Carpet care is doubly important during the wet Cape winter.
Wet, muddy shoes and paws can wreak havoc on carpets, and with increased activity indoors during bad weather, carpets tend to suffer more spills and accidents. Build-ups of dirt and moisture can quickly lead to stubborn stains; rotting backing; broken fibres; growth of bacteria, mould and mildew; and bad odours.
Here we provide general tips for keeping your carpets clean and dry in winter, to help ensure they last for years to come.
It’s ideal to start the winter season with thoroughly cleaned carpets. Otherwise dirt and debris embedded in the fibres, such as crumbs, hair and sticky spills, will attract more dirt as time goes on, causing greater damage to the carpet over the course of the winter.
Clean, fresh-smelling carpets (and a clean, bright home overall) also help combat the gloom of early winter.
People naturally spend more time indoors in bad weather, so it’s a good idea to take proactive measures to protect carpeting from spills and damage. For example, protect wall-to-wall carpeting by covering it with a mat; protect loose carpets by rolling them up; and restrict eating, drinking and craft activities to areas away from carpeting (or covered by protective mats).
Use mats and runners
By placing door mats at every entrance to your home, you can reduce the amount of debris and mud that gets tracked in.
Place a durable doormat that can be brushed clean outside each door, and place a more absorbent mat on the inside.
Also use runners in high-traffic areas to protect your carpets. However, avoid covering the carpet with anything that’s not tear- and leak-proof – any dirt and moisture that gets trapped under the covering could do more damage.
Take off your shoes
Protect your carpets by having people take their shoes off at the door. This is a quick and easy way to prevent rain water, mud and dirt from being tracked through your home. Keep a box or rack next to the front door to put shoes in, and clean the soles of your shoes regularly to remove any caked dirt that could chip off and soil your carpet.
Make a plan for the pets
Wet cats and dogs aren’t always easy to get hold of and dry when they’re in a hurry to get out of the cold. To protect your carpets from wet, muddy paw prints, consider cordoning off an area around the door so that your pets can’t run into the house before you’ve wiped their paws.
Clean up outside
Often it’s dirt and debris that collects on front steps or porches that gets tracked inside, on shoes and paws. Especially in rainy weather, it’s best to keep these areas neatly swept. Also aim to keep your garden tidy – fallen leaves, grass clippings and other dirt left lying around can easily get blown into or in front of doorways.
Clean more often
In winter, it’s especially important to vacuum regularly and spot clean. This can prevent stains from setting and pollutants from becoming ingrained in carpet fibres.
Call the experts
Last but not least, consider having experts deep-clean your loose carpets and rugs, to remove stains, odours and deeply tramped in dirt that simple vacuuming can’t eliminate.