How To Care For Brand New Carpet
One of the most important steps you can take in caring for new carpet, is to follow the recommended guidelines established by the product manufacturer. Each manufacturer will offer a product warranty. Part of that warranty will include cleaning and maintenance instructions. It is important to adhere to these policies, as any claim might get denied if those instructions are not followed.
Get A Copy Of Your Full Product Warranty
Understand the information provided on the back of your carpet sample, is not your carpet warranty. Rather, the information on the back of the carpet sample is simply marketing information. When it comes to knowing what is covered under your warranty...the back of the sample provides completely worthless and useless information.
Let's take a look at the back of a random carpet sample, and we'll show you what we mean:
If you notice on this sample, it states the following:
Lifetime Household Stain Warranty
Lifetime Any Pet Stain Warranty
25 Year Wear Warranty
What does "household stain warranty" or "any pet stain warranty" mean? Many customers would read this, and think no matter what mess my pet makes, my carpet is covered under the warranty. However, that would not be the case.
As with all product warranties, there is always a legal document that has that fine print. That long list of exclusions, that never seem to get talked about. Carpet is no different than other items when it comes to warranties.
The language on the back of a carpet sample is for marketing purposes only. Companies pay people good money, just to make these carpet samples look like the best thing since the invention of flooring. When purchasing your carpet, the retail store should provide you with the full warranty document. But in most cases, the sales person is just too lazy, and they never make an effort to print it out. In most situations, it is up to the customer to find out the truth.
The full carpet warranty can be found on each companies website. They usually have a link on the main page, that will direct you to a PDF document of the entire brochure. As a customer, this is the information that you need. Without this document, you have no idea what your warranty covers, nor do you have any idea how to take care of your carpet (to protect your warranty).
Credit: Carpet Warranties Explained
Why Is Your Warranty Important Information?
Did you know that if you vacuum your carpet twice a week, and take excellent care of it, you still might be voiding out your warranty...because you might be using the wrong type of vacuum cleaner. Many carpet styles have a requirement about only using "approved vacuum cleaners." The only possible way to know this information is to read the carpet warranty.
Did you know that if you don't get your carpet professionally cleaned once or twice a year, your warranty could be at risk? Likewise, it's not good enough to just get your carpets professionally cleaned. In many cases, you have to use the right professional cleaning company. Once again, there is no way to know this information without reading your carpet warranty.
Did you know if you use the wrong cleaning chemicals on your carpet, your product warranty might be endangered? If one of the kids spills a drink on the carpet, and you clean it up with a cleaning agent that is not recommended, you could be in trouble.
The carpet warranty is your official product document that you need to follow. Let's face it: filing a product claim is not something that anyone enjoys doing. Likewise, it costs manufacturers money to repair a claim. Those warranty exclusions are there for a reason: manufacturers want loop holes in their warranties to deny claims. If they deny a claim, they don't have to spend money to make it right. As a customer, you spent good money to purchase your flooring. Protect that investment. Understand and know your warranty. Failure to do so will cost you.
One last point on why your warranty is important: each warranty also contains a section on cleaning and maintenance guidelines. The manufacturer is telling you what products to use to clean their carpet. Take advantage of it. Why re-invent the wheel?
Let's Dive In To A Carpet Warranty And See What It Says About Cleaning
At random, we picked one of the largest carpet manufacturer's, Shaw Floors, to illustrate a typical carpet warranty. In their warranty for Anso Nylon Fiber Carpets, Shaw Floors states:
These warranties protect you , the original purchaser, if you have purchased a Shaw carpet made from Anso nylon for your own residential use in an owner-occupied residence. These warranties are transferable providing both parties can supply proof of purchase and proof of proper maintenance. - Shaw Floors
So, what does this statement tell us? It tells us that "proper maintenance" is required to get any claim approved. However, the term "proper maintenance" does not tell us much either. As a customer, you have to dig a little deeper on the Shaw Website to get more information.
Shaw Floors has a section on their website where they dive in to the cleaning methods they recommend. Some of these examples would include:
Don't track dirt inside
Use a quality carpet cushion
From time to time, move heavy furniture
Reduce periods of direct sunlight
Use Shaw Floors Carpet Cleaner
Have Floors Professionally Cleaned
Use a Hot water extraction method
Use an approved professional cleaner
If cleaning yourself, make sure it has the CRI Seal of Approval (more on CRI in the info below)..
