Although hardwood remains the gold standard of home flooring, carpeting is a popular choice thanks to its variety of colors, textures and designs available. Because it is still a major investment you need to protect it to help your home maintain its value. Carpet offers a soft feel underfoot, but it also collects dirt, debris, dust mites and germs that can spread to your family and pets and dull the appearance of your carpets. As a result, you want to help maintain the appearance as best you can. Here we offer eight tips to extend the life of your carpet and keep it clean.
1. Carpet Cleaning Begins With Regular Vacuuming
Most homeowners know that vacuuming is the best way to keep carpets clean. When you include vacuuming as part of your regular housecleaning regime, you also help extend the life of your carpet. Vacuuming removes dirt and bacteria which keeps your family healthy. But this is also important to reduce damage to your carpet fibers.
The more debris that’s allowed to build up in the fibers, the more worn your carpet appears. This is because the tiny particles rub against the fibers and over time damage the integrity of each strand. As a result, carpets become dull and can also get matted. Using a high-quality vacuum protects your carpet from damage, while effectively removing harmful dirt particles. Vacuum the high traffic areas daily and your entire carpeted areas twice a week. Less-used rooms just need a quick vacuum every couple of weeks. Always vacuum in different directions to loosen dirt. This also prevents matting.
2. Lay Down Protective Mats and Rugs
It might seem like overkill to lay down mats or area rugs over carpeting. However, you can benefit from doing this in several ways. First, area rugs can add a focal point in larger rooms and help anchor your furniture. Second, rugs and mats take on the pressure and friction of high traffic that can damage your carpets.
They also take the brunt of the dirt and debris, which reduces carpet damage. As a bonus, you can use rug cleaning services to keep your area rugs and mats clean. Area rugs are also more affordable to replace once they become worn, compared to replacing your entire wall-to-wall carpeting.
3. Have A Shoes-Off Policy
Having family members and guests remove their shoes helps reduce the amount of dirt people bring into the home. When shoes are left by the door, the dirt doesn’t get tracked into the rest of the house, which is especially important for lighter-colored carpets that show dirt more easily. You’ll also reduce the number of germs tracked in. You’re sure to notice a difference with a shoes-off policy.
4. Move Furniture Around To Reduce High Traffic
This might seem like a lot of effort, but it reduces carpet wear. As you can imagine, the layout of your furniture forces people to use the same paths throughout the home over and over again. Over time the traffic wears down the carpet. If you rearrange your furniture now and again, you help spread out the traffic, so you see less wear across the entire carpet surface. This keeps it looking its best for a longer period of time. As well, when you move furniture around you also reduce the number of “footprints” and indents left by the weight of the furniture.
5. Be Prepared To Clean Up Spills Right Away To Avoid Stains
Cleaning up spills right away is the best way to prevent staining. Most carpets today have a protectant, which keeps spills from absorbing into the fibers. As a result, you can quickly dab at the stain with a clean dry cloth to remove the liquid easily. You should also keep a carpet stain removing product handy, such as Spot Gone® or Dissolve® to treat stains from darker spills like red wine or grape juice, or for older spills that have had more time to set in.
This is especially important for pet accidents which not only stain but also smell. Always spot test any cleaners you use in an area behind furniture to make sure it is colorfast. Some can bleach the color of your carpet because they contain harsh chemicals. Follow these tips:
- Never apply heat to try to dry a spill as this sets the stain
- Always blot instead of rubbing or you’ll damage the nap of the carpet
- If something solid such as wax or gum is in the carpet, try to scrape it up first with a rubber spatula
- Use spotters working from the outside of the stain in to keep the stain contained to a smaller area
- If using chemical spotters rinse them using water and then blot the spot dry
- Keep the nap of the carpet intact by brushing or fluffing up the pile after spot cleaning
If the carpet is quite wet from cleaners, lay a pad of toweling over the spot, weighted down with books overnight to remove moisture and avoid damaging the floor below. Following these stain removal tips immediately when a spill happens will help extend the life of your carpet.
6. Use “Anti-Dent” Carpet Protectors on Furniture
As mentioned in point #4, the feet of your furniture leaves dents and footprints in your carpets. Using anti-dent casters and carpet protectors on the legs of your furniture helps avoid dents while also protecting the carpet from matting and damage, greatly helping to extend the life of your carpet.
7. Treat Your Carpets With A Protectant
Protectants like DuPont Teflon act as stain blockers. However, over time they can degrade and become less effective. As a result, you need to reapply protectants every year or so. Protectants also make vacuuming easier as they help keep debris on the surface. You should also reapply protectants at the same time you have professional carpet cleanings.
8. Hire A Professional Carpet Cleaner
Professional carpet cleaning every year or two removes years of dirt and unwanted particles from your carpets. In hand with regular vacuuming and spot removal, your carpets will be stain-free and maintain their original color, texture, and appearance.
Following these tips will help extend the life of your carpet for years to come.