ITHACA/ELMIRA carpet cleaners

Carpet Tips


Carpet Tips for Purchasing Carpet

Carpet tips should naturally start out with the numerous variables to consider when purchasing a carpet for your home. Consider the area in which the carpet is going to be installed. Is there heavy traffic? Will food be consumed? Is the area susceptible to water damage? All these questions will impact your decision.

The use of the following guidelines should help you make an informed decision on your carpet purchase:

Fiber Type

Knowing the characteristics of a fiber will influence your decision process when it comes time to purchase a carpet. Fiber types all have both positive and negative characteristics.

Below is a list of the five major types of fibers and their attributes, currently being produced for wall-to-wall installation:

Acrylic

Resiliency-Modest

Cleanability-Good

Affinity to Oil-Medium

Stain Repellency-Good

Sun Fading-No

Price-Inexpensive


Nylon

Resiliency-Excellent

Cleanability-Good/Excellent

Affilinity to Oil-Medium

Stain Repellency-Good

Sun Fading-Yes

Price-Moderate


Olefin

Resiliency-Poor

Cleanability-Good/Excellent

Affinity to Oil-High

Stain Repellency-Excellent

Sun Fading-No

Price-Inexpensive


Polyester

Resiliency-Modest

Cleanability-Good/Excellent

Affilinity to Oil-High

Stain Repellency-Excellent

Sun Fading-Moderate

Price-Moderate


Wool

Resiliency-Excellent

Cleanability-Good/Excellent

Affinity to Oil-Low

Stain Repellency-Good

Sun Fading-Yes

Price-Expensive

Face Weight

This is defined as the mass in ounces of fiber on a square foot of carpet. The higher the number, the more dense the construction of the carpet and this may increase cost significantly.

Higher face weights, however, are not necessarily the most important aspect of quality carpet. An average face weight carpet, installed with a quality cushion (pad) will wear as well as an above-average face weight carpet with a low quality pad.

Carpet Pad

One of the most important carpet tips to remember is that quality padding is absolutely necessary to prolong the life of carpet. Once the pad fails, the carpet is forced to act as the pad, causing the carpet to wear prematurely.

Warranty

As with any purchase, always have the warranty details outlined. Knowing warranty information will ensure any unforeseen problems are covered.

Installation

At the very top of the list of our carpet tips for purchasing new carpet is to understand that proper installation is one of the most important parts of purchasing carpet. Be sure to specify the carpet installer POWER STRETCH the carpet. This will ensure the proper tension is applied to keep the carpet from loosening and wrinkling over time.


Carpet Tips about Types of
Carpet Installation

Tackless

Most residential and some commercial carpet is installed over a cushion (or pad), and is fastened to the floor by stretching the carpet onto pins protruding from wood strips around the perimeter of the installation area. The wooden strip with projecting tacks or pins is known as "tackless strip', so named because it contrasts with the now obsolete installation method when carpet was tacked directly to the floor.

Power Stretching vs. Knee Kicking

As mentioned above, understanding that a properly installed carpet must be fully stretched according to the manufacturer's specifications is one of the most important carpet tips to keep in your arsenal. All the 'give' in new carpet must be removed during installation so no buckling, rippling or 'growth' occurs during use.

Unfortunately, many carpet installers often use a 'knee kicker' device rather than a proper power stretcher. The knee kicker is seldom, if ever, capable of adequately stretching carpet to correct specifications. With use, the carpet shifts, especially in high traffic areas, and appears lumpy with buckles, bumps and waves (or worse) and often requires re-installation.

Seaming

A carpet seam is no better than the quality of the seaming tape used and the care taken by the installer who joins the carpet sections. A low quality installation usually involves the use of a poor grade adhesive seaming tape with the least amount of glue. The result is a weak seam, prone to break open when subjected to normal use or to the ordinary mechanical action of carpet cleaning.

Some woven carpets, such as Axminster or Wilton, call for specialized seaming methods. Many are made with natural fiber backings, such as jute or cotton, and even minimal shrinkage during wet cleaning may be enough to break open seams. These special woven carpets, and certain custom-made carpets, require either hand-sewn seams or use of only top-grade seaming tape to properly join carpet sections. A split seam is the likely result of improper or insufficient seaming during installation. It is usually not the fault of the carpet cleaner.

