Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Magic of Borax

We did not replace the carpet when we moved into this house because we did not want to panic about spills and such. Our carpet had seen better days. Mr Winslow had cleaned them for us when we moved in and they were great. They went steadily down hill. Between projectile spit-up and autism smears, juice spots and who knows what else, my ok carpets became worse than some that I had seen in some bank owned homes.

We did not have the money to replace them. We tried to clean them only to be told that it was hopeless and we should just get new carpeting. We were also faced with the fact that new carpeting is full of chemicals that can harm the children. What to do?

My mother-in-law was also wanting to help us get the carpets clean. After being here a week at Christmas time she went home and dug out the book "Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things" by Reader's Digest. It said that you could use Borax to clean stubborn stains out of your carpet. It was worth a try.

I started in front of the bathroom where Taylor had smeared some chocolate that I could not get cleaned up. I mixed a couple of cups of the Borax with some hot water and literally poured it over the spots. It was magic. In the place where I had saturated the carpet it all came clean. I used the steam cleaner to suck most of the water back out. It was amazing.

Knowing that I needed to get most of the carpet saturated, I went to work putting together a system. Darrin purchased a pressurized sprayer for me and I figured out how to get the Borax dissolved so that I could spray it on the carpet.

Here is what I ended up doing:
In a large pot bring about 1.5 gallons of water to a boil.
Add one box of Borax
Stir until all of the Borax is dissolved
Ladle into the pressurized sprayer to the bottom line
fill the sprayer with very hot water to the fill line.
Spray on the carpet.
Use a carpet rake or stiff push broom to work the solution evenly into the carpet. (if you don't do this your carpet will be splotchy)
Let the carpet rest for about 30 minutes
Use your steam cleaner with a white vinegar rinse (same proportions as you would use chemicals) to suck the Borax mix out of the carpet.
Let carpets dry overnight.

I also pre-spot the carpet for the really bad stains.
You might need to repeat the process in very bad areas.

Here is the result:

The result is much more dramatic in real life. I am very pleased with the results. So much so that I was able to get rid of the damaged area rugs that had been covering the worse stains. I am very pleased.

One other thing. You don't need to worry about your carpets being wet because the Borax actually keeps mold from growing so you are actually also adding a mold resistant product to your carpets. Cool!


Jaime Kae said...

That sounds like a lot of work! But your own labor is free, right? :)

We have hardwood floors, and I love rugs and carpeting, but the outgassing concerns me. I've been hunting on eBay for antique Persian rugs. :)

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That sounds like a lot of work! But your own labor is free, right? :)

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