Edgar Allen Poe rightly said, ‘A carpet is the soul of an apartment”. Carpets are interior essentials that help define spaces while making the room feel warm and inviting. They also absorb sounds and thus make a room feel quieter. Carpets and rugs are interchangeable terms with the main difference being that carpets may also refer to the wall to wall carpeting. Depending on the colour of your carpet, a carpet can become the focal point of a room or fade into the background to let your furniture shine.
Carpets can be categorized according to materials and the way they are constructed. Carpets can also be identified by the region they are produced in. Based on the how they are made carpets can be categorized as woven, tufted or knotted. Carpets can be made with natural, synthetic or a blend of natural and synthetic fibre. The choice of material plays a major role in determining the durability, look and cost of the carpet. The first step to maintaining a carpet is to understand the material used to construct it and its pros and cons. For example, woolen carpets are easy to stain but respond very well to a soap and water solution. Bleach, however, can damage a woolen carpet. Nylon and synthetic carpets are easy to maintain and can be regularly washed to be kept clean. Synthetic carpets have an added advantage of being the most stain resistant. Silk carpets, on the other hand, are delicate and washing them with hot water can permanently damage the carpet.
Baking soda is an essential element not only for cake recipes but also when it comes to maintaining a carpet. Baking soda can be used on its own or mixed with powdered herbs of natural oil essence to deodorize a carpet. Liberally spread the powder on a carpet while avoiding making lumps and leave for an hour or two before vacuuming it up. Since the baking soda particles are fine, you might have to vacuum the carpet a few times to pick up all the baking soda. Keep in mind, however, that baking soda is not a cleaning agent and merely deodorizes the carpet.
This rule follows not only for our health and well-being but also when it comes to maintaining a carpet. Colour and material play an important role in determining where a carpet should be placed for it to have a long life. Medium to dark shades is ideal for high traffic areas that interact with soil. Intricate patterns again camouflage dirt well and so are better suited to high traffic areas than solid carpets. The soil is a carpet’s worst enemy. To fight this, wear a different pair of shoes indoors and a different pair outdoors. Better still, walk bare feet at home. Doormats at the entrance of a house also greatly reduce the amount of soil brought indoors. Padding the carpet with rubber or foam also goes a long way in giving the carpet a long life.
All carpet manufacturers advocate regularly vacuuming a carpet to give it a long life. Vacuuming the carpet once a week is an ideal way to maintain rugs and keep them looking fresh for years. First vacuum the back of the carpet to loosen any dirt before turning it right side up and vacuuming the front. Professional carpet cleaners suggest vacuuming from side to side rather than from top to bottom to avoid damaging the tassels. These should later be fluffed out manually. Lastly, use a medium bristled brush to remove any leftover hair or dust. This last step is crucial if you share your home with a pet.
Even if a carpet does not look clean it must be professionally cleaned once every 8 months. An easy way of determining when your carpet needs to be deep cleaned is to hang it outside and beat a corner. If a lot of dust comes out of the carpet, it is time to call the professionals. Even with regular vacuuming, tiny dust particles remain in the carpet fibers and gradually settle into it. These tiny particles, when walked upon, may cut into the fibers thus damaging the carpet. Professional carpet cleaners use a variety of cleaning techniques to maintain rugs. The most common technique is known as steam cleaning or hot water extraction. Not only does this remove dirt particles from the carpet, it also kills microbes and discourages the growth of mould. Thus, it is advised to get a carpet deep cleaned or professionally cleaned once a year to give carpets a longer life.
Also, checkout the easily cleanable carpet designed by Italy-based Cava SRL.
No carpet is completely stain proof and the faster a stain is treated, the easier it is to remove from the carpet. Liquid spills should be quickly blotted with dry white absorbent fabrics or plain white paper towels. Semi-solids should be gently scraped with a spoon. Do not scrub the area as this can cause the carpet pile to distort. Water based stains such as wine stains, juice or pet stains can be cleaned with a solution made by combining one liter of lukewarm water with a teaspoon of vinegar and one teaspoon of mild detergent. Oil based stains, however, require a powder-based rug cleaner or solvent spot cleaner to maintain rugs. Blood stains are best removed by wiping the area with cold water followed by the water, vinegar and detergent solution. Pretest any stain removal solution in an inconspicuous area to ensure that it does not damage the carpet. When removing stains from a carpet with this solution; work inwards from the edge of the stain so that it does not spread further. Once clean; spray the area thoroughly with water and dry to get rid of any residues.
Following a schedule is very important while maintaining carpets to give them a long life. Assign one day a week to be your vacuuming day and one month a year to be the time when your carpet gets deep cleaned. Summer is the best time to do this as the warm sunshine will ensure that your carpet dries fast.
Removing your shoes when you walk over a carpet can greatly increase its life. The sole of a shoe is rough and thus creates more wear and tear than the smooth surface of your foot. Since you wear shoes or slippers in the rest of your house, your feet are also relatively cleaner than any form of footwear.
Get more ideas from reading Choosing the right carpet for your home.