Carpets are a popular choice among homeowners because they’re affordable, comfortable, versatile, and easy to install. As a first-time homeowner, in addition to choosing a carpet style, contractor, and the area in your house where you want to add a new carpet, you also need to learn how to maintain and clean the carpet.
Despite the many benefits of having a carpet, keeping this floor covering clean can be quite challenging. It’s also critical to note that the type of carpet you choose determines the cleaning and maintenance procedures you have to perform. Therefore, when choosing a carpet, don’t just consider the aesthetics. Review its functional properties as well. For that reason, it pays to go over a few tips on carpet selection before delving into the best practices in cleaning and maintaining them.
You need to take the time to select the right carpet, which will play a big role in determining your maintenance program. You definitely want a long-lasting carpet that’ll be healthy for both your pets and your family. Apart from color and plushness, here are the factors to consider:
The most common fibers used to make carpets include polyester, cotton, nylon, wool, and olefin. Many homeowners prefer using nylon carpets because of their durability and excellent performance. It’s ultra-soft, stain-resistant, and ideal for pets and families.
A wool carpet is also a good choice because it’s luxurious, warm, and its beauty is long-lasting. In addition, it has better soil release and is stain-resistant.
The other types of fibers also have their benefits and limitations, so you need to do a little more research and choose the one you like the most.
2. Fiber Construction
Different carpets have different yarn sizes, referring to both the diameter and length. The yarns also differ in the method of processing and tensile strength. Moreover, carpets are created either in cut pile or loop pile styles, or a combination of the two. All these factors affect the durability and maintenance requirements of the carpet. For example, loop pile carpets are generally more durable than cut pile carpets. The loop pile option features individual yarn strands pulled through the carpet backing twice, thus creating a small loop. On the other hand, the strands in a cut pile carpet have a loose end, making them vulnerable to damage.
If you have a busy household, then frieze or textured plush cut piles might be your best option, since they have a dense weave. Loop pile carpet is best for areas with many people, such as conference halls and offices. Another reason for this choice is that the multicolor effect of the cut and loop carpets helps hide stains.
3. Color And Pattern
Carpets come in many color and pattern variations, which considerably determine how pronounced typical stains look. If you go for a darker carpet, stains and soiling won’t be easily seen. Likewise, spotting light stains on a red and white carpet isn’t easy. Therefore, you’d want to choose a color that subtly hides stains.
Carpet backing helps preserve the carpet’s dimensional stability and integrity by shielding the yarn from moisture, abrasion, and bacterial attack. Therefore, go for a carpet that has a backing with an excellent enough quality that it serves you for many years. A fragile backing loses some yarn sooner or later, which is how carpets get damaged.
Carpet Cleaning And Maintenance
Now that you know what to look for in a carpet, here are a few handy tips to maintain, clean, and preserve the condition of your carpet:
1. Weekly Vacuuming
Carpets usually trap dust and other air particles. These build up over time, so you should ensure that you get them vacuumed up to maintain a healthy, allergen-free home. To prevent dirt from percolating into your floors, you should vacuum the carpet at least once a week.
But if many people live under your roof, and assuming that your whole house is carpeted, you may need to vacuum twice or thrice a week. You also need to vacuum more regularly if you keep pets at home and allow them to play or sleep on the carpet.
If that feels like a burden to you, perhaps due to your tight schedule, you can hire the services of professional cleaners like Jeff’s professional carpet cleaning company. This way, you can just sit back and relax while professional cleaners do the work for you. Regular carpet vacuuming helps maintain its look and prevents damages caused by dirt.
2. Move Your Furniture
Slight furniture indents on carpeted floors are unavoidable. But leaving heavy furniture in the same position for a long time can cause significant wear and tear on your carpets, especially at the points that are in direct contact with the furniture legs. Moreover, it may result in dirt build-up since a vacuum cleaning machine can’t access these areas.
To avoid this, ensure that you change the position of your furniture around the house every few months. By doing so, you’ll distribute the pressure exerted by the furniture legs. Moving the furniture around the room will also help create new foot patterns. Thus, your carpet will wear off evenly.
For light furniture, it’s best to move them every time you vacuum and access the hidden areas beneath the furniture. This ensures that you clean the entire carpet without allowing dirt to accumulate around the difficult-to-reach areas.
3. Deal With Stains
Treating stains as soon as you notice them on your carpet is essential because it helps prevent the stain from becoming permanent. In case of spills, the first thing you should do is to press an absorbent paper or clean white cotton around the affected area as soon as you can. You should also consider adding a cleaning solution to the absorbent materials. Just ensure that you don’t rub as you may facilitate further sinking in of the stain.
There are different types of stains, each with its corresponding cleaning solution. The type and intensity of the stain will determine the cleaning solution that you should go for. Common stain removers include soapy water, baking soda, vinegar, and other store-bought products.
If you aren’t sure which commercial carpet cleaners are best for your type of carpet, it’s good to seek professional guidance from carpet cleaning companies or the manufacturers themselves.
