How to Properly Care for Your Carpet
When it comes to maintaining your carpet, one of the most critical areas of focus is the traffic areas. If ground in soil is not removed on a regular basis, the traffic areas will begin to wear excessively. The dirt is extremely abrasive against the fibers of the carpet as you walk back and forth on it. The second area of focus, of course, is spot removal. You must react to “danger” spots immediately. Red wine, red beverages, urine, blood, etc. can cause a permanent stain if not treated immediately. Listed below are the steps that you must take to properly maintain your carpeting.
Warranty: Copies of specific warranties on your carpet purchase may be available from your carpet retailer. Stain resist warranties can vary from 5 to 20 years. ALL STAIN RESIST AND TEXTURE RETENTION WARRANTIES REQUIRE REGULAR CLEANING AND IMMEDIATE SPOT REMOVAL.
Vacuuming: Vacuum your carpet often. Once or twice a week at least. Vacuuming removes the sharp soil that can cut and slice the fiber causing premature wear. Much of this soil is not visible to the eye. Vacuum before the carpet looks soiled. Remove any loose particles such as loose food, leaves, pieces of crayon, bugs, etc. as these items can cause a spot on the carpet.
Professional Cleaning: As a general rule, professional cleaning by a professional, certified firm should take place about once per year. For extremely heavy traffic areas, cleaning may be required more often. Proper professional cleaning will not leave a sticky residue behind and can be done as many times per year as needed. MANY STAIN RESIST WARRANTIES REQUIRE PROFESSIONAL CLEANING EVERY 1 – 2 YEARS. Professional cleaning removes the damaging soil from the traffic areas that vacuuming has not been able to remove. WARNING: UNINFORMED CARPET CLEANERS MAY VOID THE WARRANTY, BE VERY SELECTIVE WHICH COMPANY YOU HIRE.
Spot Removal and Interim Cleaning: Immediate spot removal is key to a clean carpet. Great care also must be taken in how spot cleaning is performed. When a carpet is new, or has sufficient protector on it, plain tap water will remove many spots. However for those spots that will not move easily with water, you must use a spot cleaner. Select a spot cleaner that is recommended by the carpet manufacturer or your trained, certified professional cleaner. Most spot removers that are purchased over the counter leave too much soap residue and can cause yellowing. Avoid using foam carpet cleaners or any product that is not made specifically for carpet.
Apply spot cleaner sparingly to white terry cloth and gently massage spot causing it to transfer into the cloth. Never pour spot cleaner directly on carpet. If the product that you are using seems to cause the spot to re-soil over a few week period, discontinue use. Any spot that you are not able to remove, and for pet urine or feces, call your professional cleaner immediately.
Residential carpets are treated with stain resist properties and soil resistors known as Dupont Teflon or 3M Scotchgard. After a period of 2 to 3 years, some of the soil-resistor wears off. At that point you should consider having a professional carpet cleaner re-apply the treatment after professional cleaning. The soil resistor will help the soil slide off of the carpet easier when vacuuming, spots will be easier to remove, and professional cleaning will be more effective.
How Often Should a Carpet be Cleaned?
No doubt this question has surfaced at one time or another in the years you have owned carpeting, Information on this subject can vary from person to person ~ usually based on their level of usage and experience having their carpet cleaned. We at Alpine Carpet Care have heard some carpet owners express the fear that if their new carpet is cleaned, it will resoil faster than prior to the time it was first cleaned.
This fear is the result of improper cleaning on the part of many other cleaning companies. Many of these companies, in an effort to cut costs and corners, will not provide a thorough rinse in order to remove detergent residues. If detergent is left in the carpet, accelerated resoiling will occur. It’s kind of like washing your hair and not rinsing it! Rinsing takes time…Most companies don’t allow enough time to do it properly. One quick swipe over the carpet with the tool is generally not sufficient.
Alpine Carpet Care uses a preconditioner that is sprayed onto the carpet. This preconditioner is what loosens the materials that won’t vacuum out from the carpet fibers. Oils, soils, spills and sticky stuff are loosened from the carpet fibers and then are thoroughly rinsed away along with the detergent that loosened them. Leaving a squeaky clean carpet that is soft and fluffy. No residue and no premature resoiling.
With that fear out of the way, let’s look at why you should clean your carpet regularly. Major carpet fiber manufacturers recommend cleaning your carpets at least every 18 – 24 months, especially nylon, and guess what! It has nothing to do with how dirty your carpets are! Yes they recommend cleaning your carpets as soon as they show signs of soiling. But what about if your carpets were installed 2 years ago and they don’t look dirty? Hmmmm… Here’s why the manufactures require you to clean them at least every 18-24 months… (Most cleaning technicians and carpet salesman out there don’t know this) You’ll need to know this if your carpet is still under warranty…
New carpet comes with a Texture Retention Warranty. As described in the DuPont StainMaster™ Consumer Warranty Guide, “Texture Retention is the ability of the carpet tufts to retain their visible shape, and not burst, bloom, open or loose their twist from foot traffic.” In order for the carpet fibers to perform properly, DuPont in this case, calls for “Hot Water Extraction to refresh carpet texture, performed by a trained, qualified carpet care professional, is required at least every 1 ½ to 2 years for coverage under this warranty.” (Dry cleaning methods will not satisfy this warranty)
So what this means is… Over a period of 1 ½ to 2 years, the carpet fibers will start to loose their twist, shape and texture from foot traffic. But the carpet fibers have a memory, and when hot water is flushed through the fibers, they gain some of their twist and shape back allowing the fibers to perform better and the texture is restored back to as close to new as possible! Essentially, the life of the carpet has been extended by cleaning it with hot water extraction.