Keeping a carpet clean is essential to prolonging its life and maintaining its appearance.
1. Depending on how much traffic a carpet bears, vacuum it as often as several times a week; shampoo it at least once a year.
2. Distributing wear patterns will also help prolong a carpet’s life. To do this, periodically rotate the carpet or reposition the furniture. Direct sunlight may fade a carpet’s color. If possible, keep draperies or blinds shut during peak sunlight hours.
To deep-clean a carpet, either hire a professional carpet cleaning service or do it yourself using supermarket spray-on carpet cleaner or a shampooing machine. Apply spray-on cleaner to the carpet one section at a time, then work it into the fibers with a damp sponge. When the cleaner dries, vacuum the residue away. Before using any cleaner, test it in a hidden area to be sure it won’t affect the carpet’s color.
A shampooing machine, which you can rent at a supermarket or hardware store, scrubs the pile with rotating brushes. Shampoo applied by machine cleans more effectively than sprayed-on cleaner but takes longer to dry.
4. Odors and stains.
To deodorize a carpet, sprinkle baking soda over it, wait 30 minutes, then vacuum. For strong odors, rinse the area with a 20-80 solution of vinegar and water. When possible, clean spills immediately, blotting them with a clean white cloth instead of scrubbing them. The longer a stain sits, the harder it is to remove.
5. Environmental hints
-- new-carpet fumes. Most new carpets release fumes that can produce eye and throat irritation and nausea in some people. While there’s no hard evidence that the fumes emitted from new carpeting can cause more serious health problems, the matter is still under investigation. To be on the safe side, ask the dealer to air out the carpeting prior to delivery, and have adequate ventilation while the carpet is being installed. Keep the windows open and close off the room for at least 72 hours after installation.