Keeping your home clean from top to bottom is quite a chore, but the benefits of having a clean home can make up for all the hard work. You can help to prevent the spread of harmful germs and bacteria by following this helpful guide of the best household cleaners, so that you can use the most effective products available to keep your home looking its best.
Choosing the Best Household Cleaners for your Carpet
There is nothing quite like walking on carpet that has just been thoroughly cleaned. If done correctly, it can be as soft and comfortable as it was the day you had it installed. The secret to keeping your carpet clean is to use the right type of cleaning solution. Then you will need to determine what type of material your carpet is made from, if it is stain-resistant, and also consider the amount of traffic that is in your home. Answering these questions will help you to determine which cleaning method is best for your carpet and help you to keep it looking and feeling fresh for many years to come.
The different types of carpet cleaning methods
As I was explaining some time ago in a previous post, there are basically four different types of carpet cleaning methods that you can try. They are steam cleaning, shampooing, dry carpet cleaning and foam cleaning. Understanding more about how each method works will help you to determine which one is best for your current carpet cleaning needs.
Steam cleaning requires the use of a steam cleaner or wet vacuum and a special solution. The water or cleaning solution is applied to the carpet to absorb dirt and dust from the fibers. Afterward, the floor is vacuumed, removing the solution and the dirt. If you have stubborn stains, you may want to spray those areas prior to vacuuming. You can also use a deodorizing powder that will eliminate strong odors after using the steam cleaner.
When you shampoo your carpet, you use a liquid detergent with a device that scrubs the fibers in a circular motion in order to remove deep set-in stains. This method is typically used for small areas where stains are present or high-traffic areas inside the home. It can be used for the entire home if necessary. The detergent creates a thick foam that absorbs dirt, soil and stains. Later a vacuum may be used to completely remove the foam from the carpet. It is also very useful in removing strong pet odors. A great product to try for steam cleaning or shampooing is Bissel 2X Professional Deep Cleaning Formula. This solution is safe to use in most steam cleaners such as Hoover, Dirt Devil and the Rug Doctor. Just a few days ago, I was showing you how this cleaning product is used with the Bissell SpotBot deep cleaner. The formula does not contain any dyes, phosphates or heavy metals.
Another good carpet shampoo that I really love is Earth Friendly Products Carpet Shampoo. The concentrated formula with bergamot and sage is recommended by the Environmental Working Group with rate A+ for its low health risk and for its full ingredient disclosure along with only 6 other solutions that I’ll cover bellow. The main thing you should know about this product is that is purely made out of organic non-toxic ingredients. Its highly concentrated formula will help you clean the toughest stains, and due to the fact that it is bio-degradable, you won’t have to worry about the safety of your kids or pets. It’s phosphate free, chlorine free, it hasn’t been tested on any animals and moreover, it doesn’t contain any animal products. So if you want an effective product that you can proudly use, the Earth Friendly Products Carpet Shampoo is definitely the right pick. Additional tip: Check out other Earth Friendly Products on their site.
A great natural carpet cleaner also recommended by the EWG is the Simple Green Naturals Carpet Care. What I love about this product is that although it is not a carpet cleaner per se (it’s a carpet sprayer), its cleaning power is impressive. Moreover, it has no smell, making it the perfect choice for people with allergies or asthma. The solution is built 100% out of naturally sourced ingredients, and like in the case of the previously presented product, it has never been tested on animals. Even the bottle is 100% recyclable. The only “problematic” ingredient in this carpet cleaner is the sodium laureth sulphate (SLES), which according to Wikipedia, has a behavior similar to soap. However, SLES doesn’t interfere with our DNA, and according to extensive research, is not a carcinogen. In other words, the only risk you’ll take when using this product is to your respiratory system (which is the case for virtually all carpet cleaners, no matter the brand). As you can see in the left photo, it comes with that handy push & spray system you can usually find in bathroom cleaning products, which I consider a plus.