Get On A Cleaning Schedule
Vacuum twice a week
Professionally Cleaned Every 6 months
Many of these items are common sense maintenance reminders, but many are not. It is rather common sense to say "don't track dirt inside," but on the other hand, it is not common knowledge to say "only use a cleaner that is CRI Approved."
Most carpet warranties are similar in design and scope. Depending on the product, some carpets have long periods of a warranty, but most carpets will have the same fundamental cleaning procedures. Our point in showing you this information, is to stress how your carpet warranty impacts your cleaning regiment.
Mohawk Flooring, another leading carpet manufacturer, has an interesting product warranty, that requires customers to clean their carpets in a certain way. If you have purchased a Mohawk, SmartStrand Carpet, they require you to use a certain type of vacuum cleaner. We have a great article, " SmartStrand Carpet Cleaning Guide," that discusses this policy, and gives you a list of the approved vacuum cleaners.
But, imagine spending thousands of dollars on new carpet, only to have a problem, and then finding out your claim got denied, because you did not have the right vacuum cleaner. Once again, this is why reading your product warranty is just so important.
What Is The CRI Seal Of Approval
"CRI" (The Carpet and Rug Institute) is the trade association for the carpet industry throughout the United States. The association is comprised of leading industry executives, and it does a wealth of research for the carpet industry, including the best way to clean and maintain carpets.
The CRI Seal of Approval is all about developing and recognizing the best methods and equipment to properly care for the carpet industry. As The Carpet and Rug Institute puts it:
CRI’s Seal of Approval (SOA) program is all about cleaning efficacy and constant improvement. We wanted to know how well vacuums, extractors, and cleaning solutions worked to clean carpet, so we developed the carpet industry’s only scientific program to test and measure the effectiveness of cleaning products and equipment. The program helps consumers make informed decisions and manufacturers improve their products. The results are cleaner, healthier, and longer-lasting carpet. CRI
Not only does the CRI Seal of Approval test equipment, but they also look at professional cleaning companies, and put their seal on those companies that hit their high standards.
CRI Seal Of Approval - Professional Cleaning Companies
It is important to use a professional cleaner that has the CRI Seal of Approval, as many carpet manufacturers require professional cleaning as part of their product warranty. Likewise, if the cleaning company used is not CRI approved, your carpet manufacturer might not recognize your cleaning as an approved warranty task.
The Carpet and Rug Institute likes companies that use the hot water extraction method. You can discover more information about getting your carpet professionally cleaned at:
Here are some common questions that you should ask a professional cleaning company:
How long have you been in business? The longer they have been around, the better. A company that is brand new might not be the best option.
Will your employee vacuum before starting the cleaning process? The answer should be, yes. If they don't do this service, you should pick a different company. This is a critical step in the cleaning process.
How is the pricing structures? Carpet cleaning should be based on teh square feet, not buy the number of rooms.
What about furniture, who will move it? It is always a good idea to understand what you are paying for.
The last point we will mention on getting your carpet professionally cleaned is: save the receipt. In most instances, it is the only way you can prove that you fulfilled your warranty obligation.
6 Awesome Tips To Keep Your Carpet Looking Good!
Place floor mats at all outside doors. It's a common sense step, but a good one. How many times have your small kids and their friends come running in from outside, tracking in whatever dirt and dust they have on their shoes? Floor throw rugs are an added precaution to keeping your carpets clean.
Take off those shoes! Make it a family policy: All shoes come off when entering the house. This is by far the best way to keep your floors and fresh. Everyone should understand the policy, and have no issues with it. Why track in dirt or snow? Take off the shoes!
Vacuum often. Make sure you vacuum at least 2 times per week. The more the better. t is really a simple task. Put one of the kids in charge. It will only take a few minutes.
Change the air filters in your furnace. Most people forget about this one. But, the more you can keep dust out of your home, the cleaner it will keep your carpet.
Get on stains as quickly as possible. When you see a spill or accident, clean it up right away. Don't be lazy and let it sit. In fact, the best way to jump on spills and stains, is to have your cleaning material stored and ready to go.
Have your carpets professionally cleaned at least once a year. Deep cleaning the carpets is a great way to prolong the life of the material. Using a vacuum will only go so far. Hire an approved cleaning company (from the Carpet and Rug Institute), and get those carpets cleaned!
Let's Get On A Carpet Cleaning Schedule
After the Initial Installation Or After Professional Cleaning
Place rug mats next to all outside doors
Require family and friends entering the home to take off their shoes
Pets nails should be well groomed.
