The two most important things you can do to keep your carpet clean are:
1) Vacuum, Vacuum, Vacuum .......... and then Vacuum again.
2) Entrance mats at every entrance.
To keep your carpet clean, it is important to clean up spills as they happen. Blot up the spill immediately using a cloth diaper or a terry cloth towel. Do not rub as this will force the spill deeper into the carpet. There are several ways to clean spills that have turned into stains:
1)for fresh stains, use plain club soda. Pour a bit on the spot(don't soak it), let it foam and sizzle and let set for a few seconds. Sponge up thoroughly.
2)for older stains, combine 2 tablespoons detergent, 3 tablespoons vinegar, and one quart warm water. Work into stain and blot dry.
3) When you are done with #1 and #2 and found out that using normal household items on stains such as coffee, tea, rust, kool aid, wine, blood, motor oil and tar among many many others simply won't work but you just had to try it, then it is time to invest in a proffesional carpet spot remover product. There are many out there but the line by "CORE PRODUCTS" is the one we recommend. Click here for more information.
To keep your carpet in good condition, deep clean/shampoo about once a year. If you have pets and/or children, you may want to shampoo more often. There are several ways to deep clean your carpet: with an aerosol spray foam cleaner from the supermarket (on a scale of 1 to 10 this is a 2), a home carpet shampooer(scale: 4), a hot water extraction shampoo machine you rent at the supermarkets(scale: 8), and professional carpet cleaners(scale: 6 to 10).
Before any of these processes, blot up fresh and older stains with methods previously mentioned. It is important to vacuum thoroughly. By thoroughly, you should go over the same spot at least 2-3 times with the vacuum. It is best to take all of the furniture out of the room, if possible. If not, you could move furniture to one side, shampoo that section and let dry 24 hours. Then move the furniture to the other side and repeat the process.
If your carpet is not overly soiled, you could try "Dry Foam" carpet cleaning. This is used with a tank sprayer and a small rotary brush machine. Simply spray the DRY FOAM Shampoo on the carpet, agitate with the rotary brush machine with a nylon carpet brush and allow it to dry. After it dries, the foam turns into a crystalline powder that is then removed by a thorough vacuuming. (Before using, you may want to check for colorfastness. You do this by spraying a small piece of carpet with the cleaner. Leave for awhile, then rub with a white towel.)
Home shampooers are also appropriate for carpets that are not heavily soiled. With most home shampooers, you fill a reservoir with water and carpet shampoo. You can also do the colorfast test with this shampoo. You move the shampooer across the carpet as you do with a vacuum, but you also use a sprayer button to spray the cleaning solution onto the carpet. Next, go over the shampooed area without spraying to rinse. Some machines may have suction to absorb the water from the carpet and some do not. When home shampooing, be sure not to overwet the carpet or it could soak through to the backing and possibly even the floor below.
If you use a two step process, You will achieve the most effective results, Nothing, and I do mean NOTHING, ever comes clean without agitation (scrubbing). If you were to use a rotary brush machine with a mild shampoo and THEN rinse the carpet with a hot water extraction shampoo filled with plain water, you will achieve the best results. Agitation will break the bond of the dirt surrounding the carpet filament better than hot water extraction shampooing alone. Of course, you would first vacuum thoroughly, then pre-treat your stains, etc. etc..... then begin the two part cleaning.
If you choose to use a professional then consider that it is always best to get 2-3 estimates. Be sure to ask if the estimate includes the removal of furniture. Some companies offer discounts if you have more than two carpets to clean.
Cleaning your carpet is an important process. A clean carpet makes the whole room appear cleaner. A clean carpet is also a healthy carpet. No more dust mites, dead skin and other undesirable items. It is also important if you want to sell your home. A clean carpet smells fresh and feels softer.