Extend the life of your carpet with these simple steps
Your carpet is an investment, so, understandably, you want to keep it looking fresh and new for as long as possible. Even if Spot drags in dirt from the yard and your toddler spills cereal every now and then, these nine easy tips can keep your carpet in tip-top shape for years to come.
1. Use Area Rugs
Give your carpet decorative protection with area rugs and runners, placed strategically in high-traffic areas, such as hallways, entry points, and right in front of couches and chairs. You might consider placing them in any room where there might be a lot of eating and drinking, such as a den. The extra layer will minimize stains and crushing of the carpet fibers.
2. Keep Doormats in Place
To stop grime from getting into your home (and subsequently, on your carpet) in the first place, place doormats in front of every exterior door. In colder months, when extreme weather can cause a big, slushy mess, consider placing a doormat on the inside as well so you and your guests can remove your dirty shoes on a dedicated spot that isn’t your carpet.
3. Vacuum Regularly
Schedule a vacuuming at least once a week or twice a week for those high-traffic areas described above. "This is the number one piece of advice we give homeowners when it comes to maintaining carpets,” says Asya Biddle, Angi Expert Review Board member and manager of The Dust Busters janitorial company in Williamsport, PA. “Vacuuming every day will eliminate dirt, debris, bacteria, and mold. It’ll also help the carpet fibers maintain their color and shape."
Vacuuming regularly prevents dirt from eroding your carpet’s backing; dirt can also damage the fibers in such a way that they reflect light differently, which not only causes erosion but makes your carpet look much older and dirtier than it is. You should also vacuum over every area several times and in different directions to get all the dirt out. So, grab that Dyson, blast the radio, and get to vacuuming!
4. And Use a Good Vacuum
If you’re still working with a 10-year-old, hand-me-down vacuum cleaner, it might be time for an upgrade. Check out different models and compare them to your needs—some vacuums are better equipped to handle the mess made by dogs and kids, and others make short work of your carpeted stairs. Buy the model that’s right for your home and life.
5. Soak Up Spills Right Away
No matter the liquid, repeat after us: never, ever rub when cleaning up a spill on your carpet. Instead, clean it up as soon as it happens by dabbing a cleaning solution on the liquid. Follow this with a good blotting, moving from the outside in, using a paper towel or a clean cloth.
“If the spot remains, don’t use a spot carpet remover as it can easily spread the spill or stain. This is the time to call a carpet cleaning professional,” says Biddle.
6. Institute a No-Shoes Policy
A custom in many Asian countries and growing in popularity elsewhere, consider implementing a no-shoes policy so that you, your family, and your guests don’t drag excess dirt into the house. You can even buy several inexpensive, cozy house slippers (known as uwabaki in Japan) to offer visitors.
7. Snip Snags
Some carpet styles, such as Berber, snag. And when snags happen, don’t pull them—this could only make matters worse. Instead, get out your finest pair of shears and give the carpet a little trim.
8. Avoid Carpet Powder Products
Companies market carpet powders as a way to eliminate odor in your carpet, but they can cause harm over time, often leaving residue that will get sticky the next time you have your carpet shampooed or steam cleaned.
9. Hire a Professional Carpet Cleaner
If you wait for signs that your carpet needs professional cleaning, chances are that some irreversible staining has already happened. Instead, hire a professional carpet cleaner every six months—or, at the very least, once per year—to do a deep cleaning and keep that carpet cushy and looking good as new.