Everyone loves their carpeting when it’s new, but as it gets older and shabbier, we tend to ignore and even scorn it. So what can you do to stay in love with your carpeting? Here are three things that will help make your carpet last longer and keep the love alive:
- Stay ahead of the dirt
Did you know that it takes up to 17 steps before the soles of your shoes are clean? Dirt tracked onto a carpet eventually sifts down to the carpet backing and grinds away at the fibers, literally wearing it out. Surface soil also dulls the carpet color by covering it up. Fine grit scratches the carpet fiber, just the way a diamond scratches glass. So after you clean the carpet, the carpet still looks dull and dirty because the fiber surface is distorted.
Many cultures remove their shoes when entering a home. This habit really helps keep a carpet looking new. If you want to wear your shoes inside, entry mats also cut down on dirt coming into your home.
Even the most diligent homeowner can’t avoid dirt completely, so it’s important to vacuum, vacuum, and vacuum. Start by making sure your vacuum works properly:
- the bag (or bagless cylinder) should be less than half full
- the belt that turns the brushes should be tight
- the brushes shouldn’t be worn or full of hair/lint
You may not want to hear this, but vacuuming up the visible crumbs and dirt isn’t good enough. With an active family, you should vacuum two to three times a week. You’ll need to use 4-6 passes in the high traffic lanes, 2-3 passes in the low traffic areas.
- Spot clean
Many carpets come with stain warranties, but guess what? You still have to clean up spills and spots. If a spot stays in the fabric indefinitely it can oxidize into a permanent stain – a stain is a spot that won’t come out.
Some carpet warranties have a spot removal chart included that list various substances and specific methods to remove them from the carpet. If you don’t have a spotting chart available, go to the Carpet and Rug Institute’s website at http://www.carpet-rug.org and look under Approved Products to find safe carpet spotters.
Remember, carpeting is a delicate fabric. Always blot gently to remove a spill. Never rub or scrub. Apply just a little spotting solution — mist it on, if possible — and gently blot. You may need to repeat this process two or three times before the carpet is clean. Do not over-wet the carpet.
- Professionally Clean
Maintenance is important. Most carpet warranties require you to professionally clean your carpets every 18-24 months. This is the same as regularly changing the oil in your car. Bonus tip: save your cleaning receipts. You’ll need them if you put in a claim under the carpet warranty.
There are several ways to clean a carpet. Most major carpet mills want you to have their carpets cleaned using the hot water extraction method – what many people call “steam cleaning.” This method removes more soil and more types of spots than other methods.
You need to know several things about hot water extraction. Like anything else, if it’s not done correctly, it can harm or even ruin the carpet. Look for cleaners who are Certified Carpet Cleaners, like Duraclean. This shows they are highly trained and will use chemicals that are safe for your carpet and your family. Professional cleaners will remove excess water better so the carpet dries faster — in hours, not days. They will rinse the carpet fibers to remove residues that would otherwise attract dirt and make the carpet re-soil quickly.
There you have it. Three simple things you can do that will keep your carpets looking beautiful and last longer.