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Selecting Carpet/Maintenance

Carpet Maintenance and Troubleshooting

Texture Appearance Retention For better appearance and longer carpet life,occasional moving of furniture and reversing of area rugs is recommended. Although some change…
Read More →

Selecting Your Carpet

You cannot buy carpet here, but before you purchase one square yard (or square foot) of carpet, you should read this entire web site. I know it will save you frustration, confusion, and money. Unlike… Read More →

Carpet Performance Characteristics

Sprouting If loose ends or “sprouts” extend above the rest of the pile, clip them off even with the pile surface. Never try to pull them out. After clipping, smooth the area…
Read More →

Removal of Spots and Spills

A good checklist to handle spills should include the following items. Do not use any household cleaners other than those listed, since many household products contain chemicals that…
Read More →

Regular Vacuuming

The most important step in caring for your carpet is vacuuming. Vacuum thoroughly and frequently, particularly in high-traffic areas. Bear in mind that walking on soiled carpet…
Read More →

Preventative Maintenance

Walk-off mats should be used at all entrances to absorb soil and moisture, and mats should be cleaned on a regular basis so they don’t become sources of soil themselves, especially during…
Read More →

Carpet Maintenance and Troubleshooting

Texture Appearance Retention
For better appearance and longer carpet life,occasional moving of furniture and reversing of area rugs is recommended. Although some change will eventually occur in the texture of your carpet, routine vacuuming combined with periodic deep cleaning, as recommended by the manufacturer, will help diminish this change.

Crushing
Crushing is the restorable or non-restorable loss of pile thickness due to foot traffic. Crushing is not considered a manufacturing defect unless specifically cited in the manufacturer’s warranty. Regular vacuuming may help reduce crushing due to traffic. Manufacturer’s definitions of crushing may vary.

Matting
Matting is usually the result of the untwisting of the yarn and intermingling of the yarn tips and is a result of foot traffic. Contributing factors may include improperly specified cushion, cushion failure, or improper vacuuming and cleaning. Matting is not consider ed a manufacturing defect unless specifically cited in the manufacturer’s warranty. Manufacturers’ definitions of matting may vary.

Wear
Many carpet manufacturers offer a five-year or a ten-year “wear” warranty. According to these warranties, “wear” is defined as the loss of pile weight or pile fiber (usually ten percent) due to abrasive wear only. What appears to be wear may be a change in the carpet that is related to matting, crushing, or permanent fiber damage caused by soiling, rather than loss of fiber.

Depressions and Indentations
The weight of heavy pieces of furniture can put indentations in carpet. Some depressions may be permanent. Use furniture glides or cups under the legs of heavy pieces, or move your furniture a few inches backward or sideways so that the weight is not concentrated in one place. If depressions do occur, work the carpet pile back into place with the edge of a coin. The recovery may be aided by vacuuming and an application of steam or hot water extraction.

Fading or Color Loss
Give your carpet the normal protection from direct sunlight that you give any colored fabric. Fading also may be caused by atmospheric contaminants, emissions from heating fuels or chemicals, such as pesticides, household cleaning agents, and other household items.

Filtration Soiling
Filtration Soiling may appear as dark or grayish lines on carpet along walls, stairways, and under doors. It is caused by airflow over and through carpet, trapping fine airborne soils on the carpet surface. It can often be attributed to an improperly balanced ventilation system. In most instances, the volume of air entering a room exceeds the HVAC systems capacity to remove air from the structure. Excess air volume will seek exit sources in gaps along walls and stairways. These types of soils require aggressive chemical solutions for effective removal. Contact a carpet cleaning professional for assistance.

Shedding
Carpets made with spun fibers may shed loose bits of fiber left in the carpet from the manufacturing process.. Removing these loose fibers does not affect the carpet life or quality. Because of the large micron size (>90 microns), these fibers are too large to become airborne or respirable.