Glue-Down and Double Glue-Down Installation

Many commercial carpets may be glued down, using a contact-type adhesive, which is a better method for carpet in high-use areas or under moving furniture.

Proper trowel-notch size and knowing the time it takes for the adhesive to develop, as well as proper floor preparation and adhesive selection are all required for a successful installation.

Another method of contract carpet installation is 'double glue down'. In this process the cushion (pad) is glued to the floor, then the carpet is glued to the cushion with a quick-release glue. With this type of installation, the carpet can be removed for replacement without having to remove the pad that is glued to the floor.

Once carpet is installed, keep all areas well ventilated. Open windows, open the air conditioner's fresh air vent, keep inside doors ajar and move as much fresh air as possible through the newly carpeted area. In a short time the new carpet will be 'right at home', bringing great pleasure to all.


Carpet Tips for Vacuuming
Efficiently & Effectively

The Enemy

Soil is the enemy of your carpet and rugs, upholstery, and draperies. One of the most important of carpet tips in regard to proper maintenance is to vacuum often and to vacuum correctly.

Ground-in dust, dirt, sand or grit are the enemy and it is your vacuum's job to remove them. But did you know an excessively soiled carpet can hold up to one pound of dirt in each square yard? This can occur especially at entrance ways and in heavily trafficked areas that are seldom vacuumed properly and not cleaned frequently enough.

Vacuum Heavy Traffic Areas More Frequently

Few people really know how to vacuum efficiently with minimum effort. Most of the damaging soils and oily or gritty particles collect wherever there is most usage or foot traffic. These are the areas which require most of the vacuuming. As far as vacuuming goes, one of the best carpet tips is the following: It is far better to vacuum ONLY the heavy traffic areas much more frequently or repeatedly than it is to cover everything or everywhere with a once-over-lightly vacuuming.

Residential carpet and rugs should be vacuumed according to the amount of traffic and abuse they receive. Vacuuming should be done at least once every 2 weeks, preferably once each week and even twice per week if heavily trafficked or soiled.

Vacuum Against the Nap

And here is another of the top carpet tips: The best way to remove ground-in soil is to vacuum against the nap of the carpet. Another method is to use a Carpet Grooming Rake (we sell them) to lift the carpet pile. This will remove soil and helps to improve the carpet's appearance.

A light vacuuming could be defined as covering the same carpet or upholstery areas with three or four overlapping strokes. A more thorough vacuuming could be 6 or even 8 strokes over the same, heavily soiled areas.

Contract or commercial carpet needs to be vacuumed thoroughly at least 3 to 5 times per week. In high traffic areas such as traffic lanes and entrance ways, commercial carpet should be vacuumed nightly.

How to Vacuum Rugs with Fringe

Please note: a carpet tips essential: When vacuuming oriental rugs and other area rugs with fringe, vacuum from side to side (opposite the fringes). This will save the fringes from being pulled up into the vacuum which can damage the fringes and even the vacuum. We have Fringe Rakes for sale in our plant which can be used to remove soil from the fringes and also straighten them.

Maintain Your Vacuuming Equipment

Carpet tips about vacuuming would not be complete without the understanding that well-maintained vacuuming equipment helps both in overall soil removal and better long-term appearance. Do not allow the dirt collection bags to become more than 1/2 full. This greatly reduces suction power and vacuuming efficiency in most machines. If your vacuum has a cloth bag, make sure to turn the bag inside out at least every third emptying and sweep it off. This allows for better breathing of the bag and greater soil pick up.

Types of Vacuums

Canister or backpack vacuums are versatile and convenient, but they may not have a beater bar, thus requiring more effort (passes or strokes) than upright vacuums to achieve similar soil removal. Canister vacuums used on carpet should preferably have a separate motor driven beater bar.

We recommend the use of an upright vacuum with beater bar for carpet, and canister type vacuums for upholstery, draperies, blinds, light dusting, etc. Commercial pile lifters and heavy duty dual motor vacuums are the best machines for portability combined with maximum power and effectiveness in vacuuming carpet. Rugs brought to our plant are pile lifted to remove as much of the particulate soil as possible before cleaning. For rugs with excessive particulate matter, we use a special device for dusting.

