Your new carpet represents a
substantial investment and like your other fine furnishings
requires proper care to keep it attractive over the years of
service that it must provide. A good maintenance regimen will help
protect your investment by prolonging the life of your carpet.
Carpet rarely wears out in terms of
the fiber wearing away, rather its appearance simply deteriorates
over time to a point at which it is no longer acceptable.
Experience has shown that proper maintenance can help reduce the
rate at which a carpets appearance changes. The methods that
follow were designed to achieve that goal.
The Dirty Facts
The accumulation of soil
particulates on a carpet is probably the greatest contributor to
it's overall appearance change. The abrasive effect of soil
particulates distorts the
yarn tips and can eventually gives the traffic lanes a grayish
look. This has to do with the fact that the abraded yarn tips
reflect light differently than the unaffected yarns. When the
fibers become so distorted that they begin to become tangled with
neighboring yarns, the term matting is used.
80% of the soil that accumulates on
your carpet was walked in from the outside.
This is the abrasive type of soil
that combined with foot traffic can do damage to the carpet. If it
were possible or practical for everyone to remove their shoes
before entering the home, the problems of this type soiling would
virtually be eliminated! The remaining 20% of soil is
environmentally caused. This is the fine layer of dust that
appears on tabletops and other furniture. This soil is not harmful
When you enter your home without
wiping your feet thoroughly on a entrance mat, it takes about 15
steps for the soil on your shoes to be deposited on the carpet.
That is a path of soil that stretches 30 to 45 feet! It is easy to
see how soiled pathways can occur throughout the whole house.
Once a pathway becomes heavily
soiled, it is usually too late to return it to its
original look. Even the best professional cleaning methods can not
recover 100% of the soil from a carpet. Also, as the yarn tips
become distorted from the abrasive effect of the soil, they
reflect light differently than the yarns that are unaffected. This
distorted reflection often has a grayish coloration. Lighter
colored carpets usually show this condition more than darker
- Walk off mats should be used at
all entrances to absorb soil and moisture, and the mats should
be cleaned on a regular basis so that they do not become
sources of soil themselves
- Use a quality pad under your
carpet. Good pad not only gives better resilience under foot,
but can also add to the life of the carpet.
- Move heavy furniture
occasionally to avoid excessive pile crushing. Put coasters
intended for use with carpet under the legs of tables and
chairs to help distribute the weight and prevent excessive
- When moving heavy wheeled
furniture (pianos, buffets, etc.) prevent damage by placing a
barrier of heavy cardboard or plywood between the wheels and
- Protect your carpet from
prolonged periods of direct sunlight with blinds, shades or
The most important step in caring
for your carpet is vacuuming. Vacuum thoroughly and frequently,
especially in high traffic areas. Bear in mind that walking on
soiled carpet permits the soil particles to work there way below
the surface of the pile where they are far more difficult to
remove and can cause damage to the fibers. Frequent vacuuming
removes these particles from the surface before this happens.
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 be sufficient for light
soiling, but five to seven passes are necessary for heavily
soiled areas. Change the vacuuming direction occasionally to
help stand the pile upright and reduce matting.
A good vacuum cleaner is vital to
prolonging the beauty and life of your carpet. Most carpet
manufacturers would recommend a upright vacuum cleaner that has
both a rotating brush and a beater bar for the majority of
carpets. However, if you have a carpet with a thick loop pile such
as a berber style, it may be sensitive to brushing or rubbing of
the pile and cause the pile surface to become fuzzy. In this
instance, a suction only type vacuum or a vacuum with a adjustable
brush lifted away from the carpet so it does not agitate the pile,
may be used.
Spots and Spills
Prompt attention to spots and
spills is essential. No carpet is stain proof, although most have
been treated to be stain resistant. The sooner you can attend to
the spill the greater your chances are of successfully removing
Here is some general advice on spot
cleaning. If your carpet came with a free care and maintenance
phone number, call that number for spot cleaning instructions
before trying the following.
- Remove as much of food spills as
possible by scraping gently with a spoon or dull knife.
- Absorb wet spills as quickly as
possible by blotting repeatedly with white paper or cloth
- Always blot, never rub or scrub
abrasively, as a fuzzy area may result. When blotting, work
from the outer edge in toward the center of the spot to avoid
spreading the spill.
- If you are using a detergent or
other cleaning solution, always follow up with a clean water
rinse to remove any residue from the carpet. If you omit this
step soil can be attracted to the sticky residue left by the
- Draw out any remaining moisture
by placing several layers of white paper or cloth towels over
the spot and weigh them down with a heavy object that will not
transfer color, such as a plastic jug of water.
Cleaning your Carpet
Even though vacuuming can remove
most of the dry soil, it is also necessary to clean your carpet on
a regular basis to remove the oily, sticky soil that builds up in
the pile as a result of cooking vapors, air pollution and tracked
in dirt from outside. The particles of oily soil deposited on
carpet fibers can cause gradual but significant dulling of lighter
colors especially pastel tones. The color is not lost but is
hidden under the film. If this kind of soil is left to accumulate
it begins to attract and hold dry soil. This is the reason
cleaning is so important when dulling of the color is first
noticed, if allowed to remain to long, it becomes gummy and
difficult to remove.
If carpet is cleaned before it
becomes to unsightly, the cleaning chore will be easier and more
successful. It is a myth that cleaning the carpet before it is
absolutely necessary will cause it to get dirty faster. Carpet in
a typical household should be cleaned every 12 to 18 months
depending on the number of residents and amount and type of
activity. In fact, many of the warranties regarding a carpet,
require that the carpet be cleaned every 12 to 18 months.
There are a number of different
carpet cleaning methods available today but only one that is
recommended by all three of the largest carpet manufacturers in
the United States. They feel that the hot water extraction
method removes the greatest amount of soil while leaving the least
amount of residue. This system is commonly called "steam
cleaning" although no steam is actually generated. The
process consists of spraying a solution of water and detergent
into the carpet pile and recovering the water and soil with a
powerful vacuum into a holding tank. This can be done with a truck
mounted unit outside of the home with only the hose and wand
brought inside or, where a truck mounted unit can not reach, by a
portable, self contained system brought into the home.
It is to your
advantage to use professional cleaners because their experience
enables them to do a better job than you can do yourself. Their
equipment has more extraction power than rental units available to
you, and the carpet should dry more quickly. True professionals
have also made a investment in training and understanding their
equipment, to know the proper cleaning agents for the situation at
hand, and to recognize the difference in carpet fibers and
(New Frontiers Marketing Inc - Carpet Source) All rights reserved.