New Carpet Odor
During and immediately following the installation of your new carpet there may be a slight odor. The odor may result from the removal of your old carpet and cushion or from the new carpet, cushion, adhesives, or seaming tape. Ventilation with fresh air is recommended. Ideally, windows and doors should be opened, and the HVAC system should be operated at maximum speed for 48 to 72 hours.

Ripples and Buckling
Excessive humidity or damp weather may cause a temporary rippling in your carpet. Ripples may disappear in a drier atmosphere. If ripples should become a problem, consult your carpet retailer. A carpet installer can usually solve the problem by re-stretching the carpet with a power stretcher. Inadequate cushion or improper installation procedures also may be a contributing factor to rippling and buckling. See separate bulletin for more information on this subject.

Shading
Shading is not a change in color but a change in pile direction that sometimes appears randomly in a carpet or rug. If you look at the shaded area in one direction, it will appear darker, but from another direction, it will appear lighter in color. Solid color cut-pile carpet may show shading more than patterned styles and textured surfaces. Shading is characteristic of certain styles of carpet and rugs and is not considered a manufacturing defect. Pile reversal can also be classified as shading and is sometimes called watermarking or pooling. This condition is usually permanent and has no known cause.

Soiling
The key to maintaining the beauty of your carpet is to clean it regularly before it becomes excessively soiled. Today’s soil and stain-resistant technologies make carpets easy to clean. Light colored carpets may show soil more readily than darker tones and may require more frequent cleaning. Medium and darker colors, tweeds, and textures help disguise common soil in your home’s high traffic areas.
Oily soil may be very difficult to remove after it has been on the carpet for a long time, and may be absorbed into the fiber,potentially causing an undesirable color change. Entry (walk-off) mats that trap soil at exterior entrances, combined with routine cleaning, provide extra protection for all floor coverings.

Sprouting
Occasionally, a yarn tuft will rise above the pile surface of a carpet. Just snip off these tufts to the level of the other tufts. DO NOT PULL THEM OUT.

Spill and Spot Removal
While no carpet is completely stain “proof”, new stain-resist carpet treatments allow most spills to be removed when immediate action is taken and directions are followed carefully.

Yellowing
Some discolorations, such as yellowing have become more obvious with the introduction of the lighter carpet coloration. Yellowing can be caused by a variety of outside influences, such as pollutants from heating fuels, changes in alkalinity, cleaning solutions, and atmospheric or environmental contaminants. Not all carpet yellowing can be removed; however, the use of acetic acid (white vinegar), citrus acid, or tartaric acid is often successful in eradicating many cases of yellowing. In some cases, the use of an alkaline detergent solutions prior to the use of these acid rinses may cause permanent yellowing. A solution of one part white vinegar mixed with one part water is recommended for consumer use. If yellowing persists or is widespread, contact a carpet cleaning professional.

CRI Technical Bulletin
Carpet Troubleshooting Guide (05/08)
For more information, visit carpet-rug.org.

Selecting Your Carpet

You cannot buy carpet here, but before you purchase one square yard (or square foot) of carpet, you should read this entire web site. I know it will save you frustration, confusion, and money. Unlike most colleges there are no diplomas given, but if you pass the test , you will know more than most people trying to sell you new carpet. Have fun, and become informed before venturing out to make that carpet purchase.


Carpet – nothing looks like it, feels like it or performs like it. It enhances the peace and quiet of your home by absorbing sound. It insulates against the cold, cushions your feet with comfort, and adds safety—helping to prevent slips and falls and protecting dropped objects from being damaged. And because carpet is a key decorative element in the home and a major purchase, you must keep several factors in mind during your selection process. Perhaps the most important things to consider are these: Does it fit your taste, and does it match your lifestyle? This informative section was created to help you make a selection that best suits your home and your budget.


Location / Use

Before purchasing carpet, you need to answer the following questions:

  • How is the room going to be used?
  • Will it have heavy or light traffic?
  • Will the room be the center of activity for family and entertaining?
  • Is there direct access from outside, or will the carpet be away from entrances?
  • Will the carpet receive direct sunlight?


