Carpet is often found in “high-traffic” areas, such as living rooms, bedrooms, and finished basements simply because it is the most invisibly durable type of floor covering. Plus, if you have kids, carpet is always the wiser choice since it creates a slip-free surface and an artificial padding for rambunctious children. Not only does carpet cushion your feet, it can also soften the acoustics of the room, making for less echoes and noise. In fact, did you know that most schools are now carpeting their floors because it has been found that children learn better in a safer, more comfortable environment? Since carpet is used in high-traffic rooms, even though it is durable, it still needs to be well-preserved in order for it to last. Understanding and completing basic carpet maintenance is the only way to ensure clean, safe, and beautiful carpeted floors for many years to come.
Prevention and Carpet Maintenance
The best way to keep your carpets clean is by eliminating the source of the dirt and grime that infiltrate the fibers. Put down mats in entryways and exits and use decorative rugs on the carpeted area to help protect them from excessive dirt build-up. Rearrange your furniture from time to time so that permanent indentations aren’t left in your carpet. When selecting your carpet pad, know that thicker pads may feel softer, but padding density is the key for a carpet with a longer life expectancy. Finally, think about your choice of color since medium colors can mask dirt and lighter colors are able to hide fading over time.
Weekly Carpet Maintenance
Simple vacuuming with an upright vacuum will help keep your carpet clean. Though it is often recommended that you vacuum every other day depending on how your carpet is used, twice a week should do the trick. Or better yet, attack your high-traffic areas as much as possible (living rooms, bedrooms, entryways) and leave the lighter traffic regions for later when you have the time for more thorough cleaning. Whether it’s weekly vacuuming or annual steam cleaning, you need to know that inactivity doesn’t excuse your carpet maintenance schedule. Even homeowners who require guests to de-shoe and keep pets and children off the carpet must still complete a basic maintenance schedule to remove dust particles that can dig into and cut down fibers, destroying the carpet’s durability.
You carpet is so comfortable because of its soft cushion, but this also means that it is very absorbent as well. Stains will eventually occur and just because your carpet is stain-resistant doesn’t mean the stain can be ignored. This “resistance” simply buys you time for purposes of clean-up. There are several cleaning techniques out there depending on the type of stain, each with pros and cons:
- Dry Powder: Easy and cheap, dry powder is good for overall greasy stains. Simply apply the dry powder over the stain, let it absorb the grease and oils, and then vacuum. Of course, this may not work as well for heavier stains, and you’ll need a vacuum strong enough to grab all the powder off the carpet.
- Solvents: For marker, ink, or oil stains, it is best to use some kind of solvent (even WD 40 can work). Always remember to blot, don’t rub. Let the solvent sit for half an hour and then remove it with soapy water. For pet stains, you may have to find an enzyme remover.
- Specific Stains: For wine stains, blot them with club soda for proper removal. For other red dyes, use a solution of peroxide and water and rinse with a solution of vinegar and water. For food stains, simply spray shaving cream on them, allow it to sit, and it remove with vinegar and water.
Professional carpet cleaning is the very best way to give your carpets the cleaning they deserve. Professional carpet cleaners are the only people who have the proper truck-mounted equipment to get the job done right. Carpet cleaners use powerful hot water extraction that goes beyond the carpet, cleaning the backing and padding for a more comprehensive clean-up. This is the most recommended method for the best carpet maintenance.
Though your carpet takes some caring for, the actual cleaning techniques are simple and easy to perform as long as you follow your contractor’s advice after the install. They are always the best source for maintenance. Overall, make sure you get to the stains as fast as possible, perform your daily maintenance, and have some extra swaths on hand that match your carpet: no matter how much you preserve your flooring, repair may be needed in the future. Just always remember that the result is well worth the effort. The safer and cleaner your carpet remains, the longer they last and the more comfortable they become.