There's something about starting the season with a freshly cleaned home that makes spring feel even more renewing and exciting. If your floor is carpeted, it is one of the largest and most challenging areas in your home to clean. Neglect it and your whole home will still smell musty and stale from the long winter.
The secret to cleaning and freshening your carpet for the spring is to use ingredients that absorb lingering odors and moisture but not commercial products that will leave chemical residues. For a carpet that smells naturally clean, follow these steps:
Step 1: Remove spots and stains.
Even if you blotted up spills after they happened, they may still be contributing a bit of odor to your home. To permanently remove their stench and hopefully the last remnants of discoloration too, spray them with a mixture of half white vinegar and half water. Let this sit for about 15 minutes and then blot up as much liquid as possible with a clean towel.
Step 2: Deodorize and loosen dirt.
Once you've treated stains, grab a big box of baking soda and sprinkle it over the entire carpet. You don't need to use special scented baking soda made for carpet cleaning – the plain kind sold for laundry and baking is just fine. Be liberal; baking soda is not expensive. Let the baking soda sit for at least 4 hours. You can wait a whole day if you have the time. Then vacuum it up. Make sure you take the time to vacuum thoroughly, going over the same piece of carpet 2 or 3 times to ensure you've sucked up all of the baking soda.
Step 3: Add natural fragrance with tea leaves.
To keep your home smelling fresh and springy, slice open a few natural herbal tea bags, and sprinkle their contents over the carpet. Lavender tea bags work well, but you could also use ginger or lemon tea if you prefer these scents. If you're a tea drinker, you can even use tea bags that you have previously used to make tea. Just make sure you let the tea leaves dry completely before sprinkling them on your carpet. Let the tea sit for about 10 minutes and then vacuum it up.
Keep in mind that if your carpet is heavily soiled, spring is the perfect time to have it professionally cleaned by a company like Chem Dry of Spotsylvania. You can leave the windows open so the room dries faster, and the carpet cleaners won't have to battle snow and ice to make it into your home. If you're concerned about chemical residues, there are many carpet cleaning companies that now use organic and green cleaners. Try the methods above for a mildly soiled, smelly carpet, but don't be afraid to rely on the pros for the tougher projects.