Where there is to be heavy traffic (usually the family room, hallways and stairways), choose the best carpet you can afford. When shopping for carpet, look for performance rating guidelines with various brands of carpet. This rating system offers guidance on choosing the carpet that will perform best for various traffic needs. Most guidelines will be based on a 5-point scale, with the number 4 or 5 rating being best for the highest traffic areas. A 2 to 3 rating is good for areas with less traffic.


Color

Because it covers so much living space, carpet is the foundation of your room’s décor. It can be a neutral color, blending in with fabrics and other surfaces; or it can be a vibrant focal point of the room, making a statement that reflects your style.


The selection of carpet color is a very personal choice. Carpet comes in almost every color, pattern, and texture you can imagine. You will want to select a color that unites your decorative elements and creates the atmosphere you desire. Ever popular beige carpet can make a room look spacious; but for a bolder statement, look for a common color in your furniture and draperies. Choose a carpet with a similar hue. Environmental colors, like blues, deep greens, rosy quartz, and stony neutrals are becoming increasingly popular.


Warm colors can turn up the heat in a room that lacks light, while cool greens and blues have a calming effect. Lighter colors make the room seem larger; darker colors provide coziness. There are also practical considerations in color selection. New stain and soil resistant technology makes today’s lighter color carpet much easier to clean, allowing more decorating options. Medium and darker colors, tweeds, and textures will help disguise common soil in your home’s high traffic areas.


Cost

Your budget and your needs are two key elements in selecting carpet and rugs. There are a wide range of choices and costs from which to make your selection. Ask yourself how long you expect to keep your carpet before replacing it. A better grade of carpet will give you a greater length of service than one of lesser quality. Buy the best carpet you can afford for the heavy traffic areas of your home—halls, stairs, and family rooms. A medium grade will provide good service in rooms with less traffic—bedrooms and guest rooms.


The cost of carpet is based on many factors, including fiber, construction, quality, and design. The total project will include the cost of cushion and installation. Be wary of the cheapest products or services.


Ask your retailer to give you a complete cost estimate—one that includes cushion, installation, moving of furniture, hauling off old flooring materials, and any special needs that you may have. Remember—a high quality, professional installation can extend the life of your investment.


Construction: Textures and patterns

Today’s carpet offers much more than a conventional loop pile. To add to a room’s sophistication and interest, consider choosing a textured pattern. New technology can produce multilevel loop and cut/loop patterns. Choose diamonds, bows, pin dots, or fleurs-de-lis designs that “pop out” in sculptured effects. The texture, colors, and pattern of the carpet can be made to complement or contrast with patterns of your furniture and window treatments. Using a solid color, textured carpet is a great way to provide interest and pizzazz, without going to a multicolor, overall pattern.


Textured styles also fit well with today’s active and casual lifestyles. Textured carpet can be created through the use of several construction techniques. Many of these styles are known for their soil hiding ability.


Cut pile

Loops are cut, leaving individual yarn tufts. Still one of today’s most popular constructions, its durability is achieved with factors including the type of fiber, density of tufts, and the amount of twist in the yarn.


Smooth, level finish, but pile yarns have more twist so that the yarn ends are visible and create a less formal look. Minimizes foot prints.


Smooth, level surfaces; formal atmosphere, “velvet.”


In this cut pile, the yarns are extremely twisted, forming a “curly” textured surface. This informal look also minimizes foot prints and vacuum marks.


Loop Pile

Many of today’s popular Berber styles are level loop styles with flecks of a darker color on a lighter background.


Loops are the same height, creating an informal look. It generally lasts a long time in high traffic areas.


Usually has two to three different loop heights to create pattern effects, providing good durability and a more casual look.


Combination of cut and looped yarns. Provides variety of surface textures, including sculptured effects of squares, chevrons, swirls, etc.


Really Express Yourself!

