The Definitive Guide To Protecting Your Carpet

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After a long day of work, school or whatever occupies your day, kicking off your shoes and taking that first step onto your luxurious carpet is its own reward. Of course, that’s only true if you make the effort to maintain your carpet throughout its life. Despite being a fixture we use every single day, carpet is often one of the most overlooked parts of a home.

Many people view carpet as a utility with a very basic function, but it does more than you may realize. In addition to a soft walking surface and a basis for your unique interior decorating style, carpet provides some more practical advantages over other flooring types, such as:

  • Safety: Sliding around in sock feet a la “Risky Business” has its own undeniable charm, but the novelty tends to disappear after the first face plant. For kids and seniors, hardwood or laminate floors add an unnecessary element of risk to the simple act of walking around. Carpet offers a much grippier surface and prevents falls — as long as its pile is properly maintained.
  • Acoustic Dampening: Wood and laminate floors are loud, especially when used on the second story of a residence. Carpet absorbs the sound waves from your TV, barking dog or stereo rather than bouncing them off of a hard surface back into the air. With an underlying pad, the acoustic dampening power of carpet amplifies.
  • Insulation: Have you ever experienced the harrowing journey to get a glass of water on wood floors in the middle of the night? Even when wearing socks, you’ll know it’s cold. Carpet provides significantly better insulation of an indoor space, and your feet will feel the difference — especially in a climate with harsh winters.
  • Air Quality: Carpets often get a bad rap from purveyors of other flooring materials for the fact that they trap dust and allergens. That doesn’t sound like a good quality at a glance, but when you think about it, you realize one crucial piece of context: If dust and allergens don’t get trapped by carpet, they’re just floating around in the air you breathe!
    Carpet traps the stuff you don’t want to breathe in and keeps it there until you extract it with your routine vacuuming.

These advantages only apply if you’re properly maintaining and protecting your carpet. Flattened carpet pile from lack of cleaning becomes slippery over time and also reduces dampening, and insulation as the material compresses.

You won’t see any benefits to air quality if you let your carpet accumulate allergens and dust without cleaning it out regularly. Taking care of your carpet will help it last longer and continue providing these benefits along the way.

Five Ways to Protect Carpet

Once you’ve decided to invest some more time in keeping your carpets good-as-new, you’re probably wondering where to start. There are several ways to provide preemptive protection for your carpet, keeping it sturdy and resistant to multiple types of damage or deterioration. Implementing a few of these tips can add years to the life of your carpet floors:

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1. Vacuum Regularly and Rigorously

You probably knew this one was coming, but regular vacuuming really is the number one way to do right by your carpet. Ideally, we would all be able to do a quick vacuum touch-up every day — but that’s a pretty laughable idea for the average hard-working individual.

A household consisting of one or two adults and a child can get away with a thorough vacuuming once a week. If your house gets above average traffic, has more than one child or a pet, twice a week is the minimum for carpet maintenance. If you can manage three times per week, you’re already doing better than average.

If you’re serious about protecting your carpets, you should make sure your next vacuum is certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI). Their Seal of Approval (SOA) program holds manufacturers to a higher standard. Vacuums have to meet three criteria to earn admittance:

  • Soil Removal: The CRI uses “NASA-enhanced x-ray fluorescence technology” to measure how much soil a vacuum removes from two different types of carpet. It may sound a little over the top, but there’s no question these vacuums do their primary job.
  • Dust Containment: If a vacuum releases more than 100 micrograms of dust, it won’t pass in the SOA program. If anyone in your home has indoor allergies, you know how kicking up a little bit of dust can cause a serious reaction. A CRI-certified machine is an excellent option if you’re worried about reducing excess dust.

  • Appearance Change: Cleaner carpet has health benefits, but some vigorous vacuums can leave your carpet looking a little ragged. Certified vacuums undergo 900 passes on a sample piece of carpet to ensure they have minimal impact on your carpet’s appearance.

Doing your research and choosing a CRI-certified vacuum can drastically improve your indoor air quality while preserving the quality of your carpets. If one of these is out of the question, you can still get air quality benefits by choosing a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. A HEPA filter traps small particulates a regular vacuum would cycle back into the air, including dust and dander.

The way you use your vacuum matters, too. Go over each area at least three times to ensure you’re extracting all the dirt, dust and allergens possible. Vacuuming makes up the bulk of carpet protection, so don’t skip it.

2. Add Area Rugs

Just like a city, your home has areas that see much more traffic than average — and those places are usually a little grungier than most. In a typical home, the area around the front door receives the most wear and tear from multiple people coming in and out every day. Not only does the front door get the most foot traffic, but it gets the dirtiest kind, too.

