Because carpet acts as a floor covering, carpeting can be subjected to quite a beating. Over time, carpet can look prematurely dirty or faded, and carpet fibers can actually start to lose their fullness. However, with routine care and maintenance, years can be added to the life of your carpets and rugs.
Follow these simple guidelines and learn how to keep your carpet looking its absolute best.
Frequent Vacuuming is Key
Many people may not be aware that frequent and thorough vacuuming is one of the most important (and easiest) things you can do to help retain your carpet’s original appearance.
With that being said, choosing the right vacuum cleaner to handle your carpet cleaning needs is extremely important.
While household tools such as carpet sweepers can remove surface dirt, vacuuming prevents deep abrasions that can ruin the carpet.
When shopping for a vacuum, one of the most important things to look for is the vacuum’s filtration abilities. Vacuums with dual motors, or those with one motor to provide suction with the other motor powering a beater bar to loosen dirt, are excellent at removing dirt and grit, particularly upright vacuums with this feature.
Also, vacuums with beater bars or rotating brushes are better at loosening dirt than standard canister vacuums. In addition, be sure that the vacuum you choose provides the correct height adjustment for your specific type of carpet.
Because vacuuming helps remove dirt particles which can degrade and dull the appearance of carpets and rugs, carpets should be vacuumed at least once a week and perhaps even more frequently in heavy traffic areas.
Frequent vacuuming prolongs the life of your carpet by preventing any buildup of gritty debris that can cut up carpet fibers, and every few weeks, you should use your vacuum’s crevice tool to clean the tight areas around baseboards, radiators, and other difficult-to-reach places.
Reduce Traffic and Retain Your Carpet’s Texture
To prolong the appearance and overall life of your carpet, reduce the amount of traffic in heavily traveled, carpeted areas, as these areas will receive the most wear. Use rugs under and in front of heavily used furniture such as chairs, and clean these rugs on a regular basis. Furniture and area rugs should also be moved periodically to reduce the wear on these paths.
Heavy furniture can also cause permanent indentations in your carpet, and it is important to use furniture glides or cups under the legs of heavy pieces. Temporary indentations can be remedied by working the carpet back in place with your fingers or with the edge of a spoon, dampening the area in question, and heating the carpet with a hairdryer.
Fluffing, Shedding, and Sprouting
You may sometimes find tiny balls of fluff or loose fibers on your carpet or in your vacuum cleaner. Fortunately, in most cases, this is not a cause for alarm, as it is the normal result of fiber that is left in the carpet during the manufacturing process.
Proper vacuuming with a high-quality vacuum cleaner will usually cause this shedding this disappear if your carpet is relatively new, and removing these large fibers will not affect the life or appearance of the carpet.
In some cases, you may even notice a yarn tuft or two sprouting above the pile surface of your carpet. Simply snip off these large tufts with a pair of scissors to the level of the carpet, but never pull these out.
If sprouting proves to be a persistent problem, contact your carpet’s manufacturer or flooring representative.
For more information and methods of how you can fluff up your carpet, click here.
Address Carpet Stains Immediately
Don’t be fooled by stains that appear to be clear, as these can change their color and be quite visible over time.
For even additional cleaning, look to wet/dry vacuums which not only have the ability to clean up dust and debris, but also liquid spills as well.
The first step in removing a carpet stain is to blot any excess liquid with a paper towel or clean cloth. Liquid stain removers should not be initially added to the stain, as they will only make the spot larger and cause it to sink deeper into the carpet.
Once the liquid has been absorbed, if a special cleaning solution is to be used, first test it on an inconspicuous part of the carpet to prevent any possible staining.
If the solution proves to be safe to use, try to use the least amount of solution possible and work from the outside of the stain toward the center to prevent any spreading. To prevent fiber damage, don’t rub the carpet with too much force, and be sure to dry the area with a hair dryer or fan when you are finished.
Also, keep in mind that not all stains can be removed: bleached areas caused by chlorine bleach or sunlight are impossible to get rid of, and liquids like urine, if allowed to dry, will leave permanent stains.
Ultimately, regularly vacuuming your carpet and spot cleaning will prolong the appearance and life of your carpets.
Professional carpet cleanings every 18 months are also an important part of a regular carpet care regimen, and investing in a carpet shampooer, wet/dry vacuum, or steam vacuum is also a good idea for interim carpet maintenance.