Perhaps you are ready to boldly express yourself with a floral, fleur-de-lis, or multicolored carpet that will enhance plaids, stripes, or solids furnishings. European, English, French Country, and Colonial are some of the descriptive words used for the beautiful combinations of patterned carpet used with patterned furnishings.


Fibers

Fiber is carpet’s basic ingredient. The type of fiber used and the way the carpet is constructed determine how well the carpet will stand up to spills, pets, and daily traffic. Approximately 97% of all carpet is produced using synthetic fibers that are designed to feature style, easy maintenance, and outstanding value. There are five basic types of carpet pile fibers.

Carpet Performance Characteristics

Sprouting

If loose ends or “sprouts” extend above the rest of the pile, clip them off even with the pile surface. Never try to pull them out. After clipping, smooth the area with your fingers. Sharp edges on your vacuum cleaner, a child’s toy, high heels, or animal claws can cause this condition.


Pile Crushing

All carpet fibers will crush under heavy stationary loads. Crushing can be reduced by shifting furniture regularly. Crushed areas can usually be improved by covering the area with a damp, clean white cloth and then applying heat to the cloth with an electric iron on the lowest setting. To ensure that the iron does not damage carpet fibers, test carpet in an inconspicuous location such as a closet. Remove the cloth and restore the pile while it is still hot by brushing it lightly. Keep traffic off the carpet until it is dry.


Shading

After certain carpet styles have been subjected to traffic, you may notice areas that appear lighter or darker than other areas. Don’t be alarmed. Shading is the result of the change in direction of the pile due to pressure from footsteps and vacuuming. Brushing the pile all in one direction may temporarily correct shading; however, shading is part of the carpet styling and should be expected in varying degrees. Do not mistake shading for color fading.

Removal of Spots and Spills

A good checklist to handle spills should include the following items. Do not use any household cleaners other than those listed, since many household products contain chemicals that may permanently damage your car pet.


Use Clean & Tidy’s Spot Remover Kit or do one of the following:


A solution of a mild liquid detergent (no more than 1/4 teaspoon of detergent to 32 ounces of water). A clear, non-bleach liquid dish washing detergent such as Dawn, Joy,or Clear Ivory is recommended. Do not use detergents that are cloudy or creamy because they may leave a sticky residue.

  • A solution of 1 part white vinegar to 1 part water.
  • White cloths or white paper towels.
  • An ammonia solution of one tablespoon of ammonia to one cup of water. Do not use on wool or wool-blend products. Non-oily nail polish remover.
  • Chewing gum remover (freeze or solid type).
  • Spot remover specifically for grease, oil, or tar, such as Carbona or Energine.


Difficult stains on carpets made from solution-dyed fibers such as polypropylene (olefin) and solution-dyed nylon may be removed with a mild bleach solution (one part chlorine bleach to five parts water).


WARNING:Do not use bleach solution unless you are absolutely certain your carpet is 100% solution dyed. Carpet dyed by other systems will be damaged if in doubt, call 1-800-441-SHAW.


General Tips

Prompt attention to spots and spills is essential. No carpet is stain proof, although many are stain resistant, which allows time to act.


  • Remove as much of food spills as possible by scraping gently with a spoon or dull knife.
  • Absorb wet spills as quickly as possible by blotting repeatedly with cloth towels.
  • Always blot; never rub or scrub abrasively, as a fuzzy area may result. When blotting, work from the outer edge in toward the center of the spot to avoid spreading the spill.
  • Always follow up with water to remove detergent residue that may become sticky and cause rapid re-soiling.
  • Draw out any remaining moisture by placing several layers of white towels over the spot and weigh them down with a heavy object that will not transfer color, such as a plastic jug of water.


Stain Removal Instructions

Clean & Tidy’s Spot Remover is recommended for all types of spot cleaning, or refer to the recommendations in Stain Removal Procedure. The numbers are keyed to the stain, and all instructions should be used in the recommended sequence. Some stains are marked PRO, indicating that professional knowledge and equipment are necessary.


