Tips & Tricks: The Secrets to Carpet Care

Experts at CJ’s Chem-Dry offer insider expertise for increasing the life and longevity of carpets and rugs

Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock/perfectlab

While scrolling through your favorite social media platform, you’ve probably come across a video or two that showcase the viral, ever-so-satisfying carpet cleaning content. This trending concept brings forgotten and discarded rugs back to life, fulfilling the circulatory nature of home features and accessories. But while it’s fun to ‘ooh’ and ‘ah’ at the process and results, it might not seem so glamorous a task when it comes to cleaning your own rugs. The team at CJ’s Chem-Dry, a carpet cleaning company that serves Anoka and Hennepin counties, are experts on the subject, offering professional experience and deep knowledge in treating carpets and rugs of all varieties.

How often do you recommend deep cleaning carpets and rugs? Does texture, length, or quality affect this timing?

Wall-to-wall carpets and area rugs in homes should be professionally deep cleaned at least once per year. But depending on dirt, traffic, and wear, these carpets may need to be cleaned more often. This routine cleaning also helps create a healthier environment, including significant impacts on the indoor air quality of a space. Carpet manufacturers typically require professional cleanings every 12-18 months, at minimum, to maintain a carpet’s warranty.

New carpets do a better job of disguising traffic patterns and holding up to wear, but the fibers will take a beating. Without professional cleaning, the rate of wear and fray will increase. Cleaning professionally with a hot extraction process can extend the life of the carpets.

There are many carpet types, including various natural fibers and synthetic fibers. A professional cleaner who is trained in the science of carpet cleaning can recommend the best cleaning processes and frequency for your specific needs. They can also help you build a home maintenance plan that is specially designed around your fiber types. While the fiber construction—cut, loop, or combination—has little to do with the cleaning technology, the fiber type will dictate the best cleaning procedures to help ensure the homeowner gets the most longevity for their carpet. In general, the frequency of professional cleaning is mostly about the carpet’s dirtiness to keep your home clean, healthy, and fresh.

Photo courtesy of CJ's Chem-Dry

What are your recommendations for spot cleaning products? What products should homeowners avoid? 

First, it is important to recognize the difference between a spot and a stain. A spot tends to be a simple discoloration on the outside of the carpet fiber, which causes a visible spot. These types of spots are easier to remove, while a stain is a discoloration caused by a chemical reaction or a penetration of a dye into the carpet fiber. This marking is more permanent in nature.

Most retail store products are focused on spot removal to handle the most basic spots. Unfortunately, using the wrong spot remover on a spill can actually create more damage and convert what started as a spot into a stain. We recommend contacting a carpet cleaning professional before applying any spotter to a spill or spot to make sure that you’re using the best product.

Note that common cleaners under the kitchen sink tend to leave soaps and residues, which cause the area to become dirtier faster after you have attempted to clean it. Instead, focus on products designed for carpets to achieve better, lasting results.

Also, avoid using common retail spotters on general spills, as they are often misused and end up setting a spot, creating a stain that is much more difficult (or impossible) to remove. Using more than one product on a spot creates even larger challenges and can set the stain. Instead, please reach out to a carpet care professional for advice so they can either recommend the best solution for you to do on your own, or they can come and perform their specialty spot removal services.

When should homeowners recruit the help of carpet cleaners?

Homeowners can make the biggest impact on the durability and cleanliness of their carpets with regular vacuuming. We suggest using a quality vacuum with microfiltration for best results. Vacuum your carpets at least once per week.

DIY devices—either purchased or rented—tend to apply too much water with minimal extraction and leave soaps and detergents in the carpets. This can cause fibers to soil faster and create additional unnecessary damage to the fibers. A short-term clean appearance ends up paving the way for long-term negative impacts.

If you have pets in the home, a professional cleaning is essential. Your professional cleaner will be armed with advanced tools and products to help solve the negative impacts on the well-being of your carpets and home’s occupants.

Photo courtesy of CJ's Chem-Dry

How long does regular upkeep and cleaning prolong the life of carpets and rugs?

With regular cleanings, a carpet can long outlive the manufacturer’s warranty. While there are a variety of factors that contributes to the potential life of any given carpet or rug, we often see that with regular care, old carpets and rugs end up being replaced due to style trends rather than wear and tear. The price for cleaning ends up being much less expensive than the price to replace.

Tell us about one of the worst carpets or rugs you’ve seen during your time in the industry.

There have been some surprises and some really rough conditions. From hoarders and unruly pets to carpets that haven’t been cleaned in decades, the messes and damage can sometimes be shocking—even unsavable. But as professional cleaners, it’s our job to do our best to bring as much life back to a carpet as possible. If it’s too far gone, we’ve had to turn some away and recommend replacement, but it is as a last resort for us. We’re proud of how well we’ve done at Chem-Dry to save carpets that others felt were unsavable.

Videos of people deep cleaning rugs are going viral. What do you think of this type of content?

This is great stuff for those of us who go crazy for clean surfaces! Cleaning carpets and rugs is so relaxing and enjoyable, and these videos are fun and entertaining to watch. Some of our most popular videos on social media are during the cleaning process or of our before and after work.

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