Have you noticed that your carpet or area rug is losing its beauty, bit by bit, with each passing day? The continuous exposure to dirt, dust, and other particles is to blame. So, how do you maintain your carpet’s mint appearance for a long time? Here are some tips that will help you achieve that without wasting precious energy and time. But, before that, let’s understand:
What Causes Carpets to Deteriorate in Shape & Appearance Over Time?
Carpets are made from polypropylene, cotton, olefin, wool, acrylic or nylon. Those made from synthetic materials are less expensive and have high resistance to stains and friction than carpets made from natural materials; hence, rarely wear out. However, synthetic fibers can be faded, scratched or flattened by sand and grainy soil accumulated in them. So, if you place a synthetic carpet on an area with high foot traffic, walking on them scratches their fibers because of the friction caused between the fibers and the soil you bring inside. As a result, the fibers don’t reflect the light as they used to anymore and you carpet is dull and remains that way even after cleaning.
How to Help:
1. Vacuum the Right Way!
Prevention is always best so run the vacuum every day or every other day to clean the carpet and prevent soil buildup. This will also allow you to catch any dirt before it penetrates deeper in the surface of the carpet. Focus more on the areas of the carpet that receive heavier foot traffic as they require longer suctioning to remove accumulated dirt and dust that have sunk deep down in the fibers. Another good trick is to vacuum on different angles and multiple times. According to experts, running the vacuum in a crisscross pattern is the best way to clean a rug. Tip: When cleaning, it’s best to keep pets away so you can remove their furs and hairs effectively. Since they scatter and stick on the surface of the carpets, you will need some time to clean the rug. It would be a pity to try to get rid of pet hairs when your pet is running loose in the house, shedding some more in the meantime! So, keep your furry friends in their kennels or cages, at least for as long as you clean the rug!
2. Freshen up the Rug
One of the incredible uses of baking soda is when you want to sparkle your carpets with freshness! Sprinkle some over the surface of your rugs and you will notice that any nasty odors will vanish. Do so after every vacuuming (regular or deep) or when you see fit! Note: To treat liquid spills and sticky substances, read the manufacturer’s instructions, blot the spilled area and remove the spill according to the type of your carpet.
3. Dry properly
When drying your carpet, you should consider their material. Some have very delicate materials that need careful handling. For instance, placing an Oriental-type rug under direct sunlight to dry, could discolor it. For that reason, you could either have a professional do the cleaning and drying for you or make sure you have enough space inside the house to lay the carpet and dry it with the use of air-conditioning or fans. However, it should be noted that some types of carpets need to stay wet for as little as possible. In this case, don’t risk it. Let a pro do this job. Tip: NEVER bleach the area rug. Bleach is not fit for cleaning carpets. It has strong acid intended for other home use, such as cleaning clothes.
4. Place the Rug Strategically in the house!
Help your rug stay cleaner by placing welcome rugs at the entrance of your home. That way, most of the dirt from footwear will be absorbed by the entrance mat! You can also use roll runners or stair treads on high trafficked areas (i.e. room corridors and stairs) to absorb most of the dirt and dust. Plus, you add to the overall décor of the home! Note: Don’t forget to include those mats in your regular carpet cleaning routine and replace them when they are worn!
5. Change into Slippers Inside the Home
In many countries around the world, people remove their shoes before they enter their home and change to slippers. Undeniably, it is a great way to keep all dirt and allergens outside and not bring it in, staining the carpets and causing health issues. Now, if you think that walking barefoot is even better, well, maybe you should reconsider. You see, our skin produces a kind of oil called sebum. This settles into the carpet and is very difficult to remove.
6. Change your Vacuum’s Filters and Bag Frequently
Experts say that when the vacuum’s bag is half full, it should be replaced because it loses its efficiency to clean out dirt by an astonishing 75% after over half-full. Also, to prevent allergens and germs from circulating back into the air, it is advised to change out any filters that can be removed (follow instructions). In any other case, you will be vacuuming the carpet, sucking in these harmful substances and instantly releasing them back into the air, lowering your indoor air quality.
7. Address Spills & Spots Immediately
The fresher the spill, the easier it is to remove without leaving any trace. So, blot the stain (or remove as much of it as possible) and then use a spot-cleaning solution. You can invest in a professional spotting kit or just go with the natural homemade carpet cleaning solutions. However, if the spot is there for quite some time now, it is best to save yourself the trouble and let a professional rug cleaner clean the stain and refresh your carpet’s fibers.
8. Deep-Clean your Carpets Every 12-18 Months
According to the IIRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration), carpets should be handed over to a professional to deep clean them once a year or every 18 months, at the very least, before the rug gets too grubby. For the households with heavy smokers or pets, the IIRC recommends carpets are cleaned by a professional every 3-6 months to prevent health problems caused by these allergens. Regular cleaning will keep the carpet fluffy and its colors vivid. But, when the carpet has visible signs of wear and tear, it is paramount to seek professional help to steam clean your rug and remove oils and dirt without dulling or scratching the carpet to restore its old glory.