Keeping Your Carpet Clean This Spring
Spring is here! Unless you live in Colorado, in which case it might still snow a few more times. But with spring comes a whole new set of challenges when it comes to keeping your carpets clean.
People start to go outside more, hiking and playing sports as the weather gets warmer. Trees bud and flower, releasing pollen into the air. Pets get muddy. All these things are just part of life! But that doesn’t mean you have to let them ruin your carpets. Here are a few tips to make sure your carpets survive the trials of spring.
Make Sure Kids and Pets Are Clean
If you take your dog for a walk and he comes back muddy, you know he can get that mud everywhere — on furniture, in the car, and all over your carpets. Make sure pets are clean before they come in the house by keeping a dedicated towel by the door to wipe mud off their paws. If your pets have especially long hair, pop them in the tub and rinse the mud off — or in a pinch, a garden hose will do fine.
Kids are a little easier because they’ll do what you tell them — at least some of the time. Enforce a strict “no shoes in the house” policy when kids are coming in and out, and keep towels by the door for muddy knees and hands too. If your kids play sports and are likely to be coming home with lots of grassy, muddy soccer or baseball gear on, it’s a good idea to keep a hamper by the door just for sports gear. Have them drop all their dirtiest clothes off before they come in to get cleaned up properly.
Avoid Tracking in Mud and Snow
The same rules apply to you! You might think that spring snow is just water and it’ll dry, so there’s not much to worry about. By now, though, roads and sidewalks have six months’ worth of gravel and salt on them from the winter, which can do real damage on your carpets. Keep a pair of slippers or house shoes by the door and make sure your outside shoes stay on a heavy duty mat.
What About Allergies?
The main allergen to worry about in the spring is pollen. As the weather warms up, you’ll want to open the windows to get a fresh breeze running through the house, but that breeze can bring in dust and pollen that irritate noses, eyes, and throats — especially for asthma and allergy sufferers.
Luckily, carpets have been shown to improve air quality in homes over hard floors — small particles get trapped in the carpet instead of floating around and giving you a runny nose and itchy eyes. But you can’t let those particles stay trapped in the carpet forever — they build up and abrade the fibers, reducing the life of your carpet.
Vacuum Your Carpets — More Often Than You Think
Conventional wisdom is to vacuum once a week, but in the spring you’ll probably want to step that up to at least twice a week to account for the added foot traffic. If you have kids or pets, or you have a gardening hobby or something else that brings in a lot of dirt, three times a week isn’t out of the question.
It’s not just the dirt that comes in on your shoes that’s a problem for carpets — clothes, hands, and the air through open windows is carrying dirt and pollen as well, and all of it can build up quickly.
When you do vacuum, be thorough. Vacuum the whole carpet in one direction, then turn 90 degrees and vacuum in the other direction. Carpet has a “grain” just like wood — the fibers tend to lie in one direction more readily than in others — and cleaning both with and across the grain is crucial for a thorough clean. Nobody likes vacuuming (we know, we don’t love it either). But it’s the single most important thing you can do to extend the life of your carpets (which is why we do it).
Above all, enjoy the spring! It’s not too hot, not too cold, and is a great time to get out and enjoy the longer days and warmer temperatures. Just be aware that the springtime can put extra wear and tear on your carpet — but with these tips, it’s nothing you can’t handle.