* If you have problems with asthma in your home, don’t just vacuum the bits of carpet you can see. Pull out sofas and chairs and get in underneath them with the vacuum cleaner. Also don’t forget the top of the skirting board – these seem to collect dust very readily. The less dust you have in your carpet, the less likely you are to give dust mites a chance to breed and crap – it’s the crap from dust mites that often triggers asthma attacks.
* Regular vacuuming is the best solution for keeping carpets healthy and fluffy. You will also help keep yourself and your pets healthy, and not just because of the asthma/dust mite factor. Vacuuming regularly is the best way to stay on top of fleas, which are not only vermin in their own horrible right but also act as a host for various parasitic worms. If that doesn’t send you running for the vacuum cleaner, nothing will.
* Your first line of defence for dealing with a solid spill on a carpet is to scrape up as much as possible with a blunt knife or a spoon – or even a stiffish piece of cardboard. Once the excess is out of the way, you can get onto the rest of the stain much more easily and with less risk of the jam or whatever it was going everywhere and spreading further.
* Carbonated soda water is an excellent carpet cleaning product. The soda helps to remove foul pongs left behind from rancid curry spills, vomit or animal poo/pee. The water loosens and softens the gunk. And the bubbles help float the grub up to the surface where it can be got with the vacuum cleaner once it all dries. It even helps get rid of red wine stains.
* Don’t procrastinate if someone spills red wine on your carpet. Even if you’re in the middle of a moment of passion, deal with that spill as soon as possible (and if you don’t want to lose the moment of passion and kill the mood, turn it into a kinky game of the cleaning maid variety).
* Candle wax on carpets is the one exception to the rule of getting onto a spill or stain as soon as possible. Once the wax has hardened, a lot of it can be picked off with long fingernails or scraped off with a blunt knife. Any lingering residue can be removed by covering the spot with a good thick wad of loo paper, a paper towel or a handful of tissues. Then get out the iron and set it on high. Hold this just above the carpet NOT ON IT and let the wax melt so it can be absorbed by the paper.
* Grease marks left over from candle wax, cooking oil, curry or makeup can be removed from the carpet by sprinkling baking soda over the spot. Leave it for half an hour so the baking soda can break down the grease and absorb odours (bonus!). Then vacuum it up. If you have spilled half a bottle of oily foundation on the carpet, use cornflour, which is even more absorbent, and leave it for longer.