How to care for your carpet

Here are some tips and general advice for protecting and prolonging the attractive look and feel of your carpet.

Begin with a barrier

Caring for your carpets (and other floors) starts at the front door. A barrier mat will trap a lot of the grit and dirt that would otherwise be tramped onto your carpets. Don’t forget other entrances too, and doorways where hard floors lead to carpet. For example, a mat or offcut from your new carpet will help prevent grease spreading from the kitchen to a nearby dining or living room. And remember, doormats need to be cleaned regularly or they will just transfer soil onto the carpet.

Learn to love your vacuum

Vacuuming is the mainstay of carpet care. Even if a carpet doesn’t look as if it needs cleaning, the vacuum removes invisible dirt. Daily vacuuming won’t cause premature wear – it will keep your carpet looking better for longer. A thorough vacuuming cleans deep between tufts and revives well-trodden areas by doorways, in front of chairs, hallways and stairs. A brush head or beater bar improves vacuum performance (but loop pile carpets should be vacuumed with a suction head only as a beater bar may snag the fibres).

When your carpet’s new

Vaccum your new carpet immediately after it’s laid, especially if patches appear – these are merely caused by tufts compressed in different directions. And don’t worry if your carpet seems to shed short fibres. This is normal in the first few weeks and only a tiny fraction of the pile is lost, so it won’t affect the look and life span of your carpet. Sometimes small balls of fibre collect on the surface of a new carpet. This is called pilling. Use scissors to cut the pills, leaving the pile level.

Patterns of wear

Parts of your carpet that get the greatest use will be the first to show signs of wear. Areas in front of chairs and sofas, near doorways, the nose of stairs and hallways are the most commonly affected. Consider using a rug to protect them. If room space allows, you may be able to rearrange furniture periodically. Heavy furniture will cause indentations in your carpet, so that’s another good reason for moving it occasionally. But be careful because dragging can cause worse damage. A tip for removing indentations in carpet is to moisten the area (with an ice cube or steam, depending on the type of fibre) and tease the tufts upright with the edge of a coin or spoon.

When the worst happens

Don’t panic if there’s a spillage or marks appear on your carpet. Here is some advice on how to remove carpet stains.