How to Protect Your Investment in Your Carpet

by Gail Brumfield

If you’ve never replaced the carpeting in a home, you may not appreciate the value of proper carpet maintenance. But if you have, you already know: New carpeting can cost thousands of dollars. For most of us, that’s a big investment, one that merits some extra care and effort to protect.

Despite the big cost of carpeting, many homeowners don’t do enough to protect it. While they wouldn’t dream of skipping a car’s oil change, for example, they’re perfectly comfortable with skipping a professional carpet cleaning. Unfortunately, the effect of neglect is similar for both carpets and cars: without regular maintenance, both wear out (and will need to be replaced) more quickly.

Consider this: Medium-grade carpet can last between five and fifteen years. Would you like to take care of your carpet and replace it in fifteen years? Or would you prefer to neglect it, and pay to replace it in five? With proper maintenance and care, you’ll enjoy the carpet for the duration of its intended lifespan. You won’t have to spend thousands to replace that carpet before its time.

Ready to invest a little effort to protect the investment in your carpet? Here’s what you need to do:

Vacuum, regularly. Plan to vacuum your carpet at least once a week, and potentially more in high-traffic areas. Perhaps you’re thinking that, even after two weeks since the last vacuuming, your carpet looks just fine. But that’s not the point. Regular vacuuming removes dirt, sand, and gravel before it has a chance to sink deep into your carpet. Once there, abrasive grit can damage carpet fibers; deep-down dirt is also harder to remove.

Remove stains, immediately. When a spill occurs, you need to stop what you’re doing and attend to it right away. You’ll need a white towel. You’ll also need a stain removal spray that won’t harm your carpet; test this spray in advance, in an out-of-the-way spot before applying it to any stain. Be sure to read the directions on the spray before applying it. After all, you’re trying to protect a big investment – remember?

Steam clean, periodically. Portable steam cleaners can help your carpeting maintain a neat and clean appearance; they’re also effective removing spots, stains, and grit missed by regular vacuuming. Instead of renting a steam cleaning machine, consider purchasing one; this investment will pay for itself after just a few uses. Again, be sure to follow the directions for proper operation. You don’t want to apply too much water or cleaning solution, and you don’t want to leave too much in your carpet.

Schedule professional cleanings, yearly. Despite your best efforts, your carpeting will collect dirt, grit, and stains over time. For a deep clean, you’ll need to rely on a professional carpet cleaner such as Chem-Dry. Professionals have more effective solutions and more powerful extraction equipment; they can remove dirt that homeowners can’t reach. Most carpet manufacturers suggest scheduling a professional cleaning once a year.

Hopefully, by now you agree: A little extra care is worth all of the money you can save by postponing that carpet replacement. And all the while, you’ll get to enjoy a carpet that looks and feels nice and clean.