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5 Tips for Winter-Proofing Your Carpet

The winter is probably the toughest season on your carpets, with people tracking in snow, mud, and salt every time they come into the house — not to mention the extra foot traffic from holiday guests.

But that doesn’t mean you need to bar the doors and windows and wait it out until spring. With these tips, you can keep your carpet clean and fresh, no matter how many people come to visit.

1. Doormats Everywhere

Dirt, dried leaves, road debris, and sidewalk salt are the main culprits for damage to your carpets in the winter, grinding into the fibers and wearing them down prematurely. Lay down doormats both inside and outside of every door — heavy-duty ones outside that will scrape the snow and mud off and softer, more absorbent ones to dry shoes on the inside.

2. Area Rugs in High-Traffic Areas

There are particular spots in your home that see a lot more foot traffic than most — the spot right in front of your couch, the area around the dining table, and hallways and staircases in particular. Placing an area rug in those areas will help prevent undue wear and tear on your carpet, and it will help spruce up the aesthetic of your home as well!

3. Take Your Shoes Off

What’s the best way to keep all the gunk on your shoes from damaging your carpet? Don’t wear shoes in the first place! Socks are more comfortable anyway, and they can help you ease your mind out of work mode and into a more relaxing space.

Got guests coming over? Get a decorative wicker basket and buy a few pairs of inexpensive house slippers. You can find slippers with a fun pattern for less than ten dollars, and it’ll help encourage people to leave their shoes at the door.

4. Make Room for Food and Drinks

If you have a lot of guests over, they’re likely to be holding glasses of eggnog or wine and plates of food. If they’re socializing in the living room, where are they going to put those plates and glasses? On the arms of couches, on end tables, or even directly on the floor. Spills will be more likely and, given the rich, sticky food that often comes out around the holidays, harder to clean.

To help make sure that doesn’t happen, clear everything off of your coffee tables and end tables — you might even want to put some extra furniture out for plates and glasses. Make sure you have plenty of trays and coasters to keep spills from happening.

5. Treat your Carpet Well

We recommend vacuuming once a week for normal usage — but in winter, you may want to step that up to more like twice a week, depending on traffic. The more you vacuum, the more abrasive particles you pick up and the longer your carpet will last.

After the winter has passed, it’s probably a good idea to get your carpets professionally cleaned. Most people refer to this process as “steam cleaning,” but it’s more accurately called “hot water extraction.” This machine forces water into the carpet and then vacuums it out with powerful suction, taking dirt and debris with it.

There are machines that you can rent to clean your carpets yourself, but we don’t recommend it — they’re not as powerful as the professional ones. With regular cleaning, your carpets will look good as new for years!