Clean up spills as soon as they happen (using an approved cleaning solution).
Use scissors to clip sprouts and snags. Don't pull them up.
Remove furniture dents by stroking the dented area with a coin or use a hair dryer.
Vacuum - At least 2 days every week
Professional Cleaning - At least 1 tile every 12-18 months (depending on your warranty)
One of the best ways to stay ahead is to purchase a carpet caddy cleaner bucket. Just get a little bucket that you can place carpet cleaning solutions in, then store it away in a safe room. When a spill or accident happens, you will be ready to go. Grab your cleaning supplies, and your mess will be gone in seconds.
Cleaning Common Stains
Mohawk Flooring has an awesome cleaning chart that we thought we would share. Here are three cleaning procedures that you can use. Use the cleaning procedure as indicated:
Mix a solution of ¼ teaspoon of clear hand dishwashing detergent with 1 cup of water. Stir gently. • Apply detergent solution directly to a white cloth. Dampen the carpet fibers in the stained area with the cloth. Avoid saturating the carpet. • Wipe gently. Turn cloth frequently. • Never rub, scrub or use a brush. This may damage carpet fibers. If necessary, use your fingertips to work the solution to the base of the stain. Do not oversaturate carpet; use small amounts of solution and blot frequently. • Wet the stained carpet fibers with clear, lukewarm water to rinse. • Cover the spot with an absorbent white towel or paper towel and apply pressure to blot. • Repeat the rinsing and blotting procedures until you are sure all traces of the detergent have been removed. • If the stain is gone, place an absorbent white towel or paper towel over the area cleaned, and weigh towels down with a heavy colorfast object, such as a weighted plastic wastebasket. • Change towels or paper towels until carpet dries.
Mix 2 tablespoons of non-bleaching, non-sudsing household ammonia with 1 cup of lukewarm water. • Apply ammonia solution, rinse and blot as outlined in Procedure A. • Do not dry with paper towels. Follow Procedure C to neutralize the ammonia solution.
Mix ½ cup of white vinegar with 1 cup of lukewarm water. • Apply vinegar solution, rinse and blot as outlined in Procedure A.
Common Household Water Based Stains - For these stains, start with Procedure A. If stain remains, complete Procedures B and C.
Alcohol Cologne Grape juice
Baby formula Cranberry juice Jelly
Beer Feces Ketchup
Blood Felt-tip marker Latex paint
Candy Food stains Liquor
Chocolate Fruit juice Milk
Milk Fruit punch Syrup
Clay Furniture polish Tomato juice
Vomit Watermelon Whiskey Wine
Common Household Oil Based Stains - For these stains, use Goo Gone® . Follow directions on package, then complete Procedures A, B and C.
Butter Lipstick Margarine
Chocolate Mascara Mayonnaise
Cooking oil Nail polish Oil Oil paint Ointment Peanut butter
Cosmetics Oil paint Ointment
Crayon Peanut butter Varnish
Furniture dye Rouge Salad dressing Spaghetti
Furniture polish Spaghetti (oil-based) Glue*
Gravy Grease (black) Gum*
*Freeze and remove solid materials before using cleaning fluid. Important: Do not use any cleaner with a pH of 10 or higher. Before using, always test cleaners on a small, non-visible area for any discoloration of the pile. Abnormally large or excessive stains may require hot water extraction method. Professional cleaning is recommended. If stain returns— a condition known as “wicking”— simply repeat stain removal procedures, paying special attention to blotting and removal of all moisture.
For these stains (coffee, tea, Urine) start with Procedure A. If stain remains, complete Procedure C. Omit Procedure B. Coffee Tea Urine
Credit: DIY Carpet Cleaning Hack
How To Care For Brand New Carpet - FAQ
How soon can you walk on carpet after cleaning? Ideally wait until the carpet is dry. If that is not possible, wait as long as you can. Make sure you take your shoes off before walking on the carpet.
How long after professional cleaning do I need to Wait to put my furniture back in place? In a perfect world, wait 6 hours. If you can't wait that long, put pads under the furniture until the carpet is dry.
Should you vacuum your carpet after professional cleaning has been done? Yes, you should. It is also very important to vacuum your carpet BEFORE you have it cleaned.
Do you have to move your furniture for carpet cleaning? It all depends on the level of cleaning you want to get. If you leave the furniture in place, the carpet under the furniture will remain dirty. Up to you.
