Care and maintenance of carpets: The good, the bad and the ridiculously easy
Time and time again, customers approach me with the same question; ‘Are carpets really that difficult to keep clean?’ I’ve stopped trying to convince them with a rehearsed sales pitch, and have instead resorted to showing them pictures of my home. Despite the fact that I have 3 dogs and 4 young children running around, almost every room in the house is carpeted (and nowhere is ‘out of bounds’). Stranger still, the carpets are cream, and there are no stains or noticeable marks on them. Usually these pictures are enough to convince my customers that keeping carpets clean is a doddle, and that they have nothing to be scared of.
With so many different products and tools readily available for carpets, you no longer require professional assistance to keep your carpet safe from stains – if you act quickly. Even if you don’t have the latest gadgets at your disposal, most accidents can be dealt with using a cloth, warm water and a steady hand.
However, I won’t pretend that carpets will suit every household. If you like to practice weightlifting or fire breathing in your front room, then I’d suggest you look elsewhere. But for most of us, carpets are a perfectly suitable and surprisingly versatile flooring choice that can be cleaned and maintained very easily. I’ve outlined a few tips that homeowners can use to keep their carpet looking great, which you can read through below:
Before you head to the shops and start filling your basket with every carpet cleaning product you find, you need to make sure that the products you’re choosing are actually suitable for the type of carpet that you have. For example, wool carpets will react completely differently to certain cleaning products compared to how synthetic fibre carpets will react. Choosing the wrong product won’t just mean it’ll be ineffective, it could actually end up damaging your carpet. But for the most part, it’s fairly straightforward to choose the correct products – just read the labels carefully.
Carpet shampoo is a must for anyone who wants to keep their carpet clean, but again you’ll need to ensure that you’re choosing the right type of shampoo for your carpet. As well as shampoo, grease remover is also a useful product to keep handy for removing spot stains, and is safe to use on most carpets.
Dealing with different types of stains
Although there are countless ways that your carpet could become stained, most of these stains can be handled with similar products and methods. In many cases, partially soaking a cloth in warm water and gently dabbing the affected area is the most effective method, but stubborn stains may require special products like shampoo or stain remover. However, regardless of what type of stain you’re dealing with, there are a few tips that can be applied in any scenario.
Firstly, always ensure that you avoid making the stain too wet. Many people think that this would make the stain easier to remove, but instead it simply gives the stain more chance to spread across the carpet. Another point to keep in mind is that you should dab the stain instead of rubbing it. Gentle dabbing is still effective, and won’t run the risk of spreading the stain further across the carpet or even possibly causing visible damage.
If you’ve dabbed the stain for a while and it’s still slightly visible, it’s fine to gently brush the stain in the direction of the pile, starting from the edges and brushing towards the centre. Personally, I use a toothbrush for this. Coffee, wine, juice and even urine can all be handled with a touch of diluted carpet shampoo and a good technique (and a good toothbrush!).
We’ve ran through our best tips for keeping your carpets clean, but we’ll highlight the most important points here:
Avoid rubbing and making the carpet overly wet when cleaning. Many people seem to think that the harder you scrub, the easier the stain will be to remove, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
When gently brushing the remaining traces of the stain, always work from the edges of the stain towards the middle. This will help you to avoid spreading the stain further across the carpet.
Once the spill/stain has been dealt with, try to dry the area as quickly as you can. You could use paper towels for this purpose, or even a hairdryer if you’re feeling impatient (however avoid overheating the carpet as it could cause damage).
If you’ve followed all of our advice above and the stain/spillage is still clearly visible, contact professional cleaners immediately.
For more information about dealing with common types of spills and stains, take a look at our free carpet cleaning guide on our carpets page( http://allfloorsglasgow.co.uk/our-carpets/)
Hopefully this guide has helped to clear up some of the misconceptions surrounding the cleaning and maintenance of carpets. Don’t be afraid to have this incredibly versatile and attractive flooring option in your home!
Max Robinson works for Allfloors Glasgow (http://allfloorsglasgow.co.uk/our-carpets/), a carpet and flooring company based in Glasgow.