When it comes to maintaining your carpet, one of the most critical areas of focus is the traffic areas. If ground in soil is not removed on a regular basis, the traffic areas will begin to wear excessively. The dirt is extremely abrasive against the fibers of the carpet as you walk back and forth on it. The second area of focus, of course, is spot removal. You must react to “danger” spots immediately. Red wine, red beverages, urine, blood, etc. can cause a permanent stain if not treated immediately. Listed below are the steps that you must take to properly maintain your carpeting.
Copies of specific warranties on your carpet purchase may be available from your carpet retailer. Stain resist warranties can vary from 5 to 20 years. ALL STAIN RESIST WARRANTIES REQUIRE REGULAR CLEANING AND IMMEDIATE SPOT REMOVAL.
Vacuum your carpet often. Once or twice a week at least. Vacuuming removes the sharp soil that can cut and slice the fiber causing premature wear. Much of this soil is not visible to the eye. Vacuum before the carpet looks soiled. Remove any loose particles such as loose food, leaves, pieces of crayon, bugs, etc. as these items can cause a spot on the carpet.
As a general rule, professional cleaning by a professional, certified firm should take place about once per year. For extremely heavy traffic areas, cleaning may be required more often. Proper professional cleaning will not leave a sticky residue behind and can be done as many times per year as needed. MANY STAIN RESIST WARRANTIES REQUIRE PROFESSIONAL CLEANING EVERY 2 YEARS. Professional cleaning removes the damaging soil from the traffic areas that vacuuming has not been able to remove. WARNING: UNINFORMED CARPET CLEANERS MAY VOID THE WARRANTY, BE VERY SELECTIVE WHICH COMPANY YOU HIRE.
Spot Removal and Interim Cleaning
Immediate spot removal is key to a clean carpet. Great care also must be taken in how spot cleaning is performed. When a carpet is new, or has sufficient protector on it, plain tap water will remove many spots. However for those spots that will not move easily with water, you must use a spot cleaner. Select a spot cleaner that is recommended by the carpet manufacturer or your trained, certified professional cleaner. Most spot removers that are purchased over the counter leave too much soap residue and can cause yellowing. Avoid using foam carpet cleaners or any product that is not made specifically for carpet.
Apply spot cleaner sparingly to white terry cloth and gently massage spot causing it to transfer into the cloth. Never pour spot cleaner directly on carpet. If the product that you are using seems to cause the spot to re-soil over a few week period, discontinue use. Any spot that you are not able to remove, and for pet urine or feces, call your professional cleaner immediately.
Residential carpets are treated with stain resist properties and soil resistors known as Dupont Teflon or 3M Scotchgard. After a period of 2 to 3 years, some of the soil-resistor wears off. At that point you should consider having a professional carpet cleaner re-apply the treatment after professional cleaning. The soil resistor will help the soil slide off of the carpet easier when vacuuming, spots will be easier to remove, and professional cleaning will be more effective.