How do I care for my carpet between cleanings?

Make your carpet last longer by learning the best ways to keep it clean between professional rug cleanings.
It's often been said that the two constants in life are death and taxes. Many people would agree there is actually a third constant that always holds true: carpets can quickly turn into a cradle of filth. Whether it's the kids painting the carpet with "oopsy!" red juice stains, the cat surprising you with a large hairball to find in the morning, or the folks who traipse in without wiping their shoes, no carpet is safe from an invasion of dirt, grime, and stains. To preserve the life of your carpet, you should always have them professionally deep-cleaned once every 12-18 months. How do you maintain your carpets in the interim? Here are some helpful tips.

Tip #1: Leave 'em at the doorstep.
Make it part of your daily routine to start taking your shoes off as you enter the house. Get a small shoe rack to keep in your garage or some kind of bin for storing shoes. Shoes track in everything from the great outdoors (not to mention you can't count on all doormats to get the grime off dirty shoes). You can always slide on some comfortable bunny slippers while inside your house if that's your thing-or better yet, go barefoot! Your feet and your carpet will thank you.

Tip #2: Vacuum ... and then vacuum again.
For heavy-traffic areas, make sure you vacuum at least two times a week. Though the excitement typically leaves people's faces when you tell them to vacuum that often, your vacuum truly is the best thing for preserving the life of your carpet. Be sure to perform routine tune-ups on your vacuum for maximum efficiency, including the following:

  • Change the bag before it gets full.
  • Remove fibers trapped in the vacuum brushes.
  • Check the hose to make sure nothing is blocking the airflow before turning on the vacuum.
A good quality vacuum that is properly maintained works harder to lift excess dirt, dust, and pet dander from heavily soiled areas.

Tip #3: Arm yourself with the proper cleaning supplies.
Once that panicky "Oh no!" response passes after you've just found a big spill or stain on your carpet, it's time to bring in the cleaning reinforcements. Before you put down any kind of liquid or dry carpet cleaner, make sure you use a dampened, lint-free cloth to blot the stain. If you scrub right away, it will push the spill into the carpet fibers. Always follow the recommendations (usually listed on the carpet cleaner bottle) to put the cleaner on the spot and let it set for a few minutes. Use a plastic scraper to lift off as much cleaner as possible, blot away the rest, and finish the job using a soft-bristle brush to shape the carpet fibers back into their previous condition. If you have aggravating pet urine stains and odors, use an enzyme cleaner to neutralize acids and ammonia found in pet waste. To neutralize other carpet odors, try using dish detergent or vinegar in the problem areas.

Tip #4: Keep the sunshine outside.
Closing the blinds or curtains isn't just helpful to keep your neighbors from seeing you in those bunny slippers. It can help preserve the life of your carpet as well! Did you know that UV rays from the sun could cause carpets to age (especially with darker carpet colors)? If you plan to be gone most of the day, keep your blinds and curtains closed to help protect your carpet.

Tip #5: Brush your pets regularly.
Is it any coincidence that the word "pet" appears in carpet? Pet hair and dander can quickly join the party with the rest of the dirt and grime in your carpet. Though you can't stop pets from shedding hair, you can be proactive by brushing your pets regularly (preferably outside or in an area with bare floors for easy cleanup) to help combat the amount of hair that gets embedded in your carpet fibers.

Done all you can to clean your carpet yourself? Ready to hire a professional? Search Kudzu.com today and find the best professional rug cleaners in your neighborhood.

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