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Carpets are a comfortable and warm flooring option that many can't resist. The problem with having carpet flooring is the stains we can't always prevent. Are there any cleaning solutions we can use on the carpet without damaging it? More specifically, is it safe to use Clorox to clean a carpet? If that's what you're wondering, we've researched the issue for you!
It will depend on the type of carpet you own. If it's wool carpet, you shouldn't use Clorox to clean it at all. On the other hand, synthetic carpets will handle a specific type of Clorox. However, there are some general steps you need to follow if you don't want to mess with the carpet's color.
It's possible to clean a carpet with Clorox as long as it meets two conditions: it isn't wool and you use a specific Clorox product. Professionals recommend you shouldn't use strong Clorox products for several reasons. Consequently, you'll have to look at alternatives if you want to get rid of stains and general grime. These are some of the topics we'll cover in-depth further ahead.
Is Clorox Safe On Carpet?
As mentioned, professionals recommend never using Clorox on wool carpets. The reason is that Clorox is a bleach product that is harsh on the fibers. It has the potential to disintegrate them. But, how exactly does it do that?
The culprit seems to be one of the ingredients present in Clorox bleach. More specifically, the active ingredient in Clorox is sodium hypochlorite. As some suggest, this ingredient does not work well with natural fibers, most adhesives, and nylon.
So, depending on the color of your carpet and the material, using Clorox will do three things:
- Remove the stain
- Replace the original discoloration with a white or yellowish hue
- Slightly damage the fibers
What Does It Do To The Color of the Carpet?
It begs the question, why is it so strong that it can remove the pigments from carpet fibers? As one user explains, the color or stains we see are little groups of atoms bound together in particular structures.
When you introduce bleach - a strong reactive substance - it breaks the bonds holding the atoms together. Thus, tearing them into tiny pieces until it no longer shows the same color.
Additionally, a carpet cleaner advises against using bleach products for two reasons:
- There isn't a guarantee you'll get the color you want back. Depending on the material of the carpet, the result of attempting to remove the stain can vary from a white, yellow, or orange hue.
- Using Clorox for spot cleaning will result in uneven colors. In other words, you'll get rid of the original stain/grime, but different waves of colors will replace it. So, it will only serve as a reminder of what you were attempting to do.
What Does It Do To Wool?
For some, the potential to disintegrate wool fibers sounds a bit like an exaggeration. How extensive will the damage be if you use Clorox on wool? The truth is it won't be noticeable at surface level. It's only when you take a closer look that you'll see the fibers aren't in the same condition.
Of course, the noticeable difference will be present in the different shades of color your carpet will have. Since most aren't truly white, bleach will make a detectable contrast. If you want a visual example, here's a YouTube video showing the difference between regular wool carpet and wool carpet treated with Clorox:
Are Synthetic Carpets A Safe Bet?
As an answer from a Clorox QNA (question and answer) suggests, Clorox Urine remover seems to do a decent job in removing stains. This specific Clorox product will work with synthetic carpet without damaging the overall look. That is unless you've tried other cleaning solutions in the same area.
Regarding wool, Clorox professionals still would not recommend using Clorox Urine remover on the carpet. Instead, it's better to call a professional cleaning service to treat the stain or clean the whole carpet.
But, what about the typical Clorox you'd find in stores? For example, will Clorox Regular Bleach with CLOROMAX also work with synthetic fibers? Unfortunately, standard Clorox will have the same effects on synthetic fibers as it would on wool.
Clorox experts and carpet manufacturers alike would advise against doing so.
Using Clorox Urine Remover On Synthetic Carpet
If you're willing to try out Clorox Urine remover, here are the steps you'll need to follow for success:
- Grab a spray bottle of Clorox Urine remover and head to the stained area.
- Spray the stain with the cleaning solution. This way, the urine remover saturates the area.
- Let it sit for three minutes.
