Proper Carpet Care Can Add Several Years To Its Life 

And Extend That Wonderful “Like-New” Look.

photo of many different colors of carpet

The Entire Article Provides Comprehensive Information on Carpet, Pad / Cushion & Carpet Care

Part 4 A  

This is Part 4-A (of a 4-Part Article) On Proper Carpet Care:

This is the first half of the section dedicated to providing the best care for carpet.   Vacuuming is the most important task you can perform to maximize carpet life and ensure it always looks its best.  We detail the common errors made when vacuuming, and how to maximize the its benefits.   The second most important care step for carpet is Hot Water Extraction wet-cleaning.  We explain how this wet-cleaning method “resets” the carpet-pile, making it stand straight upward again.

Proper Carpet Care

You have several thousands of dollars invested in your carpeting.  Two things are certain, your carpet will never look & smell better than immediately after it’s installed.  Follow this guide, and you can extend that “Like-New” look for many years to come.  As with everything, how well your carpet stands the test of time is directly related to how well it’s cared for.  

Crushed carpet-pile, darken traffic-patterns, & stains are the most obvious signs that proper carpet care is lacking.  Crushed carpet-pile causes you to walk on the sides of carpet-tufts, creating much faster wear on the carpet.  Carpet can become permanently discolored by stains (pet urine is the #1 source of permanent stains).

The good news is, with proper carpet care, You Can 1. Minimize crushed carpet-pile &  2. Remove or Minimize the appearance of stains.

stained carpet before and after cleaning

carpet before and after cleaning

Stains & Crushed / Matted Carpet-Pile Are Clear Signs Of Neglected Carpet.

Stains & Matting Damage & Create Faster Carpet Wear If Not Corrected.

What Is “Heat-Setting” Of Carpet?

Following the twisting the carpet-tufts’ fiber, they are “Heat-Set” to lock in the fiber’s “memory”.  Heat-setting is a particularly important for cut-pile carpet, as it keeps the tufts from unraveling.  Heat-setting is part of the manufacturing process.  It’s simply applying heat within a dry or steam environment.

Carpet Care Tip: How To Get Heat-Setting To Work For You

Because carpet is heat-set to lock in the carpet-fiber’s memory, Hot Water Extraction cleaning “reminds” it.  This wet-cleaning method is the second most important recurring carpet-maintenance task (vacuuming is #1)

Heat “reminds” the carpet’s memory, causing the carpet-tufts to stand up straight again — much more than with vacuuming alone.  Professional carpet-cleaners use water as hot as 200 (f) degrees, which can make for mighty perky carpet-pile.

professional hot water extraction carpet cleaning show in photo

Hot Water Extraction Carpet Cleaning


 For Best Results: Before the Carpet Care Professionals Arrive, Do These Two Things:

1. Set the vacuum-cleaner’s height adjustment as low as it can be — and still be able to push it).

2. Vacuum your carpet east to west AND north to south.

graphic showing results from vacuuming versus steam cleaning

This removes most of the surface-dirt, pet hair & dander.  It also lifts the carpet pile upward.  With the carpet pile lifted, the carpet care professional’s hot water reaches deeper into the carpet-pile.   Before you pay a notable sum of money for professional wet-cleaning, vacuum first and reap the rewards of better wet-cleaning results.

Coit Carpet Cleaning’s Website states: “The most important step of a professional carpet cleaning occurs before the hot water extraction.  It’s vacuuming before the hot water cleaning.  It is absolutely necessary to thoroughly vacuum the carpet, to ensure removal of as much dirt (and pet hair) as possible before wet-cleaning.

Note: Carpet cleaners do not vacuum first, they provide only wet-cleaning.

Clean Carpet Using Only Hot-Water Extraction  

This carpet care cleaning-method is best because:

  • The Hot Water Extraction cleaning method is typically required to keep the carpet’s warranty valid.
  • The tufts are pulled upward by section while very hot water floods them.
  • Then the water is (nearly all) immediately removed.
  • The heat resets the yarn’s “memory” – making the tufts stand upright again.
  • Hot water is best at removing dirt, stains, and carpet-cleaning solutions.