How often should carpets be professionally cleaned? For new carpet, it depends on your product warranty. Most carpet companies want customers cleaned once every 12-18 months. For older carpets, the same time period would apply.
Is any professional carpet cleaner okay to use? We recommend picking a professional cleaning company that is approved by the Carpet and Rug Institute.
Are pets okay to have if we have carpet? Of course. Pets love carpet, and for older pets, carpet is the best type of flooring.
Should I have the carpet cleaned, or just replace it? We get asked this question all of the time. Many customers don't want to spend the money on new carpet. Having the carpet cleaned first is just fine. In some cases, the stain or dirt comes out, and customers stay with the old carpet. but, in many cases, if a homeowner is thinking about replacing their old carpet, even after cleaning, in many cases, that old carpet never seems to be clean enough. There is no right or wrong answer. It is a personal choice based on your budget and expectation of the carpet.
Will carpet cleaning remove pet urine smell? Unfortunately, no. If you have urine smells in the home, in most cases, the carpet will have to be replaced, and probably, additional work will need to be done to the sub-floor prior to installing new flooring.
How To Care For Water Damaged Carpet - FAQ
My basement carpet got soaked from a heavy rain. What should I do? contact your insurance company. Get a professional to extract the water. Put fans on it. We always recommend contacting a professional that is trained in water restoration. If the damage is due to a sewer, mud or other contaminants, then the carpet will need to be replaced.
Does my carpet pad need to be replaced after getting wet? Probably, yes. It is difficult to get your carpet pad to dry.
Will you need to replace water damaged carpet? It really depends on the situation. It is always best to get a professional to look at the damage.
We have a very good article, "Restoration From Water Damage," that does a very good job of walking you through the repair process. Many times, customers make the mistake of not getting their home insurance company involved. We have found this to be a mistake. Contact your insurance company right away, and ask them for help.
One of the biggest mistakes made, is rushing in to a flooring store, and thinking your insurance carrier will replace your damaged carpet with whatever you pick out. That is not the case. Insurance companies will only offer you the replacement value of your carpet. Meaning, if you have 20 year old carpet, you will only get a check in the mail for the cost of 20 year old carpet.
Always contact your insurance company to first understand the process of replacing damaged carpet.
What About The Type Of Vacuum Cleaner You Use? Does It Make A Difference?
Yes, it makes a big difference. In fact, many carpet warranties require you to use an "approved" vacuum cleaner. Most manufacturers ask for customers to use a vacuum cleaner that has been approved by the Carpet and rug institute.
To earn the CRI Seal of approval, vacuums are tested in the following areas:
Soil Removal: Vacuum cleaners have to remove a certain quantity of dirt, based on specific measurement tools. The CRI states:
CRI uses NASA-enhanced x-ray fluorescence technology ( How Space Technology was Adapted for Carpet Cleaning(50 KB)) instead of traditional gravimetric testing to measure the precise amount of soil removed from carpet — either 30 oz/sq. yd. commercial cut pile carpet or 30 oz/sq. yd. loop pile carpet
Dust Containment: The vacuum cleaner must not more than 100 micrograms of dust particles per cubic meter of air, keeping dirt and dust locked tight in the vacuum — not escaping back into the air where it can be breathed.
Surface Appearance change: This is a fancy way of saying the vacuum cleaner must affect the appearance and texture of the carpet. The carpet needs to get clean, without harming the product.
If you use a cheap vacuum cleaner, it could end up hurting your carpet instead of helping it. A great way to find a vacuum cleaner that is approved, is to visit the CRI Seal of Approval Vacuum Cleaner Page.
Approved vacuum cleaners also have a significant impact on air quality. The better the vacuum cleaner, the better your air quality is going to be.
You might have to invest a few hundred dollars on a new vacuum cleaner, but in the long run, it is better than using a cheap vacuum that will harm your carpet.
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Conclusion - How To Care For Brand New Carpet
Simple, common sense guidelines are the most important steps to follow:
Take off your shoes
Place floor mats next to outside doors
Vacuum on a regular basis
Clean up spills right away
Get your carpets professionally cleaned
It is also very important to understand your carpet warranty. Many warranties have instructions on cleaning they expect you to follow. It is important to understand their expectations, so you can protect your warranty.
Carpet care is really a simple task that requires very little effort. As a homeowner, you simply need to protect your investment by establishing regular cleaning guidelines, and policies to clean up spills and accidents right away.
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