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Carpets get dirty, no matter what you do, you can’t stop that from happening. You can, however, ensure that when they do get dirty, you properly care for them to get them clean and keep them looking like new. If you just let the problems pile up, those snags, spills, and everyday accidents can make your carpets look old and dingy. Follow these proper maintenance tips and damage-control strategies to keep your carpeted floors cozy, clean, and looking like new for years to come.
It’s obvious that vacuuming keeps your carpets clean, but this common chore is also the key to ensuring they stay looking like new. Dirt has abrasive qualities, and when it’s repeatedly ground into the carpet by everyday foot traffic, it can actually erode the backing over time, separate the fibers of your carpet, and damage it completely if it isn’t vacuumed and removed quickly. Vacuuming once a week (twice a week in busy areas) can remove up to 75 percent of the dirt and debris and prevent your carpet from aging before it’s time.
It’s imperative that you choose the right vacuum for your household needs. Do you have kids or pets? Carpeted stairs? Because no model excels at all types of cleaning, it might be wise to invest in more than one vacuum so you can handle all your cleaning challenges. A cordless handheld vacuum can be convenient for stairs, for example, while an upright is great for large carpeted rooms.
Spills are inevitable, but how you clean them makes all the difference. The most important carpet rules to keep in mind are to work quickly and never rub. Dab cleaning solution onto the trouble spot immediately—the longer you wait, the more it will bond chemically and set into your carpet, and the harder it will be to remove the stain. Then, blot with paper towels or a clean cloth, as this gently puts a small amount of pressure on the liquid, helping to soak it up instead of letting it set in. Remember to blot from the outside in to prevent the spill from spreading.
If used correctly, club soda can become an essential (and natural) weapon to combat carpet stains. Whether you’re dealing with pet accidents, coffee, tea, or red wine, a healthy pour of club soda over the spill and a few dabs with a clean cloth should return your carpet to its original glory.
Carpets are bound to snag eventually—especially if you have kids or pets. Rule number one: Never pull a snag. This will inevitably make the problem worse, as it’s likely that you’ll tear the carpet away from the backing. Instead, grab a pair of scissors and trim the snag at the base to prevent further damage.
Hallways, carpeted stairs, and rooms that experience a lot of foot traffic need a little extra attention. You may want to consider strategically layering an area rug or runner as another form of prevention, as it’s much easier (and cheaper) to replace these temporary coverings when they become soiled from dirt or spills.
No matter how diligent you are with vacuuming and maintenance, your carpet will still need some extra TLC from time to time. It’s essential to do a deep cleaning every six months to keep floors looking fresh and grime-free. Whether you rent a carpet cleaner or bring in a professional service like Champion Cleaning Systems, steam cleaning extracts deeply embedded dirt as well as any lingering stains to leave your carpets looking brand new.