Bonfire Night is certainly one of the most colourful and exciting times of the year, but there’s no denying that the November weather isn’t always particularly pleasant. However, a bit of rain never puts us off, and each year we put on our boots, wrap up warmly, and head out into the garden to watch the skies light up, or even set off our own rockets, catherine wheels, and light sparklers. It’s great fun, but there is one part of the night that’s not quite so good – the muddy footprints that your family leave on your carpets as they come in from the damp grass. Never fear – these tips will help you clean your floors in no time after Guy Fawkes Night:
How to Clean Up Muddy Footprints and Get Mud Out of Carpet
- The first thing you need to do is forget everything you thought you knew about stain removal. We’re always told to tackle stains right away, before they have chance to soak into the fibres and become more difficult to remove. However, for muddy footprints, you actually want the mud to dry. If you try to clean wet mud, you’ll find that it spreads and dirties even more of your floor. By allowing it to dry, you prevent spreading the stain
- Once the mud is completely dry (you can speed up the process by placing a portable fan in front of the area), you can start to remove the mud. The best way to do this is by using a vacuum cleaner, preferably with the hose attachment so you can really focus upon the muddy area. Don’t rush this – move the hose around slowly so you can be sure you’re picking up as much dirt as possible
- Some bits of soil will probably still be stuck to the fibres of your carpet after vacuuming, so you’ll need to scrape away the mud to loosen it. To do this, use an object such as a spoon and gently scrape the carpet, being careful not to cause any damage. Once you’ve loosened more soil, vacuum once more. Continue scraping and vacuuming until all of the dried mud has been removed
- If you have light coloured carpets, a small amount of discolouration may remain. Fortunately, this is very easy to remove by using a mixture of warm water and laundry detergent – preferably one with a built-in stain remover. Make sure to test any product in a small area first. If using powdered detergent, mix the solution well to ensure all the grains has dissolved. Dip a sponge into the soapy water, and gently dab the area until the stain has faded. Allow to dry naturally
- You can also use a specialist carpet cleaning product – just read the directions on the label and test any new product on a small, inconspicuous area first.
Look After Your Pet on Bonfire Night
On Guy Fawkes Night, it’s so important to keep our pets indoors as they can become spooked at the loud noises and run to try to escape, racing across roads and putting themselves in danger. Firework mishaps could also be potentially dangerous for cats and dogs, so once the sun starts to set in the early evening, it’s time to get your pet indoors for the night. Of course, if your cat or dog has been digging in the damp garden all day, this means you’ll have yet another set of muddy footprints (or pawprints in this case) to deal with.
You can clean muddy pawprints in much the same way as you do for your family’s footprints – by leaving the mud to dry and vacuuming it up, adding cleaning products if some discolouration remains. However, because animals tend to sweat through their paws, and produce a distinct odour, you may want to focus on the area a little more thoroughly to make sure any smells are removed, too. Here’s how:
- Mix up equal parts white vinegar and water and add to a spray bottle. Once the area has been cleaned, spray this solution onto the carpet, and allow to dry. The vinegar will help remove any traces of animal smell. Your carpet might smell strongly of vinegar at first, but this will fade to nothing once the solution has dried (you can speed up the drying process by placing a portable fan in front of the area)
- If the smell is still lingering, sprinkle baking soda generously over the area before you go to bed. In the morning, simply vacuum it up. Baking soda is very absorbent, and should draw out any odours in your carpets leaving them clean and fresh.
This November, don’t let the terrible British weather deter you from donning your raincoats and your wellies and getting out into the garden to partake in one of the most colourful events in the British calendar. Worried about the clean up afterwards? Don’t be. By following these helpful hints, cleaning up muddy footprints – and pawprints – should be quick, easy, and stress-free. Plus you can also find out how to clean muddy wellies here.