Dirty carpeting can contain allergens that make you miserable, but how often should you clean your carpet? It turns out that how often you clean depends upon the kind of traffic you have in a room. If you have children and pets, you will have to clean more often. The Family Handy Man website talks about another reason to clean carpets: it prolongs the life of the rug, In fact, carpets that are cleaned regularly last twice as long as those who do not receive that kind of care. How often is “regularly?”
Vacuuming is the first line of defense against grime in a carpet. Most experts recommend that you vacuum at least twice a week. Dirt particles break down carpet fiber and vacuuming picks up 83 percent of that dirt. The particles act like little blades. When you see “fuzz” in your cleaner bag, you are actually seeing bits of your carpet that have been shorn-off. The Today Show recommends vacuuming slowly; it should take 15 to 20 minutes to clean a 300 square foot room. You need to have the cleaner set at the right height. If it is too low, it will damage the carpet, the roller as well as the belt that drives it. You should raise the level to its highest setting and lower it slowly until you feel the resistance of the carpet as you go over it.
Of course, you will spot clean for small stains and spills with spray cleaner and a rag. For bigger stains, however, you can use a DIY cleaner, either your own or one you rent. The rental machines typically put out more water and the pull more out of the carpet. They are fine for occasional cleaning, but they only get the surface dirt. The biggest problem with these machines is that they might not get enough water out of the carpet and the slow drying means mildew and other allergens can grow. Besides that, some of the cleaning solutions that are sold for these cleaners leave a residue on the carpet that actually makes it attract more dirt. If you use a DIY cleaner, fill it with water, or water with a drop of liquid dish soap.
Once a year, or at least every eighteen months, you should have your carpets professionally cleaned. This process is called steam cleaning even though there is no steam used. The cleaners use very hot water and then powerful suction gets most of that water out so that the rug can dry quickly. Professional cleaners can cost several hundred dollars, but they save in the wear on the carpet. You do need to be a savvy shopper when it comes to selecting a company to clean your carpets. If the price seems too low in comparison to the majority of companies, the chances are that the company simply sprays soap on the rug and sucks it up. Competent professional cleaners are worth the price. You can help them by pretreating high-traffic or very-stained areas and vacuuming well both before and after the cleaning.
So, the answer to the question of how often to clean carpets depends upon the traffic the rug receives and upon what kind of cleaning you need. Clean stains and mud immediately. Vacuum at least twice a week. For occasional stains, use a DIY cleaner as needed, or when the carpet color looks dingy. Then, have your carpet professionally cleaned once a year.