Carpet is a vulnerable fixture in our homes. Some people are able to keep them looking new for many years. Others can age their carpet in a fraction of the time. In my experience, spills and heavy foot traffic account for bulk of carpet wear.
If you have a spill (even red wine or grape juice) time is of the essence. I have always had the most success with immediate blotting, committed dilution, followed by more blotting. Never rub or scrub because it separates the ends of the fibers and will look permanently ”scrubbed” in that area. I was able to find several resources that address how to handle specific stains. If you find yourself in that moment, here’s the quickest way to manage the moment:
- quickly gather several light or white towels
- as quickly as possible blot up as much of the liquid you can with your dry towel
- make a solution of a small amount of suitable detergent and lukewarm water
- work the stain from the outside in to minimize the size
- pour enough solution to dilute the stain
- blot it up with a dry towel
- repeat those steps until the stain appears to be gone
- (if all else fails there’s always google!)
If spills account for most of the stains, pets account for most of the carpet replacements. Pet urine is offender numero uno but not the only way carpeting can get ruined. Pets that go outside several times a day pick up pollens, dirt, and many other “things” they may inadvertently step in. Saliva, shedding, and dander are also big contributors to pet “odor”. When they relax on the carpet and chew on their favorite toy, saliva on the toy gets on your carpet.
- keep their food off carpeted areas (dog and cat food contain oils that can stain carpets)
- have significant rug coverage from the entry to cut down on unseen outdoor debris tracked in
- keep a stash of clean towels near your entry for inclement weather
- invest in a pet pillow to put in their favorite dozing or chewing spot
- depending on your pet, crate or confine them to uncarpeted areas during your absence.
If you own the home or signed the lease, you are responsible for keeping the carpet healthy. Frequently vacuuming your carpet is the easiest way to remove debris and maintain the height of the carpet. Without it, carpet gets flattened and crushed by binding the fabric. Darkened paths often appear in high traffic areas from oily feet (and lotions) or shoes with sticky, oily, or dirty debris.
- vacuum often
- take off your shoes when you come in
- wear clean socks or slippers around the house (especially if you have sweaty feet, walk barefoot outside or treat and lotion your feet)
- rearrange furniture periodically to change high traffic and wear areas
- as a rule – keep food and drinks out of carpeted areas
Carpet is a fixture of the structure you live in. It is undoubtedly one of the most vulnerable fixtures you have the responsibility of caring for. Consistent preventative actions will impact the length of time your carpet retains its useful life.