Water Soluble Stains

Follow the instructions below for these types of stains:


Alcoholic Beverages (Beer, Wine, Liquor), Berries, Blood, Chocolate, Coffee, Cola Drinks, Cosmetics, Deicer (or vacuum), Excrement, Food Dyes, Furniture Polish, Glue (white), Gravy, Ice Cream, Ink (washable), Jelly, Milk, Mud, Mustard, Paint (Latex), Tea, Urine, Vomit


  1. Absorb as much as possible with white towels. Blot the stained area with white towels dampened with cool water until there is no more transfer of the stain onto the towels.
  2. Before using detergent, apply the white vinegar solution or a household ammonia solution to a white towel and blot or spray onto spot. (Note: Do not use on wool or wool-blend carpet) to a white towel and blot or spray onto spot.
  3. If any of the stain remains, use the detergent solution previously described. Spray lightly onto the spot and blot repeatedly with white towels, working from the outer edge in toward the center of the spot to avoid spreading.
  4. Rinse thoroughly by spraying with clean water, and then blot or extract. Do not use too much detergent because the residue will contribute to rapid re-soiling.


Oil-Based Stains

Follow the instructions below for these types of stains:


Asphalt, Butter, Crayon, Furniture Polish, Grease (food or auto), Ink (ballpoint or permanent), Lipstick, Paint (oil), Shoe Polish


  1. Blot as much as possible with white paper towels.
  2. Apply the special oil and grease spot remover to a paper towel and repeat blotting. (Protective gloves should be worn, as the solvent will quickly remove oils from the skin and could result in irritation.) Do not pour or spray directly on the carpet pile, as damage to the backing or adhesive underneath could result; use the towels to transport the solvent to the carpet.
  3. Repeat as often as necessary.Provide adequate ventilation! Do not use flammable solvents!
  4. Follow with procedures in “Water Soluble Stains” section.


Freeze

Freeze stains such as chewing gum and candle wax with ice or a commercially available product in an aerosol can. Shatter with a blunt object and vacuum before the chips soften.


Follow up with solvent as in the “Oil-based Stains” section above.


Bleach

Use the instructions below to remove these types of stains:


Coffee, Cosmetics, Ink (permanent), Mustard, Tea


WARNING – Only carpets which are solution dyed are resistant to bleaching, but do not exceed the recommended concentration. DO NOT USE THIS PROCEDURE UNLESS YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN THE CARPET IS SOLUTION DYED -CARPETS DYED BY OTHER SYSTEMS WILL BE DAMAGED.

Products with olefin and nylon blends can not be exposed to bleach without removing the color from the nylon fibers unless the nylon component is solution dyed. If in doubt, call 1-800-441-SHAW.


  1. For solution-dyed carpets with stains such as food dyes, fruit drink, and coffee not removed by white vinegar and procedures for “Water Soluble Stains”, use a solution of one part chlorine bleach to five parts water.
  2. Rinse several times with water to remove excess bleach so that none is tracked to other areas where there is conventionally dyed carpet.


Other Stains

For nail polish stains, use nail polish remover.


Ask us to remove these types of stains. These should only be handled by the professionals.


Ask a Professional to remove these stains:

Asphalt, Betadine, Furniture Polish, Grease (auto), Ink (ballpoint or washable), Paint (oil), Rust, Urine


WARNING: Certain products found in most homes can cause irreparable damage to your carpet. Bleaches, tile cleaners, mildew removers, oven cleaners, and drain openers are very strong chemicals that can discolor or dissolve carpet fibers. Acne medications containing benzyl peroxide, a very powerful bleach, are capable of permanently damaging your carpet and most other fabrics as well.

Regular Vacuuming

The most important step in caring for your carpet is vacuuming. Vacuum thoroughly and frequently, particularly in high-traffic areas. Bear in mind that walking on soiled carpet permits the soil particles to work their way below the surface of the pile where they are far more difficult to remove and can damage the fibers. Frequent vacuuming removes these particles from the surface before this happens.