- After three minutes, take a damp absorbent towel and blot the stain. This way, you rinse the Clorox from the area.
- Next, blot the area with a clean and dry towel. In other words, dry the area with an absorbent towel. You will need to apply pressure into the area until the towel absorbs no more moisture.
- To get rid of the last traces of moisture, you can use heavy objects like books to apply more pressure. However, make sure the colors from the heavy material you use won't bleed onto the towel.
Here's a YouTube video showing the process, albeit very briefly:
With urine its name, some might get the idea that Clorox Urine remover is only for removing urine stains. If your problem doesn't involve urine, you might be asking if this specific Clorox product works on other stains.
According to Clorox, the product should work for many protein-based stains. It is often used as a pretreatment to remove food stains such as gravy, spaghetti sauce, red wine, etc. Additionally, it will also work with blood, vomit, and feces.
What Is the Best Thing To Clean Carpet With?
Depending on the issue you're dealing with, the two best options to clean up your carpet are:
- Steam cleaners for deep cleanings
- Homemade cleaning solutions for spot treatment
Steam cleaners are the carpet cleaner's tool of choice because it does much more than simply clean the surface. It will bring the dirt and grime that lays deep in the carpet out. Steam cleaning does this by combining hot water with chemicals. The hot water will loosen stubborn particles that are stuck in the carpet.
On the other hand, the chemicals will attract dirt from areas you can't reach in a carpet.
For spot cleaning, using homemade cleaning solutions will guarantee you won't end up with a noticeable reminder of your attempt. However, as we've learned, some Clorox products will work well with removing stains from the carpet. So, it's up to personal preference if you want to use Clorox Urine remover or a homemade cleaning solution.
Can I Put a Little Bleach in My Carpet Cleaner?
There are several factors to consider to determine if it would be fine to put a little bleach into your carpet cleaner. Aspects like the type of carpet and the components of the carpet cleaner are two to consider. Some carpet cleaners will have metal components that won't react well with bleach - it might even discolor your carpet!
However, some users have had success doing so. Though, it's safer to avoid doing this if your carpet is made of wool. Additionally, look at your carpet cleaner's user manual to check for any warnings against using bleach.
If everything checks out, you can use a chlorine solution of 200 ppm (part per million). Meaning, you'll need to mix two teaspoons of bleach with one gallon of water. Before starting this, make sure the room is well-ventilated. You should wear safety equipment like gloves and glasses.
Once everything's ready, you can run the carpet cleaner. After using the bleach solution, you'll need something else to rinse and remove the bleach from the carpet. You can do this by using a one to ten hydrogen peroxide and water solution.
How Can I Make My Carpet Look New Again?
If you want to make the carpet look good as new, you can hire a cleaning service or rent a carpet cleaner to use yourself. Of course, the latter will involve research on using a carpet cleaner correctly.
Carpet cleaners are the ultimate tool if you want a carpet that looks new again. As mentioned, they do more than clean the surface. They take dirt and grime out of areas you wouldn't be able to get to.
How Do You Make a Homemade Carpet Cleaner?
There are a variety of carpet cleaning solutions that you might want to try before resorting to bleach or hiring cleaning services. For spot cleaning, you can use baking soda and vinegar.
If you're using a steam cleaner, you can use a cleaning solution of one part vinegar and two parts water. For wool rugs, adjust it by using one part vinegar and one part water.
Cleaning carpets is a risky job - especially if you don't know what to do. If you go in without knowledge of what you can use, you'll most likely make the situation worse than what you started with. We hope the information above helps you with cleaning!
Before you go, do you have other carpet concerns? Are the edges on your carpet fraying? We can offer some advice! For more information, check out our post - How To Keep Carpet Edges From Fraying?
Do you own a floor steamer? If you don't own a carpet steamer, it might be tempting to use a floor steamer as an alternative. Is it possible? If you'd like to find out, check out our post - Does A Floor Steamer Clean Carpets?