Many of us work hard to keep a clean house and take care of our carpet and upholstery. Unfortunately, there are plenty of websites that provide bad information for cleaning the most expensive fabrics in your home. Check our list and make sure you are not making some of these costly mistakes.
Mistake #1: You don’t clean it until it looks dirty.
Out of sight out of mind doesn’t work with carpet. Just because you can’t see the dirt doesn’t mean it isn’t there. A carpet accumulates around 25 pounds of soil a year, even when vacuumed regularly. Unfortunately, the dust has half the cutting power of glass. Cleaning as recommended is important to keep a carpet looking great for the entire expected life of the rug.
Mistake #2: Walking on the carpet barefoot.
While it’s true that walking on your carpet with shoes on, is not the best idea, going barefoot is not ideal either. Feet sweat, release oils and grow bacteria. Once in the carpet they attract and trap dirt in the fibers. The best practice is to wear house slippers. Never walk on your carpet barefoot after moisturizing your feet. The lotion is a death sentence to a carpet.
Mistake #3: Assuming Vacuuming is Enough.
If you vacuum a couple of times a week you are leaving soil behind. Even with regular vacuuming, carpets accumulate approximately twenty-five pounds of soil per year. A carpet rake is a great way to get the maximum amount of dirt out of the carpet. Brushing the carpet prior to vacuuming will loosen more soil. It also lifts the nap of the carpet and removes pet hair. Purchasing a quality carpet rake will cost between twenty and forty dollars. Using a carpet rake at least once a month before vacuuming will make a significant difference in extending the longevity of your rug. If you have pets, regular raking can also extend the life of your vacuum. Lastly, raking the carpet provides good cardio and arm workout.
Mistake #4: Using Store-Bought Spot Cleaner
Spot cleanup is important, but what you use to clean the spots is equally important. Store-bought cleaners are cheaply made and use oil, silicone, or petroleum as a base. All of these products leave behind a film that attracts dirt like a magnet. You may notice the spot looks great at first, but two to four weeks later the spots come back, and may even look worse than before. In addition, these cleaners strip the protective coating off the rug.
Applying more spot cleaner only adds oil to the problem, and eventually, the spots won’t come out. Sometimes spot cleaners also change the color of the carpet. Beware, if the bottle says to test for colorfastness; throw it in the trash. We recommend you never use store-bought products. For information on what to use, check out our emergency spot tips here. Chances are you already have what you need in your pantry.
Mistake #5: Thinking the Dark Pattern in the Rug is Just Dirt.
Areas that are traveled frequently in the home incur the most damage. Once a wear pattern is established and darkening appears in the walkways, it is too late. You can remove the dirt, but the carpet will remain dark. As previously mentioned dust has half the cutting power of glass. Walking on carpet grinds the fibers against the dust, and cuts them little by little. The carpet begins to fray, changing the way light refracts off the fibers. What was once bright becomes dull, and dark. To prevent this damage, it is important to vacuum and clean your carpet regularly.
Carpet comes with a protective coating when it is new, to help repel spills, and protect against the cutting power of dust. However, it does wear off over time. Manufacturers recommend reapplying the carpet protection when the carpets are cleaned. Make sure to ask for this extra. It will cost a little more but is worth the price.
Mistake #6: Assuming Just Cleaning the Carpet will deodorize.
When doing laundry there are different products designed to do different jobs. You can purchase brighteners, fabric softeners, deodorizers, bleach (never use bleach on carpet), and products that prolong the life of your colors. Although some cleaners have perfumes they do not deodorize or sanitize for bacteria or mold. You need a special product for that. Carpet cleaning products are the same. If you have an odor you want to have removed, you will need to do more than just the basic cleaning service. Ask your cleaner for a product that sanitizes to take care of the problem that is causing the odor.