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Basic Housekeeping - Carpet Care

By HC Staff

Manufacturers are designing new carpets that stand up to rigorous wear and ask very little in return, making cleaning easier than ever. Fibers such as nylon — the most frequently used — polyester and polypropylene are both durable and stain-resistant.


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Be that as it may, carpet fibers make soil difficult to detect, plus they reflect light, creating an optical illusion so they appear cleaner than they are. Hardwood floors show soil more easily, but carpet fibers provide a "nest" in which it can rest undetected.


Therein lies the challenge — what you don’t see can eventually damage and dull fibers. Simple solution: vacuum carpet frequently to chase down dirt. Develop a vacuuming schedule by evaluating the traffic level of each area of your home. Chances are your halls and stairs receive more traffic flow than your bedroom, so they need vacuuming more often to remove offending soil and debris.

Sometimes you will need to clean carpets more thoroughly, to remove deeply embedded, "clingy" soil that resists the pull of the best household vacuum. You can deep-clean using a wet or dry method. Read and follow your carpet warranty directions for the recommended procedure; take no chances you’ll regret.

Check the Yellow Pages for local professional carpet cleaners, but make sure you settle on a price before the cleaning begins: add-ons have a way of increasing a base price substantially. Ask questions — it’s your money. Of course, when you’re in the grocery store, you can rent "professional" carpet cleaning equipment and buy supplies: be warned that you may be biting off more than you really want to chew in terms of time and energy expended.


Vacuum carpet first and remove furniture, or wrap furniture legs to keep moisture and chemicals away from sensitive surfaces. Some fine wood finishes may be damaged by overspray from carpet cleaning solutions, and metal casters can rust when exposed to dampness, leaving rust stains on carpet. Furniture legs other than plastic without metal casters should be wrapped in a waterproof material such as white plastic kitchen trash liners. If you remove furniture, be aware that metal casters and skids can cause rust, and stains, too ... even when the carpet feels dry to the touch; try a small piece of aluminum foil to protect casters from contact with carpet. Remember not to let eager feet pad across a still-wet carpet, and open windows during and after cleaning to ventilate and counter fumes. Browse for more carpet cleaning tips.


Basic Housekeeping - Carpet Care:  Created on December 13th, 2005.  Last Modified on January 21st, 2014