5 carpet tips from a carpet cleaner!
NEVER INSTALL CARPET IN CERTAIN AREAS OF YOUR HOME OR USE MATS/RUGS TO PROTECT THEM
It’s mostly in carpeted apartments but many developers insist on running carpet right to the edge of the kitchen. In places like downtown Vancouver and the West End where space is at a premium, this can mean a stove or dishwasher is right beside or very close to often whitish carpet. The video above is an example of a carpeted area right beside the kitchen and front door which rapidly accumulates dirt and grime. In these situations, it’s inevitable that spills both small and large will accumulate over time no matter how careful you are. Another notorious area is when carpet runs underneath stools and a breakfast bar area with similar results. If you and friends love red wine, consider going with laminate or at least covering up the living room area with a red or dark coloured rug. Always lay down a mat if you have carpet that runs right up to the front door.
PURCHASE A SPOT CLEANER OR SHOP VAC
This is especially true if you have kids, pets or any kind of high traffic household and the lighter the carpet you have, the more beneficial it will be. It’s simply not practical to think you’re going to be able to avoid any stains, nor is it practical having a professional carpet cleaner come by more than a couple times per year. You need something on site to immediately tackle certain stains in order to maintain the original colour and fresh look. Given enough time, even a professional won’t be able to completely remove certain types of stains that have been down long enough. It also sucks to have your carpets cleaned and then spill something a week after, knowing you have to stare it for another 5-6 months when your next cleaning happens. Handheld spot cleaners have risen in quality and are more affordable than in the past. Another option is a small shop vac- many stains can be loosened with simple DIY solutions and then extracted with the shop vac.
HOW A CARPET LOOKS TELLS YOU NOTHING ABOUT HOW CLEAN IT IS
Ever notice a lot of dark greys in commercial or apartment hallway carpets? Dark reds are also popular for one reason- they hide dirt and stains incredibly well. I’ve cleaned hallways which barely looked different afterwards yet we pulled 80 litres of jet black water from a single floor. That strange smell of diapers, red wine and bad food notorious in apartment hallways (residents of older 1960's walkups in Vancouver know it well!) is largely a result of the carpets having never been cleaned. The point is that if that dark coloured area rug, couch or carpet in your house “looks” okay despite not having been cleaned in years, it’s definitely not okay. It’s a major oversight I’ve seen some very clean people make over the years and be horrified at how dirty a big part of their home is. Don’t spend years cleaning around rugs and couches while they accumulate bacteria and grime. It’s not like a white countertop where you can see every speck so if you suspect you could use a carpet or upholstery cleaning, trust your gut and make that call!
AVOID CARPET YOU CANT MAINTAIN
Some higher end rugs look and feel incredible. You might be tempted to snag one off FB marketplace or Craigslist and although it may seem like a good deal, make sure you can afford the upkeep- otherwise it’s just going to become a dirty old rug! Materials like silk require specialized treatment that can’t be performed safely with standard carpet cleaning equipment. You’ll need to take it to (or have it picked up by) a specialist, usually at great cost. Another situation is when you have one or more young children- as nice as that beige carpet looks, the odds of you keeping it clean are virtually zero. Another is truly white carpets which are simply impossible to maintain by all but the most careful and dedicated homeowners. Be careful or you could find yourself in a situation where the upkeep costs far more than what the purchase price was, or you’re stuck with a stain covered eyesore.
PREVENTION IS THE BEST MEDICINE
Over time, even the best carpet cleaner will not be able to save your carpets if they’re being mistreated. Using a high quality vacuum regularly is a good start. As previously mentioned, cover high traffic and high stain risk areas with mats or cheaper rugs. Always take shoes off in the house, especially in the winter. Make sure to tackle spills immediately to the best of your ability (see previous tip about buying spot cleaners). Be proactive and most importantly make sure to have your carpets professionally steam cleaned at least once a year!