Carpet cleaning tips?


My light beige carpet is 6 years old and is showing shades of gray in foot trafficked areas. My tenants did a shampoo cleaning, but I think I need to do some heavier treatment.
Any suggestions for what products to get? Should I just rent that machine from Home Depot and give it another try? If I rent those machines can I make my own solution or do I have to buy their expensive one? I guess it will take several passes to get it clean again.
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In my experience, those gray traffic marks are not going to go away with cleaning. Sure, a good cleaner will lift out a whole ton of dirt and that's a good thing. But it will not make a worn carpet look new.

None of the above. The really big (truck mounted) machines do the best job, in the hands of a skilled operator. There are a lot of scam operators (scum operators?) in that biz so you must find a good one. But the good one's are good, and quite inexpensive too.
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"Mr. Nonsense" wrote

I would try the machine and you can get cheaper chemicals at often the grocery or 'walmart' type places that do not rent machines. It's possible to mix your own if you know what to use but carpet cleaning can be kinda a special job. In my case, if i rent a machine every 6 years or so, I don't worry too much about the price of the recommended product to match the machine and tend to get it there. Some of the better ones will actually provide a bit of 'scotch guard' to the carpet so it resists dirt better for a time.
Then again here, I'm at the 'time to replace the carpet' level. (7 years with renters, was 10 years old then, now 19 years old). But I kept it going for a long time with those rental machines.
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Bear in mind that technology may have changed, but...
Back in the day, I worked a job as a summer student with a carpet cleaning franchise. One of the ones that had the mobile unit that came to your house with the big machines to do a steam cleaning.
The self-service products of that era were horrible for carpet cleaning. The retail stores had soaps and various cleaners that worked with shampooers (sp?) to scrub the carpet surface, but none had the hutzbah to then remove the dilluted soaps,etc, after they were applied. The result was that your carpet wore more quickly, and the dirt resurfaced after a few weeks. The residual gunk actually attracted dirt more quickly.
So for my $.02, a strong steam cleaner unit is still best - one with mongo suction to pull the steam and moisture laden crap back out of the carpet. With a strong suction steam unit, it is truly amazing that you can blacken a 3 gallon water reservoir with extracted soils in a few minutes. These types of units may be available for rental at your local outlets, or I'd shell out for a recommended biz to come to your home. Some add mild emulsifiers or other chemicals to the steam to enhance the operation. These additives are often optional, but I wouldn't shop for cheap replacements.
Bear in mind that if you clean the entire carpet, chances are the highest traffic areas will still look more worn. Cleaner, but more worn. I can recall one customer who was dismayed that her carpets did not look brand new after being well cleaned. We took about three years of cat pee, hair, kiddy "stuff", crayon, and dirt (not the greatest housekeeper) out of her ten year old carpet, and she was disappointed that it didn't look like new.
Good luck
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On Tue, 01 Sep 2009 16:06:40 -0700, gwandsh wrote:

And to add mine, the rental machines are *far* better IME than any of those 'home' cleaners that look like an upright vacuum cleaner; they have more power and do a far better job (not to mention that we had one of the Bissell 'home' ones and I was forever taking it apart because the pipework would block and it'd either stop cleaning or start leaking)

I consider myself lucky as the house we have now is 90% hardwood floors - they're so much easier to clean (and the amount of pet hair which finds its way under the sofas makes me appreciate just how much crud must be caught in the typical house carpet!)
cheers
Jules
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On Tue, 1 Sep 2009 12:52:36 -0700 (PDT), "Mr. Nonsense"

A steam machine with suction should do the job. Use the recommended detergent/concentration. After it dries, vacuum again, then rinse until the soap/dirt is gone. You might need something like "Resolve" for spot treatment. Tap the brush onto the carpet, do not scrub or brush.
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Be carefull with products like resolve. They tend to leave soap behind and the soap will attract dirt and cause the stain to return in about 3 weeks.
On really tough stains, I use a spot cleaner and boiling water. If you have a shop vac, they do a great job at extraction.
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