I want my room to feel clean again, help me fix my carpet!
January 28, 2007 10:16 AM   Subscribe

Can you help me salvage my carpet until I can get a new floor put in?

When I moved into my house the bedroom had this crazy awful purple shag carpet. We pulled it up and their were beautiful wide pine planks (older house). However, there were all kinds of nails and staples in it and what appeared to be asbestos tar. (This tar was used to lay flooring in the past). I decided to just leave it alone till I could appropriately deal with it, and then there was the commercial....

I bought the carpet hook, line, and sinker. Those empire commericals are so damn catchy. Well it turns out they are fast, but they are not cheap, not by a long shot. They are suppoesd to come with this amazing warranty, but it apparently doesn't cover three German Shepards.

I got the lovely berber loop in a golden wheat color, however, it turns out that bitch will run like hell if you catch one of the loops. One of my dogs managed to slide her tray out of the crate and tear up a huge section of the carpet. Potty training also took its tool. It looks horrible.

I can cover a large part of it with a floor rug and the crates, but don't know what to do with the rest. The holes won't show, but the stains will. I have tried all sorts of steam cleaning, and since the carpet is so light it still shows.

I have two initial thoughts. Today, I could just bleach it. Seriously, until I can get hardwoods put it, I will just bleach the crap out it when it gets dirty. Alternatively, I could dye it. I am not sure of this process. Apparently, you can either use a hand pump (like for spraying pesticide) or you can use a carpet cleaner to lay in on. That sounds a little more risky. I would dye it a deep chocolate brown.

I've got to do something soon, it messing with the fung shui and make me not want to go in my bedroom.

What do you think is a good solution?
posted by stormygrey to Home & Garden (18 answers total)
It's an obvious one, but for the stains have you tried Oxi-Clean? It has done wonders on stained cushions, etc. for me.

Good luck!
posted by ukdanae at 11:01 AM on January 28, 2007

Oxyclean appears to work, I let it sit, work it in, apply more, then steam clean. The stains seem to resurface for lack of a better word. I don't think my dogs are still peeing in their because they are not allowed in there except for at night when they are usually crated.
posted by stormygrey at 11:08 AM on January 28, 2007

If you bleach or stain it, won't that bleach or stain the wood floor underneath? I recently puled up a piece of our carpet in the hallway, and the hardwood floors underneath have water marks from the carpet being steam cleaned. Seems like bleach or dye would be worse. I'd just put throw rugs over the carpet until you can redo the floors.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:38 AM on January 28, 2007

You mentioned steam cleaning - did you do this yourself or hire a professional cleaner? If you hired a professional, did they use a portable cleaner or a truck mount? The truck mounts are far more powerful and effective. If you have only tried the diy or portable versions, you might get some good results from trying again with a professional company with a truck mount. Also, if hiring a professional, make sure they come in and spot treat any large stains you have before they start the steam cleaning. We also had a dingy, pet-stained pale colored carpet and were amazed at what a difference a good professional cleaning made.
posted by platinum at 11:38 AM on January 28, 2007

Throw a few "spot" rugs around? An example would be... this?
posted by Leon at 12:09 PM on January 28, 2007

(that rug I linked might be a bit big and a bit expensive, but I have that look like flowers, are about 18" across, and look good strewn randomly around the room)
posted by Leon at 12:22 PM on January 28, 2007

I used to have Berber and I found that cleaning just made things worse, whether it be spot or steam cleaning. I was left with a permanent brownish stain where I had cleaned. I think it was olefin berber, and that was probably the reason for the discoloration. If you have olefin berber it doesn't matter how much you clean it, you are going to be lleft with stains. It sucks.

If you find yourself with a run, burn it with a match or lighter to stop the run.

I saw a show on HGTV last week. Instead of buying expensive new carpet they pieced inexpensive area rugs and glued them down. It was very attractive. You could leave the pad down and glue down inexpensive area rugs. I am sure there is a special carpet glue on the market. This particular room's flooring was done in brown, beige, and taupe rugs, and some overlapped if I remember correctly. The rugs were simple, solid in color and had narrow bound borders. It was a great look. If your bedroom is not that big it may be a cost-effective project. There is nothing like puting stained carpet to the curb. I got rid of the berber after six years and replaced the entire house in wood laminate. Best thing I ever did.

Good luck.
posted by LoriFLA at 12:35 PM on January 28, 2007

Bleaching the stain with... actual laundry bleach? How?

Couple issues as I see it... First you'll run the high risk of getting the flooring underneath. Second, the bleach is going to saturate the carpet and the carpet pad. That smell might get absolutely intolerable, even cut with water, if it doesn't eat the carpet and seep through to your floors.

No staining either. If you've exhausted the professional cleaning route as well as OxyClean, then see if you can find a room sized rug to cover the entire room. If not, a few small (3'x5'ish or smaller) matching rugs will do it.

And you didn't ask, I know, but when you do finish those floors -- talk to someone about extra shellac or finish and definitely keep something under their crates. Good luck!
posted by jerseygirl at 12:40 PM on January 28, 2007

The floor underneath may be unsalvageable because of the asbestos, we will most likely have to put new wood on top of it.

I was going to rent a steam cleaner and put bleach in there with the water, either that or use a spray bottle.

