Cleaning dirty carpets is no simple task. Great as they may look, they are magnets for dirt and spills. The easiest ways to get rid of stains on carpets and rugs involves the use of toxic chemicals. While using chemicals may be an easy way out, experts will tell you that the effect is short-lived and that the chemicals are harmful for your health.

Here are some useful tips on how to clean your carpets and rugs without using a bottle full of toxins:

1. Vacuum regularly

As simple as this may sound, it works! Vacuuming twice a week helps get rid of surface dirt on your carpets. Moreover, it reduces the dust mites which trigger asthma and allergy attacks in the house. Use a vacuum cleaner with strong suction, rotating brushes and a HEPA filter to ensure that the dirt and dust doesn’t get blown back out in the exhaust. If you have a pet that sheds a lot, vacuum more often.

2. Clean up spills immediately

People often use chemicals to clean tough, dry stains. The easiest way to avoid cleaning with chemicals is to act fast and prevent stains.
Soak up liquid spills by covering them with clean white towels or paper towels. If something sticky has been spilled, scrape it off with a spoon or spatula. Make sure you don’t rub the spill; that will only damage your carpet’s fibers and leave behind a bigger stain.

3. Soap and water can take care of most small stains

Throw a white towel on liquid spills to soak up most of it before it soaks into the rug or dries out.
In the meantime, mix 1/2 tsp mild liquid soap in a cup of warm water and using a clean towel, press a small amount onto the carpet and lift. Repeat the process till the stain has disappeared completely. Don’t rub vigorously.

4. Use household ingredients on stubborn stains

Greasy stains can be removed using baking soda, corn starch or corn meal. Sprinkle any of these over the stain and let it stand overnight, then vacuum. Red wine stains can be gotten rid of with the help of carbonated water. Ice can prove helpful too; use a cube to harden glue and candle wax, then scrape off. White vinegar can help you with more stubborn stains. Mix one part vinegar in two parts water and apply on the stain. Then blot with a clean towel and repeat till the spot is clean.

5. Have people take off their shoes before they enter the house

This one is more a preventive measure than anything else. Most of the dirt, pests and pollutants make their way on to carpets via shoes. To cut down on cleaning time, ask people to leave their shoes outside before entering the house. Place a doormat outside the front door where people can wipe their feet; you can stash a bunch of inexpensive house slippers which they can slip into once they enter.