Carpets offer a warm, luxurious feel to any room but come with the major disadvantage of being difficult to clean and keep clean. However, with a few tips and tricks from the experts, you can keep your carpets cleaner for longer and extend the lifespan by years.
Prevention is always better than cure and keeping your carpets from getting dirty in the first place is the best solution. You can take the following steps to prevent dirt, grime and stains from becoming a problem:
- Cover high traffic areas with rugs, mats or runners that can be washed to prevent dirt from being tracked in and trampled into the carpets.
- Remove shoes and wear socks when walking on carpets. Bare feet are not ideal as the oils on your skin leech into the fibers attracting dirt and grime.
- Avoid eating, drinking or serving food and beverages in carpeted areas.
- Prevent pets from sleeping on carpets and provide them with a rug or bed. Also house train pets to avoid pet accidents.
Of course it is impossible to avoid your carpets getting dirty forever. Accidents happen and daily dust and dirt are eventually going to take their toll. When your carpets do get dirty, check out the following tips.
Sweeping carpets only removes surface dirt and debris and may drive dust and other smaller particles deeper into the fibres resulting in dirtier carpets. Invest in a vacuum that has a strong suction and filtering capability. It is generally recommended to vacuum carpets at least once a week. However, this should be more often in high traffic areas and in homes that have pets or small children that tend to track in more dirt.
There is a misconception that regular vacuuming can harm carpets resulting in greater wear and tear on the fibres. This is however a fallacy and vacuuming often has been proven to be better for carpets by in fact increasing their lifespan. Even daily vacuuming is going to have less of an effect on your carpets than not vacuuming because it sucks up dust, dirt and loose debris before it can become trampled into the pile.
Spills And Accidents
Spills and accidents can result in stubborn stains that can be extremely difficult to remove. It is crucial to clean up spills as soon as possible before they can set in and become permanent.
Dry spills such as sand, soil or dry foods should preferably be vacuumed up immediately. A mini hand-held vacuum is ideal for these incidents especially in a home where dry spills are common.
Wet spills are more difficult to deal with and it is important to apply a cleaning technique that is suitable for the type of spill:
- Salt is ideal for drawing out the liquid from the carpet for most type of beverage or liquid stains including red wine. Dab the spill to remove as much excess moisture and then liberally pour table salt over the spill. Allow it to work for 10-15 minutes before vacuuming the salt up. Repeat until no discoloration remains.
- Diluted dish-washing liquid is great for breaking down oil and grease. Most food stains are oil based. Dilute in warm water and dab onto the stain with a cloth. Do not pour the solution onto the stain as this will cause it to spread. Allow to work for a few minutes then dab with clean water to rinse. Repeat until stain is no longer visible.
- Bio-enzyme detergents break-down biological matter and are ideal to remove pet stains and odors. These detergents are available at your local pet store. Alternatively, laundry detergent that contains bio-enzymes can be used. Make sure that the detergent does NOT contain bleach as this will fade dyes in the carpet.
- Allow mud to dry before vacuuming it up. It may take a few attempts to get rid of the tiniest dirt particles. If this doesn’t work, use a bio-enzyme cleaner, allow the area to dry and vacuum again.
There are 3 rules to remember when removing stains:
- Clean as soon as possible.
- NEVER rub and rather dab.
- As a rule, use cold water rather than hot water on stains.
- Regular Cleaning
It is recommended to deep clean your carpets every 12 to 24 months or according to the manufacturer’s cleaning and care instructions. You can do this deep clean yourself either by investing in a quality carpet cleaner or hiring one. It is important to use the correct cleaning technique and detergents for the type of carpet. Once again, following the manufacturer’s instructions is critical.
Vacuum your carpet before cleaning. Use stain removers according to the instructions or the above-mentioned stain removal techniques before cleaning for a more even clean. Rinse the carpets if recommended and extract as much excess liquid as possible to allow for a faster drying time. You can use a wet-dry vacuum to suck out excess moisture or use a carpet cleaner that has an extraction function.
There is a misconception that carpets get dirtier faster after they have been cleaned. Residue from detergents left behind on the carpet can attract dirt. Deep cleaning can also cause dirt to rise from the underlay. Rinsing is therefore important as is extracting excess water and vacuuming once the carpets are entirely dry.
Professional Carpet Cleaning
Many homeowners believe that professional a carpet cleaning service is not worth the cost. However, when you factor in the time, effort and cost of detergents and buying or hiring the right equipment, cleaning your carpets yourself can often be just as costly.
Professional carpet cleaners are also experts and know the best techniques to use and how to apply them for the best results. They also only use the highest quality equipment and detergents to clean your carpets deep down and get rid of dirt, grime as well as microorganisms like dust mites, bacteria and mold spores that present a health hazard.
Research has confirmed that having your carpets professionally cleaned by the experts at least every two years can extend the lifespan way beyond the warranty period.