Caring for your Carpet

Caring for your carpet is an important factor in the life and appearance of your carpet. A properly cared for carpet will remain beautiful as well as functional for many years to come.  For your greatest satisfaction your carpet must be installed properly, using the correct cushion.

Dos and Don’ts to Prolong the Life of your Carpet

  • Do save a few good size scraps from the installation in case you need to make repairs in the future.
  • Don’t pull stretched carpet up off the tack strip. It will cause buckling that will require re-stretching.
  • Don’t put a solvent based cleaner on the carpet without testing it first. (See stains below.)
  • Don’t allow any solvent to soak through to the backing. This will cause it to separate.
  • Do repair right away any loose ends that are showing or loops that are pulled out. (See repairs below.)
  • Do keep your pet’s nails trimmed if you have looped carpet. Long pet nails can cause the surface to become fuzzy.
  • Don’t slide anything abrasive over the surface of your carpet.

The objective is to get the soil out while doing as little damage to the carpet as possible. Loop carpet isn’t as vulnerable to damage from cleaning equipment as cut pile as long as there are no dangling yarn ends. If your carpet has loops in the surface, keep an eye out for pulls in the loops and repair them before running a vacuum over it.

Don’t believe the adage that cleaning your carpet makes it last longer. If your carpet is cut pile, excessive agitation from rotating brushes will cause the yarn ends to blossom and affect the appearance. Here’s the excuse we’ve all been looking for: Don’t vacuum or shampoo your carpet any more than is needed to keep it clean. If your vacuum has a floor attachment without rotating brushes, use it for normal cleaning and save the brushes for extreme situations.

Any shampoo based cleaning system should not leave a residue on the carpet. Dust will attach to the residue and defeat the effectiveness of the vacuum cleaner. Dip a drinking glass into the shampoo solution and let it dry. If there is a greasy film left on the glass, then the product is not good for your carpet.

Our best advice is to use the vacuum routine described above and have the carpet professionally cleaned when needed.

Carpet Repairs
The following describes last-ditch efforts to prevent replacing a damaged carpet. We are not presenting them as the solution to every problem. It is up to you to evaluate your own situation, predict the outcome and judge whether or not it is worth a try. Use this information at your own risk.

If the carpet is stretched over padding, it needs to be re-stretched. Call to schedule an appointment. If the installation is out of warranty or the material was intentionally pulled off the tack strip there will be a charge for the re-stretch.

Resetting Pulled Loops
With a little patience, you can easily repair pulled loops in your carpet.
You will need the following:

  • Hot glue gun
  • Long nose pliers
  • 2 oz. cooking oil
  • An old newspaper or piece of cardboard.

Put the newspaper on the surface of the carpet with the edge beside the damaged area, and put your materials on the paper.

You will see white specks of latex on the strand of yarn that is pulled out. Working from the attached end, repeat the following for each loop:

  • Dip the tip of the pliers in the oil.
  • Hold the strand with the pliers at the next white dot.
  • Apply a dot of glue to the white speck about half the size of a pea.
  • Using the pliers, carefully place the loop in the backing at the same spacing as the adjacent row. Hold it in place a few seconds until the glue cools to a solid.

Use the same procedure to terminate the end.
Warning: Do not get glue in the surface of the carpet. It will not come out.

Plugging Cut Pile Carpet
There are limitations to how well cut pile carpet can be plugged. It must be done from the back. If it is stretched over the pad, it must be pulled back from the tack strip which means it will have to be re-stretched. (See buckling above.)
The first task is to find a piece of carpet that matches and is large enough to use. You must have more of the same carpet. A scrap saved from the installation is ideal. If the damaged area is worn, a new piece inserted into it will be noticeable.

You will need the following:

  • Hot glue gun with plenty of glue sticks
  • Roll of drywall membrane (sold at hardware stores)
  • Can of spray glue
  • Razor knife or carpet knife
  • Putty knife
  • 2 pieces of paper larger that the area to be removed
  • Ball point pen and a regular pencil

Lay the replacement piece on top of the carpet. Turn it until you determine the closest color match. You must keep them oriented in the same direction until you are finished.

Make a pattern by placing the two pieces of paper together and using the ball point pen to draw a shape larger than the damaged area. Apply enough pressure to indent the 2nd piece of paper below. Do not use straight lines. Make an irregular oval shape similar to a flower.

Take the bottom sheet out and lightly rub the pencil across the line from side to side to make the line visible
Pull the carpet back from the wall to expose the back of the damaged area. Turn the replacement piece over in the same direction so you do not lose the orientation. Using the spray glue, attach one piece of the pattern so it covers the damaged area and the other to the replacement piece oriented in the same direction.

Using a razor knife, accurately cut out the patterns on the lines applying enough pressure on the knife to barely clear the backing.

Remove the cutout and replace it with the new piece. It should fit snugly without any sizeable gaps. It cannot have gaps large enough for the hot glue to flow into the carpet surface. The edges should butt exactly all around.

Cut pieces of drywall membrane to lengths that will cover the seam lines and place them straddling the seams around the cutout.

Apply a large bead of the hot glue along the side of the seam (not over the crack) and, using the putty knife, smooth the glue across the seam to the other side. When finished, all of the membrane should have a paper thin layer of glue over it.

Warning: Do not get glue in the surface of the carpet. It will not come out.
Once the glue has cooled down enough to lose its tack it is ready to be turned over and re-stretched.

Stains are the second major reason why carpet is replaced. Many stains can be removed by cleaning the carpet. However, there are a lot of things that get on carpet that do not come out easily and some that cannot be removed at all.

Obviously, the ability to remove a stain depends on the cause of the stain. What complicates the issue is that different flavors of the same product may stain differently. The strawberry flavor may come out while the grape cannot be removed. This is because different chemicals are used to color and flavor them. Some stains are really bleaches that remove the color.

When using a commercial stain removal product, be sure to follow all directions carefully. It is a good idea to do a spot test in a non-noticeable area before applying a product to the carpet in the center or your room. Also, do not allow the solvent to soak all the way through to the backing. This would cause the glue to dissolve and allow your carpet to wrinkle or buckle.

The best defense is a good offense. If staining will be likely, whenever possible choose a color or pattern that will not show dirt or stains easily. This is especially important in high traffic areas.

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