If you’ve just rolled out new carpet throughout your home, then you’re likely ecstatic at the look and feel of your new flooring. You may find yourself staring at your new carpet as you curl your toes into the soft fibers underfoot. Or you may find yourself rolling around on the carpet like your best friend Roofus. And you may invite guests over for dinner parties now, simply to show off the luxurious shag that you’ve just put in. Regardless of how you enjoy your new carpet, it’s obvious that you want to protect your precious investment. So how do you ensure that your carpet looks, feels, and smells great for years on end? Well, with consistent care and maintenance, you can rest assured that your new carpet will remain new-looking and resilient, despite all of the things that life will inevitably throw at it. Here are a few tips that you can employ to keep your carpets tip-top — as provided by the flooring folks here at First Quality Interiors, Charlotte’s choice for premier flooring and expert flooring installations.
Vacuuming your carpet won’t just lend itself to the beauty of your home, it will also bolster the longevity of your carpets. Regular vacuuming ensures that dust, dirt, dander, and other grime doesn’t make its way deep into the fibers of your carpet. That’s important, since it can be incredibly difficult to reach these set-in particles once they’ve made their way to the base of the fibers of your carpet. Over time, all of this grime can show its head by turning your carpet a dull brown. In addition, mold can begin to form, and your carpet can harbor bacteria and odors.
Instead, regular vacuuming can help to ensure that your carpet is relatively grime-free. Merry Maids suggests that you vacuum your home in a regular interval that makes sense for the amount of use that your carpets receive. In their aptly named article, How Often Should I Vacuum?, the author states that “if you have a fairly active home with kids and pets, you may want to vacuum high-traffic areas — such as hallways, mudrooms, living and dining rooms — every other day or at least a couple of times a week. Other spots in the house, like bedrooms, can probably be vacuumed once a week, whereas guestrooms can be cleaned biweekly, unless the family pet sleeps in these places, of course.”
“On the other hand, if your household consists of just one or two people, you can plan to vacuum your home on a weekly basis.” Other sources favor even more rigorous vacuuming routines, favoring daily vacuuming for those who suffer from allergies.
Our advice: Vacuum at least once per week and keep an eye on the cleanliness of your carpet and the resilience of its fibers. If your carpet remains perfectly clean, you can decrease the interval. If your carpet slowly builds up grime, vacuum more often.
Attend to Spills Immediately
This one is a bit of a no-brainer, but we’ll say it anyway: You should clean up spills right away. All spills can prove perilous for your carpet, since they can leave an unsightly stain. Even water spills should be dried up quickly, since the moisture can wick into the carpet and underlayment, which can lead to mold and bacterial growth. For most stains, you can start by blotting the stain with a towel (don’t rub the stain — as this can push the liquid into the carpet fibers and underlayment). Then, use a carpet stain removal product to pull out the remaining liquid. You can also make your own mixture out of vinegar, water, and dish soap — just combine a quarter of a cup of white vinegar with a tablespoon of dish soap in a standard sized spray bottle, and add water to fill the remainder of the bottle. Mix the solution, spray on the stain, and dab away the remaining liquid. Repeat until your carpet is stain free.
For specific stains, take a quick look at Coit’s article, Top Five Carpet Stains. Here, you’ll find information about the best ways to treat juice stains, pet stains, coffee stains, ink stains, and even blood stains.
Steam Clean as Necessary
No matter how cautious we are, and no matter how often we clean, carpet will still harbor dirt and grime. After all, we’re bound to walk on it — and our feet are, well, generally gross. Throughout the years, you should care for your carpet with steam cleaning as it is necessary. When is it necessary to steam clean? you may ask. Well, you ought to give your carpets a thorough steam cleaning at least once per year. Steam cleaning will help to remove set-in stains and grime, and it will reinvigorate carpet threads that have been mashed down from years of foot traffic.
In addition, if you have pets, kids, lots of spills, and areas that endure more traffic than the average airport security queue, then you’ll need to increase that figure. Consider steam cleaning your carpet every six months or quarterly. Also, as a rule of thumb, you should steam clean your carpet if you notice that it is becoming discolored or it no longer bounces back in trafficked areas.
Minimize Wear and Tear
On top of regular maintenance, there are a number of tactics you can employ to minimize the wear and tear that your carpets endure. Here are a few good habits that you can instill in the residents of your home.
Pop off those shoes: Many cultures around the world find it odd that Americans wear their shoes in the house, and there may be a reason behind that: Shoes are dirty. While you may think that your shoes are relatively dirt-free, it’s likely that you’re tracking in dirt every time you step over the threshold of your front door. Throughout the day, your shoes will sink into mud in the park, traverse over motor oil on the road, and — heaven forbid — end up soiled with doggy doo. So, simply kick off your boots before your hooves hit your cherished carpet. Your socks and bare feet are far more clean.
Keep food in the dining room and kitchen: While you may be tempted to eat chips on the sofa, a bit of self-control can work wonders to keep your carpets clean. If you’re constantly finding crumbs around the living room coffee table, or you’ve noticed that your kids have trouble keeping their cereal bowls upright as they view their morning cartoons, then it’s best to keep food and drink in the kitchen or dining room (or any room with hardwood, vinyl, or laminate floors).
Lay down ground rules for the kiddos: Speaking of the kids, it’s a good idea to set a few rules to keep them from making a mess of your floors. Again, have them pop off their shoes, and make them keep food and drink in the kitchen and designated dining spaces. On top of those guidelines, you should also tell your tykes to be wary of dirt and mud that they can track into the house after some playtime outside. Also, tell your kids to at least inform you of any spills that they create — accidents are bound to happen and you’ll likely have to do the cleanup yourself, so it’s best to have your kids alert you of their spills.
Use furniture protectors: Your furniture may prove rather heavy. Over time, your sofa legs will create creases in your carpet, and your TV stand will leave an impression, even after you decide to wall-mount the new flat screen. Fortunately, you can minimize the impact of your furniture with protectors. Buy a few handfuls of carpet protectors for your furniture. These protectors are designed to distribute the weight of your furniture over a bit more surface area, so you don’t leave distinctive marks when you move the aforementioned furniture from its resting place. Put protectors underneath any and all of the furniture that weighs a few dozen pounds or more.
Keep pets off, if possible: With the looming threats of dander, doodoo, and digging claws, your pets can prove to be the greatest threat to your luxurious carpet. If you have pets around the home that are liable to damage your carpet, then it’s best to keep them away from these areas whenever possible. Be sure to feed your felines and canines far away from your carpet. Keep litter boxes off the carpet, and train any pups to go outside or on designated potty-training sheets. When you’re away from the house, you can also “fence off” carpeted areas with dog gates and barriers. If you can’t keep your animals off the carpet, then you should vacuum and steam clean more often.
A stitch in time: If you’ve noticed that your carpet is pulling away from walls or transition strips, then you should attend to it right away. Repair your carpet by having it professionally pulled and stapled or tacked down. Otherwise, your carpet is more likely to endure damage, such as tearing, buckling, and ripped threads. The old adage proves true here: A stitch in time saves nine.
Charlotte’s Carpet Pros
Overall, carpet care isn’t too difficult, and a bit of precaution can prove to keep your carpets clean, comfortable, and odor free for years on end. And, when your carpets do reach the end of their life, we’d be happy to replace them. If you live here in the Charlotte area, you can always count on the flooring pros at First Quality Interiors to replace your carpets! We hope our tips help you to ensure that your new carpets remain beautiful and comfortable!