Never apply Foam-cleaner to carpet.  Foam leaves a lot of cleaning-solution remaining, and that makes carpet get dirty faster.  Plus, there is no heat to reset the carpet tufts upright.  If you file a warranty claim on your carpet, and foam-cleaner residue is found upon inspection, the warranty is likely void.

very dirty carpet before and after cleaning

This carpet was cleaned with Hot-Water Extraction Cleaning.  The Heat-Set Carpet-Tufts were “reminded” with heat — and stand upward again.

TIP: Never let your carpet get this dirty.  Dirt is abrasive to the carpet fiber.  This causes the carpet to wear faster.

These Carpet Care Steps Ensure Carpet Looks Its Best + Lasts Longer

  • Reduce The Frequency Of All Other Carpet Care Efforts With This One Thing: Stop Dirt At The Door.  Upon entering your home — remove your shoes.  Tests show it takes up to 17 steps before your carpet has cleaned the soles of your shoes.  Eventually, dirt tracked onto your carpet makes its its way to the carpet-backing, where it creates continuous abrasion of the carpet-fiber.  Ask yourself this: Would I walk on my clothes?  Carpet is made of the same fibers as clothes (nearly all U.S. carpet is made of polyester or nylon).
  • Vacuum Frequently & Thoroughly.   Frequent vacuuming removes most of the dust, dirt & pet dander before it gets deeply within the carpet-fiber. Depending on your household, vacuuming may be needed more than once per week.  For high-traffic areas, you may need up to 4 passes with the vacuum.   In low-traffic areas, up to 3 passes may be required.  You know you have made enough passes when the carpet-pile is standing upward again.

TIP:  The lower the vacuum-cleaner’s height-adjustment is set, the few passes over the carpet will be required.

carpet during vacuuming

Shown: Carpet-Pile Lifted Upward During Vacuuming

Frequent Vacuuming:

  • Keeps carpet-pile standing up
  • Makes the carpet look better.
  • Makes the carpet last longer.
  • Removes most of the pet hair & dander before it makes it way through the carpet and into the pad.  Once it’s in the pad, there is no way to remove it.
  • Removes most of the dust, dirt, & dust-mites (and their waste) before it makes its way through the carpet & into the pad.

Did You Know:

  • Approximately 80% of allergy sufferers are allergic to the waste & decomposed bodies of dust mites.
  • During its 80-day lifespan, a dust mite produces around 1,000 fecal-pellets (their waste).
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dust contains up to 1,000 dust mites AND up to 250,000 dust mite fecal-pellets.
  • Dust mites grow best at 75-80% relative humidity.  They cannot survive when the humidity is below 50%.


dust mites (magnified image) living within carpet fibers

Dust Mites (Magnified) Living Within Carpet Fiber

dust found under carpet was removed

Dust Remaining After Carpet Was Removed

dust within and under carpet pad

Dust Within & Under A Carpet’s Pad


If You Have Long Hair Shedding Pets

If you have long hair shedding pets & long pile carpet (such as frieze or highly upgraded plush) — a Rubber Bristles Carpet-Rake will help remove hair & lift carpet-pile.

carpet rake for removing pet hair from carpet

To learn more about this rake, or to purchase, click here: Rubber Bristle Carpet Rake


The Six Most Common Carpet Vacuuming Problems

1. Neglecting Vacuum-Cleaner Maintenance

  • If your vacuum cleaner has a bag, replace it once it’s 2/3 full.  This ensures maximum suction-power and motor life.
  • Neglecting bag replacement causes continued decrease in suction.  Eventually, the motor will burn out because no air can pass through.
  • In Bagless Machines, it’s equally important to 1. Clean reusable filters after each use  And  2. Replace non-reusable filters as needed.
  • Your Owner’s Manual (nearly all are also available on-line) will have instructions on how to access & clean filters.
  • Click here to see On-Line Owner’s Manual For Bissell Model 12 / Powerforce (shown below): Bissell Model 12 / Powerforce On-Line Owner’s Manual
  • The manual will also advise which filters must be replaced.  Generally, they must be replaced when light can no longer pass through them.
  • Neglecting bagless vacuum-cleaner filters causes continuing decrease of suction.  Eventually, the motor will burn out because no air can pass through.

