Caring for Carpetsby Kerry Rigdon on 03/07/13
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO CARE FOR CARPET?
Almost every home has carpet – either wall-to-wall or area rugs. Caring for it properly will extend its life-expectancy and will help it maintain a clean appearance. However, with rental carpet cleaning machines, countless carpet cleaning products on the market, and professional services to choose from, which one is best and where do you begin?
Caring for a carpet or rug depends on a few important items. First, always check with the manufacturer’s website for care instructions—specifically what their warranty requires. Starting with the manufacturer’s website is critical as it will tell you what is required to maintain the warranty, and what actions will void the warranty (i.e. using certain chemicals/techniques for stain removal). Did you know that professional carpet cleaning is required by some manufacturers to maintain a valid warranty? Mohawk flooring has very good tips on their website regarding stain treatment and specific cleaning techniques. It also states that their carpets must be professionally cleaned every 18 months at a minimum to maintain and protect your warranty coverage. Shaw flooring suggests that carpets be professionally cleaned anywhere from every 6 to 24 months and provides a booklet with a log where buyers can record information about each carpet cleaning service. Also, before reaching for that bottle of carpet cleaner you bought at the store, again, check the manufacturer website. Not all cleaners are approved, and again, using certain products will void your warranty.
Universally, with most every carpet, vacuuming regularly is vital to keep it clean and also to extend its useful lifetime. Vacuuming (being sure that the brushes are not set too low) removes grit and dirt that may not only smell and/or look bad, but it also can work its way down to the carpet backing and actually break down the fibers. This includes cleaning under area rugs as well. Dirt and grit that accumulates between flooring and a rug can act like sandpaper and damage both the rug and the floor underneath – especially hardwood floors. Some homeowners find that vacuuming daily is a necessity (think kids and dogs) while others find that once a week is adequate.
Also, many people who maintain a ‘shoe free home’ find that their floors and carpets are cleaner for longer periods of time. Removing shoes before entering the home is a great way to keep most of the dirt and grit (and even grease and oils) off your carpets to begin with. Even if you can’t maintain that lifestyle, keeping clean mats outside all doors and encouraging everyone to use them will help significantly.
STAINS AND SPOTS
Before treating a stain – again – check with the manufacturer so you don’t inadvertently void your warranty by using a product or technique not recommended for your carpet. Next, identify the stain and determine what treatment method is best. Did the dogs track in mud? It may be best to let it dry and then break up the clumps and then vacuum them away. Often times the most common mistake is following the instinct to “scrub” a stain – you usually just force it deeper into the carpet fibers making it more difficult to remove. Also, before you try that homemade cleaner featured on Pinterest, be sure you know what type of rug you have. The Carpet and Rug Institute blog site states, “Wool and nylon rugs can be damaged by bleach (e.g., chlorinated, peroxide or anything with “oxy” on the label), which can easily remove color from most nylon or wool, or they can damage wool fiber” (http://www.carpet-and-rug-institute-blog.com). This same site has several tips on how to manage spot cleaning based on carpet type and type of stain – it is worth a visit. With all stains, the faster you can address the stain the better the results. Just be sure you choose the right treatment and technique for your carpet .
DEEP CLEANING – RENTING A CARPET CLEANING MACHINE OR CALLING A PROFESSIONAL?
Grocery stores and home improvement centers rent carpet cleaning machines. Are they as good as professional cleaning? Are they good at removing spots? In most cases….no. These rental machines have several distinct disadvantages compared to professional cleaning. The first disadvantage is that these machines do not qualify as ‘professional cleaning’ according to carpet manufacturers, so they will not help maintain the warranty. Second, while they use hot water from your home, and some even have built-in heating elements, they can’t get the water as hot as professional equipment. Third, they sound powerful, and certainly are heavy enough to make one think that they have strong suction, but again, they are under-powered. Fourth, the cleaning solution, even when diluted per the instructions on the bottle, is usually still too concentrated and leaves a residue on carpet that actually attracts dirt and your carpet will get dirty, again, faster. The list continues on and on…rental machines may seem like a money saving option but are usually more trouble than they are worth in the long run.
Water-Extraction or commonly called Steam Cleaning is the preferred method of deep carpet cleaning by most every manufacturer. This process not only gets rid of visible dirt, but also can kill up to 99.9% of germs. The optimal steam temperature is 200 degrees, much higher than a rental carpet cleaning machine. This is hot enough to kill germs but not too hot to damage carpets. The equipment also extracts the liquid efficiently and most carpets will be dry much faster than with rental machines. Professional cleaners also arrive with an arsenal of stain treatments and can often remove older, set-in stains that are months (if not years) old. Because it so thoroughly removes dirt, grime, grease, and other materials that can dull and cause damage, carpet manufacturers rely on professional water extraction (steam) cleaning to deep clean their products. At Rigdon Inc., we offer other options with our carpet cleaning service. We can include additives such as a deodorizer and/or additional stain protection if requested. These also can be used when cleaning upholstery.
Mindful carpet care does more than keep your home cleaner by removing dirt, grit, allergens, and germs – it actually helps extend the life of your carpets and protects your investment by maintaining the warranty. If you have questions about your carpets, or want to get an estimate for carpet cleaning, don’t hesitate to call us at 913-498-3264 or email email@example.com. We've been helping Kansas City metro families clean and maintain their homes for 20 years.