It's not really white anymore.
May 1, 2010 10:09 PM   Subscribe

Too many pets and perplexing white carpet. Help? Mrs. LT and I live with our brood (4 cats, 1 dog) in an apartment that has . . . wait for it . . . white carpet. We didn't think about this when we moved in, but now the carpet's filthy, and we're trying to figure out a way to save it/our deposit, because otherwise we'll need to move when our lease is up before it gets any worse. Ugh, what can we do?

It's not urine or feces that's the problem. It's just . . . dirty. We're thinking about moving all the furniture into the kitchen and having the carpet professionally steam-cleaned. For a variety of reasons, renting a cleaner at the store didn't do that much. (We have carpeted stairs in a narrow entryway.)

So we'll get a guy in to clean it. But after that, what do we do? Scotch-guard it? Lay rugs or sheets over it? If we do that, how do we keep from tripping over the sheets? How can we keep the carpet clean, once we get it back to that state?
posted by liketitanic to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You won't be able to keep it clean, so don't clean it until you move out. When you do move out, if you live in Canada, get it cleaned by RotoStatic - cheaper than steam cleaning and better. They did a wondrous job on an apartment I was moving out of a few years ago.
posted by Dasein at 10:26 PM on May 1, 2010

Get it cleaned when you move and have taken out all your stuff. Save the receipt and give a copy to your landlord.

I don't know what the laws in NOLA are, but carpets a certain number of years old in rentals should be replaced under "normal wear and tear" circumstances.
posted by brujita at 10:27 PM on May 1, 2010

Yeah, wait till you move out. Most rental places in my area require a professional carpet cleaning before you move out.
posted by sanka at 10:40 PM on May 1, 2010

I would not postpone cleaning it until I moved out, unless I had it in writing from the landlord that they expect excessive 'wear and tear' due to my pets.

I'd call the carpet cleaners today, so the current dirt doesn't get any more ground-in to the fibres. Depending on how grotty it is, the carpet cleaner may or may not be able to return it to how-it-was-when-you-moved-in. Good carpet cleaner guys/girls ARE good, but they're not magicians (in my experience, anyway).

And then I'd cover it with rugs of any shapes and sizes. I would choose to protect it rather than clean it, although cleaning it every few months might work but it'd get expensive.

I'd like the slap the mental giant who first decided that pale coloured carpets were a good idea... and then the mental giant who started the trend of putting them in rental properties.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 10:57 PM on May 1, 2010 [3 favorites]

You don't mention this in your question, but do you wear shoes in the house? If you have indoor animals and your carpet is dirty, maybe it's from your feet, not theirs.

Where is this dirt coming from? If you're leaving your shoes at the door and the pets are clean - what's the source?
posted by jardinier at 11:11 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

I agree with malibustacey9999 that rugs are your friend. Clean the carpet and cover it with area rugs, throw rugs and runners. It will also be a comfort in the event of future spills or stains.
posted by irisclara at 11:15 PM on May 1, 2010

Don't wear shoes in your and wipe your pets feet if they're been outside.
posted by wongcorgi at 12:20 AM on May 2, 2010

À piece of cheap carpet as big as the room offers less chances for tripping over edges.
posted by Iteki at 1:24 AM on May 2, 2010

We bought a house with white carpet eight years ago, with our Noah's ark (two kids, two dogs, two cats). Today it's slightly less white but still serviceable until we save $$ for hardwoods. Here's what we do: professional cleaning twice a year (we use Chem-Dry, a franchise); no shoes in the house (me and kids; Mr. Darling never got into it much), rugs on top in the kids' rooms; and prompt but not obsessive clean-up of spills with a spot cleaner we got from the carpet dudes, who said you need to pay attention to clear liquid spills just as much as coffee/cola/wine because the moisture draws dirt of shoes and feet - making the spot sometimes dirtier than a dark stain.

Also - if you spill milk, for goodness sake clean it up right away. I missed (ignored from exhaustion) a milk spill in our son's room and it not only took on death stench, but turned the carpet an irreparable shade of brown.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 7:16 AM on May 2, 2010

This stuff is the best thing ever for removing spots and stains. It'll get anything out. The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser also works on carpet sometimes.

Don't wear shoes in the house.

Wipe off your pets' paws when they come in from outside, especially when it's been raining.

Have the carpets professionally cleaned, and then perhaps pick up a big carpet remnant somewhere and lay it over your existing carpet to protect it. If you can wait til July when the back-to-school sales start, dorm-room-sized rugs go on sale then.
posted by Ostara at 8:26 AM on May 2, 2010

What insanity makes a landlord install white carpet in a rental unit?
That being said, I own a restaurant that has a light colored carpet in it, and we make ample use of both soy sauce and red wine, so maybe I shouldn't judge.
I use this with amazingly awesome results, maybe once every couple months. You go through a lot of the soap, but I've learned that you don't need nearly as much as they recommend on the bottle.
For your situation, I would recommend laying down artists canvas. It's heavy so it lays flat, and it's relatively cheap (you can find it for about $5 a yard, 5-6 feet across). I would then on top of that put area rugs, just to make the place more home-y.

I'm seconding the shoes off, and also make sure that you have a good mat at the entrances to wipe dogs feet on. The dirt that clings on dogs fur can also be making your carpets dirty. Training the dog to sleep in a dog bed and not anywhere randomly on the carpet might help also.
posted by newpotato at 9:10 AM on May 2, 2010

I find Natural Wonder is good for odors.

My pets have messed up a few rugs (not wall-to-wall carpet, luckily) and my way of looking at it is: rather than get out soon to avoid paying for the carpet, I want to stay in the same place as long as possible so that when I do buy the landlord a new rug, I've amortized the cost over as many years as possible.
posted by sesquipedalian at 9:37 AM on May 2, 2010

We just had our rug professionally cleaned after we moved out. Looked fine. Wait.
posted by k8t at 4:33 PM on May 2, 2010

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