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Carpet Cleaning Tips (For Dummies)

Keeping your carpets clean is one of the best methods of maintaining their good looks for as long as possible. It's one of the most predominant themes among carpet manufacturers' warranty terms and general maintenance recommendations.

Cleanliness doesn't just mean preventing stains and spots either. It's also about preventing the dust, dirt, sand and all the other "stuff" from making it's way down to the 'roots' of your carpet fibers. Ground-in dirt has a detrimental impact on the fibers themselves, scratching and dulling them which gives the carpet that overall dull and worn look.

So what's the best way to keep your carpet clean? Well, the Carpet And Rug Institute (CRI™) teamed up with author Elizabeth B. Goldsmith to create Carpet Cleaning Tips For Dummies, a small book that provides the "how to's" of keeping your carpet clean.

The CRI is a non-profit trade association representing the carpet and rug manufacturers, their suppliers and service providers in the United States. Beyond the commercial industry, CRI provides information for consumers about carpeting and carpet-related issues such as care and maintenance.

carpet cleaning tips booklet

At 38 pages and only 4" x 6", this Dummies® book is not really what you'd consider a book in the conventional sense. Rather, it's more like a pocket-guide.

The booklet contains six chapters on topics such as why it's important to keep your carpet clean, avoiding and removing stains and using approved cleaning products and cleaning professionals.

"Approved" in this sense means products and services that have received the CRI Seal of Approval. CRI tests carpet cleaning products and equipment and certifies the ones that in their view are the most effective.

Most of the information found in the book involves common sense tips and general carpet cleaning information that you can typically find in many home-care publications, web sites and carpet manufacturer care guidelines. I do think that one of the recommendations to "vacuum daily in high-traffic or pet areas" is a bit over the top. Vacuuming regularly is a key component of maintaining your carpet but doing it every day seems excessive in my opinion. I don't know about you but I neither have the time nor the Popeye forearms I'd need to thrust the vacuum back and forth on a daily basis.

The best information involves the "chapter" (3 pages) on using professional carpet cleaning services. It includes recommendations on not settling for the cheapest service provider or the one with the latest ad. It also recommends interviewing a potential cleaning service to assess whether their techniques and cleaning procedures follow the CRI guidelines.

I should also mention that the last couple of pages discuss removing the top 10 toughest stains. For this reason I can see where it might be advantageous to have this booklet handy in drawer close by for those inevitable accidents.

Carpet Cleaning Tips - The Bottom Line

If your view of carpet care is to wait until you feel the grit between your toes before you think it's time to vacuum, perhaps this booklet will offer some good insight (which is probably why it's called Carpet Cleaning Tips For Dummies). However you can get most if not all of the information contained in this book for free from other sources (namely, you're nearest internet search engine).

The best advice for keeping your carpets clean is still pretty straightforward:

  • Keep the dirt away in the first place
    Use walk-off mats at the door, use indoor-only shoes or remove shoes while you're in the house.
  • Vacuum regularly
    It's one of the easiest and cheapest preventive maintenance steps you can take for your carpet.
  • Get it professionally cleaned periodically
    The professional systems are more effective than the do-it-yourself units but more importantly, your carpet warranty most probably requires it.
  • Take care of spills immediately
    Preventing spills from grabbing a foothold and using the proper technique and cleaners (when applicable) to blot them up will minimize the chances of permanent staining.

You can purchase Carpet Cleaning Tips For Dummies through the CRI for a modest $2.00. It's available along with a number of other carpet-related publications offered at their website(link opens in a new browser window).

Here's More Related Info That Might Be Helpful...

Wool Carpeting - Wool carpeting is natural and "green". Discover what wool carpeting has to offer and whether it's a good fit for your home.

Kids Carpet - Why not dress up a child's room with something other than a bland single-color carpet? Kids carpeting offers your child a built-in play mat or at a minimum, a much more colorful option for their room.

Choosing Between Area Rugs Or Carpet - Check out this article to help determine whether to go with wall-to-wall carpet or an area rug.

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