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  • Writer's pictureMatt Weber

Carpet Cleaning Guide

(guest post by Ed Quinlan)

Carpets can be one of the best flooring options for many homes. In addition to their cozy aesthetic and comforting plush texture, carpets help filter the air inside your home by effectively trapping dirt and allergens. This keeps irritants from entering the air you breathe. However, without regular vacuuming and professional cleanings, dirty carpets will become full and unable to trap additional dirt and grime.

Carpets should be vacuumed on a weekly basis, or two or three times a week in homes with children and pets. Even if your carpet looks and feels clean, carpet fibers can be damaged from exposure to dust, dirt, and other particles. If left uncleaned, traffic patterns will begin to form, making your carpets look worn and dirty.

Here are the best ways to prevent stains from setting and easy ways you can keep your carpets clean, along with the benefits of regular carpet cleaning.

Cleaning Spots and Spills to Avoid Staining

Most stains are water-based or oil-based. While these two stain types require different cleaning and removal techniques, all you need to remember is the term “like dissolves like.” In other words, water-based spots are more effectively removed with a water-based product and oil-based spots are more effectively removed with a solvent-based product.

Before using any cleaning agent, make sure to physically remove as much of the substance from your carpet as possible by blotting with a white towel. Once you have completed this crucial step, apply a mild, neutral pH cleaner.

If you’re not sure how to categorize a spot or what product to use on it, it may be a good idea to call a professional carpet cleaning company. When you do, you won’t have to worry about accidentally staining or causing damage to your carpet with your efforts to remove the spot. In certain cases, it’s better to let a professional handle the spot or stain, as this provides you with a better chance of removing it.

Keeping Carpets Cleaner, Longer

While carpets getting dirty from regular foot traffic is inevitable, there are several things you can do to keep them clean for a longer period of time. These simple practices will not only help keep carpets clean between professional cleanings; they can also help extend the life and appearance of your carpet.

Our first tip is to establish a “no shoes in the house” policy. Shoes can be very abrasive on carpet and can track dirt and grime from the outdoors into your home and onto your carpets. If you want to take this tip one step further, we recommend wearing indoor slippers or socks to help prevent skin oils from attaching to the carpet fibers and causing rapid re-soiling.

We also advise placing walk-off mats at the various entryways inside your home. Walk-off mats help remove some of the soil from shoes and encourage guests to wipe their feet upon entering, which minimizes the amount of dirt and debris tracked indoors. On a similar note, it is important to regularly clean hard surface flooring in your home to avoid tracking residual oils from adjacent rooms like kitchens, bathrooms, and garages onto nearby carpets.

Another tip to keep in mind is to be careful when using household sprays and deodorizers around carpet. When sprayed in the air, these products will fall to the floor and may leave behind a sticky residue. This residue attracts dirt and causes carpets to get dirty again more quickly.

Professional Cleaning

Weekly vacuuming will help remove some of the dry abrasive soils from your carpet, but it can't remove the sticky, oily, sugary soils that accumulate over time. Because of this, it is important to schedule cleaning from a professional carpet cleaning company.

When you get your carpets professionally cleaned, carpet cleaning companies will evaluate your carpet’s construction, fiber type, and soil level to determine the most effective cleaning solutions and processes.

Another reason to schedule professional carpet cleaning services on a regular basis is to maintain your carpet’s warranty. Per the manufacturer's warranty requirement, carpets should be professionally cleaned at least once every 12 to 18 months.

For homes with heavily trafficked carpet and children or pets, we recommend scheduling a professional cleaning every 6 to 12 months. Professional cleanings help improve indoor air quality by removing non-living allergens from carpet fibers, leaving your home feeling and smelling fresh.

Editor's Note: Ed Quinlan is the president of Chem-Dry, the world’s leading carpet and upholstery cleaning franchise. Quinlan oversees business support services for Chem-Dry franchisees, including training and business coaching programs aimed at enhancing performance, as well as the implementation of software improvements to simplify operations and increase profitability.

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