photo showing disassembled vacuum cleaner and reusable filters

Cleaner Disassembledbissell 12 vacuum cleaner

Cleaner Assembled

very dirty bagless vacuum cleaner filters

Neglecting reusable foam filters & not replacing (non-reusable) filters renders a Bagless Vacuum-Cleaner useless over time.


media and foam pre filter for bissell 12 vacuum cleaner  output air filter for bissell 12 vacuum cleaner

EXAMPLE: The (blue) Bisell Model 12 / PowerForce  BagLess Vacuum-Cleaner (shown above) Has 3 Filters:

  • 1. Paper-Media Filter that goes under the dirt-cup.                        This is a replaceable filter.  Replace once no light can pass through it (or sooner).
  • 2. Foam Pre-Filter.  It goes around the paper media-filter (#1).  This is a reusable filter — clean after each use.
  • 3. Output-Air Filter.  This filters the air as it exits the cleaner.     This is a replaceable filter

2. Not Alternating Vacuuming Direction 

Alternate the direction you vacuum in.  Vacuum north to south one week, then east to west the next week.  If carpet is quite dirty, vacuum in both directions within a single vacuuming.   If you always vacuum in the same direction, you leave more dirt & dust remaining.  Some dirt can reside under carpet tufts that are always cleaned in the same direction.

3. Vacuuming Too Fast

Vacuuming slowly allows for fewer passes, and takes the same amount of time & effort as several passes done quickly.  Moving slowly gives the machine the time it needs to do its job.  This will remove more dirt and raise the carpet-pile better.

This YouTube Video (produced by Sears Kenmore) shows the proper speed to vacuum carpet: YouTube: Sears Kenmore Showing Proper Vacuuming Speed

 4. Not Cleaning Around The Edges

carpet with dirt accumulation at edges of room

Vacuum-cleaners don’t clean as well at their edges as they do at their center.  As a result, your carpet can have build up of dirt & dust along the edges rooms & stairs.  Use the Crevice-Tool to thoroughly clean along all edges.

using vacuum cleaner's crevice tool along edges


5. Setting The Vacuum-Cleaner Too High

chaning a vacuum cleaners height adjustment

The higher you set the machine, the easier it is to push — and the less cleaning it can do.   If there is an air-gap between the carpet and the cleaner, you are mostly just going through the motions.  Set the machine at the lowest setting at which you can push without exhausting yourself.

6. Waiting Until Carpet Is Visibly Dirty

Dust & dirt are always finding their way into your carpet.  The longer they are allowed to remain, the more time dust, dirt, pet hair & dander have to make their way deeply into the carpet-pile, through the backing, and into the pad below.  Once it’s in the pad, you can never remove it.

dust within and under carpet pad

Dust Within & Under The Carpet’s Pad


footer-logoThis is Carpet Care Part 4-A:

It this section, you can learn the details about proper carpet care.  We went into great detail regarding correct vacuuming, as it’s the most important thing you can do to care for your carpet.  The second most important task is Hot Water Extraction Cleaning.  In Part 4-B, we give full details about Hot Water Extraction Cleaning.  We also give performance-ratings for both Vacuum Cleaners & Home-Use Hot Water Extraction Carpet Cleaners.

Although Al’s is a Plumbing, Heating & A/C Company, this is one of many Home Improvement Articles found at this website.  In addition to Plumbing & HVAC articles, others include: Home Decor & Decorating, Home Staging (when selling), Replacement Windows, Renovations, Opening Up Homes into an “open floorplan” layout, Roof Shingles, Energy-Saving Upgrades & Updates, and general-interest home related articles.

Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C provides Plumbing & HVAC Repairs, Replacements, & Maintenance.  We service all brands of HVAC Systems, and sell new & installed HVAC from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (owned by American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

We also repair and replace every plumbing component in your home.  Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you may have.  We set appointments arranged for your convenience and also have 24/7 Emergency Service.