Carpets are expensive to buy and to have fitted. Correct care not only keeps your carpets looking great, it can also extend the life of your investment. Here's how to pamper your carpets to keep them looking and smelling fresh for many years to come.
Vacuuming is your first line of defence against dirt and the damage it can do to your carpets. It's very important that you vacuum effectively at least once a week and more often in areas of heavy traffic to stop particles of grit working their way down into the carpet fibres where they could cause damage and splitting. If the carpet has a deep pile, you'll need to go over the areas that take the most footfall a few times to remove fluff and to lift the pile back up.
Once a month, fix the crevice tool to your vacuum hose and clean underneath radiators and around skirting boards to remove any build-up of dust. Insects often lurk behind furniture, so remember to vacuum there regularly too. If you have a woollen carpet, some insect larvae will happily make a meal of the fibres and cause damage if you don't get rid of them, but regular vacuuming will take care of this.
If you have pets, your carpet can trap fur and grease and become smelly over time. A good tip is to add a small quantity of baking soda to your vacuum cleaner cylinder or bag, which will effectively neutralise those nasty whiffs. A quick spritz with a fabric freshener will help to keep your carpets smelling fragrant, too.
Stains from urine or other pet-related accidents are best dealt with by professional carpet cleaners who will use deep steam cleaning techniques together with special deodorisers.
If something is spilled on your carpet, try to deal with it quickly before the substance soaks into the carpet fibres and dries.
- Blot up the liquid using a dry, clean colourfast cloth or towel. Don't risk spreading the spill by rubbing at it.
- Apply a good quality carpet cleaning agent to a small area of the carpet as per the manufacturer's instructions on the packaging. Treat a small area first to ensure the product won't damage or discolour your carpet before tackling the rest of the spill.
- Start the application from the outside of the spill and work inwards to prevent it spreading further out. Blotting the area to remove excess moisture will help to lift the carpet pile back up.
- When the area is completely dry, vacuum gently to lift the carpet pile.
Severe stains are best dealt with by a professional firm of carpet cleaners. Although you can hire steam cleaning machines from some large supermarkets or tool hire shops, professional firms will have much more powerful equipment and will also have access to strong detergents and deodorisers. This should guarantee that the stain will be completely removed without damage to your carpet.
Before you allow any firm of carpet cleaners to work on your carpets, always check that they are fully insured in case of shrinkage or damage.
There's a lot you can do yourself routinely to keep your carpets looking as good as the day you bought them. However, all carpets benefit from a thorough deep clean by a professional firm of carpet cleaning specialists once every couple of years.