carpet fibers are designed to hide soil and reflect light, and have
the ability to resist soiling and stains. The effect of soil in
carpet is not as visible as it is on hard surface flooring where
soil remains on the surface and is easily seen. The ability of today's
carpet fibers to hide soiling is a positive feature for most consumers.
However, the lack of apparent soiling does not eliminate the necessity
of regular cleaning.
Most dry soil has razor-like
edges that abrade carpet fibers causing light to reflect differently
and giving carpet a dull appearance. Soil can damage the fibers
permanently if allowed to remain in the pile.
regular maintenance program extends the life and the initial appearance
of your carpet. Specific care information may be available from
your carpet dealer or from a toll free number provided by the carpet
manufacturer or fiber producer.
practice is to vacuum often the areas that receive the most traffic,
such as hallways, stairs, exterior entry ways, and paths in the
home where there is constant wear. Vacuum the entire carpeted area
a minimum of twice per week.
loose soil while it remains on the surface is important so that
it is not worked into the carpet pile by foot traffic. Removing
embedded soil is more difficult and time consuming than removing
remove surface soil, push the vacuum forward several feet with the
pile direction of the carpet in a slow, deliberate motion and then
reverse direction. Embedded soil is best removed by moving the vacuum
cleaner in a slow, deliberate motion. Repeat strokes as necessary
based on the traffic pattern and soiled level of the carpet.
Cleaner Selection-For maximum effectiveness, use a vacuum cleaner
that has adjustable and rotating brushes that are able to loosen
ground-in soil, and a strong enough airflow to penetrate to the
backing, extracting all particles. The vacuum cleaner should have
an enclosed, high filtration bag that limits particles from recirculating
into the air.
the best cleaning results, no matter which type vacuum cleaner you
purchase, inspect it periodically to be sure it is functioning properly.
brushes clean and replace them when worn.
vacuum hoses and attachments free of obstructions that restrict
the vacuum head for rough edges or bent metal that may damage
belts frequently to make certain they are working properly.
keep a spare belt for replacement as needed.
the vacuum cleaner manufacturer's instructions, and change the
vacuum bag when it becomes more than half full. As the bag becomes
full, efficiency is reduced.
Daily vacuuming is the most
important cleaning activity, but deep extraction cleaning must
be performed to remove stubborn or embedded soil. The Carpet and
Rug Institute recommends that carpet be dry- or wet-extraction
cleaned a minimum of every 12 or 18 months before it shows soiling.
Use a cleaning method recommended by the carpet manufacturer to
maintain their warranty.
Carpet should receive regular
deep cleaning to maintain its good looks. A carpet cleaning professional
may be hired or carpet cleaning equipment may be purchased or
rented for do-it-yourself cleaning.
The fiber system used should
be the primary factor in selecting a cleaning method. The majority
of carpet manufactured today is constructed with synthetic fibers
such as nylon, polyester, or olefin, and may be cleaned with most
fibers may require specialized care. Following are general guidelines
for these fiber systems:
- Wool fibers may be cleaned using all cleaning methods, although
excessive agitation and excessive heat should be avoided. Wool
is easily damaged by bleaches and alkalies. Wool should be cleaned
with neutral detergents (pH 5.0-8.0) and dried quickly to limit
yellowing or browning.
- Cotton and rayon are cellulosic fibers and may be cleaned using
all cleaning methods. Most cellulosic fibers are subject to browning
if prolonged drying occurs or if alkaline solutions are used.
Shrinking may occur if these fibers are overwet. Avoid excessive
- Silk should be cleaned using a dry cleaning process.
These fibers may be damaged by high temperatures, high pH (>9),
sunlight, and will lose strength when wet. The cleaning of silk
fibers is best left to the carpet cleaning professional.
and Other Plant Fibers - Plant fibers used in carpet construction,
including sisal, cotton, jute, coconut (coir), pineapple, ramie,
and hemp, have characteristics similar to cotton. These fibers
may be cleaned with all cleaning methods, but dry extraction and
dry foam extraction are most often recommended. To limit color
change or odor transfer, a pH of less than 7.5 should be used
and precautions should be taken to expedite rapid drying. It is
best to use a carpet cleaning professional.
There are five accepted methods
for cleaning carpet make from synthetic fibers. Rely on the carpet
manufacturer's recommendations. When choosing any cleaning method,
select cleaning agents sold especially for stain resistant carpet
cleaning, and follow the directions for dilution and application.
Never use soap, laundry detergent, automatic dishwasher detergent,
or any of the strong household cleaning agents intended for use
on hard surfaces such as woodwork, linoleum, or tile. For best
cleaning results, always prevacuum the area to be cleaned and
apply a preconditioning solution prior to cleaning. A precondition
solution is a detergent solution applied to the carpet prior to
cleaning to begin loosening soil. These solutions typically require
8-10 minutes to begin the soil loosening process.
