Carpet Cleaning 101: Everything You Need To Know

Hey Annie, how are you?

I am writing this letter to you today because I’m at the very end of my tether and I simply do not know to do anymore. We moved into our new home a few months ago and everything has been amazing.

However the carpets that were in the house when we bought it are really poor quality and they are already showing lots of stains. I don’t know if it’s possible to clean them or not. I have already tried everything that I can think of so far, but nothing seems to really be working. It gets even worse when the sun shines in through the big window in the sitting room. It just shows up the stains so clearly.

It’s quite embarrassing at this stage to be honest, as it make us look like we never clean!!! I am really hoping that you have a way to solve this problem, preferably quickly and easily. I was thinking of investing in a carpet steam cleaner but i wanted to also get your opinion on whether that would be a good idea, before I took the plunge and spent a lot of money on one.

If you think they can be helpful then can you also give me your recommendation for the best value one?

Thanks Annie. I really appreciate any and all advice you can give me.

-Jilly-Ann

Hey Jilly-Ann,

Thank you for getting in touch with me. I am really sorry to hear about your carpets. I know exactly what you are going through right now as I have also suffered through it.

The carpets in your home are what is known as building-quality carpets. They are cheap and thrown in by the builder during construction, to sell the house. They look fine when nobody is walking on them or using the room. But they stain very poorly, catch a lot of dust, are not very comfortable to walk on and wear very poorly.

Of course the idea is that you would get rid of them after moving in and replace them with better carpet or even wooden floors instead. This is in much the same way that builders use poor quality paint during building, with the expectation being that you are probably going to want to personalise each room with your own unique colours anyways.

Ultimately my advice would be that you get rid of them as soon as you can afford to. They have really served their purpose at this stage.

However if you are not in a financial position to do that just yet, then luckily for you I do have a few tricks up my sleeve as always!

Before I dive in, please remember that you should always test your carpet in a hidden area before working on the main areas. Different products and chemical agents will react in different ways with your carpet and not always in good ways either!

You do NOT want to go and make the problem worse.

If your stain is caused by a water soluble liquid then it is always wise to start off by using vinegar instead of other cleaners. For best results you should mix it with gently warmed water too. As always you should blot the mixture and never rub it. Make sure not to add too much solution as that can bring along its own problems.

If the stain was caused by an oily substance you are in for a tougher time however. I like to use some dish washing liquid with warm water and then finish it off with some diluted vinegar again. Keep blotting with dry cloths until its completely dry.

Unfortunately at the end of the day the real truth is that building carpet just really isn’t designed for long term use. However having said all of that, you may still be able to get rid of a lot of your stubborn stains using the techniques that I have outlined for you above.

My last piece of advice in relation to carpets is to always make sure that you keep your carpets very clean. Any dust or dirt that accumulates will act as an abrasive. This means that when someone walks on it, it will cause excessive wear and tear and fraying of your carpet. This will drastically reduce it’s life span.

Let me know how you get on and I’ll be glad to help you with even more info if the above strategies don’t happen to work for you Jilly-Ann.

The White Glove Test

girl cleaning
This is me looking very serious. (About 20 years ago!)

I’ve worked as a professional cleaner now for over 20 years. Wow it feels really crazy to say that. 20 years is an incredibly long time and I’ve had a lot of fun in that time. I’ve worked everywhere from 5 star hotels to small studio apartments and everything in between. I’ve done major post construction cleanings, and sprawling office blocks.

I have to say it’s really been a blast. I still remember my very first job and I’ll never be able to forget my first supervisor.

We were working as part of a full-time team of housekeepers for a multi-billionaire. We worked very hard as you can imagine and the standards we were expected to clean to were incredibly high.

Our supervisor was incredibly strict and used to perform something called the white-glove test.

mop and bucket

It went something like this. After we had finished cleaning a room she would run around and wipe her glove over all of the surfaces. If any dust or dirt showed up on the glove we would be forced to clean the entire room again.

If you were the person responsible for the team failing the test, then you also got a warning. And if it happened again you were fired. A lot of girls simply didn’t make the cut, but for those of us willing to work and learn as much as we could, we were very richly rewarded. It’s that trial by fire that has turned me into the expert cleaner that I am today. Whenever I think back I am always very thankful for that opportunity I was given and I have very fond memories of my time working there.

After watching countless white glove tests, I started to notice the same areas being tested over and over again. These were the areas that were most commonly missed.

