wiseGEEK: How Do I Keep a Carpet Clean?

Carpets are a source of contention for many homeowners. On the one hand, they feel soft and warm to bare feet, but on the other, they're just one more thing requiring maintenance and upkeep. Most home owners vacuum their carpets once or twice a month, bringing in a professional once or twice a year for cleaning. This isn't always enough, however. If you're interested in keeping your carpet looking fresh and clean, there are a few simple basic upkeep tips that will ensure its longevity.

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9) Absolutely no shoes on the carpet. If it is a light carpet, then have your family wear slippers. For guests, keep slippers for them or ask them in advance to bring their own. Oils from bare feet can damage your carpet and eventually mark them.

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8) Remove shoes. This is a sure method to make carpet last longer. If you have a nice home with nice carpet, people generally aren't offended by this rule.

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6) Steam cleaning your carpet can actually decrease the life-span of the back of the carpet.

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5) Professional steam cleaning "resets" the pile on a crushed carpet. It uses less water and soap than a carpet shampooer that you might buy in Sears.

Soap and soap residue do attract dirt. That's why we use them to wash. But, when they're left over, they'll make the carpet look dingy faster.

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2) Why do you recommend steam cleaning carpets when the water seeps through the carpet and into the padding ruining both. Isn't dry cleaning the best way?

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1) I have always heard don't use heat or soap on carpet and the heat breaks down the fibers and the soap is sticky and tends for carpet to look dirty faster because the dust and dirt stick to it. Is this true? I have 9 year old white builder grade carpet, raised two kids a dog, two cats, don't ever wear shoes, but have only used cold water to clean up spots and cold water in my carpet cleaner. It looks brand new.

- anon2043

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