Carpet Care & Upholstery Maintenance Tips
A new wool carpet will last longer and look better if routine regular vacuuming, periodic cleaning and immediate removal of spots and spills is followed.
The following are sound basic rules for keeping your carpet looking its best.
- Regular carpet cleaning will extend the life of your carpet and maintain its good appearance.
- Vacuum clean regularly and thoroughly to remove gritty dirt that can damage the fibres of your carpet.
- Deal with spillages on your carpet or rug as soon as possible, preferably the moment they occur.
When your carpet or rug reaches a stage where it could do with a really good clean, you can either do the job yourself, or you can call in a professional carpet cleaning company.
If you are considering cleaning the carpet or rug yourself make sure to use qualified products for the job.
Never use detergents such as dish washing liquids, soaps or other cleaners recommended for general household use. Although they may clean your carpet satisfactorily they will almost certainly cause problems such as rapid re-soiling, colour bleeding or other damage to the pile or backing of the carpet.
You can hire a carpet cleaning machine (these are available from supermarkets), but again make sure you get an approved cleaning product to go with it. If in doubt: Check! Read the instructions for use.
Before starting ANY wet cleaning ALWAYS test the carpet in an inconspicuous place for colour fastness. Also Check, if possible, any maintenance leaflet that came with the carpet for the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding wet cleaning.
It is almost always best to engage the services of a professional carpet & upholstery cleaning company. This is also the recommendation from carpet manufacturers.
To get a really expert job done entrust the work to a carpet cleaning company with qualified technicians.
Other Handy Maintenance Tips
Entrance or walk-off mats
The use of entrance mats at all outside entrances to the house is highly recommended, as it will significantly reduce the rate at which your carpets will soil. They should be as large as possible to allow most of the street dirt to be removed from shoe soles. The mats must be cleaned regularly.
Many newly installed carpets, particularly those with a cut or velour pile, tend to lose fibre during the first few weeks on the floor. This effect, called shedding or fluffing, is caused by the way the yarn is spun and the carpet is made. It is no reason for alarm, but a natural phenomenon, which will stop eventually. Just vacuum the carpet a little more gently for the first few weeks and empty the dust bag or receptacle regularly.
Many carpets come with a protective fibre treatment to reduce problems with staining and soiling. These treatments, while effective in many ways, are not bullet-proof and will eventually wear off. Quick response to spills and regular cleaning is still required.
Pile reversal or Shading
Pile reversal, also known as shading, or – wrongly – water marking, is the effect whereby areas of velour or velvet carpet appear to become lighter or darker in colour than the surrounding area. It is an optical effect, brought about by localised changes in the direction of pile lay and made visible by the way light is reflected off the carpet surface. It is caused by traffic patterns or unevenness in the floor, but is NOT a carpet defect. Loop pile and many hard-twist carpets are not affected by this.
Occasionally tufts may appear above the surface of the carpet. Do NOT pull them out, but cut them level with the surrounding tufts using small scissors.
The carpet may change colour over time for a variety of reasons, usually due to pile flattening, gradual soiling and slight fading of the dyes used to colour the fibres. A good professional cleaning will usually restore the carpet’s appearance.
Carpets may show increased soiling around the edges of a room, under doors and near air ducts. This is called draught marking, soil filtration or fogging and is caused by the pile fibres filtering out dirt particles from the air blowing under skirting boards or doors, or from ducts.
Why Choose Professional Capret Cleaning
Vacuuming alone won’t protect your carpet
Even though vacuuming can remove most soil, it is also necessary to clean your carpet on a regular basis to remove the oily, sticky soil that vacuums don’t remove. These soils result from cooking vapors, air pollution, and tracked-in dirt from outside. The particles of oily soil deposited on carpet fibers can cause gradual but significant dulling of colors. The color isn’t lost, but is hidden under the film. If this type of soil is allowed to accumulate, it begins to attract and hold the dry soil.
If carpet is cleaned before it becomes too unsightly, the cleaning chore will be easier and more successful. Carpet in a typical household should be cleaned every 6 to 12 months, depending on the number of residents and amount of activity.
Choosing the proper cleaning system is important. Some systems may leave residues which accelerates re-soiling and defeats the whole purpose of cleaning. The recommendations below represent the best current knowledge and should help prolong the time between cleanings.
Professional or do-it-yourself?
It is to your advantage to use professional carpet cleaners because their experience enables them to do a better job than you can do yourself. Their equipment has more extraction power than the rental units available to individuals, and the carpet should dry more quickly. True professionals also understand the equipment, know the proper cleaning agents for the situation at hand, and recognize the differences in fibers and carpet construction.
With regular cleaning and routine maintenance, your new carpet will look good for years. As with everything, the more care you take of your carpet, the longer it will keep its appearance and the longer it will last.
Routine maintenance aims to prevent the build-up of soil so cleaning is less frequent. Dirt and grit are a carpet’s worst enemies! An easy way to protect your new carpet is to place a doormat at entrances to a room or even a left over piece of carpet. Remember that these mats need to be cleaned regularly as well otherwise they will not prevent the transfer of dirt and grit to your carpet.
- Vacuum your carpet regularly, and certainly at least once a week. Heavy traffic areas should be vacuumed daily.
- When a carpet is first laid, there may be some ‘fluffing’ or ‘shedding’ as loose fibres work their way to the surface. Don’t panic – this is perfectly normal!
- Your vacuum cleaner must be well maintained in order to be effective. Belts and brushes or beater bars need to be in good condition and correctly adjusted for height, filters and dust bags need to be emptied regularly and filters washed or replaced depending upon the type of cleaner.
- For cut pile carpets, an upright with a beater bar brush is recommended or cylinder vacuums with a turbo head attachment. For loop pile carpets, a suction only cleaner is preferred.
- Vacuum cleaners are now available that incorporate high levels of exhaust air filtration, such as HEPA filters. We strongly recommend these if you have a respiratory condition.
Stains and Spillages
- Always deal with a spill immediately.
- Always use a clean white cloth, kitchen roll or tissues. Scrape up solids with a blunt knife.
- Use a dabbing action – do not rub vigorously.
- Always work from the outside in.
- Use a dilute solution of carpet shampoo and clean warm water to remove any signs of the spillage. Do not over-wet the carpet.
- Brush up the pile to help the carpet retain its appearance as it dries out.
- For oil based stains and spillages use dry cleaning fluid or white spirit.
- Never use more than one cleaning solution on a particular stain as it could cause damage to your carpet and try out a small amount before use.