Reprinted from BrightNest.com
Carpet has some upsides. It’s cozy on bare feet, looks great in a den and is less expensive to install than other flooring types. The downside? Once carpet starts to show age, gets a stain or is just plain dirty, it’s hard to reverse the nastification process. The average carpet replacement happens every seven years, which can really add up over the lifetime of a house.
To extend the life if your carpet, live by these six rules:
When you wear shoes into your house, you’re tracking dirt, grime and worse … feces … into your house. Yup, feces. More than 96% of shoes come into frequent contact with fecal matter from public restrooms, and that fecal matter is being rubbed all over your carpet when you stomp around inside. Think you’re safe because of an entryway or mudroom? Not so fast. Tests show that it takes up to 17 steps before the soles of shoes are clean (and fecal-free).
To protect your carpets, enact an ironclad “no shoes” policy in your house. To make it easy for family and guests, place a few big baskets by the door to hold shoes. Tip: Tack up a sign politely asking guests to remove their shoes, so you can avoid an awkward conversation down the road.
According to the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration (IIRC), all carpets should be cleaned at least once a year. That’s a good baseline, but there’s definitely some flex on it. In low-traffic areas, carpets can go 12 to 18 months between cleanings, but high-traffic areas are better off getting cleaned 2-4 times a year. (If you have kids, pets or a smoking habit, cleaning everything 2-4 times per year is a good idea.)
Professional cleaners may seem expensive, but it’s not that bad if you get a good deal! Check to see if Angie’s List is offering anything in your area.
Some home items, like dog food bowls or decorations, are okay to skimp on. With vacuums, on the other hand, you get what you pay for. Not only will cheap vacuums not pick up dirt and grime, they’re tougher to clean and don’t filter the air very well. Instead, opt for a middle-of-the-road price (around $200). If you’re vacuuming a massive amount of area, you may want to go even higher on the purchase price to make life easier. Here’s a more detailed vacuum buying guide if you need it.
Once you have the right vacuum, it’s important to keep it maintained. Before each use, check the bag. You want the bag (or bagless cylinder) to be less than half full. If the air filter is removable, rinse it out before and after each use. Also, do a more thorough vacuum inspection every sixth months.
Speaking of your vacuum, this is not a once-a-month chore! When it comes to your vacuum, you’ve gotta be diligent. If you skip a few runs here and there it’s okay, but if you’re ignoring the vacuuming week-over-week, your carpet is going to hold too much dirt and grime for you to handle with a vacuum.
Follow this rule of thumb: For the average family, you should vacuum carpets two or three times a week. If your family is really active, you may want to increase that to three or four times a week. (Here are a few tips for vacuuming more effectively in general.) When you vacuum, use four-six passes in the high traffic lanes and two-three passes in low traffic areas.
Even light furniture will sink over time, causing divots to form in your carpet. And a five-year divot is pretty much permanent. To keep your fibers fresh, reposition the furniture every few months. Tip: Use the change up as an excess to clean up, and assess your clutter situation as you’re moving furniture.
What’s a party without a spill, amiright? It’s tough to prevent spills from happening, but if you’re on top of it, you can keep them from becoming stains. When something happens, immediately clean up anything solid (like nacho chips) and sop up any excess liquid. Then, follow these five easy fixes for common stains depending on the type of spill. Tip: Have club soda handy pretty much all of the time.