, a steam cleaner does more.

A steam cleaner works by applying hot steam and pressure to your carpet. It breaks down/loosens dirt, grease, grime, softens stains for easier removal, and can also kill dust mites. It can also disinfect your carpet.

steam cleaner can sanitize the carpet
Steam cleaner can help disinfect

A bonus is that, because it will clean and sanitize a carpet without the need for cleaning solutions (just water), this steam cleaning method prevents faster re-soiling which happens when you use a carpet shampoo. Just make sure the carpet is water safe.

To use this with a vacuum cleaner, first vacuum both sides of the carpet. Vacuum the surface beneath the carpet too, after which you can use the steam cleaner on it. Follow the instructions of your steam cleaner or you might void the warranty or worse, damage your unit. Allow your rug to air dry completely and wait a bit more before putting furniture back in place, or walking over the carpet with shoes on, or letting your pets or kids go over them.

Cleaning Products

Some of these cleaning products are items you usually buy from the grocery. Some disinfect, while some help to remove stains.

Here are ways to freshen the carpet

1.Baking soda

Sprinkle on your rug, leave for 15 minutes minimum, ideally 1-2 hours then vacuum.

2.Baking soda with essential oil

Mix one-half cup of baking soda with 30 drops of essential oil and leave the mixture in its container overnight. Sprinkle it over the carpet and after 15 minutes vacuum the rug.

baking soda and essential oils to freshen carpet
Baking soda with essential oils to freshen carpet
3.White vinegar

Put white vinegar on a spray bottle and spray it on the carpet but just enough as to not soak it. While vinegar dries it absorbs and dissolves odor-causing bacteria.

To remove carpet stains

The important thing to remember is to practice on one small part of the carpet before using any of these. You can also do any method on furniture:

1.Baking Soda-White Vinegar

Baking soda is a powerful alkaline while white vinegar is acid. Together they can remove carpet stains. Pour a small amount of vinegar over the stain to soak and soften the stain, then sprinkle baking soda over it to lift and deodorize the area.

2.Baking Soda-White Vinegar +Water

Sprinkle baking soda on the stain, let it sit overnight. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spray on the area then blot the mixture off with a clean rag. The mixture of baking soda (alkaline) and white vinegar (acid) will clear up the stain. Repeat the process as necessary.

To clean and disinfect your carpet

Here is how to disinfect carpet or furniture without a steam cleaner

1.Baking Soda – Borax (NOT Boric acid) – Cornmeal Mixture

Mix 1/2 cup baking soda, 1 cup borax, and 1 cup cornmeal. Mix well and sprinkle over the rug, leave overnight, then vacuum.

2.Baking Soda – Water – White Vinegar – Dish Soap

Sprinkle baking soda on your carpet and let it sit for 15 mins. In a bucket, mix equal parts of white vinegar and water, add a little dish soap or detergent. Preferably, get white distilled vinegar that is suitable for cleaning, one that has 5% acidity.

Dip a brush into this cleaning solution enough to make it damp but not soaking wet. Scrub well and let it soak for 15 minutes. Rinse the area with warm water and a damp cloth. Air dry your carpet completely before you vacuum.

Common Questions About Carpet Cleaning

How can I sanitize my carpet?

You can sanitize your carpet with s steam cleaner as it uses hot steam and pressure, to not only loosen dirt and debris but also kill bacteria. After using your steam cleaner on your rug, make sure to air dry.

If you do not have a unit, you can still sanitize a carpet by sprinkling baking soda on the area and leaving for about 15 minutes before buying scrubbing the area with a mixture of equal parts of 5% white distilled vinegar and warm water and a little dish soap. Dip a brush into this mixture just enough to make it damp but not soaking wet. Scrub well and let it sit for 15 minutes. Rinse the area with warm water and a damp cloth. Air dry your carpet completely before you vacuum.

Can you use Lysol disinfectant spray on carpet?

While Lysol can help deodorize and kill some bacteria, it will not be as effective on its own as it will not be able to do deep cleaning. Also, Oriental rugs and some older carpets might not be able to stand the harsh chemicals in a Lysol spray. It is also important to test a small area of the rug first.

Opt for Lysol when you have no access to a DIY disinfectant such as a baking soda-white vinegar-warm water mixture.

Can you use disinfecting wipes on carpet?

Disinfecting wipes are made for a non-porous and/or smooth surface. Since carpet has fibers, it requires deep cleaning with the use of disinfecting solutions or the use of a carpet cleaning machine or a steam cleaner. Disinfecting wipes will not be effective in getting rid of germs/disinfecting your carpet.

Does vacuuming get rid of germs?

Vacuuming alone will not get rid of germs on the carpet. To get rid of germs, you can use a DIY disinfectant or a steam cleaner. Vacuum the rug first to remove dirt and debris before using a DIY disinfectant or a steam cleaner. Make sure it is thoroughly dry before putting back furniture or walking on the carpet to prevent re-soiling.

How do I get rid of dust mites in my carpet naturally?

For a natural treatment to get rid of dust mites. a product you can use is known as Diatomaceous Earth, which you can buy online – choose the food grade type. This is a sand-like product coming from sediments of fossilized algae harvested from the earth.

diatomaceous earth for dust mites
Diatomaceous Earth: Credit Wikimedia

Sprinkle a little on your area rug, it will injure the dust mites, then drying them up till they die in a matter of minutes. However, take note that this product can irritate lungs when inhaled, so before use, wear gloves and a mask. Also, take note that you cannot use just any ordinary vacuum, the powder is so abrasive it can damage the vacuum motor. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter or Shop-Vac.

Final Words on Carpet Cleaning

Although you can use any DIY method mentioned above, this is when your carpet has no heavy foot traffic, But all these things – natural shedding of our skin, footwear over the carpet (yes including socks), food spills, pollen, etc – they all add up. It is most advisable that you have professional carpet cleaners, a minimum of twice a year and much more if you have spillages, several household members, and little ones sitting on the carpet to crawl or play.

Professionally cleaned carpets will give you the peace of mind that your carpet is not only clean but more importantly, disinfected and sanitized. This is because professionals have the latest cleaning and sanitizing solution and tools to thoroughly disinfect your carpet. With the professional treatment of your rugs, they will last longer and look fresher.

EZ Bee Cleaning has been in the business of cleaning carpets for many years. Contact us today for professional carpet cleaning.

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