Vacuum frequently for long-term beauty
The most important step in caring for your carpet is vacuuming it thoroughly and frequently, particularly in high-traffic areas.
Walking on soiled carpet allows the soil particles to work their way below the surface of the pile where they are far more difficult to remove and can damage the carpet fibers. Frequent vacuuming removes these particles from the surface before problems occur. For rooms with light traffic, vacuum the carpet traffic lanes twice weekly and the entire area once weekly. In areas with heavy traffic, vacuum the carpet traffic lanes daily and the entire area twice weekly. Up to three passes of the machine will suffice for light soiling, but five to seven passes are necessary for heavily soiled areas. Change the vacuuming direction occasionally to help stand the pile upright and reduce matting.
Extend the life of your carpet with a quality vacuum
An inexpensive machine may remove surface dirt but will not effectively remove the hidden dirt and particles embedded in the pile. Invest in a good vacuum cleaner to get the dirt you can’t see and prolong the beauty and life of your carpet. To ensure that your vacuum will conform to the highest industry standards, make sure that your vacuum cleaner is certified through the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) Seal of Approval/Green Label Vacuum Cleaner Program. Visit www.carpet-rug.org for details and listings.
Select the best vacuum for your type of carpet
Shaw recommends using vacuums with a rotating brush or combination beater/brush bar that agitates the carpet pile and mechanically loosens soil for removal. Carpet with thick loop pile construction, particularly wool and wool-blend styles, may be sensitive to brushing or rubbing of the pile surface and may become fuzzy. In addition, shag (or cabled) styles with long pile yarns tend to wrap around the rotating brushes causing damage to the yarn. For these products, Shaw recommends a suction-only vacuum or a vacuum with an adjustable brush lifted away from the carpet so it does not agitate the pile. Be sure to test a vacuum with a beater/brush bar in an inconspicuous location before regular use, to make sure it doesn’t produce excessive fuzzing.
In addition to frequent vacuuming, its important to clean your carpet on a regular basis. Cleaning systems will remove the oily, sticky soil that vacuums can’t take out, and will help keep your carpet looking great over time.
Cleaning systems target the soils that result from cooking vapors, air pollution, and tracked-in dirt. 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.
How to clean carpet?
Preventative maintenance – walk-off mats placed at doorways prevent a majority of staining and soiling
Spot and spill removal – prompt attention to spills will prevent a stain from setting
Vacuuming – vacuum high-traffic areas to prevent matting
Hot water extraction or steam cleaning – every 18 months or more depending on the traffic in your home, will remove oils and particulates that accelerate soiling.
Get on a cleaning schedule
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 12 to 18 months, depending on the number of residents and amount of activity.
Choosing the proper cleaning system is important. Some systems may leave residues which accelerate re-soiling and defeats the whole purpose of cleaning.
Get on a cleaning schedule
Research indicates that the hot water extraction system provides the best capability for cleaning. This system is commonly referred to as “steam cleaning,” although no steam is actually generated. The process consists of applying a cleaning agent into the carpet pile and using water in the extractor to recover the used solution and soil. This can be done from a truck-mounted unit outside the home with only the hose and wand brought inside or by a portable system brought into the home.
Shaw warranties require that the homeowner be able to show proof of periodic cleaning by hot water extraction (commonly called “steam” cleaning) by a professional cleaning service or do-it-yourself system, using equipment that is certified under the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval program. We strongly recommend cleaning systems that have achieved the Gold Level Performance in the CRI Seal of Approval Program. Click here for a list of Gold Level Performers.
Professional carpet cleaners are a great choice for your floor. Their cleaning equipment has more extraction power than the rental units available to individuals, and the carpet should dry more quickly. When carpet is cleaned you basically have hot water being forced onto the carpet. Hot water extraction units that don’t have the CRI Seal of Approval may not extract enough of the water from the floor to allow for proper or sufficient drying. When carpet is over-wet and the water isn’t extracted, it can lead to a whole host of issues such as wrinkling of the carpet and in extreme cases, even delamination. This could occur when the carpet is soaked which could in turn cause the backing of the carpet to breakdown. Backing failure can cause the carpet tufts to pull out easily and result in damage to your floor that could compromise your flooring warranties.
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. In addition, when soap residue is left on carpet, it can cause rapid re-soiling on the entire floor. Have you ever had your carpets cleaned only to realize that they look dirtier quicker? The bottom line – choose a service provider or a machine that has the CRI Seal of Approval.
Shaw Floors Carpet Cleaner is the only carpet cleaning product with the endorsement consumers have trusted for more than 100 years: the Good Housekeeping Seal. Because of our patented process, it’s even easier to use than most spot cleaners. Our recommended spotting product also has the Wool Safe Certificate of Accreditation and the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval.
Routine spot removal- research has shown that many products sold for do-it-yourself spot removal clean poorly and their residues attract soil on the cleaned area rapidly afterward. The Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval program tests and certifies products that meet stringent standards and thus clean effectively, without damage to your carpet. In addition, products sold for do-it-yourself spot removal may contain optical brighteners and other agents that can cause a bleaching effect on your carpet and cause irreparable damage.
Easy, proactive steps will keep your carpet looking good over time.
Don’t track dirt inside
Placing walk-off mats outside all entrances will help absorb soil and moisture and trap excess dirt, sand, grit, oil, asphalt, or driveway sealer that might otherwise be tracked into the home. Clean mats on a regular basis (or sooner, when they need it) so they don’t become sources of soil themselves.
Occasionally move heavy furniture
Moving your furniture on occasion won’t just renew the feel of your room, it will also help avoid excessive pile crushing. Also consider using carpet protectors under the legs of tables, chairs, and other furniture to help distribute the weight. Damage can occur if you use chairs or appliances with rollers or casters without a chair pad designed specifically for carpet.
Protect carpet when moving furniture
When moving heavy wheeled furniture (pianos, buffets, etc.), prevent damage by placing a protective barrier of heavy cardboard or plywood between the wheels and the carpet.
Clean your area rugs
If you use area rugs on your carpet, be sure to clean them regularly, and make sure you clean and restore the pile of the carpet underneath as well. Also, be sure to check area rugs for colorfastness before placing them on carpet because the color in some rugs may bleed through. After cleaning your carpet, allow it to dry completely before replacing rugs.
Reduce periods of direct sunlight
Protect your carpet during prolonged periods of direct sunlight with blinds, shades, or awnings.
For additional care and maintenance tips click here.