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Cleaning & Maintenance Tips
In order to help you take care of the carpet in your home we have compiled a list of cleaning and preventive maintenance tips. CAUTION: The following cleaning tips have been compiled from various sources. If you choose to proceed with these tips, you do so at your own risk. BCCM does not approve or disapprove these cleaning tips, and takes absolutely no responsibility for the procedure and/or outcome, etc.
Place walk-off mats at all entrances.
Walk-off mats should be used at the exterior of all entrances to absorb the soil and moisture. They can help trap the excessive dirt, sand, grit, and other substances such as oil, asphalt, or driveway sealer that would otherwise be tracked into the home. Mats should also be cleaned on a regular basis so they don't become sources of soil themselves.
Use a quality pad.
You should always use a quality pad under your carpet, particularly on stairs. Good pad not only gives better resilience and comfort underfoot, it can extend the life of your carpet.
Occasionally move heavy furniture.
Move heavy furniture occasionally to avoid excessive pile crushing. You should also use floor protectors designed for carpet under the legs of tables, chairs, and other furniture to help distribute the weight. Do not use chairs or appliances with rollers or casters without a chair pad designed specifically for carpet or damage can occur.
Protect carpet when moving furniture.
When moving heavy wheeled furniture (pianos, buffets, etc.), prevent damage by placing a protective barrier of heavy cardboard or plywood between the wheels and the carpet.
Clean your area rugs.
If you use area rugs on your carpet, be sure to clean them regularly. Clean and restore the pile of the carpet underneath as well. Also, be sure to check area rugs for colorfastness before placing them on carpet because the color in some rugs may bleed through. After cleaning your carpet, allow it to dry completely before replacing rugs.
Reduce periods of direct sunlight.
Protect your carpet from prolonged periods of direct sunlight with blinds, shades, or awnings
The most important step in caring for your carpet is vacuuming.
Vacuum thoroughly and frequently, particularly in high-traffic areas. Realize that walking on soiled carpet allows the soil particles to work their way below the surface of the pile where they are far more difficult to remove and can damage the fibers. Frequent vacuuming removes these particles from the surface before problems occur.
For rooms with light traffic, vacuum the traffic lanes twice weekly and the entire area once weekly. In areas with heavy traffic, vacuum the traffic lanes daily and the entire area twice weekly. Up to three passes of the machine will suffice for light soiling, but five to seven passes are necessary for heavily soiled areas. Change the vacuuming direction occasionally to help stand the pile upright and reduce matting.
Check the quality of your vacuum.
A good vacuum cleaner is vital to prolonging the beauty and life of your carpet. An inexpensive machine can remove surface dirt but will not effectively remove the hidden dirt and particles embedded in the pile.
Select the best vacuum for your type of carpet.
It is recommended to use vacuums with a rotating brush or combination beater/brush bar that agitates the carpet pile and mechanically loosens soil for removal. Carpet with thick loop pile construction, particularly wool and wool-blend styles, may be sensitive to brushing or rubbing of the pile surface and may become fuzzy. For these products, use a suction-only vacuum or a vacuum with an adjustable brush lifted away from the carpet so it does not agitate the pile. A vacuum with a beater/brush bar can be tested for excessive fuzzing in an inconspicuous location before regular use.
Pay attention to vacuum bags.
Replaceable paper vacuum bags do a better job of trapping small particles than cloth bags. With cloth bags, the particles pass back into the room. High efficiency vacuum bags, also called micro filtration bags, trap even smaller microscopic particles such as mold and mildew spores and dust mite byproducts, which are often found to be a source of allergies. All vacuum bags should be checked often and replaced when half full.
Check the belt and the setting.
Make sure the belt is in good condition and that the brush or beater bar rotates when in contact with the carpet. To adjust the vacuum to the correct height setting for the carpet, raise the beater/brush bar to the highest setting and then lower it until it contacts the pile enough to slightly vibrate the carpet several inches away from the machine, but not low enough to cause significant slowing of the motor.
