Your carpet is a valuable investment. Any investment requires maintenance. You change the oil in your vehicle so that the engine will last longer and to avoid costly repairs. The same is true for your carpet, or any floor covering for that matter. By properly maintaining your carpet it will look better, last longer, and contribute to a healthier indoor environment.
When it comes to maintaining carpet, one of the most critical areas of focus is the traffic areas. If ground-in soil is not removed on a regular basis, the traffic areas will begin to wear excessively. The dirt is extremely abrasive against the fibers of the carpet as you walk back and forth on it. The second area of focus is spot removal. You must react to “danger” spots immediately. Red wine, red beverages, urine, blood, etc. can cause a permanent stain if not treated immediately. Listed below are the steps that you must take to properly maintain your carpeting.
1. Check the Warranty Copies of specific warranties on your carpet purchase are available for you upon request. Stain-resistant warranties can vary from 5 to 20 years. All stain resistant warranties require regular cleaning and immediate spot removal!
2. Vacuum, Vacuum, Vacuum! Vacuum your carpet often. Once or twice a week at least. Vacuuming removes the sharp soil that can cut and slice the fiber causing premature wear. Much of this soil is not visible to the eye. Vacuum before the carpet looks soiled. Remove any loose particles such as loose food, leaves, pieces of crayon, bugs, etc. as these items can cause a spot on the carpet.
3. Professional Cleaning As a general rule, professional cleaning by a professional, certified firm, should take place about once a year. Many stain resistant warranties require professional cleaning every two years! If you have extremely heavy traffic areas, clean more often. Professional cleaning removes the damaging soil from the traffic areas that vacuuming has not been able to remove. A proper professional cleaning will not leave a sticky residue behind and be done as many times per year.
4. Spot Removal Immediate spot removal is key to a clean carpet. Great care must also be taken in how spot cleaning is performed. When the carpet is new, it has sufficient protector on it, plain tap water will remove many spots. However, for those spots that will not move easily with water, you must use a spot cleaner. Select a spot cleaner that is recommended by your carpet retailer or your trained, certified professional cleaner. Apply spot cleaner sparingly to a white terry cloth and gently massage the spot causing it to transfer into the cloth. Never pour spot cleaner directly on the carpet. If the product that you are using seems to cause the spot to re-soil over a few weeks period, discontinue use. Any spot that you are not able to remove, and for pet urine and feces, call your professional cleaner immediately.
5. Protective Coating Residential carpets are treated with stain-resistant properties and soil resistors. The soil resistor part is known as DuPont Teflon or 3M Scotchgard. After a period of two to three years, much of the soil resistor wears off, depending on traffic. At that point, you should consider having a professional carpet cleaner re-apply the treatment after professional cleaning. The soil resistor will help the soil slide off the carpet easier when vacuuming, spots will be easier to remove, and professional cleaning will be more effective the next time it is cleaned.