©Alan J. Fletcher – Carpet Expert, Consumer Advocate
Proper Carpet Care
This article is for the benefit of practical homeowners who want to have their carpet last as long as possible. Carpet has become one of the most costly of all home improvement projects and if not cared for properly it will surely wear out prematurely or worse. It’s very hard to find complete, honest and accurate carpet information and most consumers tend to get conflicting carpet advice from numberous sources including sly salespeople, crazy carpet cleaners, backyard bloggers and wacky website wordsmiths.
As an expert in all aspects of carpet, I must first say that if you select a carpet that is incapable of tolerating your level of foot traffic in your home, you will not be able to enjoy your carpet’s intended lifespan as specified by the manufacturer. When your carpet begins to mat down and “ugly out” as they say, you will have no recourse with the manufacturer’s warranty and there’s virtually nothing you can do to revive your carpet. Therefore, it is imperitive that you select the proper grade of carpet to meet your needs, goals, lifestyle and budget. To get a basic idea about what grade of carpet might be best for you take my free Carpet Foot Traffic Test.
Proper Carpet Care Starts the Day your New Carpet is Installed!
The Carpet installers just packed up all their tools and drove off into the sunset. Your new carpet is finally installed and you are standing there in the middle of living room marveling at how beautiful it looks! Get out your camera and take some pictures! Take lots of pictures in every room to document the way it looks today. Having these photos could be very important to you in the future should you have need to file a claim with the carpet manufacturer. File them away in a drawer along with your sales receipt and a copy of the full manufacturers warranty.
The vacuum you use will help determine how long your carpet will last. You must have a good quality vacuum that is in good working order. Too many homeowners think their old vacuum is doing a great job but they never take it in to have it serviced. Folks, even if you own the top of the line model, you still need to have your vacuum serviced at least once a year. Some of you may have paid thousands to buy a Rainbow or Kirby from a smooth talking door-to-door salesperson way back in 1972, buy you still need to have it serviced regularly if you want your new carpet to last as long as possible! If you prefer to have your kids do the vacuuming, make sure they take their time and do a good job!
The Carpet Warranty
You did read the full manufacturer’s carpet warranty didn’t you? If not, do it now. It will give you specific instructions as to what you must do to keep your warranty in force. If they have a recommendation take it as absolute. For example, if they recommend you use a vacuum with a beater bar, then it means you must use a vacuum with a beater bar and it must be in good working order. There is no room for creative interpretation on your part. If you do not follow all their recommendations to the letter your warranty will be voided.
The First Spot on the Carpet
Sooner or later something will be spilled on your new carpet and you will have a chance to see how easy it cleans up. Every new carpet has some form of anti-stain technology and while some are definitly better than others they all do a pretty good job. In your warrany they list what types of stains are covered and those that are not. Most manufacturer’s have a carpet care guide that will tell you the proper method to use to do a simple spot cleaning so you should have that information handy or go online and visit their website to see what they recommend. If that is not available you can also do a Google Search for “Carpet Stain Removal” and visit a carpet cleaning website.
Daily Wear and Tear
Every household is different and you must determine what makes your home most damaging to your carpet. Maybe you have teenagers who have a lot of friends and they run up and down the stairs fifty times a day. Perhaps you have twin toddlers that wander around with sippy cups spilling milk and juice wherever they go. Or it might be just you and your spouse both sitting in a recliner in front of the television in the same spot, night after night. You can take steps to combat what I call “Rug Burn”. You can put runners down the hallway or in front of the couch that will halt the abrasive wear hazzard. You can put self-sticking clear plastic on the stairs to reduce the abrasion from your active kids. You can move the furniture around a couple times a year to change the traffic pattern. To limit difficult stains from spills, give your children apple juice instead of cherry koolaid and spread miracle whip instead of mustard on those hot dogs! In other words… Be proactive!
Regular Professional Cleanings
It may not make sense to you at first, but you need to have your carpet cleaned before it starts to look dirty. If you wait until your carpet looks dirty the dirt will already be causing irreversable damage to your carpet. The goal here is to prevent dirt and grime from causing damage to your carpet in the first place. Most carpet warranties require professional cleanings at least every 12 to 24 months. For new carpet, I recommend you have your first professional cleaning between 12 and 18 months and then once a year therafter. For older carpets that are beyond warranty coverage, a thorough cleaning at least every other year would be wise. Keep those receipts as proof that you had your carpets cleaned, they will surely ask for them if you file any warranty claim!
How to choose carpet
If you are in the market for new carpet, visit my free carpet information website to learn how to buy new carpet wisely, how to avoid scams, how to get qualified installation and how to save the most money! Visit http://www.AbcCarpets.com to learn more.
Alan Fletcher – email me at Alan@AbcCarpets.com
Alan’s Best Carpet Cleaner Directory, a useful new resource and guide by Alan Fletcher, founder of AbcCarpets.com, a popular carpet information website for consumers.