Looking after carpets

Carpets can be an expensive investment so knowing how to care for them not only maximises the return, it’s obviously going to keep them looking better too.

Unfortunately, however, at this time of year, we usually endure the worst that the British weather has to offer. From rain, to snow, to mud, to general ingrained grime and debris, a carpet or rug can be ruined quickly, so good carpet maintenance habits are likely to lengthen its life and save money.

So how do we keep a carpet looking good?

Though vacuuming is the obvious place to start, strange as it may seem, different types of carpet pile benefit from different types of vacuuming. Obviously, regular weekly vacuuming (twice weekly with a softer carpet) is going to help a carpet look better.

In rooms that don’t get much use, dust will inevitably settle so those rooms still need to be vacuumed. Also, vacuuming against the pile rather than with it helps to lift the carpet material up, maximising fluffiness.

It’s important to know what material the carpet is made from as different materials benefit from different attention: cut pile carpet is more effectively cleaned using a beater brush, loop pile carpet needs to be cleaned with a suction-only vacuum, avoiding the beater brush.

If a spillage stains the carpet, then the sooner it’s tackled, the better.

Mud, drinks or other water-soluble stains should be blotted with a solution of 1.25ml (1/4 teaspoon) of white wine vinegar to 2 pints of cold water, never hot. Using a clean cloth, press the stain from the outer edge inwards. Rubbing is not recommended as the dirt is simply pushed further into the carpet fibres and becomes even harder to remove, if at all.

Coffee, blood or wine stains are tougher to remove and best tackled with an ammonia-based cleaning product. Wool blend or wool carpets can be damaged by ammonia however, so for those, use cold water and a mild detergent. Again, blot the stain and work from the outside in – and remember that hot water can actually help fix the stain in place so avoid it.

Pets and carpet don’t always mix, but in the event of an accident, trusty bicarbonate of soda powder can absorb odours and help clean. Apply it to the area and let it absorb away until the paste starts to dry out. At that point you can remove the excess and vacuum up the residue.

If your pet sheds hair, a quick tip is to wipe the carpet over with a damp sponge or cloth. This tends to collect the hair in one place making it easy to remove.

And though time can be of the essence for spillages, it’s always sensible to patch test a small area with your cleaning approach just to be sure that further damage won’t be incurred on the carpet.

Hopefully, a little bit of carpet care can keep it looking fresh and clean for longer.


ServiceMaster Clean provides exceptional commercial office and industrial cleaning in the North West.

To discuss your cleaning requirements with our experts, please get in touch.