Other high-traffic areas include hallways and the living room. If you have kids and a playroom, an area rug will help protect the carpet there, too. Just be sure to follow the rest of the routine maintenance tips here to keep your carpet clean over time. You don’t want to lay down an area rug just to peel it back later and see your original carpet color in stark contrast to the gray of the dirty carpet around it.

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3. Remove Shoes Indoors

Shoes track in whatever you’ve walked through on your travels outside the house. Much of the time you’re walking around work, class or the store, but if someone in the household is in a physical field like construction or happens to be a school-aged child, things get dirtier in a hurry.

A recent study from the University of Arizona examined the proliferation of germs on shoes, and what they found was not pretty. The typical shoe has an average of 421,000 bacteria units on it after three months of wear, and 90 percent of those bacteria can transplant themselves directly onto a tile floor in a single step. The researchers did not study the percentage of bacteria that transfer to carpet, but do you really want to know at this point?

Bacteria can hide in your carpet, compounding the threat of moisture and mold, and posing the danger of illness to your family.
You can’t do much to limit the bacteria in the dirt you track in, but you can make sure dirt doesn’t make it past the entryway. Adding an area rug traps the dirt and its accompanying bacteria until you can clean it out later. Vacuuming area rugs and entryway carpet regularly is a must, and removing shoes at the door limits the damage dirt and bacteria can do to your carpets.

4. Deal With Spills and Stains Quickly

If you haven’t already, be warned that you will spill something other than water on your carpet at some point. Cleaning up liquid spills on carpet is a little anti-intuitive for most people because scrubbing hard is actually the last thing you want to do.

Scrubbing carpet can grind the spilled substance deeper into the fiber of the carpet, making it even more difficult to remove. The first thing you should do is blot the area gently with paper towels or a clean cloth. If your carpet has any type of spill-resistant coating, a quick blot can often undo most of the damage. If you’ve spilled something like red wine or juice, try applying warm water with a bit of white vinegar before you blot.

Once you’ve cleaned and lifted the stain, do your best to dry out the carpet. While going for the hands-and-knees hairdryer approach may not feel the most dignified, it’s the quickest and most direct way to ensure your carpet is dry and not vulnerable to mold. For a more hands-off approach, point a fan at the area for at least 30 minutes.

5. Apply a Carpet Protector

To get the most out of all your carpet maintenance measures, you should consider applying a carpet protector like Scotchguard. Scotchguard protection repels water and stains on colorfast textiles including your carpet. This formula comes in a spray can that’s easy to use and has the bonus of being usable on furniture upholstery and even most clothing.

The best time to use a Scotchguard carpet protection product is after your carpets have enjoyed a thorough professional cleaning. Be sure to include two to six hours of extra time in your schedule for the protection to dry. Applying a carpet protector spray helps repel dirt, moisture, and oils that contribute to dirty floors.

Let Professionals Handle the Hard Work

Even if you follow all these maintenance tips to the letter, you’re still walking on your carpet every day, and it will need professional cleaning more than once in its lifetime. You might see moderate success with a DIY steam cleaner rental, but it can’t match the power of professional steam cleaning and comes nowhere near the effectiveness of the Citrus Fresh method. We recommend turning to professionals for thorough deep cleaning.

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The Citrus Fresh Difference

At Citrus Fresh, we believe in a better way to clean your carpets. As the premier purveyor of full-service cleaning and carpet protective products in Atlanta, we do things differently. Instead of the harsh chemical detergents you find in steam cleaning, we use a carefully-balanced blend of gentle cleaners powered by citrus solvents. Our solutions are all-natural, plant-based and planet-friendly.

Our formula allows us to skip the cumbersome process and equipment necessary for steam cleaning. Once our solution is applied, we use a unique activation method that eliminates the need for hot water and the truck-mounted wet vac. And since we don’t saturate the carpet, drying only takes about two hours, so you can get back to your busy day.

Convenience and Courtesy

Our technicians know their stuff, and our commitment to professionalism means we always respect your time. If you’re ready for carpet and fabric protection in Atlanta, check out our transparent pricing and specials, and get an instant quote online. We don’t mess around with extra charges once we arrive. What you see on your quote is what you pay.

Once you’ve booked your appointment, you’ll have a three-hour service window in which to expect your technician. Our techs always give a courtesy call when they’re on their way, so you can plan the remainder of your day. Even better: Our cleanings usually take one to two hours.

If you have the time, your technician will do a walk-through of your home with you, to ensure we pay particular attention to any problem spots and tailor the cleaning to the traffic around your house. As a bonus to you, our standard cleaning includes pre-treatment and spot removal when necessary.

We’re always happy to answer your questions on carpet protection in Atlanta, so get in touch! Give us a call or drop us a line via our contact form, and let us know if you have any questions on specific procedures like upholstery cleaning or pet stain and odor removal.