Have you just replaced your carpets? Did the shock to your wallet suddenly motivate you to take extra good care of your new carpet so that you don’t have to replace it again any time soon?
A new carpet is a substantial investment that can last many years if maintained properly. Proper care and cleaning will not only protect your investment, it will enhance the quality of your indoor environment. The following are some universal guidelines on how to care for your carpet.
Preventative Maintenance Tips:
- Use a coarse door or walk-off mat at as many entrances as possible to absorb soil and moisture. The mats themselves should be cleaned (especially during rainy weather) so that they don’t become a source of dirt themselves. You may even want to use a mat on both sides of the same doorway for extra protection.
- Move heavy furniture occasionally to avoid excessive pile crushing. Put coasters intended for use with carpet under the legs of tables, chairs, and other furniture to help distribute the weight and prevent crushing the pile.
- When moving heavy wheeled furniture, prevent damage by placing a protective barrier of heavy cardboard or plywood between the wheels and the carpet.
- If you use area rugs over your carpet, be sure to remove and clean them regularly. Clean and restore the pile of the carpet underneath.
- Be certain to check area rugs for colorfastness before putting them back over carpet, as the dyes in some rugs may bleed through to the carpet. Remember to allow your carpet to completely dry after you have cleaned it before replacing your rugs.
- Protect your carpet from prolonged periods of direct sunlight with blinds, shades, or awnings.
- Keep absorbent cloth or paper towels and cleaning solutions on hand for quick response to spills and accidents.
The most important step in caring for your carpet is vacuuming. For rooms with light traffic, vacuum the traffic lanes twice weekly and the entire area once weekly. Those areas with heavier traffic require that the traffic lanes be vacuumed daily and the entire area twice weekly. Up to three passes of the machine will suffice for light soiling, but five to seven passes are necessary for heavily soiled areas.
- A good vacuum cleaner is vital to prolonging the beauty and life of your carpet. An inexpensive machine can remove surface dirt but will not effectively remove the hidden dirt and particles embedded in the pile.
- For pile carpet, use vacuums with a rotating brush or combination beater/brush bar that agitates the carpet pile and mechanically loosens soil for removal by the vacuum.
- For carpet with thick loop pile construction (Berber), which may be sensitive to brushing or rubbing of the pile surface and may become fuzzy, use a suction-only vacuum or a vacuum with an adjustable brush lifted away from the carpet so it does not agitate the pile. A vacuum with a beater/brush bar can be tested in an inconspicuous location and used if no excessive fuzzing occurs.
- Replaceable paper vacuum bags do a better job of trapping the small particles that pass through cloth bags back into the room.
- High-efficiency vacuum bags, also called microfiltration bags, trap even smaller microscopic particles such as mold and mildew spores and dust mite byproducts, often found to be the source of allergies. This type of bag is sold under a number of different names. “Micro-Lined,” “Micro-Clean,” “Microfiltration,” and “MicroLiner” are some of the different names used. Verify that the bag you select traps particles smaller than two microns.
- All vacuum bags should be checked often and replaced when half full.
- Make sure the belt is in good condition and that the brush or beater bar rotates when in contact with the carpet. To adjust the vacuum to the correct height setting for the carpet, raise the beater/brush bar to the highest setting and then lower it until it contacts the pile enough to slightly vibrate the carpet several inches away from the machine, but not low enough to cause significant slowing of the motor.
- Change the vacuuming direction occasionally to help stand the pile upright and reduce matting.
How do you maintain the life of your carpet? Share with us in the comments below!