Shampooing carpets is one household task you occasionally do with mixed feelings. However, considering its infrequent occurrence, it may have crossed your mind if the carpet shampoo you opened two years ago still works. So, does carpet shampoo expire?
A carpet shampoo has a shelf life like most cleaners, and it expires. Cleaning agents lose their efficacy more than they actually “expire,” but the effect is the same. You can find the expiration date on most bottles or use other means if you are unsure.
This article delves into how often you should shampoo your carpets and whether carpet shampoo expires. I also discuss what you can use instead of carpet shampoo.
How Often Should You Shampoo House Carpets?
Regular cleaning of your carpets is essential because they gather dirt, pollutants, and grime over time. Not only do dirty carpets look bad, but the dirt particles act like sandpaper on the carpets. Every time you walk on them, these particles break down the carpet fibers.
With a consistent breakdown of fibers, your carpet will pack up long before it should. Another reason for regular cleaning is how tricky it is for carpets to show they need cleaning. For instance, cushions highlight stains, wood floors show scuffs, bathtubs create a ring of scum, and carpets stay quiet.
It’s easy to spot clean spills and crumbs with a vacuum, but it takes more than that to get a gleaming carpet. So, you should clean your carpet even though it doesn’t “look” dirty. Most carpet manufacturers and professional cleaning recommend cleaning house carpets every 12 to 18 months.
A few factors that affect the frequency of your cleaning are:
Your household size
The number of people in your household plays a crucial role in how often you clean your carpet. A family without children who provide entertainment will shampoo their carpets less frequently than one with several kids and constant guest entertainment.
If you have pets that always stay indoors or rarely go outside, you will need to shampoo less frequently. With free access to and from the house via a doggy or cat tack, pets can bring more dirt into the home and onto your carpet. This kind of movement will require more frequent carpet shampooing and spot cleaning.
The environment or season
Family members and guests can easily track mud into the house and onto the carpets during the rainy season. Likewise, dry seasons come with dust that can settle into the carpets, and both seasons require more frequent shampooing.
Areas with heavy traffic
Every home has a traffic flow because people often follow the same path between rooms. As a result, these much-traveled areas will get soiled faster than other places.
The living room and entertainment room are high-traffic areas, while a spare bedroom is low-traffic. Carpets in high-traffic areas will require more frequent shampooing than other areas.
Good maintenance of your carpet like vacuuming and shampooing can happen on a schedule like the one below:
- Children – six to 12 months
- Pets – three to six months
- High-traffic areas – six to 12 months
- Low-traffic areas – 12 months
- Families with allergies – two to three months
The schedule above sets cleaning frequencies according to the abovementioned factors, and it’s easy to follow. Endeavor to get your carpets to a professional for cleaning as often as possible.
Does Carpet Shampoo Expire?
Carpet shampoos have a cleaning agent called oxidizers. These oxidizers are a safe form of bleach that rids carpet fibers of tough stains and disinfect them. Unfortunately, oxidizers also decay over time, reducing the potency of the carpet shampoo.
Not all carpet shampoo bottles have an expiration date on them. Some dates have faded away, or the bottles only have a production date and a product batch number. Hence, it might be difficult to tell when your carpet shampoo is no longer fit for use.
With or without an expiration date, you can tell when your carpet cleaner has run its course by the following methods:
- The general rule of thumb: According to this rule, a bottle of carpet shampoo will be effective for about one year after you open it. Once it exceeds a year, the chances are that it has expired.
- Contact the manufacturer: If your shampoo bottle only has a production date and batch number, you can reach out to the manufacturer for an expiration date. As long as you provide the product batch number, they should provide the information you need.
- Test it: If you are still unsure, you can test the shampoo on a small patch of your carpet. First, mix one or two capfuls of shampoo with 16-ounces of hot water in a cleaning container or mop bucket.
After that, dip a cleaning brush into the mixture and scrub the dirty area or stain for a minute. Next, observe the spot, looking out for any changes in the carpet.
If the product changes the carpet in any way, it may be okay to use. If there’s no evident difference or change, it’s time to get a new bottle.
How to increase the shelf life of carpet shampoo
Proper storage is the key to increasing the shelf life of your carpet shampoo. You will be able to get a few extra weeks out of it. However, replacing the old carpet shampoo with a new one is better.
Once you’ve confirmed that your old bottle is still good or replaced it with a new one, here are some tips for storing it properly:
- Do not store it in direct sunlight: The UV rays in sunlight and the hot summer air both affect the chemicals in your shampoo, reducing its potency. A dark plastic container will help block the UV light and maintain the shampoo’s efficacy.
- Seal the container properly: This prevents evaporation and the consequent decrease in strength of your carpet shampoo. Ensure you shut the lid tightly before storing it.
- Store in a cool, dry place: Storage in such an area is imperative for the oxidizers. Oxidizers will deteriorate faster if you store the shampoo in a location that heats up.
Overall, carpet shampoos last for about a year before expiring. Always check that your bottle is still functional before cleaning and store it properly after use.
What Can You Use Instead of Carpet Shampoo?
Many chemical products you use to clean your carpets are harsh and may damage them with consistent use. Even professional carpet cleaning companies often recommend other cleaning methods in place of shampooing.
Homemade carpet cleaning solutions are also effective at cleaning carpets, whether for regular tidying up or spot cleaning.
There are many cleaners you can make with simple products, including:
- Baking soda and vinegar: This mixture is excellent for spot-cleaning most stains and carpet types.
- Water and vinegar: It’s best for steam cleaning with your steam cleaner or a rented one.
- Salt: This works wonders for new stains, like wine spills. It absorbs the liquid, is easy to vacuum, and provides extra abrasion if you plan to scrub.
- Baking soda: Using baking soda alone helps de-odorize your carpet.
Whenever you use a homemade cleaner, ensure to test it on a small patch of your carpet first. You wouldn’t want to apply it to a large area only to find out it bleaches or damages your carpet fibers.
Homemade cleaning agents are affordable and usually free of volatile chemicals. While they have these benefits, it is still ideal to have a professional clean your carpets as often as possible.