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6 Ways to Make Your Carpet Last

Buying new carpet is a big step — not only might you be spending thousands of dollars to cover the floors in your entire house, but you have to move your furniture around, bring in installers, and disrupt your life for a day or two to make sure it’s all done right.

That’s not something you want to go through every year or two, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to make sure your carpet lasts as long as it’s supposed to. Well-maintained, high-quality carpet can last as long as ten or even 15 years in the right circumstances — here are our best tips for how to make that happen.

1. Don’t Skimp on Quality

Carpet prices vary. For the fanciest, most premium carpets, you might pay upwards of $4 per square foot (though probably far less with us at Sloane’s), which will add up fast if you’re carpeting a standard family home. On the other end of the spectrum, you can get low-quality carpet (though not from us because we don’t sell low-quality materials) for as little as $0.60 per square foot.

But buyer beware: Low-quality carpet might save you money up front, but it’s not worth it in the long run. Cheap carpet is more likely to tear or run if a strand gets caught in a vacuum cleaner, cat claw, or the wheel on a rolling chair. It’s not likely to have good stain resistance, which is a real concern if you have kids or pets.

Worse, it’ll simply wear out faster. As you walk on carpet, the strands get pressed down and lose their springiness, leaving the carpet looking matted or flat. With low-end materials and construction, this happens much faster.

At Sloane’s Carpet Secret, we only carry the highest-grade carpets. Since we source carpet irregulars directly from the largest brand-name mills, we can offer you the highest-quality carpet brands and styles at 50-70 percent off their usual retail prices.

2. Invest in Stain Resistance

There are several ways to add stain and liquid resistance to a carpet after it’s installed. You can buy a spray-on product like Scotchgard and apply it to your flooring, or you can mix a protective solution in with your cleaning products when you clean your carpet.

But the most effective version by far is to invest in carpet with factory stain resistance. Factory stain resistance is a coating that’s applied to every strand of the carpet, before it’s twisted into yarn or woven into a carpet. It inundates the carpet and can’t be worn off or washed away. For the best resistance to liquid spills and stains, a factory application is the best choice.

3. Vacuum Regularly — and Properly

Frequent vacuuming is one of the most important things you can do to extend the life of your carpet. In between vacuumings, dirt and other small particles become trapped in between the fibers of your carpet. As you step on them, you grind them against the tiny carpet fibers, which gradually weakens them.

We recommend vacuuming your carpet no less than once a week to keep it in top condition. If you have children, pets, or carpet in a room that leads directly outdoors, you might even want to vacuum twice a week.

Pay Attention to Your Vacuum

Not all vacuums are created equal, and using a low-quality vacuum or one that’s not suited for your carpets can be ineffective or even damaging. First, check the height of the vacuum head. While some vacuums are self-adjusting, some need to be set to a carpet setting by hand.

Then, check to see if your vacuum has a rotating brush head, also known as a “beater bar.” A beater bar is great for stirring up particles so the vacuum can clean them, but it can become tangled in cut-pile carpets with long strands of yarn. Unless you have a loop-pile carpet or a cut-pile carpet with short strands, turn off the rotating brush head.

Finally, make sure the vacuum is empty before each vacuuming. Even a small amount of dirt built up in the vacuum — less than half of its total volume — can significantly reduce its effectiveness. Check and clean your vacuum’s filters and empty it after every use.

Vacuum in Both Directions

The last thing to remember is that carpet has a “grain” like wood — a direction in which the yarns are laid out in the manufacturing process. When you vacuum, run the vacuum back and forth both along the grain and across it in two separate passes for the best possible clean.

4. Use Rugs in High Traffic Areas

Part of the reason you picked your carpet is that you love the look of it, but there’s nothing wrong with covering it up in a few places. First, if you have any carpeted areas that lead directly outdoors — sliding doors in the living room, a carpeted hallway that leads to the garage, or a balcony off of the bedroom — you should lay down a mat outside and an area rug inside to keep the amount of dirt you bring in to a minimum.

Other high traffic areas include the areas right in front of the couch, hallways, and other places where you’re generating especially high foot traffic. You’ll need to clean the rug, too, but it will considerably slow down the wear and tear on your carpet, especially in high-traffic hallways.

5. Get to Spills Immediately

We mentioned earlier that you should invest in a carpet with factory stain resistance, but no carpet is completely impervious to spills and stains. If you do spill, remember this old saying: “the solution to pollution is dilution.”

What that means is that your first instinct should be to get a towel and blot up as much of the liquid as you can — you can absorb even more by laying the towel down and standing on it or stacking books on top.

Once you’ve absorbed the spill to the best of your abilities, spray it with water containing a small amount of white vinegar, which will break down stains and smells. Blot it again, spray it again, and repeat until you can’t see the stain at all anymore. If the spill is an “accident” from a dog, use an enzymatic cleaner, which will break down the scent-containing molecules and keep the dog from going there again.

6. Vacuuming Isn’t Enough

We told you to vacuum at least once a week, and we stand by that — but vacuuming alone isn’t enough to keep your carpet looking fresh and new. Once a year or so, you should have your carpet cleaned by hot water extraction — also called “steam cleaning” — to remove every last bit of dirt.

It’s tempting to rent hot water cleaning machines at grocery or hardware stores, but it’s a much better idea to go with a professional. Their machines have far better suction, which will keep water from being left behind in the carpet or carpet pad. The hot water in hot water extraction cleaning also rejuvenates the shape of synthetic fibers, returning your carpet to its original softness and bounce.

Find Your Perfect Carpet Today

For the best carpet for your home, your family, and your lifestyle, visit Sloane’s Carpet Secret! We carry brand-name irregulars, so we can save you 50 to 70 percent off of retail prices. We connect our customers with a network of extremely experienced installers, so you know that your carpet will be put in the right way. And we’re constantly rotating our stock as new styles roll in — if you don’t like what we have on display, come back soon! We’re sure we can find something you’ll love for years to come.