If you find yourself reading this, then you most likely have heard about Martha Stewart and its company, Martha Stewart Clean. I’m not going to get into many details; suffice to say this company developed a carpet stain remover which I find to be at least as useful as the ones described above: the Martha Stewart Clean Carpet Stain Remover. I always liked Martha and her life philosophy, and this product stands up to its name. According to the label, it is made almost entirely out of plants and minerals. Taking the example given by Simple Green, the guys from Martha Stewart Clean company came out with a product that also uses a spray nozzle to deploy the cleaning agent with ease. Basically, the 32 oz bottle contains only water, hydrogen peroxide (I’ve covered things about this ingredient in a previous post), a plant surfactant and organic citric acid. I don’t think a carpet cleaner can get any more natural than this. My recommendation would be to look for this product at your grocery store, since on most online stores it sells quickly and is usually not available. It works really really well with pet urine stains, most types of spills and also protects (!!!) your carpet from heavy traffic.
Dry carpet cleaning is a process that is also commonly known as bonnet cleaning. During this process, heat and chemicals are applied to the floor in order to break down the oil and dirt particles which have accumulated from stains. When using this method, a carpet cleaning machine is used to stir the foam deep into the fibers. This machine has rotating high absorbent pads that will pick up the dirt and soil in the carpet that a simple vacuum cannot.
Foam cleaning uses both shampooing and dry carpet cleaning, since just a small amount of water is used in this method. A steam vacuum or other carpet cleaner is used to ensure that the foam goes deep into the carpet’s fibers. It can help leave your carpet feeling softer and smelling fresh, however it is not as effective as other methods when it comes to removing stains. For dry cleaning or foam cleaning, customers recommend Bissel Professional Power Shot Oxy Carpet Spot and Stain Remover. It has a patented odor removal technology that removes strong odors such as smoke, mold or mildew. It can help to protect your carpet from future stains and is available in a non-aerosol continuous spray container that works in any direction. Bissell recommends extracting as much matter from the stain as you can (you can use your vacuum cleaner to do this).
The solution works wonders thanks to the oxygen it contains, which is extremely active and “eats” any stain, especially the most colored ones (such as coffee or blood). In 2-3 hours, you’ll get a fading stain which will soon disappear. You just need now to vacuum one more time, after which you’ll get a stain free carpet. Impressive, huh? And the price for such cleaning power: only $6.97.
Determining the type of material that your carpet is made of will help you choose the right type of cleaning solution. Failure to do so could result in causing damage to your expensive flooring. If you have stain-resistant carpeting, you do not have to go with a strong cleaning method such as steam cleaning. Instead you can go with a dry cleaning method or use an absorbent cleaning solution, since you do not need the additional chemicals to eliminate stains.
Other household carpet cleaners to try
Usually the type of carpet cleaning solution that you use depends on the machine that you currently own. However, there are some products that can be used with various types of machines. Always be sure to read the label to find out if a cleaning solution is compatible with your machine. Failure to do so could result in future issues with your steamer or carpet cleaner. Here are a few suggestions based on sales and customer reviews of carpet cleaning solutions.
Hoover Platinum Collection Pet Plus Carpet and Upholstery Detergent effectively removes pet accidents, blood, grass stains and more. It is designed for use with all types of deep-cleaning machines and features a fresh linen scent. This is a professional-strength formula that has been approved by the Carpet & Rug Institute. On its cover, one can read more about its effectiveness. The Hoover Platinum Detergent covers grass stains, pet accidents (love these words, “pet accidents”), blood, vomit and so on. Hoover has really given one of their best shots with this product. The product works even better than the previous Hoover Deep Cleansing all-purpose detergent. When comparing it with the Hoover Premium Pet Formula, I’ve found that although the latter has a great scent, the platinum still cleans better and faster. The detergent solution also works with the FloorMate Deluxe I was talking about a few days ago.
