There's no question that carpet adds warmth and comfort to the home—softening the floor underfoot and helping you avoid the coolness and discomfort of harder floor finishes. Unfortunately, carpet also tends to collect dirt and stains, making it notoriously difficult to keep clean. Over time, stains and dirt buildup on carpet, detracting from the appearance of even the most carefully maintained home. These five tips will help you keep your carpet looking its best for years to come, reducing the need for a costly replacement.
Pick the Right Carpet
Carpet comes in countless varieties and materials, but if long-term good looks are your main priority, stick with nylon. Nylon is both the most durable and the easiest to maintain of all common carpet materials, making it less likely to stain, fray or pile. While polyester and olefin are also common for carpets, both are more likely to show stains and signs of wear than nylon.
Keep Dirt Outside Where It Belongs
The less dirt you allow into your home, the less dirt and dust there will be indoors to accumulate in your carpet. Keep dirt at bay by sweeping the entrances to your home on a regular basis, and use entrance mats to catch any dirt or mud that tries to sneak past your entranceway. If possible, create a small seating area near the front door where family members can remove shoes as they enter, which will greatly reduce the amount of dirt that gets tracked inside. Another tip – change your HVAC filters more often to get dirt and dust out of the home, where it can't settle into your carpet.
Get Friendly With Your Vacuum Cleaner
Vacuum high-traffic areas like the entrance way or halls everyday using a quality upright vacuum equipped with an agitator brush. If possible, add a high-efficiency—or HEPA—filter to your vacuum, and invest in HEPA bags if your model relies on bags to collect dust. Vacuum lower traffic areas like bedrooms and guest rooms every few days or as needed.
Smart Spot Cleaning
No matter how careful you are, your carpet is likely to suffer the occasional spill or stain. Learning to clean these stains with the proper tools and techniques can keep your carpet looking its best between cleanings and minimize wear and tear. The Carpet and Rug Institute warns homeowners against scrubbing or brushing stains and spills, which could damage fibers. Instead, blot up spills using clean rags or towels. When you've soaked up as much of the stain as possible, use a cleaning product recommended by the carpet's manufacturer to spot clean, working from the edges of the stain to the inside to keep the spot from spreading.
Know When to Go Pro
While you can certainly keep your carpet looking good on your own, there's nothing like a professional cleaning to make your carpet look its best and extend its life. The Carpet and Rug Institute suggests hiring a professional cleaning company every 12 to 18 months. To find the right cleaning company (such as Manning Bros.), get quotes from multiple contractors, and avoid choosing a company whose prices are just too cheap to believe. Read the fine print on all estimates to ensure you're making an apples-to-apples comparison, and ask friends, family and neighbors for reviews before choosing a carpet cleaning professional.