Look for it, and you’ll see it to some degree in many carpeted homes: visible traffic paths. You’ll see these worn and dingy looking areas where the carpet meets the kitchen floor, going down the hall, around the couch, in front of Grandpa’s favorite recliner; wherever the carpet gets heavy foot traffic. On a long enough timeline, visible traffic paths are inevitable, but don’t abandon ye all hope. Instead:
- Take off your shoes. Going around in socks or house slippers is your best option. Leave your shoes at the front door and the dirt outside.
- Vacuum. Vacuum early, vacuum often. Vacuum every day if you can; it doesn’t take long. Pay special attention to those areas prone to trampling, and be sure to empty the vacuum’s receptacle when you’re finished. Vacuum. It’s not just for scaring the dog anymore.
- Don’t ignore spots when they happen. That spilled milk may become a permanent stain. Do your best to clean spots up using a clean, damp cloth. Remember Mom’s advice, and don’t rub it in, blot it. If this doesn’t work, and the stain is organic, try some hydrogen peroxide on it.
- Redecorate. See what your couch looks like over here or over there. Rearranging your furniture will change the traffic patterns through a room, reducing the risk of forming visible traffic paths. Also, the furniture footprints left by heavy pieces sitting in the same spot for long periods of time can’t be cleaned away, so you don’t want leave your furniture sitting around long enough to leave them.
- Vacuum. (See above.)
- Keep mats outside of the entrances. Just in case Uncle Bob never remembers to take his shoes off when he visits. Some folks will tell you to put down area rugs on top of the carpet inside of your house too, but I strongly advise against this unless your goal is to cover damaged carpet. Many times, I have moved a runner, a desk mat, or a piece of furniture which has been in place for ten years in a customer’s house, and I discover that the gray carpet in the home was originally blue. How do I know? Because the rug, mat, or furniture that was covering the carpet was protecting it from sun bleaching (another natural, unavoidable process), leaving that protected area of carpet to retain its original color. Another problem with area rugs on top of carpet is that rug dyes may transfer to the carpet, and this will be a permanent condition.
- Call Randy’s Carpet Care for a professional cleaning. Carpet cleaning is a nominal fee when stood up against the cost of having your carpet replaced. I recommend you utilize our services at least seven times a year.
- Make it an annual tradition. I’m kidding with that “seven times a year” recommendation, but regular professional carpet cleaning not only keeps your home looking its best, it also removes germs and allergens as well as extending the useful life of your carpet. Once annually is probably fine for single folks. Some couples may need two cleanings a year. Kids will up this number, for sure, and I’m speaking from experience here. I cleaned my home’s carpet four times last year. It’s already due again.
Now that you know how to prevent visible traffic paths, let’s chat for a moment about why they happen. See, most carpet is plastic, made from nylon or something like it, and if you look at the regular household dirt accumulated on your plastic carpeting under a microscope, you’ll discover that it looks like shards of glass. The dirt acts like glass shards too.
Imagine putting an empty water bottle into a pile of broken glass and then parading over it for a few months (imagine it; don’t do it). What happens to the imaginary bottle? It gets all scratched up and dull looking, right? Same with your carpet. This is happening all over your house, but because carpet holds dirt like that bottle holds water, the areas of your carpet that get the most love from your feet get the dirtiest, and all of that dirt is putting your carpet fibers through the grinder, leaving the path looking kind of dingy even when the carpet is clean. It’s a bummer to have to tell folks this before a cleaning, but while our technicians can make visible traffic paths look better, we can’t fix them with a cleaning. This is damaged carpet.
I’m sorry to say that your carpet will become worn over time, and eventually, it will have to be replaced, but if you practice a little mindfulness, you can definitely add some years to it.
Also, vacuum. (See above.)