That right there is what my living room carpet looked like this evening. It's seven years of children spilling food on it, peeing on it, trampling mud over it, and throwing up on it. We've had a rug over it for a while, but the room just isn't big enough for the rug not to get in the way of something or other, so we chucked it in the loft with the rest of the crap we don't use. After having a clean(ish) rug down though, the carpet looks worse than ever, and I just can't take it any more.
When something gets too grungy for even me to put up with, something has to be done about it. We've tried commercial carpet cleaners; the person we paid to do it only charged us half price because he couldn't get the stains out (it was cleaner, just not clean).
A couple of weeks ago Adam threw up in the hall, right after he drank a strawberry and banana smoothie. I was convinced that we'd have a pink stain on the carpet forever, but I dumped a load of bicarbonate of soda (or baking soda for any Americans reading) on the stain, left it for half an hour or so, swept it up and then gave it a scrub with a mix of washing up liquid (I use Ecover), white vinegar, and hot water.* Not only did it get the strawberry coloured vomit out, it the patch I scrubbed was cleaner than the rest of the carpet. Unfortunately I then felt obligated to clean the rest of the hall carpet because it looked so awful in comparison to the one clean spot.
|Don't scrub a carpet with a nail brush.|
This is a week later and I still have a hole in my knuckle where the blister was.
I actually used a plastic scrubbing brush this time, so no more blisters (but the one from last week stung like fuck when I put it in the vinegar), and it looks so much better now!
|You can actually see the line where I stopped cleaning.|
It's not spotlessly clean, I don't think it ever will be, but it's a damn sight cleaner than it was.
I may not have picked the best time to do this though. Andy's just called to say he's on his way home from Woodcraft Folk with Adam and Jack and they got so muddy that Jack even has some on his nose. I think I might cry.
*I don't use precise measurements for this 'recipe'. I just use a squirt of washing up liquid and a glug of white vinegar in a mop bucket and fill it just over halfway with water. If you have a carpet cleaner, it would probably be worth going over the carpet with it filled with plain water afterwards, just to give it a bit of a rinse.