From never-ending rumours that wet carpets take two days to dry to old fashioned myths about woollen carpets shrinking when cleaned, some carpet cleaning myths, mistakes and misconceptions just won’t disappear.
With the right amount of care and attention, your home’s carpets can look great for decades. With the wrong approach – and the wrong information – they could end up aging rapidly and looking weathered and worn after just a few years.
One of the biggest causes of carpet damage is poor information. From myths about the ‘damage’ cleaning does to carpets to mistakes such as using too much soap on a delicate carpet, bad information can do a huge amount of damage to your carpets.
In this blog post, we’ll share eight carpet cleaning myths, mistakes and surprisingly common misconceptions to help you learn what’s true and what isn’t when it comes to keeping your carpets clean and tidy.
MYTH: CARPETS TAKE DAYS TO DRY AFTER CLEANING
This resilient carpet cleaning myth just doesn’t seem to disappear. Carpet owners around the world often believe that carpets take days to dry out after they’ve been cleaned by a professional.
Like most myths, this one is part nonsense and part truth. Carpets can take days to dry, but only if they’re not cleaned properly. If your carpets need 24 hours or more to dry, the cleaner is probably using too much moisture.
The more stained your carpet is, the more moisture it will require and the longer it will take to dry. However, the majority of carpets should be completely dry within 30 minutes to 24 hours of being cleaned, depending on the type of fabric they use.
MYTH: BLEACH CLEANS PRETTY MUCH ANYTHING
Red wine stain? Bleach. Tomato sauce? Bleach. Motor oil? Bleach. Bleach may seem like an all-purpose cleaner, but using bleach to clean your carpet can cause serious damage to the carpet’s fibres, even if the carpet itself is white.
Technically, bleach isn’t actually a cleaner. It’s a disinfectant that, while effective at killing bacteria and removing some stains, isn’t actually capable of removing dirt or oil from your carpet.
Using bleach might seem like the easiest way to clean your carpet, but it’s probably causing more damage than cleaning to occur. If your carpet is heavily stained, call a professional and leave the bleach where it belongs: in the cleaning cupboard.
MYTH: CLEANING YOUR CARPET DAMAGES THE FABRIC
Here’s another persistent myth: cleaning your carpets frequently damages the fabric and causes the carpet to age prematurely. Just like carpets taking too long to dry, it’s a myth that’s emerged thanks to people not cleaning their carpets 100% properly.
Just like your clothes are designed to tolerate being washed after a day of use, your carpet is designed to tolerate cleaning. In fact, cleaning extends the lifespan of your home’s carpeting by removing dirt, dust and other materials that cause wear.
If you use powerful chemicals to clean your carpet or overdo the scrubbing, there’s a possibility of damaging your carpet. However, with the proper tools and techniques, there’s no risk of cleaning your carpet leading to any lasting damage to the fabric.
I cleaned my carpet with a lint roller and had peanut butter for dinner so I guess you could say I'm living the college life pretty well.— Tessa Burford (@tessaburford) 19 November 2013
MYTH: WOOLLEN CARPETS SHRINK WHEN CLEANED
Do you have a woollen carpet? If so, you might be concerned about it shrinking after being cleaned. This is another persistent myth that’s the exact opposite of the truth; far from shrinking, woollen carpets actually expand when they’re wet.
Certain types of carpets can shrink for a brief period after being cleaned. Not all of these carpets are woollen. In fact, many synthetic carpets will shrink after they’ve been cleaned (before returning to normal) due to the water used in cleaning.
This myth often results in people avoiding cleaning their woollen carpets, thinking that a single steam cleaning will downsize their favourite carpet. In reality, a skilled carpet cleaner will be able to clean your woollen carpet without any change in size.
MYTH: THE MORE SOAP, THE CLEANER THE CARPET
This one’s a popular cleaning myth that applies to more than just carpets: the more soap (or bleach, or detergent) you use, the cleaner the carpet. The logic behind this myth seems sound, but like most cleaning myths, it’s actually completely wrong.
Soap’s cleaning power comes from its ability to interact with water and remove dirt and stains from your carpets. Using more soap without using more water just means you’ve got more soap residue to wash away – a task that isn’t always easy!
When you’re cleaning a carpet, using more soap (or more water) isn’t always best. A carpet that’s overly wet can take longer to clean, and if soap residue says in the fibre after it’s dry it could lead to lasting damage.
Instead of overdoing it on the soap, use as little soap and water as you need to clean your carpet. When it comes to cleaning, less is often more. Using a light touch when it comes to soap will help your carpet look better and last far longer.
MISTAKE: HIRING A CLEANER BASED ON PRICE ALONE
If your carpets are seriously dirty, it’s best to hire a cleaner to remove stains and get them looking new again. Carpet cleaning isn’t overly expensive, but it’s still tempting to price shop and choose the cheapest cleaner available.
Carpets are expensive, and going with the cheapest cleaner isn’t a good idea. As we mentioned earlier, cheap cleaners are often inexperienced and use too much soap or water to clean your carpet, causing lasting damage to its fibres.
Instead of choosing a cheap cleaner, choose a carpet cleaner with positive reviews and references. You might spend a little extra, but you’ll get higher quality results, better looking carpets and a much lower chance of fabric damage.
MISTAKE: TRYING TO CLEAN A BAD STAIN ON YOUR OWN
From red wine to tomato sauce, it’s tempting to throw everything you’ve got at a bad stain in order to remove it. Far from fixing the problem, using too much soap and water to remove a carpet stain can actually just make the stain worse.
If your carpet has a serious stain that you can’t remove with basic cleaning, don’t pull out the serious chemicals. Instead, call a carpet cleaner and have it cleaned by an experienced professional.
When you clean bad stains on your own, you risk letting them settle into the carpet and stay. Avoid ruining an otherwise beautiful carpet by calling a professional at the first possible opportunity to remove the stain from your carpet.
MISTAKE: VACUUMING YOUR CARPET TOO AGGRESSIVELY
Vacuuming your carpet won’t damage it, provided you don’t overdo things. When you vacuum your carpet, you remove dust, dirt and other substances that result in damage and wear over time.
While vacuuming your carpet is a good thing, it’s important not to be too aggressive with your vacuum cleaner. Be gentle with your carpet and avoid using a beater bar, as the extra impact can tear fibres out of your carpet.
Keep your vacuum cleaner’s power setting as low as possible and use a light touch as you clean and you’ll avoid damaging your carpet while removing dust, dirt and a whole variety of nasty bacteria from your home’s carpets.
If you’re in the market for a new carpet, take a look at the range of carpets and rugs on show at AHF stores around the country.