Carpets get replaced on average every seven years. Most replacements involve a home remodeling either prior to a home being sold or after it is purchased. If you plan to keep your wall to wall carpeting for more than a few years, here are some steps that will help keep your expensive carpeting looking new.
1. Keep the dirt outside.
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.
You may not realize it, but tests show 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.
2. Vacuum, Vacuum, Vacuum!
Did I mention that you have to vacuum your carpets? Buying the "best" vacuum isn't enough-- you have to take it out of the closet and use it on a regular basis. First, make sure it works properly: the bag (or bagless cylinder) should be less than half full; the belt that turns the brushes should be tight; and the brushes shouldn't be worn or full of hair/lint. Vacuuming up the visible crumbs and dirt isn't good enough, either. 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.
3. Spot Clean.
Many carpets come with "Stain Warranties." But guess what? You still have to clean up spills and spots from the carpet. 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. These charts list various substances and give specific methods to remove spots from your carpet. If you don't have a spotting chart available, go to the Carpet and Rug Institute's website at 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.
4. Rotate Furniture.
Squirming feet are tough on carpet. They wear at confined areas of the carpet pile. They also work dirt into the carpet pile and backing. If your room layout allows it, move the furniture around on a regular basis. Your carpet will appreciate it if you can do it every six months. You will prevent premature
wear areas by moving your furniture around.
5. Professionally Clean.
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. Maintenance is important. (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. That's the industry's way to say "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. This shows that they are highly trained. They are required to clean your carpets according to the manufacturer's
They will use chemicals that are safe for your carpet and your family. They will remove excess water 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.
By following these five simple steps, your carpets will look new for many years.
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