Maintenance Tips

Maintenance Tips

Although professional steam cleaning is an essential part of quality floor care, there are a couple things that you can do to ensure that your floors are as clean and healthy as possible.

  • Vacuuming

    Frequent high quality vacuuming is an essential step to ensuring your carpets are clean and healthy, and last a long time. The majority of foreign contaminates in carpet are from dry particles such as dirt, sand, and organic matter (dead skin cells, dust mites, plant fibers, animal feces, etc). If not removed, these particles negatively impact indoor environmental health, and can have an abrasive affect on the carpet fibers, permanently altering the appearance of your carpets. A good vacuum is the most effective tool for removing these dry particles from your carpets.

    How often should I vacuum? Your vacuuming schedule should depend on the amount of traffic that your carpets receive. High traffic areas should be vacuumed daily. Very low traffic areas should be vacuumed at least once a week.

    What vacuum should I use? This is a serious question for many people. There are many quality vacuums that produce adequate results, and you don’t necessarily need to spend a ton of money to get a vacuum that will work well. The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) has created a vacuum selection tool based on criteria such as power of suction, protection of air quality, gentleness of the brushes, and energy efficiency. Any vacuum on their list, if used regularly, should work well to maintain your carpets health and appearance.

    Pick a quality vacuum that works well for you, and you’ll be more likely to vacuum regularly. Remember, any vacuum which is used regularly is better than the best vacuum which is never used. The following are some of the options to consider when purchasing a vacuum: Canister vs upright, weight, accessory tools, adjustable motor speeds, bagged vs bagless, height adjustment options (manual vs auto vs none), and hard floor settings.

  • Spot Avoidance

    Of course one of the best ways to keep carpets looking clean is to avoid getting spots on them. Many things can be done to avoid spots, depending on life style and individual circumstances. It’s good to keep a protector under live plants that sit on a carpet surface or that can leak onto carpet or rugs when watered. Plants which overflow onto the carpet when watered can cause an acidic stain, which unless treated very shortly after the stain appears, can be impossible to remove from the carpet. Avoid dragging heavy furniture or other items across the carpet as this can result carpet burns and snagged or torn carpet fibers, both of which cause damage that can’t be reversed and which requires a more costly carpet repair to fix. Runners (rugs) in entryway and high traffic areas can also help to protect carpet.

  • Spot Removal

    Even with the utmost care, getting spots on your carpet at some point is probably unavoidable. With a few simple steps, you can effectively clean many spots yourself.

    Vacuum Solids

    If a dry solid material, such as dirt, has spilled on your carpet, remove the material as soon as possible. Usually a vacuum is an effective tool for this. If the solid is moist, such as with food (think spaghetti), then it’s best to remove the damp solid material by hand.

    Soak Liquids

    If there has been a liquid spill, the first step in treating the spot is removing as much of the spilt liquid as possible. For smaller spills, this is best done by placing a terry cloth towel (or other towel which is absorbent) over the spill, and blotting to soak up the spilt liquid. Continue to use fresh town once the old one is soaked. Standing on the towel can help to pull up liquid deep in the carpet fiber, backing, and pad. Keep doing this until no more moisture can be removed. Then place a fresh dry towel over spill area with something heavy on top such as several books. This will help to soak up any additional moisture that wicks up from the spill. For large spills, a shop vac can help to retrieve a large quantity of liquid quicker.

    Wash Area

    Use a clean white towel lightly dampened with clean water to clean the carpet fibers where the spill occurred. Blotting in one direction is preferred—any back and forth scrubbing motion should be done very gently so as not to damage the carpet fiber. Many fresh spills can be treated without using a cleaning agent. If the spill isn’t fully removed with clean water, an over-the-counter cleaning agent can be used, but should be used in moderation since it is difficult to fully remove the cleaning agent from the carpet, and the residue of the cleaning agent in the carpet is likely to cause future re-soiling at that spot. Once the area has been washed, it should be dried again using the steps outlined above. If a spot looked to have been removed after washing the area, but returns when the area has dried, this is probably due to “wicking” or “rapid re-soiling”. Wicking is caused by residue of the spilt material wicking up the carpet fiber from the carpet backing/pad. Rapid re-soiling is usually caused by a cleaning residue that is left in the carpet, which attracts dirt to that spot. If either occurs, repeat the wash and dry step and this may clean the area sufficiently so that the spot does not return.

    Call TruSteam

    Spotting can be difficult, and some spot treatments require a professional to be fully effective—just give us a call and we’ll come and clean up any spills which have occurred. Some spots set more fully as time passes, so if you aren’t able to remove the spot yourself or if you’d just as soon have us do it, the sooner you call us to come professionally treat the spot, the more assurance there is that the spot can be fully removed.