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How to Preserve Carpet Nap or Pile

There are reasons why 70 percent of homeowners put carpet in their homes. Carpet feels and looks good. However, over time, carpet can begin to show signs of wear. Perhaps the traffic areas begin to look crushed or flattened, or you've recently moved your furniture around and there are indentations in the carpet. Are those “dents” permanent? What can be done to preserve carpet’s nap or pile?


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It's important to understand a few basics about carpet construction. The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) offers helpful advice about choosing carpet that will “stand up” to your busy lifestyle while fitting into your budget.


What is nap or pile? “Nap” or “pile” are basically the terms used to describe the type and density of the carpet fibers used to create the texture on rugs and carpets. Popular choices are cut, looped, patterned loop, or cut and looped. CRI offers a Texture Retention Rating Scale that compares several types of carpet pile and rates them by the degree to which their appearance and surface changes over time.


A number of things can be done to keep the pile standing at attention. Installing carpet with a higher resilience in heavily traveled areas can help. For better appearance and longer carpet life, small rugs can be used to reduce the amount of direct traffic on the carpet - the rugs take the abuse, not the carpet. Although some change will eventually occur in the texture of your carpet, reducing the wear paths in high-traffic spots and in front of furniture will slow this change.


Crushing is the loss of pile thickness because of foot traffic. Crushing is not considered a manufacturing defect unless it is specifically cited in the manufacturer's warranty. Regular vacuuming will help reduce crushing that results from traffic. Some carpet cleaning professionals also periodically use a “pile lifter” before as well as a "grooming rake" after extraction cleaning carpet.


What about the depressions or indentations left after moving furniture around? Due to the heavy weight of some furniture, and depending on the type of carpet, some depressions may be permanent. Use of furniture gliders or cups under the legs of the heavy pieces can help minimize the indentations; or move your furniture a few inches backward or sideways from time to time so that the weight is not concentrated in one place. To remedy depressions, work the carpet pile back into place with your fingertips or the edge of a spoon, then, dampen the area and heat it with a hair dryer, working the fibers with your fingers or a spoon.


By following these helpful tips from CRI, carpet can continue looking good - standing tall despite all the weight we put on it.

How to Preserve Carpet Nap or Pile:  Created on October 6th, 2011.  Last Modified on January 21st, 2014


About The Carpet and Rug Institute

The Carpet and Rug InstituteThe Carpet and Rug Institute, headquartered in Dalton, Georgia, is the national trade association for the carpet and rug industry. Its members are manufacturers, suppliers, and service providers, representing over 90% of all carpet produced in the United States. CRI is the source for science-based information and insight into how carpet and rugs can create a better environment — for living, working, learning and healing. For more information, visit the CRI Blog.