For an Industrial-grade solution that many pet-owners trust, try Bubba’s Rowdy Friends Pet Supply Company carpet cleaner called the Super Steamer Carpet Cleaner. This commercial-grade formula designed for home use is safe to use in any type of carpet cleaning machine. It is ideal for removing tough stains and strong odors, and it also works well on upholstery. This product helps to clean and revitalize carpet fibers while it also prolongs the life of your carpet. What’s special about this detergent (except its name, of course), is that it’s highly concentrated: You need to use only 1 oz of solution for a gallon of water. And the perks don’t stop here: Its smell is praised by many happy customers to be refreshing and pleasant. Many buyers also appreciate the fact that the producer is US based, and most of the times they want to support a small business over Bissell or Hoover. Moreover, the producer is very open to any kind of suggestions or advice. Its site is under construction, but from what I’ve seen, if you join their VIP membership, you’ll get Amazon coupons, discounts and so on. Check out some additional reviews, I’m sure they will get you to buy this thing.
For a more eco-friendly approach to cleaning, try Nature’s Miracle Deep Cleaning Carpet Shampoo. Although I believe I’m a clean freak, I’m pretty sure a lot of non-professionals have heard about this brand. Its name really sticks in your head. Well, this product is not a miracle in the real sense. However, it has a low-foaming formula that is designed to be used with any type of water-based carpet cleaner or steam cleaner. It helps to extract new and old stains as well as harsh odors and allergens. This product contains odor lock technology which breaks down odor molecules for permanent odor removal. A lot of people bought this and are thankful within their reviews. Almost all of them salute its benefits: reinvigorates colors, removes even the oldest stains, removes odors and so on. Important tip: Leave the product to do its job. It may happen that the product will start to smell. Leave it alone to eat all the enzymes in the carpet. The smell will go in a day or two.
How to Keep Your Hardwood Flooring Clean
Hardwood flooring can be expensive, but it can also be a valuable, long lasting asset to your home. In order to keeping your flooring looking its very best you will need to protect it by taking off your shoes after walking in dirt, mud or snow, placing plenty of rugs or mats in high-traffic areas, and keep it protected by using some of the best hardwood floor cleaners and polishes available.
Hardwood Floor Polish & Wax Household Cleaners
There are all types of hardwood flooring cleaners available in various formats that can help to preserve and protect your investment. Some products will only provide you with a shine while others will protect your floor from scuffs and other damage as well. Some key factors to remember when it comes to purchasing hardwood floor cleaner is that wax does not evaporate, therefore any product that contains wax will leave your floor with a more permanent shine and cause it to be resistant to scratches. Hardwood floor polish will evaporate since it is based in an oily petroleum-distillate solvent. It may be easier to apply than wax and can provide you with a fast short-term shine that requires less effort.
Bona Pro is well renowned for its hardwood cleaning products, so I couldn’t build this guide without including one of its best products. Bona Pro Series Professional Hardwood Floor Cleaner is available in a concentrated 1 gallon formula. It is a powerful solution that is used by professional floor cleaners. This product does not leave behind any type of dull residue and it is safe for use with all types of hardwood flooring. This highly recommended product is ideal for hardwood floor owners who want a brilliant clean floor with minimal effort. Another great feature: It’s environmentally responsible, like all cleaning products should be! And you can get a gallon for only $21.17.
Black Diamond is another great brand, which has at the moment one of the most complete wood cleaning lines of detergents I’ve seen. Black Diamond Wood and Laminate Floor Cleaner is another great choice to use on hardwood, real, natural and engineered floors. It is safe to use on all types of flooring and can help save you storage space because of its multiple uses. This eco-friendly product is also safe for use around pets and children. It does not leave behind any type of cleanser residue and it can help to prevent soil from attaching to the floor’s surface. Thanks to its PS3 (triple-action poly shield) additive, it can remove all kinds of things, including dust, dirt, stains or oil. You can use it easily thanks to its spray top. Fun fact – this product actually prevents any type of soil from attaching to a surface. And one more thing: This product is also made in the US. To sum it up, this product is perfect for you if you want to clean your wood flooring without leaving any streaks. You can get a 32 oz bottle of Wood and Laminate Floor Cleaner from Black Diamond for just $10.98.
