Many new carpets come with a host of stain and wear-resistant guarantees, but the fact is, wear and tear can eventually make even the most expensive carpet look old and dirty.
Many new carpets come with a host of stain and wear-resistant guarantees, but the fact is, wear and tear can eventually make even the most expensive carpet look old and dirty. Here are six tips for keeping your carpet in top shape.
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1. Understand what damages your carpet
A huge part of keeping your carpet in great shape is understanding what causes it to become damaged. The main contributor to wear and tear on your carpet is regular foot traffic. Well-traveled areas, like staircases and entryways, will show damage sooner than bedroom carpets or the corners of rooms.
To mitigate this damage, you have several options. One is to change the position of furniture in a high-traffic room to alter traffic patterns and limit the number of furniture “divots” in your carpet. You can also choose to lay down rugs or carpet runners to absorb some of the damage. If you’re having carpet installed for the first time or replacing existing carpet, consider investing in a heavy underlay (the foam or rubber layer that goes under your carpet) to help prevent damage.
2. Using carpet sprays
One of the most commons signs of a damaged carpet is a musty smell. Dirt, pollen, dander, skin cells and other particles find their way into carpet, giving rise to a sour odor that doesn’t disappear when vacuumed. You can help mitigate this smell by using air fresheners or carpet sprays, but be aware they are only temporary fixes.
3. Dealing with spills immediately
Even minor spills can quickly turn into stains if left untreated. One trick to keep your carpet looking new is to deal with any spill as soon as it happens so it doesn’t have time to set in.
4. Tackling set-in stains
Sometimes, it’s not possible to deal with a spill immediately, or a spill may go unnoticed if you’ve had a party (or have small children who might prefer to hide the evidence instead of taking the blame). If it’s a food-based or other organic stain that’s started to smell, you can use detergent and cold water to break it down. Soak up as much of the water as possible, let it dry and then apply baking soda. Let it sit overnight to pull up as much of the stain as possible and then vacuum it up. You can also use commercial spot-stain removers, but be sure to follow the directions exactly. These products are powerful and can damage carpets if too much is used.
5. Steam and dry cleaning
Keeping your carpet looking new means taking time to do the little things like cleaning up spills and stains and vacuuming. But it’s also important to do a deeper carpet cleaning once in a while, using either steam or dry cleaning to pull out or break down stains. If your carpet hasn’t been thoroughly cleaned in the last year, you may want to consider hiring a professional cleaner that uses a high-power steam cleaning machine or high-performance dry cleaning chemicals.