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Prolong the life of your carpet

By on December 14, 2007

photo by sallypics
throw rug
Carpeting is cozy, inviting and adds value to your home, but it’s expensive. Whether you’re making do with older carpeting or have new carpeting installed, you’ll want to preserve, protect and extend the life of this home investment. Carpet that is well cared for should have a lifespan of about 10 years. Since replacing it isn’t cheap, here are tips to ensure your carpet’s longevity.

USE AREA RUGS: High-traffic areas can show wear quickly, so use area rugs to keep your carpet in good shape. Consider putting area rugs under tables and at the foot of chairs and sofas; runners in hallways and entryways; and mats at doorways inside and out. Kitchen doorways are often overlooked, but it’s especially important to keep oils and food from damaging your main carpet. These rugs will take the heavy wear and tear and help prevent dirt, water and mud from being tracked in. Don’t forget to clean area rugs and mats regularly, too.

MOVE FURNITURE: Rearrange furniture to prevent indentations and keep your carpet wearing evenly. Consider caster cups for furniture legs. If indentations do occur, try steam cleaning, or simply dampen the area and work the indentations out with your fingers.

VACUUM REGULARLY: Avoid powder carpet fresheners. Vacuuming carpets as needed prevents the crushing of pile. Consider investing in a quality vacuum, and don’t forget to use a crevice tool for edges and corners. Take your time vacuuming so your vacuum has a chance to lift embedded dirt.

CALL THE PROS: Have your carpet cleaned professionally at least once a year. Don’t wait until your carpets are soiled heavily. Although doing it yourself can initially cut costs, improper cleaning may damage your carpet. Read the manual to be sure you’re using the machine properly. A steam cleaner will give you the best results.

EAT IN NONCARPETED AREAS: To prevent spills and stains, designate your carpeted areas as no-eating zones. If a spill does occur, clean it immediately.

PLEASE, NO SHOES: Removing shoes at the door reduces the amount of dirt on your carpet. Get into the habit of wearing slippers instead of walking barefoot, because the oil from your skin can attract dirt and grime.

— Read the fine print to see whether certain retail cleaners, fresheners or other products void the carpet manufacturer’s warranty.
— Avoid extensive exposure to sunlight by closing blinds and curtains. Not doing so can result in color fading.
— Keep pet nails trimmed so they don’t pull on loops or cause snags.
— Save carpet remnants for any repairs you might need to make and to use as mats in entrances.
— Blot stains; don’t rub them in. Rubbing can spread and set stains. Try water before other cleaning products, but don’t over-wet carpet because it can cause mildew. Always test cleaners in an inconspicuous area before applying to larger areas. If you have Internet access, visit for a carpet-stain guide.
— Maintain your vacuum in good condition. Simple measures such as keeping bags, dust receptacles and hoses clean and empty can make your vacuum more efficient.
— Regularly change the air filters in your home so dust is filtered out.

One Comment

  1. Betty

    7/22/2009 at 12:32 pm

    Hi, Sara. When I read your column, I always think I am talking with my mother, born in 1914, survived the depression, many times with only 50 cents for a bucket of coal for the furnace, raised 6 children on a shoestring, etc. We ALL were poor and recyclers in the 40’s, during the WWII……always saved, re used, etc.
    Somehow the world became a throwaway society, sadly.
    thanks for bringing it back into vogue, again.
    The oldsters would be able to tell you many more ideas about saving and redoing things.
    We even MADE our own ornaments during the war, with Soup can lids. They were shiny, but not much else.

    Regarding your column on carpeting.
    please ADVISE PEOPLE. Do NOT EVER put a piece of carpeting or an area rug OVER TOP of carpeting.
    The backing on the top piece will DESTROY the carpet underneath. Everytime you walk on the top piece, it is abrasive on the bottom piece.
    A carpet installer told me that, years ago, when I had new carpeting put in.
    He had me feel the back of the carpet (I had told him, I was going to put a “piece leftover from the installed carpet at my doors, to “save” the dirt from coming onto the carpet).
    That carpet back was SO abrasive. Consequently, I followed his advice, and NEVER had any worn carpeting. I do, however, have HUGE area rugs at all entrances, BEFORE you come into my home. In my garage, at my front door, on my porches, THESE catch the dirt.
    Unlike my grampa, who immediately put two pieces of carpet overtop of his NEW carpet, right in front of his two most used chairs in living room. Three years later, he showed me underneath. VERY worn out. Apparently HIS carpet installer did not advise him!!!)Also, if elderly or handicapped people visitor live in the home, do NOT use any throw rugs. too dangerous to trip on. Thanks for a great column. Keep it up.

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