Carpet Maintenance - Personal and Professional

Carpet Maintenance - Personal and Professional

Carpet Maintenance and Cleaning

Carpets are an excellent addition to any home décor.  They provide the type of cozy comfort that makes you want to kick off your shoes, sip hot chocolate and read a good book.  Carpets can help keep your heating costs down and help deaden the sound of creaky floors.  As much as they are a value-add in your home though, carpets do take some work to maintain.  Doing a good job of maintaining your carpet can make sure that it looks great for years to come.  And, the most important way to maintain your carpet is to keep it clean.

Why is keeping your carpets clean important?

Dirty carpets are never very nice to look at, but that’s not the only reason you should keep them clean.  As dirt is abrasive, when it gets caught in carpet fibers it can rub against the fiber, breaking it down more easily and making the carpet look older than it is.  So keeping your carpets clean helps to maintain them in the long run.

Carpet Fiber Differences

There are 4 main types of carpet fiber on the market today: nylon, polyester, olefin, and wool.  Making sure you know which type of carpet fiber you have can be key to keeping it clean.  Different fibers can handle different chemicals when it comes to cleaning, so make sure you know what type your carpet is ( has a handy guide for checking what kind of carpet you have).  If you are choosing which carpet to lay, choosing the right fiber type for the right area of your home can also help to keep the carpet in good shape.

Nylon is durable and great for high-traffic areas but stains easily, so it may be best for a hallway – an area that sees a lot of traffic but does not see a lot of stain-producing materials.  Polyester, on the other hand, is naturally stain resistant but not great for high traffic areas.  Olefin is great where there is a lot of moisture and has strong chemical resistance, meaning you can clean it with harsher chemicals more often.  And wool is natural and resilient but doesn’t stand up to harsher chemicals because it is a natural fiber

How to keep your carpet looking good as new

Vacuum regularly

Regardless of fiber type, it’s a good idea to get dirt, pet hair, and any other particles out of your carpet as often as possible.  This will keep it looking newer longer and keeps your home freer from dust.  Make sure you are using the right height setting on your vacuum for your carpet type, emptying your canister or bag frequently for peak performance.

Treat stains as soon as they occur

Stains are an inevitability.  Whether you have kids or like hosting dinner parties (or both!), you will end up with the odd stain on your carpet.  First, make sure you are choosing the right carpet fiber based on your lifestyle.  If you know you will see a lot of stains and require a lot of cleaning, a fiber that does not hold up to many cleaners (such as wool) may not be your best bet.  The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) offers an easy two-step process for cleaning up spills:

Step one: absorb the spill.  Blot liquids until they are barely damp

Step two: treat the spot or stain with a CRI Institute approved carpet cleaning product, but still always test a small patch first.  Follow the directions on the cleaner carefully, and always be gentle in working the product in. When you can no longer see the stain, blot the area with clear water to remove any cleaner residue.

Occasional professional cleaning

Getting a good deep clean every 18 months or earlier if needed is a good idea as well to keep those carpets good as new.  Just make sure your cleaners are using the right products for your carpet fiber, and their methods are good for your type of carpet as well.

Make sure you are vetting your professional cleaner.  Cleaners that work at a deep discount often do not know fiber types well and may unintentionally damage your carpet.  Do your research before hiring a carpet cleaning company and make sure they know what they are doing.

Use area rugs and runners

In high-traffic areas or areas that may see more staining (like under a dining room table), try using area rugs and runners.  These are generally less expensive than carpeting and can help protect your carpet to keep it looking new.

Remove shoes

Institute a “no shoes” rule in the house.  Shoes can track in all kinds of mess, from dirt to mud to grease.  You never know what is on the bottom of a person’s shoe, so just make sure they take them off.  It’ll save you grief in the long run.

Keep common sources of stains away from carpet

If you can, keeping things like red wine, coffee, and grease away from carpet can also save you some headache.  Choose to enjoy your food in an area with hard wood or linoleum flooring or enjoy over an area rug.  These areas then just need to be vacuumed frequently and professionally cleaned every now and again to keep them looking great.

Avoid carpet powders

Carpet powders have chemicals in them that may not be great for your carpet.  They can leave residue behind which can damage the carpet over time.  Quite often carpet powders have strong scents as well that are not as desirable in the home.  If you feel the need to deodorize the carpet, use baking soda instead.  This natural deodorizer will intake all of the bad smell, won’t give off an overpowering smell (it has no scent), and is easily vacuumed up without harming your carpet.

Keeping your carpet in tip top shape is not difficult, but it does take a little bit of work.  Making sure you follow the tips above will help to keep your carpet clean and looking new for as long as possible.  Make sure you regularly vacuum, dab to spot treat, know your fiber, and get your carpet professionally cleaned every once in a while.  You will be surprised at how a small amount of maintenance work can net big gains in the lifespan of your carpet.