New carpet is a major investment for any new construction or existing home. Most homeowners have several misconceptions about carpet cleaning and general carpet care, but the truth may be nothing short of amazing.
Here are ten common myths dispelled, to help homeowners achieve a higher level of proper carpet care maintenance, sure to add many years of durability and appearance to their investment.
Myth #1: I can Save Money Buying Inexpensive Carpet
This is the first mistake most homeowners make when selecting new carpet for their home. While savings offered by choosing cheap carpet from a discount carpet dealer may be attractive, it really is not a good investment.
Discount carpet is made with less durable carpet fiber in the pile such as olefin, which has a very low wear resistance. In addition, bentonite, a type of clay filler, is used in the latex backing. In only months an unsightly high traffic area can become visible, causing permanent and irreversible damage.
Mid to upper price range carpets with nylon fiber and stout latex backing will render the best wear resistance, and will remain attractive even after 20 or 30 years. Most interior design experts are privy to these facts, and will recommend only the best quality carpet.
Myth #2: I can Save Money Using Inexpensive Pad
This is another costly mistake homeowners make by trying to save on carpet installation expense. When an inexpensive carpet pad under the carpet breaks down, the carpet becomes prematurely worn and damaged. Not a good scenario, especially if it is top price carpet. Better to purchase good quality carpet pad, instead.
Myth #3: My Carpet is Only 1 or 2 Years Old, so it Doesn’t Need Cleaning
This is one of the most common and costly misconceptions about carpet care. Almost every homeowner is under the false assumption that new carpet doesn’t require cleaning until it looks dirty. Unfortunately, by the time the soil is visible, much damage has already been done to the carpet.
It is the soil you cannot see that causes the most damage; tiny microscopic pieces of dirt and soil that destroy the protective fiber coating and break the fiber down. The fuzz in your vacuum bag or canister is your carpet going out the door, one clump at a time.
Myth #4: I Don’t Need Professional Carpet Cleaning; I Have my Own Machine
Many homeowners purchase a home carpet cleaning machine or rent a commercial carpet cleaning machine. Cleaning with these type machines is one of the worst things that can be done to a carpet.
These machines put a lot of water into the carpet, but cannot effectively extract it back out. The carpet takes days to dry, leaving it open to mold, mildew, and premature break down of the backing. Not to mention a build-up of soap residue left behind that attracts rapid re-soiling and makes carpets look dull and dingy prematurely.
Myth #5: Carpet Stain Products purchased at a Grocery or Department Store are as Good as Any Other Product!
There are a number of consumer carpet stain removal formulas that should be left right on the shelf at the store. These products have harsh chemicals in them in order to effectively address a wide variety of stain removal applications. Including ink, blood, red wine, coffee; and grease, rust, and oil stains.
Unfortunately, these products will also remove color from about 1/3 of the carpets that are on the market. Specially formulated, professional fiber-specific stain removal products work best, are safer for carpets, and will help increase carpet longevity. Another carpet care tip: oxy products work well when used as directed, but repeated use will damage carpet fiber.
Myth #6: Vacuuming my Carpet 1 – 2 Times a Week is Plenty
Even the most meticulous house keeper may believe that vacuuming the carpet once or twice weekly is a good routine to keep soil under control. However, all carpet manufacturers and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommend daily vacuuming.
In any indoor environment, outside air is ventilated to the indoors. Outside air contains many air born particles such as dust, pollen, and industrial contaminants. Indoor pollutants include animal hair, dander, dead skin, and dust mites. In calm indoor air, all of these nasty contaminants settle by gravity into the carpet, which is the most effective filter in the house – even more so than a furnace filter.
Daily accumulations can be considerable. The only effective way to deal with them is daily vacuuming. This is the single most important part of carpet care. Not only helping to improve indoor air quality, but removing microscopic dirt particles that damage carpet fibers; adding years to the lifetime of your carpet.
Myth #7: Steam Cleaning Leaves my Carpet Damp. Therefore I Should Use Only Dry Carpet Cleaning Services
When it comes to carpet cleaners, there are several methods that professional carpet cleaning services use.
According to the Institute of Inspection, Restoration, and Cleaning Certification (IICRC), the EPA, and all carpet manufacturers, the recommended method of cleaning is with a truck mount carpet steam cleaning machine.
A dry carpet cleaning machine such as a bonnet carpet cleaning machine will make the carpet look very good on the surface and appear very clean. When in actuality a considerable amount of soil is left in the carpet pile; which will quickly surface and re-soil the carpet. This type method is desirable in-between steam cleaning, in places such as libraries and museums where moisture could create problems.
Truck mount steam cleaning is actually a method of pressure washing a carpet clear down to the backing, and sucking up the solution and soils with a high powered vacuum – all in one stroke. When properly done, it removes 75% to 85% of the moisture used in the process. The remaining moisture dries quickly; usually within 2 – 6 hours, with good ventilation.
Myth #8: I Can Best Keep my Carpet Fresh with Sprinkle-on Deodorizer Powder
This is another terrible thing to do to a carpet. Sprinkle-on powder products contain talcum powder, which is not water soluble. This fine powder accumulates with repeated use, and becomes embedded in the carpet, backing, and pad. It does not completely vacuum up as touted.
When subjected to moisture through proper cleaning methods, it creates problems. The drying process causes the fine residual powder to wick to the surface, creating white stains on top of the carpet, which are impossible to get rid of. As cleaning is repeated; the powder wicks to the top again and again.
There are known instances of this problem resulting in removal of 1 – 2 year old carpet. Certainly not a cost-efficient situation.
Myth #9: a Water Pipe Burst and Flooded my Carpet, but I Can Dry it Myself
Wrong! Water damage carpet care is a tricky process that should be left to the professional.
When a flood happens, there is a 48 to 72-hour window for effective drying before the onset of mold or mildew. After 48-hours have passed without affected areas yet dried, the formation of mold is possible. After 72-hours have passed without complete drying, mold or mildew activity of some type is certain. There are over 1 million strains of mold, many of which are highly toxic.
Homeowners and many professionals such as plumbers (who are usually the first ones called when a pipe bursts) are under the false assumption that sucking up the water with a shop vacuum and turning on a few fans will get things dry. It is impossible to adequately dry carpet with carpet padding in place within the time window to prevent mold or mildew.
Carpet acts as a moisture barrier, and carpet pad is highly absorbent and cannot be dried in time even if removed and hung out to dry. The carpet pad must be removed completely, and carpet and structure dried using industrial ventilation and dehumidification equipment.
There is professional technology to dry a carpet and pad left in place in certain circumstances. But it also requires the use of specialty ventilation and dehumidification equipment.
Myth #10: “Fido” Soiled my Carpet; Now I Will Have to Tear it Out to Get Rid of the Pet Odor
While in extreme cases of pet urine odor a carpet is discarded, most of the time it can be effectively treated with an enzyme based pet odor remover.
One of the most effective enzyme pet odor eliminator products available is Odormute; available in concentrated powder form at many vet supply warehouses.
Enzyme formulas eliminate the pet urine stain at the source; enzymes digest and neutralize the urine residue, often removing any stain along with the odor. In extreme cases, the carpet may need to be taken loose and pad removed. The floor is treated with an oil based primer to seal any odor in the subfloor. After treatment and cleaning, carpet is then re-installed with new pad, and odors are gone.
By dispelling these top 10 carpet care myths, homeowners can achieve a cleaner, healthier, and more attractive carpet. While at the same time adding years to the life of their carpets, and savings to their bank accounts.