They don’t say, “Stop and smell the roses” because everyone takes the time to enjoy the small pleasures in life; quite the opposite. But there are joys all over the place; like walking barefoot over soft, plush carpeting. Having said that, it’s not so much fun unless the carpets are fresh looking and sweet smelling.
That’s not too hard to achieve either; as long as you know what to do. You can keep the feeling of new carpeting longer if you follow these 12 tips on carpet cleaning:
Vacuum – Okay; you know this. In fact, you probably haven’t met a three year old who doesn’t know this. All the same, it’s usually at the bottom of the list of housekeeping tasks. And that means, you’re likely to put it off as much as you can. Don’t. Every rug and carpet in the house needs to be vacuumed at least once a week – even if you never walk into the room. Vacuuming picks up dust and circulates the air between carpeting fibres to keep them smelling fresh.
Daily Vacuuming – Yes, this again. Some areas of your house should be vacuumed weekly, and others truly need it every day. It’s not about being cruel; it’s about keeping your carpets and your lifestyle in sync. High traffic areas need to be vacuumed daily, as do any rooms where you’ve got pets. Alright, if you’re only home for a few hours every evening and you have no pets, you can go a bit longer, but it should still be done at least twice a week. Otherwise, you’ll notice where you walk extraordinarily quickly.
Use Entry Mats – That lovely entry mat that you ordered off the internet last season isn’t just there for its superior looks. And, if it is only there for the style it adds, you might want to reconsider that purchase. In any case, entry mats are a marvellous thing – when they’re properly used – and that means all the time. Encourage everyone in the house to wipe their feet. And, once a week, beat that mat against an exterior wall to shake off all the excess dirt it’s collected. It may seem like an extra chore, but that 30 seconds is going to save you plenty of money in the long run.
Act Quickly – Whenever something spills on the carpet (or your child tracks in mud from the football field), you’ve got a limited amount of time before it becomes a stain. And those are difficult to remove; if you can do it at all. Unfortunately, stains undoubtedly take away from the beauty of your carpet. In general, you should keep an area moist, and dilute it with water as you blot. Certain substances, like red wine, require the assistance of salt or bicarbonate of soda to remove colouring and smells, but ideally, you should start with lukewarm water and paper towels to blot the area.
Get a Broom – Yes, we know you’ve got a vacuum cleaner, which was supposed to alleviate the need for old fashioned sweeping, right? Wrong. Vacuums can only do so much. But a brush or a broom to that mix and these items can maintain your carpets better than you’d imagine. Every now and again (and more often if you’ve got cats or dogs), gently sweep or brush your carpets before vacuuming. This will help to work out any tiny particles that otherwise remain trapped in the carpet fibres. You only need to do this about once a month – or every other month, which isn’t too severe. Plus, you can generally make your kids get on with it as you follow with a vacuum.
Do a Little Dance – If your neighbours can stand it, turn up the volume on your stereo while you vacuum. Go for something that always makes you dance, and get into it. Too many people vacuum in the same direction, back and forth, every time. Unfortunately, the pile on your carpet will become accustomed to this direction, and hold the dirt inside. But, if you dance around the room, and move the vacuum in different directions, you’ll be so much more effective.
Don’t Be Stingy – If you’ve got carpets, you need a vacuum cleaner. If you want it to do a good job, you should invest in a good one. And, of all the home maintenance appliances in your home, the vacuum will probably fall just behind the washing machine when it comes to frequency of use. So, don’t struggle with an old vacuum, or one that doesn’t have the suction you require. You’ll be wasting your time – and your money; just buy the best vacuum you can afford (and maybe even more than that).
Show Some Concern – If you suddenly notice that your vacuum isn’t performing as well as it should, turn it off and take a look. Usually, it’ll be something small, like needing to clean a filter, or remove an obstacle from the hose. It may seem small, but if you overlook these things, you may find that your vacuum will overheat – and that’s the opposite of fun. For that matter, don’t you want your vacuum to work harder – so you don’t have to?
Steam Clean – If you don’t shampoo your carpets on a regular basis, they will smell. Perhaps it’s a bit crude, but you don’t smell like roses if you’re just applying deodorant. You might be able to get away with it for a day or two, and then you’ll need a shower, right? Your carpets can go a bit longer, but not forever. If your home has enough storage space, invest in a steam cleaner as soon as you can. And, if you don’t have the space, budget to hire a carpet cleaner on a regular basis.
Frequency – No matter what anyone else tells you, your carpets need a proper clean at least twice a year, and double that is actually better for the overall health of your home. If you’ve got four-legged family members though, you shouldn’t ever let three full months pass without a full steam clean. The same goes for homes with small children.
Quality Beats Quantity – This cuts across all aspects of carpet maintenance. If you only vacuum once every 10 days, make it count. If you’re not going to do a thorough job, you’ll have to do it more often. The same goes for the carpet shampoo you use. Your carpets won’t feel fresh if they’re bogged down with heavy soap. Use the good stuff – and only the recommended amount. You’ll probably pay less if you follow the guidelines than you would liberally applying inexpensive soaps.
It’s Only a Chore if You Make It One – Caring for your carpets doesn’t have to wear you out; you just need to be consistent with it. Try to think about the lovely feeling of comforting carpeting under your feet and enjoy caring for your home. Carpeting is, after all, an investment. And, it lasts so much longer than the roses you don’t always stop to smell.
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