Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tips on Caring for Carpets and Rugs


Carpets and rugs not only act as floor coverings but they lend beauty to our homes. Over time, they get dirty and are subjected to premature wear and tear due to many reasons. However, with proper care and maintenance, many more years can be added to the life of these rugs and carpets.
Do regular vacuuming: Clean the carpets and rugs regularly and vacuum more often- at least once a week, more frequently in heavy traffic areas. It prevents buildup of gritty debris that can cut up carpet fibers. Use moderate suction and a covered nozzle. Vacuum in the direction of the pile. For older and more fragile rugs, a small hand-held vacuum cleaner is enough. Avoid vulnerable areas like fringes. Regular carpet cleaning without dangerous chemicals is also advisable for their longer life.

Use rug pad or carpet underlay: A good underlay or underpadding gives protection and prolongs the life of a carpet or rug by allowing them to lie flat and evenly. Underlays must be 1/8 to 1/4" (3 to 6 mm) thick and should be large enough to extend to the edge of the carpet. Avoid underlays having self-adhesives or the ones made of foam, synthetic rubber, vinyl, jute or recycled felt. Check them periodically. If damaged or degraded, replace them.

Reduce Traffic: The best way for this is to avoid walking on them which is almost impossible. So, try to limit the amount of traffic by placing rugs towards one side of the room instead of putting them in front of doorways. Turn over or replace carpets periodically, say in a year or two, so that the damage is evenly distributed. Although carpet protectors, made of plastic strips or heavy woven canvas can protect a carpet from heavy wear, they can be a tripping hazard.

Avoid Indentations: Shoes or heavy furniture can cause permanent indentations in a carpet. Use furniture glides or cups under the legs of heavy furniture. If possible, reposition furniture periodically. Alternatively, move the furniture now and then and dab an ice cube on the spot until the fibers bounce back. Then dry with fan or hair dryer. Remove outdoor shoes before walking on a valued carpet. Stiletto heels are a complete 'no' as they can pierce holes through the carpet. To remove temporary indentations, work the carpet back in place with fingers or with the edge of spoon, dampen the area in question a little, and heat the carpet with a hair dryer.

Handle and Store Carpets Properly: Never fold a carpet. Always roll them up. Don't dump them under the bed, or into an attic or basement. Make the rug or carpet clean and dry before being rolled for storage. Place it face down on the floor. Cover the back with acid-free tissue or pre-washed cotton muslin and then roll from the top of the carpet, in the direction of the pile, onto a wide diameter tube. Cover this carpet tube with Mylar (polyethylene) plastic sheeting or pre-washed, unbleached muslin and then tie lightly in several places with wide cotton ribbons. Always store the carpet off the floor, hung on bracket supports that should touch only the ends of the tube.

Remove Stains Immediately: If a liquid has spilled over it, blot it with tissue paper or soft cloth. Never rub the area. Once the liquid is absorbed, if a special cleaning solution is to be used, first test it on an inconspicuous part of the carpet. If the solution proves to be safe to use, try to use the minimum amount possible. Always work from outside of the stain toward the center to prevent any spreading. Ensure drying up the area with a hair dryer or fan when you are finished.
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