Pad (Bonnet) Method
The absorbent pad method should
be used only by a properly trained cleaning professional. The rotary
bonnet method uses a machine similar to a floor buffer with an absorbent
spin pad attached to remove the soil. The spin pad absorbs soil
onto the pad, and soil is removed when the pad is rinsed. To reduce
pile distortion, keep the absorbent pad well lubricated with cleaning
solution. Replace pad often to prevent transfer of soil back to
the carpet face.
Extraction (Polymer Compound) Method
An absorbent compound saturated
with detergents and solvents is brushed in and around the fibers
with especially-designed machines or brushes. The compound attaches
to the soil particles, and both the soil and compound are then removed
Foam Extraction Method
In dry foam cleaning a detergent
solution is whipped into a foam and applied to the carpet. The foam
is worked into the carpet by a especially-designed machine with
reel-type brushes, followed by wet vacuuming. Some machines have
their own extraction capabilities while others need thorough vacuuming
after the carpet is dry.
Water Extraction Method
This method is sometimes called
"steam cleaning." Areas of heavy use are preconditioned
to suspend ground-in soil, then a pressurized cleaning solution
is injected into the pile. Suspended soil and solution are immediately
extracted. Follow directions carefully and avoid overwetting. Ensure
speedy drying by using fans, operating the building air conditioning
system (HVAC) in the "on" position, and by performing
additional drying strokes.
The rotary shampoo method uses
equipment similar to the rotary bonnet method, except that a cleaning
solution is injected onto the carpet before cleaning or through
especially-designed brushes. Never use a do-it-yourself machine
designed for hard surface floorcovering with counter rotating (rotary)
brushes. Pile distortion or untwisting of the fiber can occur.
cleaning may be an economical choice between professional cleanings.
For any do-it-yourself cleaning method, the following points are
pre-vacuum to remove as much dry soil as possible.
Consider the following precautions when selecting a wet
furniture from the room before cleaning or, if impractical, place
plastic film under and around the legs of chairs, tables and other
furniture to prevent rust or furniture stains from developing
on the carpet.
only the recommended cleaning solution strength. Stronger than
recommended solutions may cause accelerated resoiling. Rinse all
detergent from the carpet to prevent accelerated resoiling.
not overwet the carpet. Overwetting may cause separation of the
backing, separation of the seams, shrinkage, discoloration, and
carpet should be dry within 12 hours. Provide proper ventilation
or use fans to quickly dry the carpet and exhaust any existing
the carpet to dry completely before walking on it.
Consider the services of a carpet
cleaning professional before your carpet and rugs begin to show
soil. Allowing carpet and rugs to become excessively soiled will
make cleaning more difficult and will shorten its useful life.
Recommendations can be obtained
from satisfied friends, carpet retailers, the Better Business Bureau,
and local business groups for reliable, certified cleaning professionals
in your area. Choose a carpet cleaning professional who is properly
trained for the following services. Prior to using these services,
you may wish to contact the carpet manufacturer to prevent voiding
Redyeing (color repair)
and Water Damage Restoration (For water damage follow guidelines
in the IICRC Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water
Damage Restoration S500-94)
In-plant Cleaning (for rugs)
Control (nuisance odors such as: mildew, tobacco, and pet)
Treatments (soil-removal and stain-resist treatments)
the carpet to dry completely before walking on it.
order to determine the amount and type of cleaning services needed,
have a representative of the cleaning firm come to your home to
make a visual inspection. The cleaning professional can inspect
the carpet for problem stains or excessively soiled areas that may
require additional attention. Obtain a written agreement for all
work to be performed. Under normal circumstances there should be
no extra charge for activities, such as moving furniture, preconditioning,
and routine spot and stain removal.
of pricing that is "too good to be true." Professionals
charge only for services that are authorized in writing before cleaning
begins. Most cleaning is based on the total number of square feet
to be cleaned. Many firms do have cleaning specials; however, pricing
by the room or low prices quoted over the phone may have hidden
restrictions or mandatory add-ons. A reliable firm will tell you
the steps that they are going to use to clean your carpet and provide
a written agreement before the work is started. Should you question
the need for any required add-ons, contact the carpet manufacturer
OF CARPETS & RUGS
provides an added measure of warmth and insulation with its millions
of fibers and places between them to hold warmth or to insulate
against extreme heat or cold. It's warmer to sit on or work on,
providing more stable temperatures for foot and leg comfort near
the floor. In colder climates or seasons, it retains warm air longer,
an important benefit in our energy-conscious world. In warm climates,
it also insulates against invasive heat.
the insulation value is important, the carpet's label may offer
an "R-value," and a cushion label may offer one, as well.
When the carpet R-value is not available, CRI suggests multiplying
the total carpet thickness measured in inches by a factor of 2.6
to approximate the carpet's R-value. The R-values are additive for
any combination of materials. For example, a combination of carpet
with an R-value of 1.3 and a prime polyurethane cushion with an
R-value of 1.6 will yield an overall R-value of 2.9.
- The Foundation of Decorating
Because carpet is a foundation
of decorating, covering a large quantity of the surface of our living
spaces, it is an important consideration in the overall scheme of
color and texture. It can provide simplicity and casualness for
softness and liveability; or it can provide pizzazz with vibrant
color and heavier textures for making a decorating "statement."
