When a property owner first has a new carpet installed, it can be a wonderful feeling. The entire surface is brand new, almost sparkling in how untouched the material is from dust, dirt, tracking, sun damage or general wear and tear. Over time however, carpets wear down like anything else. Quality carpets wear down slower than base level product, but they too start to show signs of age. One way to delay this is carpet maintenance.
Many think that carpet maintenance involves just making sure the floor is clear and vacuumed. However, there’s a lot more to the care process than simple clearing and picking up of surface dirt and dust. Good carpet maintenance involves a number of steps which include:
• Sun protection
• Frequent vacuuming
• Regular deep carpet cleaning and washing
• Spot treatment for immediate issues
Avoiding Damage Before It Occurs
Prevention is probably one of the biggest maintenance issues a homeowner can apply to a carpet to help it last a long time. This involves understanding and anticipating where wear and damage will occur and preventing or lessening their effects before the impact occurs. Some people go to the lengths of walking tracks made of plastic. While a complete separation isn’t always necessary, prevention can help cut down a serious amount of damage. Typical ways include not wearing outside shoes on the carpet, moving furniture around regularly to reduce heavy traffic patterns, keeping pets from tracking inside before being cleaned, avoiding eating over carpeted areas, and lifting versus dragging tables or heavy objects over the carpet. Just making a point to practice similar prevention steps every day can cut down a serious amount of damage over time.
The Sun is NOT Your Friend
Avoiding sun damage doesn’t seem like a major maintenance issue since most homes and the carpets inside are protected by walls. However, when the windows are opened, the sun comes right in with its radiation, directly exposing and slowing heating the carpet area it reaches. If the windows are left open all the time, the exposed areas of carpet will become faded and will lose color quickly. However, by using blinds and curtains to block the sun, when not using the room, you can save your carpet from fading. This is particularly helpful for carpets that are dark colored. Otherwise, a homeowner should consider a light-colored carpet in areas that will regularly see a lot of sun.
Pick Up Regularly
Vacuuming won’t solve your carpet maintenance duties alone but it does help remove a lot of the daily buildup of dirt and dust before it begins to dull a carpet; that is if the removal is done regularly. Vacuuming should probably be done at least every two weeks, and once a week in areas with lots of foot traffic, such as the family room and the entrance. This helps avoid matting which quickly kills the look of a carpet.
Quick Work is Essential
Spot cleaning provides a critical, immediate treatment where a stain or mark begins to set into a carpet. Timing is critical and spot cleaning involves far more than just soap and water. Stains usually take time to actually penetrate into carpet fibers, and high quality carpets will resist penetration for a while. However, eventually a stain will set. With spot cleaning applied quickly, the stain can be broken down and removed quickly before it gets into the carpet fibers. This allows a homeowner to keep their carpet looking clean and stain-free longer, even when a stain potential spill does occur. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to learn from the accident and not repeat it again, especially with food or drinks over carpets.
Call in the Pros
Professional carpet cleaning is not just something done when there’s a big spill that can’t be quickly removed. For the purposes of carpet maintenance, a once a year carpet cleaning with professional equipment is a must, especially for any home where the carpet is critical for appearance and presentation. The deep cleaning process uses hot water and suction to free up soils and stains caught in the fiber of carpets that won’t come up with simple spot cleaning or hand-washing. With steam and hot water, microscopic dirt as well as regular soil comes loose with moisture and can then be pulled from fibers rather than being trapped. The results tend to be an obviously cleaner carpet. Even dulled and old carpets will show some improvement with a professional cleaning. However, by making it a point to apply such treatments once a year, carpets can be kept in good condition for a long time.
Carpets don’t take care of themselves, and their regular maintenance can mean a difference of years in how long a carpet can remain presentable versus needing replacement. That said, many people learn the hard way, before regularly practicing maintenance. New carpet owners don’t have to make the same mistake. With a bit of maintenance you can prolonging the use and benefit of a carpeted floor for years and years.