9 tips for caring for your carpet

July 28, 2015

With a little attention and some precautions, your home carpeting can last for decades. Following these nine tips will mean that you shouldn't have to replace your carpet prematurely.

9 tips for caring for your carpet

1. Use protective runners or rugs

  • Put runners or throw rugs in high-traffic areas, especially in entries and hallways. They can be strips of similar or contrasting carpeting hemmed along the edges.

2. Block UV rays

  • To prevent your carpet from fading, keep direct sunlight off it. Close drapes or blinds on the sunny sides of the house during peak daylight hours.

3. Take your shoes off, but leave your socks on

  • Taking off your shoes will reduce wear and dirt. But leave your socks on so that oil from your bare feet doesn't rub off; it will attract dirt and shorten the life of your carpet.

4. Lift—don't drag—furniture

  • Pulling furniture over carpet causes unnecessary wear: it can snag a loop of yarn, rip a carpet seam, bunch and wrinkle the carpet, or actually melt the fibres with friction burns.

5. Vacuum every week

  •  Use slow, even strokes, and go back and forth several times, flipping the nap by going alternately against and with the grain. Finish with strokes that all go in the same direction.
  • Vacuum under furniture as best you can with attachments. Twice a year, move the furniture and vacuum the area under it thoroughly.
  • New carpeting produces a lot of fluff. If your vacuum cleaner won't suck up cat hairs, threads, or other fine items, use a lint roller or a piece of doubled-over tape to pick them up.
  •  Change the bag. Keep in mind that as the bag fills up, the suction power reduces. Changing your bag when it is about half full will keep the suction going strong.

6. Safe cleaning

  • Avoid carpet-cleaning methods that use shampoos, dry powders, and powerful rotating brushes. They may cause harm from the force of the brushes or by leaving behind residual detergent or solvent.

7. Give your carpet a steam cleaning

  • Steam cleaning is the best way to renew your carpet. It's best to hire a professional carpet-cleaning company. The cost is generally less than $100 per room.
  • If you opt to steam clean yourself, rent the most powerful steam cleaner you can find and follow the instructions closely.
  • Open windows and let the carpet dry overnight before walking on it or replacing furniture.

8. Getting rid of indents

  • Bring crushed fibres back to their original shape with a steam iron. Just set the iron on steam and hold it about half a centimetre (a quarter inch) above the carpet. Use a screwdriver to help fluff out the fibres.

9. How to patch carpeting

  • Patching a damaged area of carpeting is easy. The only special materials you need are double-faced carpet tape, which is sticky on both sides, and carpet seam cements.
  • Cut out the damaged carpet area with a sharp utility knife held against a straightedge. Then, using the cut-out piece as a guide, cut a patch from a spare piece of carpet or from carpet in an inconspicuous place like a closet. Make sure the pattern matches.
  • Slide double-faced carpet tape partway under the edges of the hole in the carpet. Then apply carpet seam cement to the carpet edges of the hole and the patch.
  • Press the patch in place and weight it down until the glue sets.
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