Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Keeping Carpet Clean

Carpet Cleaning originally uploaded by amorphity.
"Your carpet can hold its weight in dirt."

That's how The clean carpet quandary, a 01/05/2008 article from the South Bend Tribune by Jennifer Ochstein starts out. The article continues "so when it begins to look dirty to you, it's likely saturated." Yikes!

What to do?

I asked our resident expert, Annette Smith, for some perspective on both carpet cleaning and the article. Here goes.

First - don't ever underestimate the power of vacuuming your carpet, and doing so frequently. Frequent vacuuming keeps soil from becoming embedded in the carpet. If you love to vacuum, you should do so to your heart's content! Do it daily. Do it hourly. It's absolutely the best thing you can do to keep your carpet clean.

Something to consider, though, while vacuuming is to make sure that the vacuum is adjusted correctly for pile height. In fact, for some carpet constructions [e.g., very plush shag], carpet manufacturers will warn against using beater bars, preferring suction instead.

Regardless, vacuuming is your friend and your carpet's best friend. Don't skip it! When soil becomes embedded in carpet, it's harder to remove it. To make matters worse, embedded soil particles are abrasive [think what would happen if you took sandpaper, even an ultra-fine grade and wiped your glasses with it]. They pit and scratch the fiber creating a dull, faded appearance. This will contribute to making the carpet look worn.

Although the article touches on vacuuming [especially before steam cleaning your carpet], it primarily addresses [steam] cleaning carpet and whether to do so professionally or on your own.

Why not to do it yourself
Most rental or non-professional equipment lacks suction power.

Then there are operator issues... "You can do a lot of damage if you don't know what you're doing."

Why go professional
Better equipment and better cleaning power with more pressure and that use less water or no water depending on the system.

You still need to make sure to get written quotes and references to ensure that the company is reputable.

Back to Annette's words of wisdom.

Annette points out that many warranties require professional cleaning at certain intervals (our Wear-Dated warranty requires professional hot water extraction at least once every 2 years) to keep the provisions of any warranties in effect. One exception is if your carpet carries the 3M warranty [e.g., Wear-Dated carpet fiber carpet from Mohawk with 3M Protector Advanced Repel Technology] which states that you can use Bissell ProHeat or ProHeat Pro-Tech deep cleaning machine every 12 months. Note that you must have a receipt for the machine and receipts every 12 months showing your purchased the Bissell cleaning formula.]

Definitely check the fine print on your carpet-related warranties in case you have other requirements like more frequent professional cleaning than every 24 months, etc.

Another plus for professional cleaning is the reapplication of topical fluorocarbon (again a requirement of our warranty after each even numbered cleaning) which preserves the beauty of the carpet.

Annette strongly recommends professional carpet cleaning every 12 to 24 months or often enough to prevent the carpet from becoming excessively soiled (light colored carpet depending on your lifestyle may need cleaning more often).

So there you have it.

Another resource to consider is Carpet Cleaning For Dummies from the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI).

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Eddie the Albuquerque Carpet Cleaner said...

I just found this blog and appreciate what you all are doing to help educate consumers about carpet. One of our challenges is helping people understand that cleaning carpet isn't just about the dirt you can see, but also all the bacteria, viruses, dust mites (and associated droppings), etc. that you can't see.

CB Whittemore said...

Eddie, thanks for your comment. This is a post I really enjoyed putting together so I'm delighted to find it valuable.

All the best to you as you help people understand what cleaning carpets truly is about.


Industrial Supplies said...

My oldest daughter would kill for that pink carpet in the top picture.
Carpet care isn't easy, to say the least. You have to have good supplies.

CB Whittemore said...

Industrial Supplies, you certainly make your point about supplies.

Personally, I consider carpet easier to care for than many other flooring products.

I hope you've managed to find your daughter her very own pink carpet!

Thanks for visiting.


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