NYC Flooring


Cleaning & Maintenance Education

Cleaning and Maintenance For Your Carpet:

To keep your carpets in the best condition for the longest time possible, supplied here are tips for cleaning and maintaining your carpets. The three main elements of carpet care are vacuuming prompt spot removal, and professional cleaning.

Vacuum: One of the best ways to maintain your carpet’s quality is by vacuuming at least once a week, preferably twice a week. The carpet does not have to look dirty to be vacuumed. Small particles such as sand, clay, and quartz are constantly tracked onto the carpet by people and animals. They settle to the bottom of the carpet, rubbing against the fibers almost like sandpaper. Regular vacuuming removes these particles and lengthens your carpet’s life.

Carpets are also collectors of pollutants and allergens. Vacuuming helps to remove these particles, preventing them from building up which will affect the air quality of your home or business.

A good vacuum cleaner with a beater bar or rotating brush and good suction is recommended. Change bags and filters regularly. A partially full bag decreases the quality of suction. If time doesn’t allow for vacuuming of all your carpets often as should be, at least vacuum the heavy traffic areas.

Spill and Spot Cleanups: New stain-resistant carpets still require spills and spots to be cleaned up promptly. Avoid using all-purpose spray cleaners, bleach, and alkaline soap. Where these cleaners are great for cleaning spots, they will damage your carpet. Once you’ve damaged your carpet with any of these cleaners, particularly bleach, there is nothing you can do about it, as a bleach stain will show up sooner or later.

To get rid of spills or spots, it is important to remember to blot, don’t rub the spills or spots. Rubbing damages carpet fibers and spreads the stain. If it is a first spill use a clean dry white rag or paper towels. Start on the outside of the edge of the spill and work your way in. Refresh the surface of your towel by rotating or replacing it. When the liquid is almost all absorbed, keep checking the surface of your towel. If color is still transferring from the carpet to the towel, you are still getting liquid from the carpet. Keep blotting until there is no transfer. Gently scrape with the edge of a spoon any solid material in the spill.

The next step for a spill / the first step for a dry spot is applying a small amount of warm water, and soaking it up with a dry towel. Continue until you are no longer getting transferred to the towel. If spotting remains, use warm water with a small amount of mild, non-bleach laundry detergent and blot. Repeat until you are no longer getting a transfer. When the spot is gone or as much as possible was absorbed, rinse the soap out by applying clean warm water and again blotting. Soap’s job is attracting dirt to itself and will continue doing its job even when dissolved in your carpet, so be sure you rinse the soap out. Soap will leave a new spot where you were working towards getting the old spot out.

Absorb remaining moisture with white paper towels placed atop the wet spot, weigh it down with a non-staining object (glass or ceramic), and leave it there overnight. The following day, vacuum over the area to restore the carpet’s proper texture. If the stain reappears or it couldn’t be removed by you, have it professionally cleaned.

Regular Professional Cleaning: Check your carpet’s warranty for a professional cleaning timeframe. In the event you cannot find it, most major companies recommend professional cleaning at least once, perhaps even twice a year. Specified is using a cleaner that uses the hot water extraction method. Carpet manufacturers put a lot of stock in professional, hot water extraction cleaning because they know it’s essential to keep your carpet in good shape. Again, like with vacuuming, it should be done whether the carpet looks dirty or not.

If thinking about renting a portable unit from a hardware store, the portable units don’t have the power to properly heat or extract the water. A truck-mounted machine by a professional cleaner heats the water to around 200°F. The machine has a powerful, penetrating spray, as well as powerful suction to extract the water and the dirt dissolved in it, out of your carpet. A portable unit will pose a danger of leaving behind detergent on your carpet and attracting more dirt or possibly bleaching your carpet. Foam, powder, or rotary methods leave a large amount of chemical residue in your carpets, which again will attract more dirt to it and soap residue may be hazardous to chemically-sensitive people.

With a dirty carpet, the hot water extraction method is really a great way to clean it. It restores the proper texture of your carpet. The water and heat reset the twist of the fibers, and regular treatment by a professional extends the life of your carpet, as well as extracting pollutants, chemicals, allergens, and dry particle soil that a vacuum cleaner is not strong enough to get out.

As your home’s carpeting is likely one of the most expensive items in your home, protecting that investment with regular maintenance will have your carpets last longer, thereby saving you money in the long run.

