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How to Clean a Carpet

Carpet cleaning

As spring cleaning time approaches, don’t forget to clean your carpet and upholstery. After all, they represent two of the most expensive investments you’ve made in your home. Dull, dingy carpets and upholstery can ruin the appearance of an otherwise lovely house. Even so, many homeowners go about traditional spring cleaning chores like washing their windows and walls without considering a thorough cleaning of their carpets and upholstery. That’s a mistake. Winter takes a heavy toll on carpets and upholstery. Dirt, mud and – in some climates – snow and salt, have been tracked in. Woodburning stoves and heating units leave a heavy residue of dirt.

In addition, homes are closed tight during cold winter months, leading to an accumulation of dust and odors. They may not be noticed right away but they build up. As spring nears, thawing snow and frequent ram often cause new problems like the “browning of carpeting,” resulting from excessive dampness.

A thorough professional carpet cleaning should reach deep into the carpet fibers and remove the dirt and spots. Vacuuming alone isn’t enough. A vacuum removes surface dirt and should be done twice weekly, more frequently in high traffic areas. But no matter how often or how thoroughly you vacuum soil accumulates. This dulls the color of the carpet and builds up in the fibers. Sand, gravel and mud tend to settle deep in the carpet. Along with greasy particles from cooking, smoking or tracked-in asphalt, they’re very difficult to remove and can damage the carpet fiber or color.

A professional steam cleaning is the best way to remove the soil and restore the color. People aren’t aware of the dramatic difference this type of cleaning can make on carpeting and upholstery. Most people seem to think there is nothing they can do for furniture upholstery short of reupholstering or recovering when dirt builds up. But, in most cases, a good cleaning can make it look like new.

Experts caution people about do-it-yourself carpet cleaning methods. Many of these methods leave a residue of soap, which can actually attract dirt. This is harmful to the long-term life of the carpeting. If you have used this method in the past, steam cleaning is the best way to remove the residue. Steam cleaning extracts ground-in dirt, which has been loosened or dissolved by highly effective detergent solutions. A professional steam cleaning is recommended for at least once a year, to prolong the life and appearance of the carpeting and upholstery.

Not everything should be left to the carpet cleaner, though. The homeowner has some responsibilities, too. They include vacuuming regularly and thoroughly, protecting high-traffic and entrance areas, covering arms of upholstered furniture and removing stains and spots promptly. The reward will be a more beautiful home for many years to come, and less money from your pocketbook for new carpeting and upholstery.

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