Carpet cleaning is an essential part of maintaining a healthy living environment (see our Carpets & Health article). There are many factors that impact how frequently you need to have your carpets cleaned – it becomes a “how long is a piece of string?” type question.
In that same article, there is a handy little chart to give you an idea of the right frequency for your home. But let’s explore this question a little deeper. First, we’ll review some key properties of the carpet.
Carpets are Porous
It’s a bit like we’re walking around on a sponge, dropping food crumbs, spilling tea and leaving dead skin, hair and a plethora of other things to get trapped into a tangle of our carpet fibres. Unlike a sponge, however, you can’t just wring out your carpets out to get rid of all of the “extras.” Professional hot water extraction cleaning is the most effective deep clean that carpets can get.
Vacuuming alone cannot really clean these materials. Rather, vacuuming is much like dusting. No one exclusively vacuums their hard floors, instead, they vacuum them, and then, perhaps every second time, they mop them as well. Carpets and upholstery cannot be mopped, yet they are much more susceptible to sweat, oil, dirt and allergens since they are very porous materials.
Carpets Act Like Air Filters
In addition to the things that we bring onto our carpets, there’s also plenty that is carried in the air. Carpets collect the particles which naturally fall onto them and hold them so that they don’t continue floating through the air that your family breathes. However, only some of these impurities are removed by vacuuming.
Just think about how quickly the dust accumulates in your home. Within a few days of cleaning, you can run your finger over a shelf and find that it is in need of dusting. Of course, normal vacuuming will remove much of this superficial dust, but over time, the bits of dust, pollen and their friends that are not caught by the vacuum cleaner accumulate. The problem here is that this isn’t a one-way street – this collection of fine particles can get stirred up back into the air. The longer that this continues, the more that the air quality of your home living environment is affected.
Professional steam cleaning provides the deepest possible clean of your carpets and upholstery to prevent them from acting as substrates for the growth of mould or as breeding grounds for dust mites. Carpet manufacturers typically recommend professional steam cleaning at least once every 12 months. Depending on who lives in your home (kids, pets, your weird uncle Larry) you may need to have them cleaned more frequently than this.
Carpets Put Up With A Lot
You know the expression “I wish I could be a fly on the wall”? Well, no one says that they wish that they could be fly, dust mite or another bug on the floor or carpet. Even though you could still listen in on that same salacious conversation, no one envy’s the position of carpet, being underfoot. Carpets are at odds with gravity; anything that is above them is only a second away from being spilt onto them accidentally. Not to mention the constant attraction of all of the fine particles floating in the air that we just discussed. Carpets have dirt dragged onto them and then stamped in through their repeated use.
Take a high-quality woollen jumper and leave it in the hallway to be stepped on several times daily – the toll will show. How long after that jumper had been left there would you refuse to wear it before putting it through the wash? A day? A week? Well, luckily, you don’t have to wear your carpet – but still, they could probably do with a wash, couldn’t they!
At the end of the day, maintaining a clean living environment is about the health of you and your family. As with anything, prevention is better than cure – and generally much cheaper too. It can be easy to lose sight of what is really important when looking after mundane tasks – but keeping a clean home is ultimately a labour of love. You and your family will spend a fairly high percentage of your time in your home, an environment that you not only inhabit but also shape.
So, how often should your carpets be cleaned? We’ll let you decide – but whatever you decide, we’re here to help freshen your carpets up when you are ready to do so. Also, if you have any other questions about the specifics of having your carpets cleaned, just get in touch with us, we’re more than happy to help answer any of your questions.