HOW DO I TAKE CARE OF MY… carpets and rugs?

Let’s talk about maintenance. Does that not seem exciting to you? It’s not, but it is extremely important. We are going to go over things that you have in your home that can easily be taken for granted, but if not properly maintained, will wear out, or worse, ugly out! In other words they become stained or do not clean up well and become a constant source of irritation. Let’s start with our favorite, carpets and rugs!

In order to properly maintain something you must know what it is. What is materials are your carpet and rug made out of? There are two basic categories: synthetic and natural fibers. Synthetics cover materials like nylon, polyester, acrylic, polypropylene (olefin), and others. Commonly used natural materials are wool, cotton, linen, jute, sisal, and silk. Most wall-to-wall carpets are synthetic, while many rugs are natural. Why does this matter? Because you maintain each category differently. If you do not know what you have and you use the wrong cleaning products on it, you can permanently change the appearance or damage them.  In order to identify the materials, check the manufacturer’s information or look at one of the corners of the rug for the tag. You would be surprised how many people do not know what their floor coverings are made of or think they know. 

The most basic and important thing you can do to maintain your floor coverings is to remove the dry soil. Vacuum them regularly with a good vacuum, one with plenty of suction and a good beater bar. TAKE YOUR TIME VACUUMING! This is not a race. Moving quickly over the surface to remove the visible soil will have little effect on the soil trapped deeper in the fabric. Go over the carpets or rugs slowly, perhaps multiple times. You are loosening and removing the soil which takes time and especially so on thicker pile. Entry rugs, which take an extra load of dry soil, can be taken outside and flipped over. Run the beater bar over the backing with as little suction as possible. This will break loose the soil and allow gravity to move it out. Then flip it right side up and vacuum it again. Removing the dry soil is the single best thing you can do to prolong the life and beauty of your floor coverings.

Removing spots as soon as they occur is also vital. This is where knowing the materials your floor coverings are made comes in. Make sure you have cleaners compatible with what you have. Natural materials require a more neutral cleaner while synthetics can handle far more aggressive cleaners. Natural fibers can also be far more susceptible to texture change through friction (rubbing too hard either with a brush or even a towel). In all cases, blot, blot, blot! 

Finally, get your floor coverings professionally cleaned on a regular basis. Think about your teeth. You brush and floss every day, but that is still not enough. You need to go to the dentist regularly for a deep clean; they remove things you are not able to. So it is with your floor coverings. Even though you do everything you are supposed to, you still need a professional to come in regularly to remove things you cannot.

Do these things and you will be a maintenance superhero!

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