Some of the most common practices for maintaining carpets actually damage them. Some of these practices include not wearing shoes in the house, spot cleaning, and steam cleaning the carpets.
Sound crazy? It all comes down to understanding how carpets get dirty. If employed correctly these practices will increase the life of your carpet, but if done incorrectly they can take years off the life of your carpet.
Shoes Or No Shoes?
First, choosing not to wear shoes in the house is a great practice, if they are replaced with house shoes. Walking on carpet in bare feet, or socks can still do damage to the carpet. Skin produces oils that stick to carpet fibers, and attract dirt. Walking bare foot after applying lotion will do more damage than walking around the house in street shoes, because lotions contain a lot of oils. In addition feet are the sweatiest part of the human body. Sweat grows bacteria, which produces a foul odor. Evidence of the damage the oils from skin cause can be found inside of a pair of shoes. Just take a whiff. Bacterium gets into carpets and cause odors, eat away at your carpet fibers, and grow unpleasant things that can turn into spots. If you are not going to wear shoes in the house, make sure that everyone has a pair of slippers to wear, instead of socks or going barefoot. This will protect and help to keep your carpets fresh for years to come.
Spot Cleaning Is Important!
Spot cleaning is definitely an important step in carpet maintenance. However, if you use the wrong products to clean up spots, it can permanently damage the carpet by setting stains, or bleaching the carpet fibers. Avoid carpet cleaning products that you can buy in the grocery store. The quality of the product sold in grocery stores is typically very low. Most of these products contain oil, petroleum, and silica that leave a residue behind that attracts soil and dirt. Have you ever cleaned up a spot and noticed that it is gone for a week maybe two, then suddenly the spot comes back? This is one of the problems caused by using products that leave a residue.
Many of these products also warn that you should test for color fastness. Why? They can actually alter the color of your carpet, and the product manufacturer doesn’t want to be responsible for any type of damage. Using these low quality products on your rugs can actually void your carpet’s warranty. No matter what, do not use bleach, or dish soap products to clean spots. These products are not designed for carpet, and can do considerable damage.
Best Spot Cleaning Product Available
The best spot cleaner out there is probably sitting under your kitchen sink, or in your pantry already. It is white distilled vinegar. It contains antibacterial properties, and will not leave behind any kind of residue. We recommend keeping a spray bottle mixed half and half with water. Use it for general clean up of normal spots, and even pet spots. It can actually help to keep “Fido’s” lovely spots from permanently staining the carpet.
Baking soda, corn starch, and salt are other items that you can use to clean up spots. Baking soda can help remove odors. Simply sprinkle it over the carpet, and vacuum it out. Corn starch is an absorbent material that can be used if you spill juice on the carpet. When a juice spill occurs, towel up the spot as much as you can, use straight white vinegar, and pour it over the spot. Let the vinegar sit 2 minutes then towel out, and coat the top of the spot with a good layer of cornstarch. The cornstarch will draw out the moisture, and the color left by the juice. Let the cornstarch dry completely. Once it is dry, break it up, and vacuum. Then take a carpet brush to the rug and brush it the loosen any that is left and vacuum again. Next a solution of warm salt water can be used to remove blood from the carpet. Make sure the salt is dissolved completely before working it into the spot.
Don’t Over Heat or Soak Your Carpet
Lastly, steam cleaning the rug with a home cleaner can definitely help with spot cleaning, but you must be careful. Water that is too hot can actually cause your carpet backing to breakdown. This causes wrinkling. By using a steam cleaner every month to clean your carpets, you are taking years off of the life of your rugs. At most you should clean your carpet two times a year.
Make sure to use quality products or just a solution of vinegar and water, otherwise you will notice spots returning quickly. To sum it up, remember products that leave a residue will just attract dirt back. Get the carpets too wet, and you run the risk of growing mold and mildew. Water that is too hot can cause damage to the backing of the carpet.
For best results, use your steam cleaner for spot cleaning and have your carpets professionally cleaned once a year to keep your warranty intact. This will ensure the longest life for your investment. Both dry, and steam cleaners can do a great job when properly used.
Want more information? Feel free to call us any time at 303.993.6751, email us or comment below. We would love to hear from you.
Copyright 4/12/2013 all rights reserved Pristine Carpet Cleaning.
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The Pristine Carpet Cleaning family has been professionally cleaning carpets, and upholstery for over 35 years. Earlier in 2011, the boys came home from the US Marine Corps and decided they wanted to start cleaning carpets again. So, Ed the owner came out of retirement and started Pristine Carpet Cleaning. Ed's wife Ginger, and daughter Joni also joined the team.