How to Prolong the Life of Your Carpet
You may consider your weekly vacuuming of your carpet all it takes to keep your carpet fresh. Have you considered routine carpet care that will prolong the life of your carpet? In our industry, we create the dyes, chemicals, and formulations that allow you to have long-lasting carpeting in your home, office, or industrial facility. From years of working in the carpet manufacturing industry, I’d like to pass on my insight for the best carpet care tips that align with the science behind your carpet.
We talked about the best carpeting for your lifestyle in the last blog, but now I’d like to focus on taking care of it. A good stain blocker, regular vacuuming, and annual cleanings will help you keep your carpets like new and last for years to come.
You’ve made your investment and chosen the type of carpet that suits your lifestyle. Now it’s time to care for it.
The Stain Blockers & Fluorocarbons in Your Carpeting
A stain blocker and fluorocarbon products should already be in your carpet. The stain blocker will help prevent permanent stains to your carpet. The Carpet and Rug Institute standard stain-blocking test uses red Kool-aid®, but it also applies to other substances like ketchup, mustard, wine, and blood. The stain blocker allows for more time to remove the stain to avoid a permanent stain in the carpet fibers. The fluorocarbon prevents liquids from penetrating the fiber, which also protects the backing of the carpet.
The standard Carpet and Rug Institute test for fluorocarbon is to hold water for five seconds, and oil for ten seconds (due to its greater viscosity), on the surface before penetration. The industry standard for stain blocker is Dupont Stainmaster®, and the standard for fluorocarbon is 3M Scotchgard®. Although these are standards, there are capable generic products for each.
Three Steps to Great Carpet Maintenance
1. Preventative Care
The first step to carpet care is preventative maintenance. We want to prevent as much soil and liquid from getting on the carpet as possible. An excellent start is investing in walk-off mats for outside your entrance or exit doorways. They will absorb any dirt or moisture that may be on your shoes. Make sure to clean your outside mats often so they do not become sources of soil themselves. You can also remove your shoes before walking into your home (but most families don’t have that much discipline).
Make sure you invest in a quality carpet pad. A good carpet pad will allow more resilience and will extend the life of your carpet. Some experts say it is better to buy average weight carpet and a heavy carpet pad, than to buy heavy, expensive carpet and use a cheap carpet pad.
Moving your furniture is another good preventative measure. This prevents the crushing of your carpet pile. As a bonus, it keeps your rooms looking fresh and updated.
2. Regular Carpet Cleaning
We cannot stress this enough – The best way to care for your carpet and extend its life is to vacuum, vacuum, vacuum!
Depending on the number of people and pets in your home, you should vacuum up to three to four times per week. Regular vacuuming removes soil and dust so they do not embed into the fiber. Embedded soil and dirt will deteriorate the fibers causing premature break down. If there is one thing you can do for your carpet to take proper care of it, it is to vacuum regularly.
Another vital part of proper carpet care is spot cleaning in high traffic areas. We recommend you use a high quality commercial spot cleaner on spills as fast as you can to avoid permanent stains. Regular cleaning of high traffic areas also helps prevent soil buildup in between routine vacuuming.
3. Carpet Care for the Long Run
Every carpet owner should have their carpets professionally cleaned at least every one to two years. Even more often for places with more people or pets. Several carpet manufacturers recommend the hot water extraction method, such as Stanley Steemer®. Just make sure after they clean to have them reapply a fluorocarbon, as they’ll remove this finish in their process.
Immediate, regular, and long-term cleaning will help you make your carpets last. While new technologies and flooring innovations keep evolving, they can’t beat the benefits from taking good care of your carpet yourself.