Some vacuums require they be adjusted to match the pile heights of the carpet. Higher pile and loosely textured carpet may show shading marks where the vacuum last passed over. For the most even surface appearance after vacuuming, keep the final vacuuming strokes all in the same direction. You may also purchase a Grooming Rake from us for that purpose.

Don't Forget to Vacuum Upholstery and Draperies

Don't forget this very important one of our carpet tips: Good vacuuming is equally important for upholstery and draperies. There are special accessories and hand tools to vacuum these fabrics. Some machines come with suction lowering adjustments to keep the fabric from binding or being drawn up into the nozzle during vacuuming. Do not let the dust and soil build up. In higher soiling conditions or where there is heavy usage, vacuum every few weeks or more if needed.

Vacuum Often, Vacuum Properly, Vacuum Well

You usually cannot vacuum too much and it is more likely your furnishings are suffering from insufficient vacuuming. It's the ground-in soil that dulls, discolors, and damages your valuable textile furnishings, never the vacuuming. The loose fibers that are vacuumed out of new carpet are normal, and no reason for concern. Remember to vacuum often, vacuum properly and well. It's worth the effort.


Carpet Tips for
Maintaining Your Vacuum

Throughout this website, we keep repeating the same theme for the proper care of your carpet, rugs, and upholstery--regular vacuuming! Your vacuum is your best weapon against untimely replacement of your carpet, rug, and upholstery fibers.

So here are some carpet tips for maintaining your vacuum: How and when you use your vacuum and keeping it in good working condition are as important as the maintenance required to keep your vehicle performing at an optimum level.

Listed and described below are the parts that need to be serviced regularly to keep your vacuum operating at maximum performance:

Vacuum Bags/Filters

A vacuum bag is considered full if more than 25% of the bottom is filled with large particulate matter. If a bag is allowed to become overfull and not changed, the vacuum motor is deprived of airflow, resulting in restricted suction and soil removal.

There is yet another problem that occurs when the bag is full. While operating a vacuum, especially one without a hepa filter, small particulate matter is redistributed into the air and settles onto furniture and carpet. Changing the bag frequently alleviates these problems and will allow your vacuum to perform effectively. This in turn keeps your carpet, rug, and upholstery investments in better shape, while improving the air quality in your environment.

Belts

A vacuum belt serves one purpose and that is to propel the brush roll. Over time, these rubber belts heat up and expand, which causes them to enlarge and slip. Slipping of the belt will not allow your brush roll to rotate at its designed speed, not allowing your vacuum to work at an optimum level.

Brush Roll

The brush roll contributes to the ability of your vacuum to pick up debris from the carpet. It helps part the fiber to get the dirt that has settled in between carpet fibers.

The nylon bristles on the brush roll should be periodically checked for wear. Once worn down, your vacuum will not be able to pick up soil from in between the carpet fibers and this will lead to premature replacement or soil abrasion in high traffic areas.

So - carpet tips to remember for proper vacuum maintenance...

  • Change your bag frequently.
  • Check and change the belt when it has become enlarged and has begun to slip.
  • Periodically check your brush roll for wear and replace if necessary.

These simple carpet tips will provide you with the ability to proactively maintain the life and appearance of your carpet, rug, and upholstery fibers and prolong the life of your vacuum cleaner as well.


Carpet Tips about
Common Carpet Problems
You should Know About

Backing Separation Carpet Tips

If the underside of your carpet has begun to separate from the top, you are experiencing 'backing separation.' This is a common occurrence with fairly new as well as older carpets and especially those exposed to heavy wear or chemical action.

Your carpet is actually like a triple-decker sandwich. The topmost layer is the face yarn, which is held firmly in place because it is tufted or sewn into the middle layer or 'primary' backing. The third layer of fabric which rests against the floor is called the 'secondary' backing. The two backings are 'glued' together by a thin layer of latex, a type of rubber cement.

