1960s Advertising - Magazine Ad - General Electric Portable Hair Dryer (USA), originally uploaded by Pink Ponk.
De-grit the mats Interior doormats stop dirt from being tracked inside, but only if they're kept dean. If the care tag allows, you can rid mats of loose soil by tossing them into the washer and dryer--short, gentle cycle on warm; tumble-dry low. Otherwise, for best, non-washing results, use a vacuum. Quickly go over the top of each mat, flip it over, and vacuum the back, even if it's rubber or plastic--this loosens any embedded dirt. Then, lift the mat, and vacuum up the grit that came out. (Our bet: It's no small amount.) If you're truly time crunched, however, simply take the mats outside for a good shaking, beating with your hand or a stick a few times on each side.
2 Clear the path If your carpet has a gray, matted trail from your couch to your kitchen or any other well-worn route, yep, you've got a traffic aisle. Since there are still a few more months of winter to go, save the heavy cleaning (with a rental machine or by a professional) for spring. Instead, hit the dingy path with a powdered carpet cleaner, like GHRI favorite Resolve High Traffic Granules Large Area Carpet Cleaner ($6.25). Sprinkle on the powder, then work it in with the included brush. Let it sit for about 30 minutes, and then vacuum. In GHRI tests, dirty rugs were noticeably brighter.
3 Get the spots out During the holidays, everything from red wine to gravy to good old mud can find its way onto your rugs. Here's the method our GHRI experts have found works on most dried-in blotches: Take two empty spray bottles, and fill one with cold water. In the other, mix 1/4 teaspoon plain dishwashing liquid and 1 cup warm water. Spray the detergent solution onto an absorbent cloth (not the carpet--you don't want to wet it too much), and dab, don't rub, it on the spot. As the stain dissolves, blot with a clean section of cloth. Keep applying and blotting this way until the stain is gone. Spray another cloth with the cold water, and use it to rinse the detergent solution from the carpet; blot again with a dry cloth. Then, pile on a stack of white paper towels, and place a heavy pot on top; leave overnight to soak up any residual staining deep in the carpet. In the A.M., remove the pot and toss the paper towels; fluff the fibers with your fingers and allow to air-dry.
Make It Easier Next Time
* Keep dirt outdoors where it belongs: Stock up on extra slippers or flip-flops and keep them in a basket, along with a shoe rack by the back door, to encourage family members to make the switch when entering.
* Stash a sweeper in a closet near the entryway to collect dirt before it gets ground into doormats. If you don't already have them, put down outside mats for a first wipe.
* Pick up an instant spot remover, like Woolite's new Oxy Deep Power Shot ($4). See page 97 for the results of GHRI tests.
Forte, Carolyn. "Easy rug rescue: from holiday spills to winter soil, carpets can take a beating. Here, quick ways to zap stains." Good Housekeeping Jan. 2009: 27. Academic OneFile. Web. 3 Jan. 2010.
Gale Document Number:A200779562