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Berber carpets are a popular flooring choice due to their durable loop weave construction, versatile color/fiber option choices and economical cost. When figuring out how to clean berber carpet, this type of rug’s special characteristic should be considered in order to garner the best results.
How to clean berber carpet can be an easy process if the proper steps are taken. The first step in tackling any carpet cleaning is to assess the type of carpet fiber you have. Berber carpet is usually made with one of the following fibers:
We will explore both dry and steam cleaning methods more in-depth shortly. However, before we get into the best way to clean berber carpet, it’s essential to start with proper stain removal techniques.
There are a variety of both DIY and store-bought methods that are proven and will help aid in the removal of most all old and new carpet stains. Determining the best approach will largely depend on the type of stain, how quickly it is found and materials available to you at the time of cleaning.
A general rule of thumb in regards to stains on your berber carpet is to never use soaps or detergents. Soap’s residue is sticky and will adhere to the carpet fibers making it much harder to fully remove. With time, dirt will adhere to this and you will end up with additional stains.
Also, special care must be taken when cleaning Beber due to its unique weave. Liquids can get trapped if they sink into the bottom of the carpet beyond the looped weave, so be careful of how much liquid you use when spot-treating. The faster you are able to treat stains and remove all the liquid the better.
The cold water method is a great first step in removing fresh stains from your berber carpet. Most general stains such as milk and other liquids can be cleaned using this method. Steps to follow are simple:
Tip: Start from the outside of the stain and work towards the middle. This way you won’t be spreading the stain but rather, centralizing and working toward the higher concentration areas of the stain.
Cost: Not a thing - you just need cold water and a clean towel, which you most certainly already have!
Effectiveness: Depending on how quickly the stain is caught and saturation of stain color, this can be a very effective method. Patience in blotting and fully drying the stained area after removal is key!
If the cold water method doesn’t work in lifting your carpet stain, you can try removing stains with a more robust home DIY cleaning solution made of vinegar and water.
Tip: Vinegar can be replaced with club soda, should you not have white vinegar available. You don’t need to dilute club soda as you do with vinegar, but do make sure you use all liquids sparingly on berber. Fully dry the area following treatment so no liquid remains trapped in the berber carpet fibers.
Cost: Minimal. White vinegar is usually around a few bucks if you don’t already have in some your pantry.
Effectiveness: Similar to the cold water method, if caught early enough, this can be quite effective in removing stains.
The baking soda method is a good method to use for any smelly pet-related carpet stains and/or greasy stains (eg: butter, olive oil, blood). Baking soda not only sops up grease but is also PH balancing, so it’s a great choice to neutralize not-so-fresh odors.
Tip: Sprinkle a little all over your carpet before a general vacuum to revitalize and de-odorize any carpet smell. This is an especially popular method for any households with pets!
Cost: Minimal as you can find baking soda almost anywhere and for cheap!
Effectiveness: Most effective for liquid or greasy stains as the dry baking soda is the most gentle method for a berber carpet’s weave. Oil stains are a berber carpet’s biggest enemy, so tend to this stain using this natural product as quickly as possible for the best outcome!
Certain stains, such as tough-to-remove or older stains, might need more robust measures beyond DIY solutions. Store-bought carpet stain removers such as Arm & Hammer Pet Fresh Carpet Odor Eliminator Plus are a great choice and widely popular in its effectiveness. Be sure to follow specific product instructions carefully for best results.
A few additional points to keep in mind when using this method:
Cost: Varies depending on the product purchased.
Effectiveness: Store-bought carpet cleaning solutions can be the most effective method out of all these methods, especially for tough or older stains.
Following any stain removal, vacuuming is essential for the longevity of your carpet’s cleanliness. Vacuum the stain thoroughly using with slow, steady movements. Avoid being overly rough, where you can risk damaging the carpet’s weave caused by excessive friction or drag.
