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Winter Carpet Cleaning: How to Properly Clean a Carpet

Winter Carpet Cleaning: How to Properly Clean a Carpet

From November to February, much of the US can expect to get hit with snow, ice, and sleet. For many, preparing for the increased wet weather and associated dangers means laying down ice melt and rock salt. 

In fact, In 2021 the US produced 40 million tons of salt; highway deicing alone accounted for about 42% of total salt consumed. Rock salt isn’t the only deicer on the rise, the ice melt product market size was USD 3.9 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow 18% by 2028. 

While salt and ice melt are great at mitigating slips and falls outside, these products can be tracked into facilities. Once inside, they can stain carpeting, leave unsightly residues, and cause damage to your carpeted surfaces.

While it can lead to dirty, stained, and even damaged carpets, ice melt and rock salt are necessary. So, we’ve put together three surefire ways you can follow to rid your carpets of any stains this winter, and keep them looking great.

Winter Carpet Cleaning 

First things first, before you can “clean” your carpets you must remove all hard soils and other sediment with a vacuum.

Dry vacuuming is an essential preliminary step in any carpet cleaning procedure. 

The problem is, when vacuuming, people have a tendency of cleaning in a way that only focuses on attacking visibly soiled areas. Often they neglect to thoroughly clean the whole carpet surface because they’re too focused on the stain directly in front of them. 

The idea is to vacuum efficiently; don’t just attack the visibly soiled areas, or mindlessly push the vacuum over the carpet surface, but have a planned out approach. The best way to do this is to develop a pattern and stick to it with every carpet. 

The goal should be thoroughness; you want to pass over every inch of the carpet surface to ensure that all of the soil and debris are lifted from the fibers. 

Some stains are going to be too oily, or too deep, to get out with a dry vacuum. That’s where our winter carpet cleaning methods come in.

3 Methods to Clean Carpet in the Winter

There are several ways to clean carpets in the winter, which to use depends on the severity of the stain and the type of residue left behind. We’ll cover that below. 

The three winter carpet cleaning methods our experts have identified are:

  1. Regularly Clean Using Floor Neutralizer (and a Floor Machine) 
  2. Perform Encapsulation Carpet Cleaning 
  3. Remove Heavy, Stubborn Stains with a Carpet Extractor

Regularly Clean Using a Floor Neutralizer and a Floor Machine 

Your first option is to use a floor neutralizer for daily carpet protection. 

Pro Tip: Daily methods are floor care procedures, like cleaning and maintenance, that should be done every day. 

Floor neutralizer is specifically made to combat the stains left behind by winter products, like ice melt and rock salt. It utilizes a slightly more acidic pH balance to really attack ice melt residue.  

Not to be confused with neutral floor cleaner, which is designed to loosen organic soils. 

It’s most useful for attacking lighter, newer stains. By removing newer stains with floor neutralizer, you ensure that they don’t build up into deeper, damaging stains. 

At least a few times a week, you should use a floor neutralizer within 100’ of the main entrance to help break up stains before they migrate to other carpeted surfaces. 

Doing this is a great way to prevent the build up of ice melt residue.

How to remove stains from a carpet with floor neutralizer:

  • Step 1: Vacuum Carpet
  • Step 2: Apply Floor Neutralizer with a Pump Up Sprayer at the Correct Dilution
  • Step 3: Let Dwell
  • Step 4: Extract The Dirty Area with Water in the Extractor
  • Step 5: Let Dry

For a more in-depth review of how to use floor neutralizer to attack and remove winter stains, check out the full article here. 

Perform Encapsulation Carpet Cleaning 

Encapsulation cleaning is effective in dealing with pesky stains like mud, soil, and white streaks. 

As an interim cleaning method, it is more intensive than daily cleaning methods. This means that encapsulation technology is able to effectively deal with many moderate stains, except for deep grease or oil stains.carpet encapsulation cleaning

Pro Tip: Interim methods are floor care procedures that should be completed when the finish of your flooring, or the appearance of your carpet, is experiencing a noticeable level of wear and tear.

It also has the added benefits of not leaving behind any residue from the cleaning products, and having a shorter dry time than carpet extraction. 

This is ideal for scenarios where you don’t have enough down time for the carpet to dry off from a carpet extraction, but it still needs to be cleaned. The downside is that it’s an interim, and not restorative, method, meaning that it needs to be performed more frequently. 

How to remove stains from a carpet with encapsulation cleaning: 

  • Step 1: Add Water and Encapsulation Formula to the Dry Foam Generator
  • Step 2: Secure the Dry Foam Generator to the Encapsulation Carpet Cleaning Machine
  • Step 3: Insert the Brush Into the Encapsulation Carpet Cleaning Machine
  • Step 4: Adjust the Handle of Your Encapsulation Carpet Cleaning Machine
  • Step 5: Activate and Adjust the Dry Foam Generator
  • Step 6: Allow Time for the Foam to Build Up
  • Step 7: Start Swinging Encapsulation Carpet Cleaning Machine Back and Forth Over the Carpet

If you’re interested in learning more about the encapsulation cleaning process, check out our full article on the topic. 

Remove Heavy, Stubborn Stains with a Carpet Extractor

The best way to deal with deep-rooted stains, soils, and odors, is with a restorative carpet extraction. 

Pro Tip: Restorative methods are floor care procedures that should be performed when your carpet or flooring can no longer be revived with daily and interim care. What is a Carpet Extractor

Typically reserved as a restorative cleaning procedure, carpet extraction is excellent at dealing with stains that other carpet cleaning methods struggle with, like oil and grease stains; this is what makes it a good candidate for frequent, deep winter cleanings. 

Carpet extraction is very effective, but most extractors leave between 30% and 50% of the moisture behind. Because of this, drying times can be long. You can use floor drying blowers to get your carpet back in use sooner. 

How to remove stains from a carpet with carpet extraction:

  1. Step 1: Vacuum Carpet
  2. Step 2: Apply Heavy Duty Carpet Cleaner with a Pump Up Sprayer
  3. Step 3: Add Extraction Rinse to the Extractor’s Tank
  4. Step 4: Begin Cleaning the Carpet
  5. Step 5: Remove as Much Soap and Water as Possible
  6. Step 6: Let Dry

For a full breakdown of the carpet extraction process, check out the full article on our blog. 

Final Thoughts 

Occupant foot traffic will bring in outside dirt and residues that get tracked onto the carpet’s fibers, causing damage, and creating difficult-to-clean stains. 

As a result, you can bet that if there’s snow, there’s a good chance ice melt and rock salt will end up on your carpets. But at least you’re now prepared to deal with any white streaks and stains that come your way.

For frequent cleaning of minimal residue stains, a floor neutralizer can do the trick. Remember, if you are dealing with moderate stains, encapsulation is a good go to; unless the stains are heavy and involve oily ice melt residues, you should do a restorative carpet extraction.

We recommend reaching out to our experts for a free consultation, where an expert will review your facility, onsite or virtually.

Our commercial cleaning experts will assess your carpets and make recommendations to your carpeted surface care routine. They are well-versed in how to extend the life of your commercial carpeting and stain removal, and can help you save money, lower cleaning costs, and protect your carpet’s appearance. 

The services we provide at  Imperial Dade are unrivaled, from commercial cleaning, to equipment repairs; we’ll have your facility winter-ready in no time. 

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