I’ve complied a short list of each area, so that you can watch for them in your home too. They really give your home the look of being extra clean, when you tackle them.

1) The Top Of Your Refrigerator As you can imagine, this is an area which catches a lot of dust. However just like most areas in the kitchen, it also tends to catch a lot of grease that splashes from the frying pan. When they mix together their gooey mess causes even more dust to stick to it and it’s pretty disgusting. This area needs to be cleaned regularly or you are going to have a disaster on your hands.

2) Door Frames – The top part of a door frame is very rarely cleaned for one major reason. It’s very rarely (if ever) seen by anyone! However as we learned many years ago, just because you can’t see it, that does not mean you shouldn’t clean it. That is just laziness and if a job is worth doing then it’s also worth doing right. (That’s something that I live by).

While you are at it make sure you tackle the sides of the door frames as well. The area between the outside of the frame and the wall is an area often overlooked.

This also goes for things like pictures frames, fire alarms, wall mounted clocks etc. Anything that has a top surface that is out of view, will collect huge amounts of dust.

3) Rear Part Of Your Taps – The chrome at the front can be all polished and shining beautifully, but if the back part isn’t just as clean then you have failed in my estimations. Again it goes back to cleaning even what can’t be seen. If you truly take pride in your work this is something you must incorporate into your mindset while cleaning. Get rid of that mess!

4) Under And Behind Your Appliances Again as you have guessed, we are talking about an area that people don’t usually see! The backside of your appliances like toasters and coffee makers etc. can get surprisingly dirty and dusty for much the same reasons the top of your refrigerator does; grease.

So give them a rub every so often. This will also help keep them working for longer so that you don’t need to replace them every few years. Also a lot of dust can gather under these appliances which can be quite dangerous as you are preparing food on your kitchen countertops, mere inches away from dirt, dust and bacteria! So get underneath those machines and make sure the countertops are spotless every single time!

Now this is a very picky list and for sure some of you may see this as overkill. But for me cleaning and keeping my home clean is a matter of pride. If you don’t take pride in what you do then it will show through. Don’t be one of “those people”.

Choose something and try to be great at it.

And if you really are just too lazy to clean these areas yourself then it’s best to call in the big guns: Cleaners Dublin

Help Me With My Vacuum Cleaner

dyson Dear Annie,

For the longest time all I wanted was to get a bag-less vacuum cleaner. I’d first seen them on the Dyson ads on TV, but honestly we simply couldn’t afford one. They were just so crazy expensive.

Finally I managed to get a second-hand bag-less vacuum last week. It’s not a Dyson unfortunately as they are still very expensive). Even pre-owned ones still cost a small fortune.

To be honest though it isn’t nearly as cool as I thought it would be and I’m wondering now what all the big fuss was about. First of all, the bags are actually not that expensive anyways. Second of all, you get enveloped in a massive dust cloud every time you empty it into your bin.

I am sure that’s not dust you should be breathing in either. Thirdly, you have to continuously clean out the filter, which is actually a big job and rather a large pain to do properly. So all in all I’m not so gone on the idea now after having owned one. However that little rant is not the reason that I contacted you today Annie.

I need help with actually cleaning the HEPA filter. I am not sure even where to start and I do not want to break anything. As although it’s not perfect, it’s all I have right now and I certainly cant afford to buy another one any time soon. Can you help me out here???

—Jillian

Hi Jillian,henry hoover

Thank you for your email. It sounds to me like you are very frustrated! I’ve had trouble with bag-less vacuums as well in the past, but they are quite simple to get the hang of when you know what you are doing.

Obviously you’ve gotten the hang of emptying the main canister by now. But I don’t really understand the problem you are having with your HEPA filter as the filter will actually just clip out easily. To clean it, first start by banging it (softly!) against the side of bin. Then use some kitchen towel to rub off any remaining dust and debris.

Sometimes though, it is not the filter that is causing the main issues. Hair, string and kids toys can get caught in the pipes and the other inner workings of your vacuum which will seriously stifle your performance.

Take a good look around and make sure that nothing is inside your vacuum that shouldn’t be there. Use a knife to cut away any hair that has gotten tangled up inside any hoses or in the heads.

These filters will last quite a while but do need to be changed about once every 6 months. It depends on how often you hoover.

If you haven’t installed a new one since you made your purchase then I would honestly have to recommend that you do so now. Not only will an old filter reduce your suction but it will also cause lots of dust to be fired back up into the air after you hoover!

House Cleaners