Keeping your carpet in good condition can be a challenge. With proper maintenance techniques, you can extend the life of your carpet for years to come. Follow these professional DIY carpet maintenance tips to preserve the appearance and integrity of your carpeting.
The Importance of Regular Vacuuming
Why is this so important?
Vacuuming is the most important step you can take in maintaining the integrity and appearance of your carpet. Over 70% of all foreign debris found in carpeting is dry soil. When this dry soil is left in the carpet it gets driven down into the bottom of the pile and eventually into the padding. At this point it is much more difficult to remove.
Set a schedule.
The bottom line is the more frequently and thoroughly you vacuum your carpet, the better it will look. We suggest vacuuming all carpet at least once per week, and 2-3 times per week in high-traffic areas. Establishing a regular vacuuming schedule will result in noticeable improvements in the appearance of your carpets.
Take it slow.
Move the vacuum cleaner back and forth slowly. While it may seem quicker to do fast passes, these are far less effective. Overlap your vacuum passes slightly to compensate for reduced suction at the edges of the vacuum cleaner.
For best vacuuming results, try vacuuming from two opposite directions. A second pass at a perpendicular (90-degree) angle is extremely effective for removing maximum soil. If this seems too tedious, consider doing it only in high-traffic areas.
Clean Your Vacuum.
Vacuum cleaners lose their effectiveness considerably as the filters get dirty. Replace vacuum bags (or empty canisters) regularly to maximize your machine’s abilities. Check for clogs in the vacuum hose and make sure that the brush is working properly.
Doormats and Rugs Are Your Friend
Using doormats and rugs over your carpet in the high-traffic areas will save your carpet from collecting dirt and wearing down. This is the most effective way to protect entryway carpeting.
Ditch the Shoes
By leaving the shoes at the door, you can significantly decrease the amount of dirt and soil tracked into your home. Not only are shoes dirty, but their hard soles wear down your carpet and drive dirt down into the padding where it is harder to remove. Slippers, socks, or bare feet are much better options.
Clean Spills Immediately
Stains are by far the easiest to remove immediately after they reach the carpet. If you address a spill right away, you can often get most or all of it out. The less you leave in the carpet, the easier the stain will be to remove later on.
Blot, Don’t Rub
When you attempt to clean up a stain, using a rubbing motion can spread it to unaffected carpet. Instead, you should blot the spot with an absorbent towel to remove as much as possible. Always do this before further treatment.
Apply Carpet Protector
Carpet protectors such as Scotchgard form a protective barrier against stains. Applying a carpet protector will make stains easier to remove, and allow you to go longer between professional cleanings. High-traffic areas benefit the most from a protector.
We don’t just want our carpets to look clean, we want them to smell clean too. This DIY baking soda method will help absorb unsavory smells in your carpet. 1) Sprinkle baking soda on your carpet in affected areas. 2) Let the baking soda sit for 5-10 minutes. 3) Vacuum the baking soda out of the carpet.
Cut, Don’t Pull
Never pull loose carpet fibers, as this can create runs and eventually cause your carpet to tear. Instead, cut loose strands with a sharp scissors or blade.
Use Safe Cleaning Products
A lot of products on the market claim to remove stains, spills, and odors but simply mask them or drive them deeper. The stains then often re-appear looking worse than before.
Don’t Use Too Much.
The most common problem in DIY stain removal is using too much chemical. When harsh cleaning agents are left in the carpet without thorough extraction they can damage the carpet fibers, cause color shift, and make subsequent stain removal efforts more challenging.
Test for Colorfastness.
Always test cleaning products in a small, inconspicuous area. The main thing to pay attention to is whether the cleaning solution affects the color of your carpet. If so, stop using that product immediately.
Area Rugs Can Bleed
Be careful when cleaning area rugs over carpeting, as many rugs can bleed color onto the carpet beneath it. If in doubt, clean the rug somewhere safe and return it when dry.
Regular Professional Cleaning
Only a thorough hot water extraction is going to clean deep down into dirty carpets. We recommend a professional cleaning 1 or 2 times per year, depending on the situation. Pay attention to hiring a quality carpet cleaner, as there are many that sacrifice quality for price.