Proper cleaning is the best way to extend the life of your carpet. Dirt is abrasive, like sandpaper. Every time you step on the carpet, you grind dirt into the fibers, making tiny cuts in your carpet that cause it to wear out faster. Remember the following three rules, and enjoy like-new carpet for longer:
The single most important thing you can do is vacuum regularly and thoroughly. Tests have shown it usually takes a full seven passes with a vacuum cleaner to clean all the loose dirt out of the carpet. A lightweight, upright vacuum cleaner is usually the easiest to use. To be effective, it must have strong suction and have some sort of vibrator to loosen the dirt.
Eliminate Stains Immediately
The next most important factor in good carpet care is to clean up stains as quickly as possible. The longer a stain sits there, the harder it is to remove. Make sure you use the right cleaning materials or you may make the situation worse.
Clean Your Carpet Regularly
Finally, you need to have your carpet cleaned regularly, once every 12 to 18 months. You should also have them cleaned after any event such as remodeling or holiday parties. The sooner you remove dirt, the better.
Here are answers to some of the most common carpet cleaning questions:
Q: Are the advertisements for “3 rooms for $49” legit?
A: It depends on the firm. Certainly, you’ll get a very cursory cleaning at that price. The companies can’t make money at those prices, so they’re counting on their ability to sell you on enough extras to make the job profitable.
Q: It just isn’t possible for me to vacuum thoroughly anymore. What can I do?
A: For many folks, vacuums are too heavy for one regular pass, let alone seven! If physical limitations are keeping you from vacuuming, consider hiring a cleaning service. If money is tight, check into getting a neighborhood youth to help you out after school.
Q: I recently had my carpets cleaned by someone who offered a bargain three-room rate. When he was finished, the bill was surprisingly large. He said there’s a substantial extra charge for steps. Is that standard?
A: Stairs are more labor intensive, and most firms charge for them separately on a per-step basis. Prices vary enormously on this item, with the so-called bargain firms often charging the highest rates. This helps them compensate for the low-ball prices in their ads. Buyer beware! Stick with reputable firms and check all prices up front.
Q: My carpet has a strong pet odor—even after cleaning. Should I pay extra for deodorizing?
A: The cleaning itself is the best way to deodorize. If the smell persists, it means that urine or other odor-causing agents have made it into the carpet backing or pad. There is really no practical way to clean those areas. “Deodorizing” will simply cover up the smell with a more pleasant scent that may be irritating to some. The cover-up scent will only have a temporary effect. It’s time for new carpeting or another floor surface.