REMOVAL OF SPOTS AND SPILLS
Protect your carpet--step by-step.
No carpet is stain proof, but since many are stain resistant, you have time to act. Look below to see if the specific spill you're trying to remove is listed. If so, you'll see instructions to help. If not, use the following general guidelines.
1. Remove as much of food spills as possible by scraping gently with a spoon or a dull knife.
2. Absorb wet spills as quickly as possible by blotting repeatedly with white paper or white cloth towels. Always blot; never rub or scrub abrasively, as a fuzzy area may result. When blotting, work from the outer edge in toward the center of the spot to avoid spreading the spill.
3. Remove the stain using one of the cleaning items from the checklist below.
4. Rinse the cleaned area with water to remove detergent residue that may become sticky and cause rapid re-soiling.
5. Absorb any remaining moisture by placing several layers of white towels over the spot and weighing them down with a heavy object. This step is necessary even when the carpet doesn't seem particularly damp.
What do you use to clean the spill? Be prepared with the following checklist.
You should use the following items for handling spills on your carpet. It's important to use only the items listed, because many other household cleaners contain chemicals that may permanently damage your carpet.
White cloths or white paper towels
Mix mild liquid detergent with water (no more than ¼ teaspoon of detergent to 32 ounces of water). A clear, non-bleach liquid dishwashing detergent such as Dawn, Joy, or clear Ivory is recommended. Do not use detergents that are cloudy or creamy because they may leave a sticky residue.
Mix 1 part white vinegar to 1 part water.
Mix one tablespoon of ammonia to one cup of water. (Do not use on wool or wool-blend carpets.)
Non-oily nail polish remover
Chewing gum remover (freeze or solid type)
Use spot removers designed specifically for grease, oil, or tar, such as Carbona or Energine.
NOTE: Some Solution-dyed fibers can withstand bleach, but do you know if your carpet is solution-dyed?
Difficult stains on carpets made from polypropylene or other solution-dyed fibers may be removed with a mild bleach solution (one part chlorine bleach to five parts water). BE VERY CAREFUL because not all carpets can withstand bleach.
A. Absorb as much as possible with white towels. Blot the stained area with white towels dampened with cool water until there is no more transfer of the stain onto the towels. If any of the stain remains, use the detergent solution. (A solution of a mild liquid detergent (no more than ¼ teaspoon of detergent to 32 ounces of water). A clear, non-bleach liquid dishwashing detergent such as Dawn, Joy, or clear Ivory is recommended. Do not use detergents that are cloudy or creamy because they may leave a sticky residue.) Spray lightly onto the spot and blot repeatedly with white towels, working from the outer edge in toward the center of the spot to avoid spreading. Rinse thoroughly by spraying with clean water, and then blot or extract. Do not use too much detergent because the residue will contribute to rapid re-soiling.
A-1. As in A, but before using detergent, apply the white vinegar solution to a white towel and blot or spray onto spot.
A-2. As in A, but before using detergent, apply a household ammonia solution to a white towel and blot or spray onto spot.
Do not use on wool or wool-blend carpet. Rinse as in A.
B. Blot as much as possible with white paper towels. Apply the special oil and grease spot remover (Spot remover specifically for grease, oil, or tar, such as Carbona or Energine.) to a paper towel and repeat blotting. (Protective gloves should be worn, as the solvent will quickly remove oils from the skin and could result in irritation.) Do not pour or spray directly on the carpet pile, as damage to the backing or adhesive underneath could result; use the towels to transport the solvent to the carpet. Repeat as often as necessary. Provide adequate ventilation. Do not use flammable solvents.
C. Freeze stains, such as chewing gum and candle wax, with ice or a commercially available product in an aerosol can. Shatter with a blunt object and vacuum before the chips soften. Follow up with solvent as in B.
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