Different Forms of Carpet Cleaning:

The most common carpet cleaning is steam cleaning (water extraction). There are five different methods that are mentioned below:

Foam Cleaning:  Using a machine similar to a buffer, the shampoo is released onto a brush, working its way into the carpet’s fibers. After applying, you must wait an hour or two for drying. The entire area then gets vacuumed to remove the dirt. This works well for hallways and large traffic areas and as part of an ongoing maintenance program for heavily used carpet areas. Vacuuming does not remove all the shampoo, however, and eventually, this will attract dirt and must be removed by water extraction.

Shampoo Method:  The oldest way of cleaning carpets. Using a buffer, a solution is poured onto the buffer’s brush, which is worked into the carpet. A small area at a time is cleaned, with your going over it two or three times, like buffing a floor. Edges and corners are done by hand. This method can damage the carpet especially if there is a tear.

Again, the job is finished by vacuuming. This cleaning method is also known as the rotary method and will spread around the dirt. The cleaning solution will have brighteners in it which makes the carpet look nice, but eventually, the dirt reappears and the shampoo residue will attract dirt itself.

Bonnet Cleaning:  A bonnet is placed at the base of your buffer, dipped into a shampoo solution then gone over the carpet, as if buffing a floor. The bonnet starts to get soiled, meaning it is actually removing dirt from the carpet. Rinse out the bonnet, turn it over, and keep working with it until it is too soiled to resume use.  Vacuum the carpet once it is dry, which usually takes about 30 minutes.

Dry Methods:  This begins by first sprinkling a powder solvent on the carpet, which directions state must remain on the carpet for about 15 minutes. Using a special two-rotating head buffer, you go over the carpet, which rotates the cleaning powder into the carpet. The final step is vacuuming. Upon vacuuming the powder and dirt are removed. There is no drying time using this method. Once again, not all the powder will get removed and will attract dirt itself.

Steam Cleaning: This is the most common method of cleaning carpets. To deep clean a carpet it will need to be steam cleaned once or twice per year. Hot water with a cleaning solution is extracted via a wand. A section at a time you go over your carpet, overlapping your last pass. As the hot water is extracted the wand also vacuums up water and dirt. The water being extracted usually looks brown and dirty. It is first recommended to vacuum the carpet first before steam cleaning it, to remove loose and surface-level dirt. Drying generally takes about 8 hours. As it dries, the carpet’s nap rises and you see a very clean, fresh, and new appearing carpet. Newer machines are now more powerful and another improvement is water extraction power is increased and the drying time is shorter.

How Often Should I Have My Carpets Washed?

Frequently-used carpets should be professionally cleaned at least once a year, sooner than that for homes with respiratory-sensitive or allergic persons, as well as homes with indoor pets.

Factors of consideration for the interval of cleaning include traffic, soil levels, vacuuming schedules, spot cleaning schedules, professional interim cleaning schedules and restorative cleaning.

A Frequency Guide:

Light Soil
• Vacuum once a week
• Spot clean daily or as soon as spots are noticeable
• Heavy use area cleaning (professional carpet cleaner/restorer:   traffic areas every 12 to 18 months
• Restorative cleaning (professional carpet cleaner/restorer): every   2 years or as mentioned in the manufacturer’s warranty

Normal Soil (Families with Children and Elderly):
• Vacuum once to twice a week
• Spot clean daily or as soon as spots are noticeable
• Heavy use area cleaning (professional carpet   cleaner/restorer): traffic areas every 6 to12 months
• Restorative cleaning (professional carpet cleaner/restorer):   annually

Heavy Soil (Families with Pets, Smoking):
• Vacuum 2 – 4 times a week
• Spot clean daily or as soon as spots are noticeable
• Heavy-use area cleaning (professional carpet cleaner/restorer): traffic areas every 3 to 6 months
• Restorative cleaning (professional carpet cleaner/restorer): semi-annually (twice annually)

Extreme Conditions (Large Families, Multiple Pets):
• Vacuum daily
• Spot cleaning daily or as soon as spots are noticeable
• Heavy-use area cleaning (professional carpet cleaner/restorer): traffic areas every 2 to 3 months
• Restorative cleaning (professional carpet cleaner/restorer): quarterly (4 times annually)

How often you clean your carpets depends on numerous factors: 

The number of people in your home, if there are kids in the home if there are pets, and if there are smokers. To extend the life of your carpet you need to clean it often, as a dirty carpet contains soil and debris that will wear out your carpet’s fibers. Walking on a dirty carpet grinds the soil into the fibers, scratching and wearing them. If you notice soil and dark areas on your carpet, it means it is very dirty and should have been cleaned immediately. The longer the wait, the more damage is done.