Tuesday, March 23, 2010

you know you should shampoo your carpets more often when...

...it's the fourth pass on the "heavy traffic" setting and the waste water you're pouring down the drain is still dark brown sludge. Bluh.

I borrowed my friend's Bissel to do the former boys' bedroom, which is really the master bedroom, and I'm absolutely amazed (and revolted) at how much crud can build up in a carpet in a kid's bedroom, even when you vacuum fairly regularly. The more I think about it, the more disgusting wall to wall carpet seems to me. I suppose it might get cleaner faster if I was using some harsh, heavy duty, stinky chemical solution, but I went with an all-natural product because I don't need to spend the next few weeks in a VOC-induced stupor, thanks.

Thanking my lucky stars the carpet is a glue-down--no underlay to collect mud during the shampooing process, only to reimpregnate the carpet with filth as the fibers dry and wick the dirty moisture up. Before I installed laminate in the living room, I made the mistake of shampooing the carpet before my inlaws came to visit. There was one patch I went to town on every day for over a week--kept looking clean, then ten minutes later I'd turn around and holy crap, the dirt's back. I eventually gave up, and had to deal with having them judge my housekeeping skills by the ugly brown stain on the floor in front of the sofa.

If, when I move, there is any amount of wall to wall in my new place, I'm totally investing in a steam cleaner. I'll do the whole floor every month or two, just to not have to look at the filth in the waste reservoir.

On the bright side, with the exception of two small stains (from strawberry-flavored fruit roll-ups, I think), the spots are coming out. I pre-treated them with a spot remover--Folex--which comes in a very lacklustre spray bottle that was virtually invisible next to all the TV-familiar brands on the shelf. But reading the label--no petro-chemicals, no VOCs, no obnoxious scents--won me over. And it worked really well. Smells like...well, like nothing, which is good for someone with chemical sensitivities.

And if you all are as grossed out as I am by the thought of kids playing legos on a floor completely saturated with filth, all I gotta say is moderately unsanitary conditions build healthy immune systems. My kids? Their immune systems must be super-human--but then I figured as much when the Swine Flu visited our house and didn't even cramp their styles. My coworker, who practically lives in rubber gloves and bleaches her whole house weekly? She and her kids were down for three weeks.

Yup, it's Sophistry, but it works for me.


LVLM said...

Dude, if you have carpet in your new place and it's fairly new, I've heard it's not a good idea to shampoo it very often. I've heard that mold builds up under the mat from being wet and it also breaks down the fibers faster.

But I don't know. If I could, I'd install wood floors. We have cats so the fur builds up on the carpets, but we only spot shampoo for cat spit up. Otherwise, we cleaned it once when we moved in 10 years ago. I'm askeered to find out what's underneath it. Heh. Probably colonies of critters and dirt beings.

kirsten saell said...

Oh Leah, it's gross. Absolutely gross. When I pulled up the carpet to install the laminate, there was a glued-down underlay, and a second underlay stapled down on top. And in some places, there was a half inch of dirt between them.

When we pulled it up off the stairs, it was even worse.

You do have to let things dry right out, though. But man, I won't be letting them get this bad again. Bluh.

laughingwolf said...

yeah, hardwood floors are easiest to clean...

carpets, of any kind, are super dirt and crap catchers, allowing for colonies of breeding toxins :(

kirsten saell said...

Hey, laughingwolf! Long time no see. :)

I finally gave up on the carpet. I'd spent about 6 hours on it altogether, multiple passes scrubbing and sucking, and then one long pass on each bit where it took five minutes to cross the room, because I went a millimeter at a time until NOTHING was coming up.

But the cleaner I'm using just doesn't have the suction to get the carpet even remotely dry. And over the last two days, as it's dried, yup. It's pulled all that dirt up and I now have ugly brown patches all over the beige.

I've got a pro coming in on Wednesday to see what he can do. He says his equipment is good, but sometimes it's just a lost cause. If that's the case, I'll have to pull it all up and have new rugs installed. $$$, but what can you do? Couldn't sell the place with them looking like they did, and if I can't get them clean, then they've gotta go. Bluh.

I suppose if I really wanted to go cheapo, I could caulk the subfloor joints and paint, but that would require scraping off all the glue. Or I could price out laminate--the really inexpensive stuff. But I'm sure some cheap carpet would be less money. Oy. This job just gets bigger and bigger...

laughingwolf said...

hiya k... it has been a while

have a look on my page re. time and/or time travel challenge from l a mitchell... i posted mine there already, deadline's tomorrow