Additionally, be sure to not use a vacuum with a brush roller or beater bar attachments as this can lead to snags or damaging the carpet’s weave. High suction vacuums or vacuum designed for laminate flooring are two great choices as they will be the best for removing dirt without ruining berber’s signature weave.
Finally, due to berber carpet’s tight weave, any moisture leftover after stain removal can “sit” on top carpet fibers. Moisture will attract dirt and result in additional staining and/or mold/mildew issues. Therefore, it is always best to dry vacuum immediately following any stain removal and ensure the carpet fibers are fully dry.
Steam cleaning berber carpet is an especially effective cleaning method and is best following a stain removal spot treatment. Steam cleaning works by using hot water (steam) and high powered suction to remove deeply embedded dirt from carpet fibers. Rug Doctor machines are quite popular and well known and can be rented for a small price.
How to clean berber carpet with a rug doctor is an easy to follow method, but make sure to follow any manufacturer instructions, and use slow, intentional movements across the carpet. Go slower than you think necessary to increase effectiveness, and remove as much water as possible from carpet fibers.
When finished, make sure to dry carpet thoroughly, running a vacuum over one final time; turn on fans or open windows to shorten drying time. This ensures that no moisture is left in the carpet fibers. Any remaining moisture could result in unwanted odor, mildew or mold.
Tip: This method is best used for olefin as this synthetic fiber resists water. While olefin is the most stain resistant of all Berber carpet fibers, any water left “sitting” on the surface of the fiber will attract dirt, or worse, lead to less-than-pleasant smells.
Another, and sometimes more preferred method for resolving the question of “how do you clean berber carpet” is by dry cleaning. This method involves sprinkling dry powder, which will pull dirt or stains to the surface so you can vacuum up.
For this method, vacuum stain first, removing as much of the stain as possible from the carpet before applying the dry powder. Read instructions on the product’s label and make sure to test in a small area first for any negative effects on your carpet.
Next, sprinkle the powder onto the stain and work into the carpet using your HANDS. Do not use a brush or brush attachment, as some products suggest, as a brush will rip or snag the carpet weave. Leave on as recommended then vacuum up all powder. Repeat as needed until stain is gone.
Tip: Dry cleaning is best recommended for berber carpet with nylon or wool fibers.
Since these fibers absorb water better than their synthetic counterpart olefin, dry cleaning is a more effective and safer method, where you don't run the risk of using too much water.
While cleaning and maintaining your berber carpet may seem daunting, the best defense against dirt and stains to your berber carpet is in preventative measures. A number one rule for berber carpet maintenance is frequent vacuuming.
Frequent vacuuming can capture dirt on the surface of the carpet weave and before it makes it way down into the bottom of the carpet. Ground-in dirt in a berber carpet is terribly difficult to remove, so best to keep up with frequent vacuuming!
Beyond frequent vacuuming, here are some additional tips and ideas to help keep your berber carpet clean and looking like new:
Tip: Older stains that have had time to seep into the carpet fiber, or beyond the loop weave and deeply into the carpet are much harder to remove.
Tip: Similarly, try and avoid wearing high heels or shoes that have rugged soles that can potentially stick or snag in the carpets weave (eg: soccer cleats, rubber soles with extra grip) around the berber carpet.
Tip: High suction vacuums are best for this type of carpet.
Tip: While upfront costs are more expensive than any DIY method, it could save you in the long run!
Berber carpets, when well maintained will last for years! With frequent upkeep and quick attention to stains as soon as they occur, you can reduce the need for deep cleaning and stain removing methods. While accidents do happen, be sure to follow these tips for the best possible outcome and so you can enjoy your berber carpet for years to come!
If you enjoyed this article, make sure to check out our other carpet cleaning guides:
Allen Michael is the Founder and Editor of Home Viable, a website that he started to provide readers with tips on home efficiency and automation. He draws on his engineering background combined with his family-of-four experiences for his articles.