Living in a small urban apartment has forced me to learn the art of compact living – from accentuating its size using mirrors – to practising failsafe decluttering.
However, it was in looking for new ways to clean an area rug that I came across my favorite small space technique of all.
Living in an apartment means that my cooking and living spaces are cheek by jowl. The proximity between these zones means that all kitchen odors have a way of invading my soft furnishings (not least, my living room's area rug). And this is where my favorite cleaning tip of all time comes into play.
Laundry pearls have always been a staple of my laundry room ideas, but after an evening of browsing TikTok, I realized their uses far exceed doing laundry. Indeed, you can pair laundry pearls with baking soda to create a fresh-smelling rug-freshening solution that gets my home guest-ready, and quickly.
Did you know that you can also use other laundry room essentials to clean other areas of your home – for example, using dryer sheets to speed clean your baseboards?
Laundry pearl rug trick – what the process involves
I always knew that a rug (or carpet) is easily cleaned with baking soda, or at least freshened. But never thought about using laundry pearls in combination with baking soda to really boost the effect.
How does it work? Begin by using your vacuum to pick up any dirt and debris on your rug or carpet before sprinkling laundry pearl powder onto the surface.
I normally use around a cap full of pearls, but it depends on the size of the area you're treating (and your desired scent strength). I use Downy Unstopables Wash Booster but you might find a scent you love most – perhaps it's already in your laundry room.
I then add a reasonably generous layer of baking soda over the pearls and allow the mixture to sit for around an hour. After this time, I vacuum once again.
According to Maria Ivanova, the founder of Master Maid, it is a good idea to leave your mixture for this length of time, as it allows it to 'seep into the fibers of your rug and carpet – working its magic as it does so.'
After vacuuming, I am left with a spotlessly clean rug that oozes the scent of fresh laundry – which rarely goes unnoticed by my guests. And often, even after a night of cooking, I can still enjoy the scent in the morning (and long into the week).
Since my home boasts mostly wooden flooring, I have never tried the trick on anything but my cream and black rug. However, I'm told by Maria that it works equally well on carpet ideas, too.
'The two products work together to remove odors from furniture, carpets, and more,' she says. 'When you use them together, they neutralize the odor molecules in your home so that they don't stick around for very long. Instead, they'll leave behind a fresh scent that will last for a few days or even weeks if you keep using it regularly.'
Plus, while I'll always stick by this method in my home, it's equally reassuring that laundry pearls also have a place in the professional rug industry.
'As some of the rugs are in the shop for a long time, I often use laundry pearls and baking soda to maintain the quality of the rugs we are selling,' adds Ismail Kuden, owner of Kuden Rugs.
'I find this method useful to absorb odors and leave a room smelling fresh and clean. The best way to use this method is to sprinkle the baking soda on the rug or carpet and then use a vacuum to remove the powder.'
This trick has changed how I prepare for guests – will you do the same?
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Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.
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