A Renter's Guide To Carpet Cleaning

With over 15,500 bond claims ending up at the Civil Tribunal each year, renters need to be more cautious than ever in ensuring that they properly look after, and clean, their rented property prior to vacating.  An area that requires thorough maintenance from the beginning but is often overlooked, however, is the carpeted areas of the property. Although the carpet degradation at the end of your lease is calculated on a number of factors, one area that is responsible for many lost bonds, but is easily avoidable, is the acquisition of stains and marks on your carpet.  So, if you are a renter and wanting to do everything in your power to ensure your bond is returned, here is a quick guide to carpet cleaning for everything from simple to very challenging stains.

Simple stain removal – water soluble stains

Stains that are relatively easy to remove are often ones caused by water-soluble materials.  Contrary to popular belief, a lot of materials that are water-soluble will not cause a stain if cleaned immediately, and appropriately.  Water-soluble (the ability of the liquid to dissolve in water) materials include the following:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Ice cream/milk
  • Gravy
  • Excrement
  • Mud
  • Wet or latex paint

To remove these types of stains, your best approach is to,

  1. Place a wet, white cloth, for example, a paper towel or a tea towel, on the stain and attempt to mop up as much of the spillage as possible. 
  2. Replace the cloth if it becomes wet, and keep patting down the wet stain area until it feels dry. 
  3. Do not rub or scrub the stain – doing so will entrench it further into the carpet.  Pat down the stain only
  4. Add a small amount of carpet cleaner to the stain.

More challenging stains – non-water soluble stains

Stains that are not water-soluble can be more challenging to remove.  Non-water soluble materials include the following: 

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Mustard or other coloured sauces
  • Wine
  • Food dyes

To remove these types of stains, the above approach is also recommended.  However, instead of adding carpet cleaner at Step 4, you may need to add a small amount of ammonia or chlorine bleach.  Beware, however, that these types of cleaning agents may further stain your carpet.

The most challenging types of stains

The most challenging type of stains are not water soluble and may not even be liquid! Most stains of this type require their own unique form of stain removal.  Here's a few simple tips for tough stains. 

Nail polish: Blot the affected area with a cloth soaked in nail polish remover.

Oil and fat: Place a piece of paper towel over the affected area of carpet and iron it.  The oil/fat should harden and stick to the towel.

Chewing gum: Use ice to freeze the gum, and then shatter the affected area with a spoon.  Vacuum the area before the pieces harden. 

Whilst it is always tempting to do DIY carpet cleaning, if you are really concerned about your carpet's welfare, and your bond, it is highly recommended that you contact an upholstery cleaner to ensure that the stain is properly removed. For more information, see http://www.phjservices.com.au.