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Making Your Carpet Last – 6 Tips For Proper Carpet Care

When it comes to comfort, carpet is king. It’s softer, warmer, and cozier than any other flooring surface — that’s why it’s all over your house!

The downside? It’s not as durable as hard surfaces like tile, laminate, or wood. It can pick up stains, accumulate dirt, and wear down over time. While you can’t prevent the aging process entirely, there are a few things you can do to get as much life out of your carpet as possible.

No Shoes In The House

When you wear shoes on your carpet, you’re tracking in everything from water and dirt to plant matter and even fecal matter. An entryway or mudroom with mats can help, but there’s bound to be some residual gunk on your shoes that makes its way into the carpet.

Dirt that gets ground into the fibers can wear away at them, weakening your carpet and causing it to wear. Dirty water and bits of plants can stain fibers permanently. And fecal matter from outside is just gross.

Enforce a strict no-shoes policy on the carpets in your house to add years of life to them. You can even get a cute sign to hang at the door and buy a few pairs of slippers or house shoes to leave at the front door — no house shoes outside the house, obviously — so that guests won’t feel uncomfortable being asked.

Don’t Skimp On A Vacuum

Sure, you can get a vacuum cleaner for less than $50, but you’ll get what you pay for. Cheaper vacuums aren’t as powerful, so they won’t pick up dirt nearly as effectively — especially if it’s caked on. They also don’t filter the exhaust air as well, so they’re releasing fine dust and allergens into the air as they go.

If you’re vacuuming an average-sized family home, you should probably be spending at least $200 on a vacuum. Do your research into how it handles specific floor types, animal hair, and allergen filters to pick the right one for you.

Once you have the right vacuum, take care of it! Check the bag (or bagless cylinder) before each use — if it’s more than half full, the vacuum’s effectiveness is reduced. Remove the air filter and clean it before each use as well.

Vacuum A Lot

Dirt in your carpets isn’t just unsightly, it also grinds against the fibers and wears them down, reducing the life of your carpet. It also becomes harder and harder to clean the longer it lingers in the carpet, so don’t skimp on vacuuming.

If you have an average family home, you should probably be vacuuming two to three times a week. If your family is very active or you have a hobby or job that involves a lot of dirt, like construction or gardening, you might want to vacuum even more. Vacuuming more often will also reduce the effect of allergens like dust mites and pet dander, as they won’t build up in your carpets as much.

When you vacuum, be thorough. High-traffic areas probably need four or more passes, while lower-traffic areas can get by with just one or two.

Get Your Carpets Cleaned Professionally

Vacuuming will go a long way toward keeping your carpets cleaned, but there’s nothing like the professional machinery of cleaning companies to really get every last bit of dirt out of your flooring.

You should probably be cleaning your carpets professionally at least once a year — more if you smoke or own pets. It might seem a little expensive at first glance, but it will add years to the life of your carpet.

Move Your Furniture

Your furniture sits in the same place for years on end, pressing down on your carpet fibers and eventually leaving permanent divots. Your furniture will also guide foot traffic in your home — for example, the area right in front of your couch is probably well-worn. Moving furniture around will redistribute the load on your carpet and help it last much longer.

Don’t Let Stains Sit Around

It’s hard to prevent spills entirely, but not every spill has to become a stain. Pick up anything solid and dab a towel to clean up any excess liquid right away.

Once you’ve cleaned up the initial spill, dilute it with club soda and then blot it up, remembering not to rub it. Another good cleaning solution can be made with a tablespoon of clear ammonia (not blue) in a cup of water. Fill a spray bottle with that mixture and use it for fatty stains like cheese or chocolate.