Keeping Your Carpet Clean

Tips on caring for your carpet and keeping it clean.

For those of us with carpets in our homes, it's an ongoing struggle to keep them looking clean. Not only does it make a room look bad to have a dirty carpet, but if not properly maintained, a dirty carpet can present a multitude of health problems, especially for those with asthma or allergies.

Keeping a carpet clean is a much nicer option than ripping out a dirty carpet and replacing it every couple of years. In fact, a little preventative maintenance will do wonders for the life expectancy of your wall to wall. It's not difficult to do, and if practiced regularly, will soon be part of your regular cleaning routine. Keep in mind that family members are going to have to cooperate with your carpet maintenance program, but most are happy to comply.

If you want to keep outside dirt from being tracked in on the carpet, leave all shoes and boots at the front door. Not wearing shoes in the house will protect all floor surfaces from dirt and grit tracked in from the out of doors. It will also prevent dirt from being ground into the carpet.

To keep crumbs off the carpet and avoid spilling, you might want to enforce a "no food or drink in carpeted rooms" rule. If this isn't to be, you might want to explore some other options.

1. Vacuum regularly. It's best to vacuum every day or every other day, but for today's busy homemaker, this isn't always possible. Instead, try for once a week. This should be enough to remove all accumulated dirt, dust and food particles. Be sure to properly maintain your vacuum as well and replace the bag often. A full vacuum bag means not enough suction, which also means a carpet that stays dirty.

2. Freshen once a month. Sprinkle carpet deodorizer or baking soda on the carpet once a month before you vacuum to keep the rug from accumulating an odor. Leave the deodorizing powder on your carpet for at least thirty minutes before vacuuming. When the carpet is vacuumed clean, the whole room will smell fresh!

3. Clean stains immediately. If an accident happens, react right away. Don't wait until later. Put a marker in your book and pause the movie if you need to, but don't give that stain a chance to spread or further embed itself into the fibers of your carpet. Blot any spills immediately and use vinegar, dishwashing liquid or club soda for more stubborn stains. For a really wet stain, cover with a thick towel and weigh down with a book or other heavy object. This will prevent "wicking" and keep the stain from reappearing.

4. Steam clean every six months. Most supermarkets and home improvement centers will allow you to rent steam cleaners. By steaming your carpet every six months or so, you'll be ensuring it always looks its best.

Many people still like to call in a professional carpet cleaner once a year to maintain the integrity of their carpets. If you don't mind the expense, by all means do so. Otherwise, the above mentioned tips should keep your carpet looking fresh and new for years to come. A few minutes of cleaning every week will mean a healthy looking carpet for years to come. Isn't that worth the extra work?

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