Carpet can be one of the easiest ways to personalize an environment
- its color can be a neutral foundation "in the background,"
or it can be a vibrant focal point.
Especially for small children,
seniors, and generally the entire family, safety in the home is
a primary focus. We seek a stable, non-slick walking surface that
prevents slips and falls and for the time when someone does trip,
a surface that protects from bruises and other injuries. Carpet
is great for cushioning our foot steps, minimizing slips and minimizing
injuries from falls. It's hard to watch a toddler take his first
steps on a cold hard floor. Carpet's softness and cushioning nature
is ideal for family activity - whether it is the first steps of
a toddler, the slow steps of the grandparent, or the fast action
of the mother or teen-ager.
Reduction Qualities of Carpet
Carpet is as Easy on Your
Ears as Your Feet
the introduction of computers, speaker telephones, big screen TV's
and video games, our homes have become a lot noisier. Fortunately,
the solution to this problem of airborne sounds can be found right
below our feet -- carpet.
not only serves as a beautiful floor covering, it also provides
sound insulation. Additionally, carpet creates an aesthetic ambiance
conducive to lowered voices and heightened privacy. The sound-reducing
qualities of carpet include:
home builders have moved towards reshaping the home by combining
all of the living area rooms into one big, open space. This layout
promotes the family togetherness, but also creates a noisy atmosphere.
With the addition of carpet, sound is absorbed rather than bounced
off the floor and back onto the walls and furniture. Results from
tests show that there is a pronounced "hush" in carpeted
and cushion reduces noise better
serves as an effective noise-reducer because it absorbs the sound
of foot traffic within the home. These results are even more pronounced
with the addition of carpet cushion. Research shows that properly
specified carpet and cushion combinations produce better noise-reduction
than carpet alone. Carpet cushion also increases comfort and ergonomic
qualities, adds insulation, and extends the life of your carpet
by protecting it against wear and tear.
CRI "Residential Carpet Installation Standard, CRI 105"
calls for carpet cushion that is both firm and resilient and no
more than 7/16 of an inch thick. Under the thinner carpet styles,
such as some Berbers, use an even thinner cushion - maximum 3/8".
and cushion insulate between floors
works as a sound barrier between floors by helping to block sound
transmission to rooms below. Carpet and carpet cushion are especially
effective in masking the "hollow" sound from foot traffic
often associated with staircases. Specific noise reduction data
can be obtained from CRI.
Regular, but simple, care
on carpet helps counter the abuse your carpet suffers and help it
retain its beauty. What other home furnishing is walked all over?
Vacuum every few days in high traffic areas, and once a week in
less-used areas. Use a well-functioning vacuum cleaner, with an
enclosed, efficient, dust-catching bag.
carpet today has been treated for stain resistance and soil retardance,
but stain resistant does not necessarily mean "stain proof."
Address spills quickly and remove them as soon as possible to afford
the easiest spot removal. Act preventively and avoid contact with
difficult spots that are hard to remove - makeup, pesticides, disinfectants,
iodine, mustard, and plant food products. Have carpet cleaned on
a regular schedule, before it begins to show soil - a schedule of
every 12 to 18 months by a professional cleaning company is reasonable
for more used areas of the home.
Well known for its ability
to provide warmth and style to a room, absorb unwanted noise, and
provide firm traction, carpet is continuing to gain a reputation
as the floor covering of choice for senior adults and their families.
Safety is a top
consideration for seniors, who seek a stable, non-slick walking
surface that protects them from "slip and fall" accidents.
Carpeted surfaces are significantly more effective at preventing
slips and falls than hard, smooth surfaces.
balance, a consideration for individuals who use braces, a cane
or a walker, can be less difficult with low pile carpet combined
with an extra firm cushion. CRI also recommends securely fastening
carpet and rugs to provide firmer footing.
can also reduce or eliminate reflected glare, minimizing disorientation,
and can reduce leg fatigue associated with walking or standing on
have shown that color has psychological affects on moods. With this
in mind, blues, greens, teal, mauve, coral, peach and warm neutrals
are often chosen for their soothing effects. Avoid "hot"
tones such as red, which may raise blood pressures for some, and
yellow, which may cause nausea and anxiety to someone that already
is not feeling well.
also plays a significant role with Alzheimer's patients. According
to the Alzheimer's Association, patients remember colors better
than numbers; therefore, color in carpet can provide a memory link
and better help to orient a person to a specific room or area.
and unwanted noise can sometimes challenge senior parents, who appreciate
their independence and may not be used to the noise levels created
by visiting family members.
ability to absorb airborne sound, reduce surface noise ("footfall
noises"), and block sound transmission from floor to floor
is well known. Carpet with an attached or separate cushion is the
most effective way to control noise and minimize sound indoors.
- Warm your ankles
Seniors whose feet and ankles are susceptible to temperature changes,
will stay warmer on carpet due to its natural insulating properties.
The surface temperature of carpet is substantially higher than that
of hard surfaces due to its pile construction that acts as an efficient