Between spilled lunch items and craft supplies, your carpet can really take a beating when you're a parent. Luckily, if you follow these tips when shampooing your carpet, you can ensure you're doing as thorough a job as possible of getting out those kid-induced stains and smells and keeping your kids safe during the process.
Spot-treat stains first.
Before you drag out your carpet shampooer, it's wise to hand-treat stained areas. The shampooer may not treat these areas aggressively enough on its own. Use the same shampoo you'll be putting in your carpet shampooer, so you don't have to worry about any negative interactions between your stain fighter and the shampoo. Mix some of the shampoo with a little water to dilute it, and pour it directly onto the stain. Give it some time to set in, and then blot it up as well as you can with some rags or paper towels. Don't scrub the area – you'll risk driving the stain deeper into the fibers.
Choose a non-toxic carpet cleaner.
Some carpet cleaners contain harsh chemicals that may irritate your child's skin or even cause more severe allergic reactions. Since there is only so much you can do to keep your kids from sneaking onto the carpet when it's wet and you're shampooing, choosing a non-toxic cleaner is safer than risking exposing them to the harsh chemicals in some other carpet cleaners. Certain cleaners are marketed as child-safe; these are obviously good choices.
You could also use a mixture of 1 part vinegar to 1 part water, plus a splash of dish soap, to do most of your stain cleanup. However, this mixture will only work for spot-treating as it may damage a carpet shampooer.
After shampooing, sprinkle the carpet with baking soda.
Shampooing removes a good amount of the dirt and debris in your carpet, but if you have kids, you probably have more than the typical number of odoriferous particles in your carpet. To make sure your room really does smell fresh after your shampoo session, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on the carpet when it's still damp after shampooing. The baking soda will absorb the water – and the odors along with it. A day or two later, when it is dry to the touch, vacuum it up. You don't have to worry about your kids touching or playing in the baking soda. Yes, it might make a bit of a mess, but it's safe (though very bitter) if they happen to accidentally ingest some of it.
By pre-treating stains, using a non-toxic shampoo, and following up with baking soda, you can ensure your carpet cleaning endeavor is effective in spite of your kids' best efforts to keep your carpet looking gross! Visit Go Green Carpet Cleaning for more tips and help.