If you have to clean wood flooring, then you most definitely have got to check the product Martha Stewart Clean manufactures especially for this chore: the Martha Stewart Clean Wood Floor Cleaner. Just like in the case of the Martha Stewart Clean Carpet Stain Remover presented above, the Wood Floor Cleaner is made 99% out of plants and minerals, has not been tested on animals and does not contain any parts that come from animals. An important PRO of this product is that it can be used for all kinds of flooring, whether it’s made out of hard wood or engineered laminate. Another positive thing is that it is certified by a third party, EPA (“Design for the Environment”). This detergent is also rated with A+ by the EWG. Overall, the 2 good qualities that stand out are, first, the fact that it leaves no residual soap trails and second, the fact that it doesn’t have an annoying fragrance like most wood polishers (in fact, it doesn’t smell at all). As a negative aspect, this product can be relatively hard to find (it’s not 100% available online). You may get it from your grocery at about $10 for a 35 oz bottle.
This section couldn’t be concluded without presenting a good wood polish, such as the Eco-Me Kate Natural Wood Polish. This product is certified by Green Seal. In fact, Eco-Me is a partner of NPA (Natural Products Association), an entity created to raise awareness on using natural products among consumers and manufacturers alike. During its development, no animal tests were conducted. It has only natural ingredients and comes in a BPA-free bottle. As the previous product, the Eco-Me wood polish has A+ on the EWG scale, meaning that it doesn’t contain any substance potentially harmful to humans. Works great on any seal wood surface. Another thing I love about it is the fresh lemon scent. Among the oil ingredients one can count the classic olive oil, lavender oil, rosemary oil and the more exotic coconut oil. The vegetable glycerin helps the product not only to clean, but also to reinvigorate the flooring. Overall, I really like this product, and I recommend you to use it e.g. together with the Shark Sonic Duo for perfect results. In case you’re wondering, this product is also made in the US.
Refresh Your Furniture’s Upholstery with Top-Selling Detergents
Many people choose to have their upholstery professionally cleaned simply because they are unsure about how to properly clean their furniture and do not want to risk ruining it. However, it is possible to successfully clean your upholstery on your own using high quality cleaners that can be purchased at your local store. Always be sure to vacuum your upholstery before you start cleaning. Remove as much pet hair as possible by using a pet hair remover. If you are working on a fresh spill or stain, blot the area quickly with a white cloth. This will help to lessen the spread of the stain and keep it in a much smaller area.
The Upholstery Cleaning Codes
Before you start cleaning your furniture’s upholstery, you will need to understand what cleaners should be used on different materials. The type of spill or stain that you are cleaning can also be a factor. Upholstery fabrics can sometimes be difficult to determine. You could have upholstery made from linen, rayon, acrylic, cotton, wool or silk. They have also been dyed different colors, in different ways which can affect the outcome of your cleaning efforts. Keep in mind that if the piece you are cleaning is very old or antique, it may be in your best interest to contact a professional as these fabrics can be more difficult to clean. Usually you can check the tag on a couch cushion or underneath the recliner that will let you know what type of material you are working with, if you do not already know beforehand. These tags will have cleaning codes on them that are used by people in the furniture industry. The codes and their meanings are listed below:
- W: Clean with a water based detergent
- S: Clean with a water-free product
- WS: Safe to clean with either water-based or water-free cleansers
- X: Fabric must be cleaned by a professional. Only vacuum or brush this m%aterial, do not use any type of upholstery cleaner.
There are 3 products which I’d like to cover here. I recommend the first 2 of them, and I’m leaving the other as contra-example. The MOTHERS Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is one of the best upholstery cleaners I’ve tested. This baby can take care of stubborn stains, it’s easy to use on top of that, is environmentally safe. Besides, the bottle has its own a personality with all that red going on. The trigger spray helps you target any spot without wasting the product. The PH balanced solution works for all types of fabric materials and reveals colors that you’ve long forgotten. Whether it is cloth and textile fibers, velour, leather, vinyl or even carpets, the MOTHERS Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner works wonders. Ships in bottles of 24 oz, enough to last you a year or more (depending on the use). One of the advantages of this product is that you don’t need to use water. You just spray the stain, and then wipe it off. It is also used intensively at cleaning car interiors, so I guess 95% of car owners around the world need it.
