New customers here in State College, Pennsylvania, after seeing how wonderful their carpets look after a professional cleaning, often ask me how they should be caring for their carpets to keep them looking nice. Unfortunately, many of my new customers have already waited much too long before having their carpets professionally cleaned, and some amount of permanent damage has already occurred.
A good looking carpet is one of the most important components of a home’s appearance. How well you care for your carpet is the biggest factor in keeping them looking beautiful and lasting their expected life. Sadly, most homeowners do not properly maintain their carpets! If you don’t vacuum on a regular and frequent basis and have them professionally cleaned every 12 to 18 months, about half of your carpet’s lifespan can be lost. To make your carpet last as long as possible follow these recommendations:
1. Vacuum frequently with a well maintained full-sized vacuum cleaner.
I find that more than half of our new residential clients here in State College, Pennsylvania are not properly vacuuming their carpets due to dirty and clogged filters, over-filled bags, loose or broken brush belts, or improperly adjusted brush height. They are often shocked if I show them the amount of dry soil and pet hair I remove when we vacuum prior to cleaning.
The Number One Cause of Premature Carpet Wear is Lack of Proper Vacuuming using a Full-Sized, Well-Maintained Vacuum Cleaner!
Don’t think you need a vacuum cleaner costing several hundred dollars to do a good job. You Don’t. I recommend the full sized Bissell Heavy Duty vacuum.
I also recommend several full size models by Shark, such as the Navigator or the Rotator.
Vacuum frequently. Dry soil particles abrade carpet fibers causing them to lose their luster and look dingy. Fiber abrasion damage is permanent, so it is important to keep the soil load to an absolute minimum. Families with children and pets should vacuum at least two times per week and more often if possible. For smaller families without pets, weekly vacuuming should suffice.
Don’t “forget” to vacuum the stairs. A lot of folks that do vacuum regularly often skip vacuuming the stairs each time. This is a big mistake. Stairs are a high traffic area and really take a beating. Carpeted stairs are often the first to show abrasion damage. To make it easier to vacuum stairs I recommend the Dirt Devil Ultra Hand Vac.
Vacuum properly. Make two or three slow cleaning strokes before moving on to the next section. Most people move the vacuum too fast and make only one vacuum stroke over each area. For the most efficient vacuuming, vacuum against the nap, so that the pile is lifted upright on the backstroke. If possible, try to vary the direction each time you vacuum.
Properly maintain and adjust your vacuum cleaner. Adjust the brush bar so it just touches the top of the carpet fibers when vacuuming. Many people set the brush bar too low thinking it will “dig out” more soil, however setting the brush bar too low can damage the carpet fibers over time. Change the vacuum bag before it becomes half-full, and clean or change any filters on your vacuum frequently as a full bag or clogged filter will greatly diminish your vacuum’s suction. The brush belt on your vacuum will stretch over time, causing the brush to slip and not work properly. Check your vacuum’s belt monthly and change when necessary, often about twice each year.
Use a carpet rake to lift pile and loosen soil. If you're really serious about maintaining your carpets consider purchasing and using a Perky Groomer carpet rake. Use this handy tool to lift the pile and loosen dry soil for easier and more effective vacuuming. Grooming your carpets from time to time also helps prevent matting.
Well, as you can tell, I think vacuuming is pretty important to maintaining your carpets. Parts II and III of this article will list several more tips and suggestions for keeping your carpets looking beautiful and lasting a long time.