Carpet is often taken for granted. Although it is durable and lower maintenance than many other flooring options, failure to properly maintain carpet can cause it to wear out and become dull and dirty.
The average life expectancy of carpet in a family home is 12 years, although it can vary greatly, depending on a variety of factors. Fortunately, proper maintenance and preventative measures can greatly extend the longevity of your carpets.
How dirty is your carpet?
Two of the biggest culprits behind carpet wear are dirt and grime. Even in the cleanest environment, dirt and grime manage to grind into carpet fibers, causing the material to appear dull and grungy. Food particles, dander, bacteria, pollen and other allergens also dig deep into carpets. Although regular vacuuming will help reduce the amount of these particles, many are too deeply embedded for most vacuums to reach. Yearly carpet cleaning provides carpets the refresh they need to remain healthy and fresh.
High traffic, especially from small children and pets, adds another dimension to your carpet’s potential for early aging. Carpet fibers can only tolerate a certain amount of abrasion before they start to show wear. Running, crawling, dancing, and other rigorous activities also force dirt and debris deep into your carpet.
How often should you vacuum?
Particles are often embedded so deep that older or less efficient vacuums aren’t able to remove them. Therefore, investing in a good quality vacuum with enough suction power is very important. Although regular vacuuming won’t completely undo damage caused by grimy particles and abrasion, it will help remove gritty particles that can further damage carpets. If your family struggles with allergies, asthma, or other upper-respiratory issues, investing in a high-powered vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter will allow you to filter out 99.7% of particles and potential allergens.
Although vacuum quality is important, vacuuming frequency is just as vital. If you own the best vacuum on the market but only use it once every two weeks, you aren’t doing yourself (or your carpets) any favors. Low traffic areas like bathrooms or closets should be vacuumed every 3-5 days and high traffic areas every 1-3 days. If your house is brimming with activity, daily vacuuming might be necessary. You should also have your carpets cleaned every 12-18 months to reduce buildup and prevent unnecessary aging.
Carpet fibers also wear differently. Although affordable, polyester carpets tend to wear out faster than the more expensive triexta or nylon. Nylon is the most expensive fiber but its strength and durability make it last much longer than other types of carpeting.
How to revive your carpet
Did you fail to take preventative measures? Worry not. Carpet restoration allows you to revive your carpet back to its former glory. Start with a very thorough vacuum job. Then, liberally apply baking soda to the carpet and work it into the fibers with a stiff brush. The soda acts as a natural cleanser to remove odors and kill bacteria. Let it sit overnight and vacuum the next day. Then, make a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar and put the mixture in a spray bottle. Liberally coat the area and then brush to raise the pile. Let dry and voila! Cleaner, newer-looking carpet free from odors and bacteria.
If your carpets are particularly worn with heavy soils and set-in stains, professional carpet cleaning and restoration will save you time and ensure that your carpets are cleaned the right way. Professional carpet cleaners use hot water extraction, not hazardous chemical cleaners, to remove dirt particles from the carpet. This technique is safe for carpets, kids, pets, and the environment. And professional equipment polishes and absorbs better than most household machines.