The Blue Coral Upholstery Cleaner Dri-Clean Plus with Odor Eliminator is a truly great achievement of the cleaning industry. It effectively removes grease, spills of coffee or ink, blood and grass stains and so on. It’s great for floor mats and car interiors too. In fact, some ads say that Blue Coral is as good as hiring a professional cleaning company. The product removes any kind of odors, leaving behind a clean fresh scent. It can be used on furniture wood pieces too. So if you have an “S” labeled furniture, try the Blue Coral, you won’t be disappointed. But the thing that made me talk about this detergent is the way it cleans delicate upholstery parts. The cleaning solution handles with care even the most sensitive parts of your furniture. It can be used on expensive pieces or antiques without any issue.
Bissell is also producing an upholstery cleaner called the Spot & Stain Fabric and Upholstery Cleaner. Although this cleaning solution safely handles upholstery and carpet fibers, I can’t let you buy this product until you read this UK report which shows that it has a mediocre evolution or better said, it’s not worth the money.
Household Cleaners designed for Metal Accents
Many home furnishings, especially antique pieces or strollers, have metal accents that help make the piece unique. These pieces should not be cleaned using the same upholstery detergent that you used on your furniture. Instead you should use a special metal polish or cleansing solution that will bring out the natural shine and glow of the metal.
Brilliant Metal Polish creates substances considered by the experts to be the best. I.e. their latest product is designed to clean, polish and protect all types of metal including silver, brass, copper, chrome, stainless steel and aluminum. It is able to remove oxidation without damaging the gel coat. You can see the difference instantly. The formula is highly concentrated and very economical. The expiration date of most Brilliant Metal Polish products exceeds 10 years, and contains micro-cleaners which prolong the polish life. Some of their products contain the so-called carnauba wax, a special ingredient which gives impressive results. And it costs only $12.63.
My top recommendation for stroller cleaning: the BuggyLOVE Organic line. You can get a great value for your money if you purchase the Stroller Cleaning Kit from this company, which contains 4 different types of bottles: an 8 oz bottle of FRESHLOVE (all purposes refresher, rosehip scented), an 8 oz bottle of POLISHLOVE (tangerine scented, good for polishing the metal parts), a 4 oz bottle of FABRICLOVE (a stain remover that you don’t have to wash, which has a clementine scent) and a 1 oz bottle of WHEELLOVE, a wheel lube. One more detail which needs to be addressed: the BuggyLOVE brand sure does make the difference between “organic” and “natural”, so after using their product, I hope you will too.
Ideal Detergents for Pet Stains and Odors
Although I’ve made a special definitive cleaning guide for pet owners alone, I must say this section is important to read. If you are a pet owner, no matter how clean you try to keep your home, you have had your share of unwanted pet stains and odors over the years. It can be difficult to get these pesky stains out of your upholstery but fortunately there are several things that you can do to make living with your four-legged friend more enjoyable. If there is a urine-related accident you should soak up the fluid with a thick layer of paper towels covered by another thick layer of newspaper. This will not only help you to remove the stain easier but it will also help to eliminate the odor until you can apply upholstery detergent or cleanser.
Woolite Pet Stain & Odor Remover is tough on all types of pet stains including urine, vomit, feces and tracked-in dirt. It helps to prevent the release of odors into the air with the Fibrapure odor-eliminating technology. The Woolite Pet Stain & Odor remover is produced by Bissell under Woolite brand name, as a proof that Bissell makes good cleaning detergents. This product leaves behind a nice long-lasting fresh scent of fresh blossoms, and is formulated with Pherobloc technology that deodorizes and removes harsh stains. You will love it, and so will your pets. The product discourages them to make any more “accidents” in the areas where it was used. It is recommended by hundreds of happy pet owners for any type of upholstery which may be cleaned by water based solutions, and costs only $13.06. The only warning I’ll give you regarding this product: It’s so good it creates addiction.
There are many household cleaners available that can help keep your home looking great and smelling fresh at all times. I just hope I’ve covered some of them and gave you some insight over this vast area. With the strong cleansing power of the products presented above, homeowners can enjoy spending less time cleaning their flooring and upholstery, while still living in a clean and odor-free environment. What do you think, did I get the best of them, or have I forgotten some? And if I did and you have other products in mind, both me and the readers of the VacuumsGuide blog would really appreciate your input.
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