We are often asked to recommend a carpet cleaner for our customers. We have yet to find one who does the best job all the time. Some firms have one or two top cleaning teams, and a few who do terrible jobs. When we ask for references, we always receive those from satisfied customers - customers who complain are never on the reference lists.

However, carpet care is essential to keeping your carpet new looking. Plus, each of major fiber producers - Stainmaster, Sorona, Wear-Dated all require that the carpet be stean cleaned every 18 months to keep their warranties in effect.

Vacuuming the Carpet

Carpets receive a terrific beating in ordinary use - pounding traffic, dirt, dust, oily cooking vapors and spills of all descriptions. The dry soils can be removed and prevented from building up to an unsightly level by frequent vacuuming with a good machine.

For cut pile carpet, we strongly recommend a vacuum cleaner with a rotating beater bar which agitates the carpet pile and mechanically loosens soil for the vacuum to remove. Those without this feature remove surface dirt well but often leave imbedded soil, which damages the carpet fiber by abrasion. Additionally, matting or packing will occur in high traffic areas if the carpet pile is not sufficiently agitated or lifted. For berber textures, we recommend a vacuum with suction only to avoid damaging the loops.

For rooms with light traffic, vacuum the traffic lanes twice weekly and the entire area once weekly. Those areas with heavier traffic require that 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.

2. Cleaning Carpets

While vacuuming is sufficient to remove most dry soil, the oily soiling from cooking vapors, air pollution, and elements tracked from the street presents a different type problem. These particles of oily soil deposited on carpet fibers can cause gradual but significant dulling of delicate pastel colors; the color isn't lost but hidden under the film. If this type soil is allowed to accumulate, it literally glues the pile fiber together resulting in matting, packing or ridges and begins to attract and also hold the dry soil. This is the reason cleaning is so important when the color is first noticed. If allowed to remain too long, it becomes gummy and difficult to remove. Practice extreme care in vacuuming your area rugs... particularly at the fringe. It is best to avoid use of a vacuum cleaner with a beater bar in this area of the rug because of the possibility of catching the fringe in the cleaner. This can cause separation of the weaving behind the fringe and can damage the rug. (This occurrence is not considered a manufacturing defect.)

3.Carpet Cleaning Methods

Several methods of cleaning produce satisfactory results, but one point is universal - clean the carpet or rug before it becomes too unsightly; the cleaning chore will be easier and more successful. Some of the methods found acceptable are detailed here. However, each has limitations which should be considered.

Using a cleaning method other than those approved by the fiber producer will void your stain protection warranty.

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Carpet pilating or grooming should be incorporated with all professional cleanings. Use of a professional pile lifter vacuum may be effective in restoring matted or ridged carpeting.

Caution - The Rotary Brush Wet Shampoo

Method is not recommended for residential carpet, as damage can result. Also, some do-it-yourself products in aerosol cans can cause rapid resoiling due to excessive residues. Test on a scrap first; if the dried product feels sticky - don't use it. Avoid all cleaning agents containing optical brightners (fluorescence) such as those found in many laundry detergents and some carpet cleaning systems.

For more information regarding the proper cleaning of carpets, please contact the professionals at Miami Carpet and Tile with locations in Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach and Fort Lauderdale.