What is the most severe carpet cleaning issue? You may mention stains, wine, coffee, mould or humidity – but these are all problems you can quickly deal with if you approach the task correctly. What prevents most carpet owners from keeping the floor coverings in decent shape is their own stubbornness from admitting they need professional help.
So when would be the right time to call a professional cleaner for your carpets? Before I answer the question in detail, let me quickly go over the three most common scenarios people contact a carpet-care specialist. The first one is for a specific and urgent problem – for example, you’ve had a leak in your apartment, and the whole place was flooded; or your teenage daughter decided to throw an unexpected party for her birthday, and the result was a hygienic apocalypse. Let’s put aside these situations for a moment – while aggravating, they hardly constitute a regular part of your daily routine.
Sometimes I get calls from people who have just moved into a new home, and they decide that the carpet upkeep is not going to be a part of their housekeeping checklist. I respect and admire their honesty – they know the task is too tiresome and energy-consuming, and they do not want to waste their time with it. Such people, however, are a tiny minority compared to the homeowners who stubbornly believe they can manage their floors effectively, who are convinced that vacuum cleaning is an efficient long-term solution against dust and stains, and who do not admit sanitary defeat even when it stares at their face!
It is with this third group of people that my present post deals with – maybe because I have to deal with them myself all the time. I hope all carpet owners who happen to read this post will notice the first signs that I mention and get in touch with a certified technician before it is too late. The first stage of dealing with a problem is to admit its existence and then look for a possible solution. The sooner you recognise the signs of sanitary deterioration in your carpets, the easier it will be for your cleaner to overcome them.
I already mentioned vacuum cleaning – probably 90% of homeowners do it regularly if they have carpets as their floor covering type. It is a quick and easy way to remove the redundant residue from the upper layer of the fabric, but it can hardly achieve anything more than that. When the material is fresh and dust-free, vacuum cleaning will leave the treated area visibly neat and pampered. If, however, the procedure does not produce any visible improvement, it means the residue and grime have penetrated deep within the carpet threads and require more forceful treatment – preferably via hot water extraction. Do not overlook this sign – it is a loud cry for help from your carpets.
The second sign that is even more worrisome is the loss of colour. Many people mistakenly believe this is the inevitable by-product of daily wear and tear – as with any other floor covering exposed to foot traffic, pets, and running children. This notion, however, is totally wrong – adequate care and upkeep should retain the fresh colours of your carpets and rugs in the long run. Discolourisation is a sign of excessive dust accumulation and smothering that may have even more severe consequences like loosening of the fabrics, not to mention the health risks for your family.
The third sign for inadequate maintenance is the inability to remove stains. Vacuum cleaning, obviously, will not work in this case. What is the proper way to treat coffee or wine spillages? How do you remove ketchup or mayonnaise stains? What if your kids make the mess in the morning, and you have to take off for work in ten minutes? Are you going to leave the stains on the carpet throughout the whole day? Stain removal is arguably the one field that carpet owners delude themselves the most. The problem is that you may remove the visible part of the stain on the very surface, but the residue remains and attracts more microparticles. You may notice small lighter areas around the original stain – an unfailing sign for bacteria and germs accumulation.
The last sign I will mention is catastrophic – it shows terrible and continuous neglect rather than anything else. Of course, I am talking about mould – more likely to appear if you live in a humid climate. Mould is hard to miss – it appears in the form of a spiderweb of small black or dark-brown spots, usually away from sunlight, closer to the corners of each room. If you notice it, you have to consider one of two options – either start looking for a new carpet (the pricy choice) or call a cleaner right away! In this case, every day you procrastinate deteriorates the chances for effective treatment – mould not only destroys the beauty of your carpets, but it also disintegrates the fabrics down to the padding, making it almost impossible to restore if not treated in its early formative stages.
Why do people tend to overlook these signs? It is usually one of three main reasons. First, they are so overwhelmed with the tasks at work and their family that efficient housekeeping remains in the background. Second, they overlook all the mentioned pointers and attribute them to the inevitable carpet wear and tear. These two reasons are easy to overcome – you just need the proper perspective that an experienced cleaner will provide. The third reason is outright dangerous – it is the conviction that you can deal with any carpet-related sanitary problem while all evidence points to the contrary. I am sorry to be so blunt, but even the Queen won’t be able to help you in this case!