LoriFLA, that is the problem I have, it seems to worse than the light yellow urine stain after I clean.

I am pretty psyched about trying the dye except diy instuctions are sparse on the web.
posted by stormygrey at 1:26 PM on January 28, 2007

From Wikipedia:

"Another hazard is the formation of acrid chloramine fumes when hypochlorite bleach comes into contact with ammonia or urine, which, though not nearly as dangerous as chlorine, can cause severe respiratory distress."

To determine the best way to clean your carpet, you need to know the materials it's made from. Is it synthetic? Wool blend?
posted by oneirodynia at 1:48 PM on January 28, 2007

Before you dye, try to remember if your carpet is olefin berber or nylon berber. It says olefin resists dye but can handle bleach.

Nylon can be dyed.
posted by LoriFLA at 1:48 PM on January 28, 2007

It is nylon I think.
posted by stormygrey at 1:49 PM on January 28, 2007

stormygrey, I very much doubt that you are going to be able to dye your carpet yourself. Berber is considered to be one of the most difficult carpets to dye, even by professionals. You absolutely need to know exactly what it is made of in order to dye or clean it. Call the people that installed it to find out. Lastly, chlorine bleach is an irritant to the skin of people and pets. The water in a carpet cleaner is what's used to rinse out soap, and if you put bleach in that water, there will be bleach residue remaining in you carpet. The high ph of bleach can also attract dirt and damage carpet fibres making them even less impervious to stains and discoloration. I suggest you try white vinegar as a cleaning solution, and if that fails, go the throw rug route unless you've found out the actual contents of your carpet.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:10 PM on January 28, 2007

I have a Bissel upright steam cleaner and a light colored, low nap carpet in the back room which gets stained often. Our backyard is quite muddy at times, and this is where the door is that the dogs go out. They also have had accidents during potty training in this room. The carpet sits on top of a concrete floor, so I did not have to worry about bleaching the wood underneath. But, I have successfully bleached the carpet several times using straight chlorine laundry bleach instead of carpet shampoo in the shampoo dispenser. The stained areas remained unstained much longer than using regular carpet shampoo. The shampoo residue tends to attract the dirt much more than the bleach did. It also makes the room smell quite clean, and didn't cause any one in our family any irritation. I also recommend using some kind of oxy or enzyme cleaner as mentioned above. I've used Nature's Miracle on the urine stains, which handles the smell, but it also will attract dirt and requires a steam cleaning as soon as it dries up.

I think if you make sure that you are not saturating your carpet, (which you really shouldn't be doing anyway while steam cleaning) I don't think that you will have a problem.
posted by Roger Dodger at 3:58 PM on January 28, 2007

You need to know what kind of yarn your carpets are made of...Empire can tell you.

80+ percent of the loop berber carpets in in the US are olefin (also called polypropylene)...roughly 10 percent are nylon and the rest are wool.

Olefin yarn is dyed during manufacturing in a molten state before it becomes carpet, so the color goes all the way through the fiber (like a carrot). Nylon and wool are generally dyed after the carpet is tufted full width, and the color is a surface treatment (more like a radish).

What that means, is that you can very, very aggressively clean an olefin berber carpet, as the dye is "baked in" to the yarn. Overcleaning, can, however, degrade the backing or subfloor, as others have indicated.

Nylon and wool carpets, if aggressively cleaned (with bleaching agents, for instance), will lose their dye, which effectively leaves an "anti-stain."

If you really have asbestos under your carpets, it is much better to cover it with underlayment (as long as it is structurally intact). Removing it is dangerous and environmentally hazardous.

Almost all loop carpets will run or "zipper" if pulled by animal claws. There are a few "no-zipper" carpets on the market and you can search that construction out if you are committed to looped carpet as a replacement for what you have now. Cut pile carpets generally will not zipper to any great extent.

Animal urine is quite detrimental to carpeting, as it is usually not cleaned immediately. The longer it is left un-attended to, the worse you problem will be. An hour is bad, overnight is worse, and a week is terrible.

Lastly, professional hot water extraction cleaning is much, much better than consumer grade / supermarket rental equipment. The temperatures are higher (better cleaning) and the suction levels are more powerful (less residual cleaning agents left in the pile which can lead to rapid re-soiling).
posted by Exchequer at 4:24 PM on January 28, 2007

The floors in the house I grew up in (built in 1837) were all wide plank pine. The ones in the kitchen were the worst, with several layers of vinyl, tile, etc. There was also the black tar stuff on them. Everything came off. It took a lot of damn work, but between stripping, sanding, scrubbing, etc. everything came off. So, if you are willing to put in the time and effort, the floors can be saved-- I'm talking a two-week project, not a weekend sort of deal. They won't look perfect like the Pergo stuff on the covers of magazines, but if you're living in an old home, you're probably the kind of person who appreciates character :)
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 6:06 PM on January 28, 2007

Just in case anyone is checking I bleached it rather successfully. All the stains are gone and its an even color, I went over it three more times with regular carpet cleaner and it didn't stink too bad.
posted by stormygrey at 4:18 PM on February 14, 2007

Follow up, its still a disaster and bamboo flooring is coming within the week.
posted by stormygrey at 7:38 AM on April 14, 2007

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