Caring For Your Carpet
Most carpets look great when first laid – it’s time and continual use that provides the true test. How long you can expect a carpet to keep that ‘just bought’ look depends on a number of factors – whether the fibre offers the combination of qualities necessary for the carpet to keep its good looks. Another factor is the care you give the carpet.
If you vacuum regularly – say once or twice a week – and treat spills as they happen, then you may need do nothing more to maintain a well-chosen carpet for quite some time. A thorough vacuuming should include under beds, behind drapes, inside wardrobes, along skirtings and beneath furniture to discourage possible attack by insects.
Because different fibres have varying dirt resist capabilities, some carpet will need more attention than others. Some synthetic fibres are surface coated to improve their resistance to soiling and staining. But foot traffic, certain chemicals and cleaning methods can significantly affect this coating, in some cases leaving it ineffective.
Wool has a natural, in-built soil resistance. Unlike synthetics, it is moisture absorbing – this means it doesn’t tend to attract static, which in turn acts as a magnet for dust and dirt particles floating in the air. Nor can dirt easily penetrate the mesh of opaque, scaly wool fibres, so soil is easily vacuumed of the surface of a wool carpet. Dirt, working its way into the pile of a synthetic carpet can dull the transparent to translucent fibres and alter the appearance of the carpet.
Stain repellant sprays aren’t recommended for wool carpets since they have limited durability. Some carpet manufacturers won’t accept responsibility for complaints about a colour if a treatment has been used.
Accidental burns are another concern affecting the long term looks of your carpet. With synthetic carpets, particular care will be needed to avoid these. Many synthetic fibres melt on contact with cigarettes or matches, leaving black scars that are difficult to remove. Wool won’t ignite easily and scorches rather than melts so any burn marks that do occur can usually be removed with a brisk brushing.
Synthetic fibres are tolerant of wet conditions and contrary to common opinion, wool carpet also needs only reasonable care in damp areas such as bathrooms. Wool can absorb up to 30 percent of its weight in moisture vapour without feeling damp or wet. (This characteristic contributes to wool’s natural flame resistance and its low static build-up). If you spill water on a wool carpet, blot it up with a dry absorbent cloth or paper towels, applying gentle pressure as you do so.