Why You Want Carpet to Come Clean
- :Elizabeth Goldsmith, PhD
by Elizabeth Goldsmith, PhD
Have you ever noticed that only a few days after cleaning, you can see dust everywhere, settled on glass tabletops and the like? Dust happens. Household dust carries bacteria, dander, mold spores, germs, and pollen. To add to the flurry of grime, your family, friends, pets — and even that open window — bring in fresh dirt all the time. A lot of it is settling on your carpet.
Between longer work days, time-consuming commutes and kids’ activities that keep the calendar full, who has time to worry about cleaning the carpet? Today, we’re spending less time on household tasks, yet we still expect excellent results. Fortunately, carpet cleaning products, methods, and equipment are improving all the time. Cleaning carpet may seem like more of a chore than dusting a coffee table, but properly cleaning and maintaining your carpet makes all the difference in the world.
Preserve the life and beauty of your carpet
With their rich colors, textures, and intricate weaves, carpet and rugs can transform any room into a home. But like most textiles, the beauty and life of your carpet depends on the care it receives.
Did you know that independent testing by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) has shown that many cleaning detergents and spot removers work no better than water? And, some leave a sticky residue that can cause the carpet to get dirty again faster than you can say, “Vacuum.” Even worse, some cleaning agents can actually damage carpet! Plus there is a significant difference in cleaning performances of the world’s many vacuums, commercial extractors, and professional carpet cleaning services. Abolishing poor-quality products and services in favor of proper cleaning will significantly lengthen the days of your carpet and preserve its appearance. Thankfully, the CRI Seal of Approval (SOA) program takes the guesswork out of selecting which products to use.
Improve your indoor air quality
Do you have allergies? Believe it or not, you can keep your carpet. Studies have shown that carpet is often better at trapping allergens than hard flooring such as tile or hardwood. How can this be? Particles and allergens fall to the floor (out of the breathing zone) and onto the carpet. The fibers of the carpet trap allergens and particles, reducing their continued circulation in the air. Proper cleaning with a CRI-approved vacuum effectively sucks up the dust in the carpet, locks it in the machine, and keeps it out of the air.
Allergic to carpet itself? Not likely. Most of today’s carpet is made from plastic fibers, which most people are not allergic to. Of course, if you have wool carpet and are allergic to wool, you might have a problem. In that case, you would remove the wool carpet and not buy a new one, just as you wouldn’t buy wool sweaters. And, if you are an allergy sufferer who wonders about carpet and mold, don’t worry. It’s difficult to grow mold on carpet. When carpet is kept clean and dry, mold simply cannot grow.
Clean + Dry = No Mold
Avoid premature replacement costs and disposal in landfills
Let’s talk about the cost/value of keeping and maintaining carpet for its full lifecycle. Proper cleaning helps protect your carpet investment and safeguards you from having to replace it before its time — great news because it also keeps carpet out of the local dump.
Keeping post-consumer carpet out of landfills is an environmental goal benefiting us all. With more than 300 million Americans — and that number keeps growing! — household waste is an environmental concern. Most school children today have learned the new “three Rs,” which stand for reduce, reuse, and recycle. If spending a little extra effort and, yes, money, on your floor covering helps meet this environmental goal, you may agree it’s worth it.
But maintaining your carpet also protects your pocketbook in the long run. Just how long should a well-cared-for carpet last? It’s hard to say. Believe it or not, there are cases out there of 100-plus-year-old Oriental rugs still in use. But generally speaking, 10 years is given as a guideline for quality carpets that are well-maintained (12.4 years according to DuPont studies). Use manufacturers’ warranties as a guide to how long you can anticipate a particular carpet to last. And look at those warranties carefully — large carpet manufacturers are tying their new carpet warranties to proper cleaning and maintenance with CRI Seal of Approval products.
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