Common Types Of Stains And How To Deal With Them:
Tea, Coffee, Wine, and Soda
You first need to remove excess moisture using absorbent paper or cotton. Then, use the detergent of your choice and gently agitate the affected area with an absorbent cloth. Repeat this process until the affected area is clean. Note that you can use lukewarm water if you don’t have any detergent solution.
The most popular removal method for chewing gum involves freezing it with ice. Place a piece of ice on the gum for a few minutes to harden it. While it’s in this state, you can effortlessly scrape it off using a knife without leaving the carpet messy. You can clean any residues with a soapy solution and soft rug afterward.
Alternatively, you can use oils like peanut, olive, or eucalyptus oil. Apply the oil with a soft cloth until the gum gets saturated. Finally, scrape off the gum with a knife. For this method, you first want to confirm that the oil you’re intending to use doesn’t discolor or bleach your carpet.
Another option is to use dry-cleaning solvents, mineral spirits, or citrus-based degreasers. The procedure is the same as in the two methods described above.
Fruit and Food
Remove all the particles with a spoon or any blunt object, then use lukewarm water and absorbent material to clean any stains left. If the food or fruit stains still remain, you can repeat the same procedure using an appropriate detergent solution or carpet cleaning product.
Paint, Toner, or Glue
Paint spills are dreadful and usually more stubborn than the other sources of stain mentioned above. If left alone, these spills can leave a permanent unsightly spot on your otherwise beautiful carpet. Whenever you accidentally spill paint on your carpet, immediately use a paper towel to absorb as much excess paint as possible. Next, gently dab the spot with clean warm soapy water, making sure not to push the paint further into the carpet fibers. For dry paint, you can use the edge of a butter knife to scrape off the clumps.
If soapy water doesn’t suffice, consider more effective stain removers like WD-40, turpentine, fingernail polish remover, or hydrogen peroxide. Most of these solutions chemically dissolve the paint, making it easier to remove.
Urine or Blood
An accidental cut while at home can spill blood all over your carpet. If that happens, consider using the following combinations to rid your carpet of the red stain:
- Dishwashing detergent, freshwater, and steel brush
- Ammonia and sponge or cloth
- Spray bottle filled with cool water, wet-vac, and fan
- Water and laundry soap solution
- Water mixed with baking soda and vinegar
- Salt paste
- Hydrogen peroxide
Whichever method you choose, the faster you act on the stain the better.
4. Cushions And Carpet Pads
Nowadays, there are many carpet pads and cushions that can add comfort and help extend the carpet’s longevity. Made to function like shock absorbers, the foam underlayment effectively prevents the wear and tear usually caused by heavy foot traffic over the years, especially if you have a big family. Moreover, they improve suction pressure and airflow, thus making the vacuuming process extremely effective.
One of the golden rules, especially for a first-time homeowner, is to discuss the cushion and pad options with the flooring contractor before buying the carpet. Most times, carpet flooring manufacturers recommend a certain thickness of the carpet pads and cushions depending on the type of flooring you have. They will then advise flooring contractors on the recommended setup.
That means that if your house has wood flooring, the recommended cushion and pad will be different from a person whose house has vinyl flooring. For that reason, make a point of consulting flooring experts to ensure the best results.
5. Keep Off Dirt From Carpeted Rooms
Do you step into the house with dirty shoes? It’s high time you rethink that practice. Shoes carry various types of dirt from the outside, which can quickly make your carpet dirty. Sticks and plastic debris lodged into your shoe soles may also accelerate the wearing of the carpet. So, it’s only logical to take your shoes off before stepping on the carpeted areas in your home.
Moreover, you should also discourage your family members from bringing food items that easily break into particles, fall on the floor, and get entangled with the carpet fibers. For areas like the kitchen where food handling is inevitable, you have the option of using a washable rug.
6. Trim The Carpet Snags
As time passes, your carpet will develop unsightly snags. This isn’t uncommon, especially if pets and children play in the carpeted area or you move around your furniture without completely lifting them off the floor. The best approach to deal with carpet snaps is to gently trim them at the base using sharp carpet scissors. This way, you prevent any further extension of the loose threads. Avoid using your hand to pull the carpet snags because you may end up damaging your carpet.
Additionally, consider purchasing hanging cat scratchers to deter them from scratching your carpet. And for the playful children, see if you can talk them into being more careful with the carpet.
As long as you know how to clean and maintain your carpet, you’ll enjoy the benefits it brings for a long time. And it’s not all about aesthetics. Regular cleaning helps elongate your carpet life while also eliminating odors, stains, dust, allergens, and pet dander—factors known to accelerate the aging of your carpet.
So, take your carpet maintenance more seriously. Make a cleaning schedule and try sticking to it as much as possible. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to do thorough cleaning regularly, you can also hire professional cleaners to do the job for you. They have the necessary equipment, cleaning agents, and expertise to reinvigorate your carpet.