Welcome to day 18 of the ‘31 Days of Deep Cleaning Your Home‘ series!

Today’s task is to spot clean your couch and rugs and/or carpets.

If you have a lot of carpets and rugs it could be beneficial to invest in a small carpet cleaner or shampooer. If your carpets are really dirty and you don’t have a shampooer, you can rent one from almost all grocery stores. This can be faster than cleaning each individual spot. It is also helpful to do this at least once or twice a year so your carpets stay looking nice.
The first step to cleaning your carpets, rugs or upholstery is to give them a good vacuuming.
If you only have a few spots to clean, start by getting some dish or laundry soap in bucket of warm water. You want it really diluted. (You can also use a mixture of vinegar and water.) Use a scrub brush to work the solution into the carpet to remove the stain. Use a damp white cloth to blot up the cleaning solution. Allow this to dry and vacuum over the spot to remove any stiffness from the carpet fibers.
I have a Bissell Little Green machine. Most of my house is vinyl tile and we only have a few area rugs throughout our home. This little guy works great for any spills or stains we need to get up. 
I use a solution of vinegar and hot water for most stains. If the kids spill something and I catch it right away, I often just use hot water to get the spill out.

Use the sprayer to saturate the stain. Scrub using the brush on the hose attachment, and then suck up as much of the water as you can.
Here is that same spot after using the Little Green Machine.
To spot clean your upholstery, you first must determine what type of upholstery you are dealing with. There should be a care tag on your couch. 
  • Code “W” – Use a water based cleaning agent. Spot clean using foam from only water based cleaners, or non-solvent cleaning products. Apply foam with a soft brush in a circular motion, and vacuum when dry.
  • Code “S” – Use a mild water-free cleaning solvent or dry cleaning product. 
  • Code “W-S” – Clean with either a water or solvent based product.
  • Code “X” – Only vacuum clean. Never use any cleaning agent. 

Always test any product you use on an inconspicuous area of your couch first to test for color fastness and whether or not it may cause fabric shrinkage. You may be better off hiring a professional upholstery cleaner for really tough jobs, or if you do not know what type of fabric you have.
2 small kids, 2 cats and 1 dog makes for a pretty dirty couch!
For most couches with a code “w”, the following method works well.
Again, start by vacuuming your couch first. 
Tip: Weekly vacuuming of your upholstery is one of the best ways to keep it looking great!

Next, make a foam solution by mixing dish detergent (or a mild laundry detergent) with water. Use a whisk or an electric beater to make a lot of bubbles. Spread the bubbles on your stain/spot.
Use a brush or sponge to work the bubble solution into your spot.
Use a damp, white cloth to blot up any remaining bubble solution. 
Repeat this process until the spot is cleaned.
If you have a microfiber couch, like I do, this will not work, even if it has a code “w”. You will end up with water spots. Here is what my couch looked like after doing the above mentioned method.
You can see the water spots from where I cleaned it.

Obviously, you would want to test this method on your couch first, but I actually use a warm water (or vinegar and water solution) and my Bissell spot cleaner to clean my couch. I have found by wetting the entire surface I don’t get water spots. I have had good luck with this method, but it may not work for your couch. You want to be sure to remove as much water as possible. I also use a fan to dry the couch quicker.

Here is the dirty water that came out of one couch cushion. Gross, huh?
Here is the couch cushion after shampooing the whole thing.
My couch is seven years old, this is about as clean as it gets. 
I also found another method on Chris and Robin’s Nest. She goes into a lot of detail on her blog, so you can head over there to read more about it. I tested this method out for myself. Essentially you use rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle and spray it on any stains you have, scrub with a light colored dry sponge and then wipe with a white dry cloth.
Here is what the cushion looked like after using this method.
Most of the spots cleaned up fairly well and I was not left with too many water spots. I think I needed to do a little more on some spots of the couch. I will probably use this method for small spots and use my shampooer when my couch gets really gross.
Always follow manufacturer directions for care of your upholstery and carpets. If you are unsure as to what will work best, it may be better to call in a professional.
See you back here tomorrow for day 19 of 31 Days of Deep Cleaning Your Home.

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