For rooms with light traffic, vacuum the traffic lanes twice weekly and the entire area once weekly. Those areas with heavier traffic require that the traffic lanes be vacuumed daily and the entire area twice weekly. Up to three passes of the machine will suffice for light soiling but five to seven passes are necessary for heavily soiled areas. Change the vacuuming direction occasionally to help stand the pile upright and reduce matting.


Vacuum Cleaner Recommendations

To ensure that your vacuum will conform to the high ‘ industry standards, make sure that your vacuum clean is certified through the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) Vacuum Cleaner Indoor Air Quality Program.

Visit www.carpet-rug.org for details and listings.


1. A good vacuum cleaner is vital to prolonging the beauty and life of your carpet. An inexpensive machine can remove surface dirt but will not effectively remove this hidden dirt and particles embedded in the pile.


2. Shaw Industries recommends the use of vacuums with a rotating brush or combination beater/brush bar that agitates the carpet pile and mechanically loosens so for removal by the vacuum. Note that carpet with the loop pile construction may be sensitive to brushing or rubbing of the pile surface and may become fuzzy. For these products, Shaw recommends the use of a suction-only vacuum or a vacuum with an adjustable brush lifted away from the carpet so it does not agitate the pile. A vacuum with a beater-brush bar can be tested on an inconspicuous area of the carpet and used if no excessive fuzzing occurs.


3. Replaceable paper vacuum bags do a better job of trapping the small particles that pass through cloth bags back into the room. High efficiency vacuum bags, also called microfiltration bags, trap even smaller microscopic particles such as mold and mildew spores and dust mite byproducts, often found to be a source of allergies. All vacuum bags should be checked often and replaced when half full.


4. Make sure the belt is in good condition and that the brush or beater bar rotates when in contact with the carpet. To adjust the vacuum to the correct height setting for the carpet, raise the beater/brush bar to the highest setting and then lower it until it contacts the pile enough to slightly vibrate the carpet several inches away from the machine, but not low enough to cause significant slowing of the motor.


5. Change the vacuuming direction occasionally to help stand the pile upright and help reduce matting.

Preventative Maintenance

  • Walk-off mats should be used at all entrances to absorb soil and moisture, and mats should be cleaned on a regular basis so they don’t become sources of soil themselves, especially during inclement weather. Try to keep your sidewalks and entrance ways free of excessive dirt and substances which can be tracked into the home.


  • Use a quality pad under your carpet, particularly on stairs. Good pad not only gives better resilience underfoot, but it can also add to the life of your carpet. Some carpets carry warranties with specific density and thickness requirements. Before purchasing your carpet pad, review your warranty.


  • Move heavy furniture occasionally to avoid excessive pile crushing. Put coasters intended for use with carpet under the legs of tables, chairs, and other furniture to help distribute the weight and prevent crushing the pile. Do not use chairs or appliances with rollers or casters on carpet without a chair pad designed for carpet. Continued use without a chair pad can cause damage to the carpet.


  • When moving heavy wheeled furniture (pianos, buffets, etc.), prevent damage by placing a protective barrier of heavy cardboard or plywood between the wheels and the carpet.


  • If you use area rugs over your carpet, be sure to remove and clean them regularly. Clean and restore the pile of the carpet underneath. Be certain to check area rugs for colorfastness before putting them back over carpet, as the dyes in some rugs may bleed through to carpet. After cleaning your carpet, remember to allow complete drying before replacing rugs.


  • Protect your carpet from prolonged periods of direct sunlight with blinds, shades, or awnings.


PLEASE NOTE: NO CARPET IS ABSOLUTELY STAIN PROOF. SOME CARPETS HAVE STAIN RESISTANT TREATMENTS TO IMPROVE YOUR ABILITY TO CLEAN UP STAINS, NOT PREVENT STAINS. CARPETS WITH SOIL RESISTANT TREATMENTS REDUCE THE RATE OF SOILING, BUT ALL CARPETS REQUIRE REGULAR CARE AND MAINTENANCE.