No carpet or other type of flooring will last forever, but you can extend your carpet’s lifespan with the right preventative maintenance. Preventative maintenance involves taking steps to prevent wear and tear, address common issues, and keep your carpet looking its best for as long as possible.
Preventative maintenance also involves avoiding activities you know could be harmful to your carpet. For example, certain cleaners contain ingredients that could damage your carpet fibers permanently. Products that can be harmful to your carpet include:
- Bathroom cleaners
- Drain cleaners
- Tub and tile cleaners
- Toilet bowl cleaners
- Skin creams
- Acne medication
- Insecticides and fertilizers
- Oven cleaners
- Furniture polish
One of the best things you can do to keep your carpet looking its best is to keep it as clean as possible. Place floor mats both inside and outside the entrances to your home to trap dirt and other debris before it reaches the carpet. We also recommend vacuuming regularly to remove dirt from your carpet. If possible, use a vacuum with a rotating brush or beater bar to loosen the soil. However, keep in mind that certain constructions, including berber carpets and other carpets with thick loop construction, may be sensitive to brushing. If you have these carpet constructions, stick with basic vacuuming only.
In addition to cleaning your carpet on your own, you should also have it professionally cleaned once each year, even if it does not appear dirty. In fact, professional cleanings once every 12-18 months are required by most carpet warranties. Professional cleaning will keep your carpet from wearing out before its time and/or becoming stained and discolored.
Spot and Spill Care
When dealing with spots and spills, acting immediately will provide the best results. If solid materials are stuck to the carpet, use a dull knife or spoon to break them free. When liquids are spilled, blot up the liquid with a white towel.
Avoid rubbing, scrubbing, or using brushes on your carpet, as this may damage your carpet fibers. When stubborn stains are present, be sure the cleaning product you are using is appropriate for the type of stain and type of carpet. If you are not sure what type of cleaning agent you should use, it is also possible to make your own. Simply combine 1 cup of water with ¼ teaspoon of dish detergent. For stubborn stains, try mixing 2 tablespoons of ammonia with 1 cup of water.
When applying any cleaning agent, apply the substance to a cloth, rather than applying it directly to the carpet. Keep in mind that a deep stain may require more than one cleaning. When cleaning any stain, work from the outside to the center. Otherwise, you may make the stain worse.
Addressing Common Problems
- Sprouting – Carpet sprouting occurs when tufts of yarn rise above the pile of the carpet. In some carpet constructions, such as cut pile carpets, some amount of sprouting is normal. However, sprouting can occur with any carpet construction. If you notice a sprout, do not try to pull it out. The best way to deal with sprouts is to trim them down to the level of the pile. After you have trimmed the sprout, use your fingers to smooth out the area.
- Pile Crushing – Pile crushing can occur in heavy-traffic areas, especially if the carpet construction chosen is not ideal for these spaces. This can also happen when heavy objects are placed on the pile. Prevent crushing by making thoughtful carpeting choices and moving heavy furniture periodically. Several different methods may be used to revive crushed carpet fibers. For example, in some cases, you may be able to encourage the fibers to stand up again simply using your fingers to work with them. If the evidence of crushing remains, place a damp white cloth over the area, and use an iron on a low setting to heat it. Remove the cloth and brush the pile while it is still warm to restore its normal appearance.
- Shading – Shading occurs when the direction of the pile reverses. In most cases, shading is temporary and can be reversed by brushing the pile in the opposite direction. However, it tends to get worse over time in cases where it is the result of traffic or specific vacuuming patterns. Shading is common with plush carpets, which is why they are often recommended for low-traffic areas only.
Pile Distortion / Roll Crush – Pile distortion and roll crush are conditions that occur when carpets are rolled and unrolled repeatedly, as is common during the manufacturing, shipping and installation processes. To resolve these issues, simply vacuum the carpet and increase the relative humidity in the room to at least 50% for several weeks to allow the pile to recover.