Like most other rubber articles, latex will deteriorate with age. It becomes brittle and crumbly and loses the ability to hold the two backing layers firmly together. Heavy traffic, heat, as well as spills of various sorts, can also cause the latex to become brittle and eventually will weaken it.

There are really no carpet tips to help with this problem. Should this be the case with your carpet, we would recommend replacing the carpet as the most cost-effective method.

This condition can occur with area rugs also, especially tufted ones. Please click here for more information.

Corn Rowing Carpet Tips

Corn rowing is a one of the common carpet problems that may appear on carpets before or after cleaning. It looks like distinct rows of tufts have fallen over and the tips have become embedded in the carpet pile. It usually forms in a regular pattern, with every fourth or fifth row bending over, as might happen in a row of corn. The condition may develop in traffic lanes and under doors that scrape the carpet as they are opened and closed. It generally occurs perpendicular to the traffic direction.

Corn rowing appears most commonly on carpets made from fine, soft yarns with a fairly high, cut pile. In most cases, the overall density is not adequate enough to support the yarns and keep them upright. If there is too much space between the row, the tufts may be bent over when they are walked on. Soft, fine yarns do not spring back as readily as other carpet yarns made from heavier and denser fibers.

Although cleaning the carpet may bring the problem to light, it is not the cause of the distorted pile surface. Corn rowing is simply an inherent characteristic of certain carpet constructions. Vacuuming and raking the carpet perpendicular to the traffic patterns may help in some cases. In extreme situations, we suggest you contact the manufacturer.

Pilling Carpet Tips

Sometimes the fiber in a carpet is tightly twisted or entangled in the tuft. In some cases only one end of the fiber is worked out. When this situation occurs the fibers entangle and form a fuzzy ball, referred to as a 'pill'.

Pilling is not a problem if the pills break off or are pulled out by the vacuum as they form. A strong fiber such as nylon will resist this breaking. This results in small spider-like pills over the entire surface of the carpet, perhaps more concentrated in the areas of greatest traffic.

These pills can generally be removed by lifting the main ball portion with the thumb and forefinger and, with scissors, cutting the fiber which holds the 'ball' onto the carpet. Take care not to pull any excess fiber from the carpet or damage the pile when cutting.

Ripples & Buckling Carpet Tips

Carpeting, like most other textiles, is made under tension. Tension is necessary so the loom will function properly, producing a carpet uniform from one portion to the next.

Yet carpeting differs from most textiles in that the backing may be composed of several layers, which are not generally preshrunk. When backing yarns absorb moisture, the fibers swell, resulting in the relaxation of the yarns previously held under tension. Moisture, which produces swelling, may result from humidity, spills or cleaning.

If two adjacent areas of a carpet or rug are not manufactured under the same amount of tension, unevenness or rippling can develop. This will also occur if the tension of the second carpet backing is not uniform with the primary backing.

Each case of rippling is different. The ripples may extend across the entire width of the carpet, from the edge to the middle, in the middle only, along the edges, or in one small section.

Ripples can also be caused by dragging heavy furniture across the carpet or by the sliding and pulling of carpet in traffic areas caused by walking.

Improper carpet installation may also cause ripples. If installation over padding is not done by power stretching, the carpet will still have some capacity to stretch. It will likely stretch in heavy traffic areas, and this may result in buckling, which is a form of rippling. In this case, the carpet must be re-stretched and reinstalled.

When rippling or buckling occurs on wall-to-wall carpet, contact the carpet retailer or installer immediately. Some installers warranty their work against stretching or buckling for a specified period of time following installation and can re-stretch the carpet to fit properly.

Shading (Pile Reversal) Carpet Tips

A carpet may seem to change color in certain areas. When you look at the carpet from one angle, these areas will appear to be lighter than the rest of the carpet. Viewed from the other side, these areas appear darker. This condition is called shading and is also known as pile reversal.

Carpet pile has a natural slope in one direction. As long as the tufts slant in the same direction, the carpet has uniform color throughout. However, some of the tufts may slant against this normal pile lay, causing a variation in the way light is reflected from the napped surface.

Changes in the lay of pile usually develop gradually in traffic areas or in front of frequently used articles of furniture. However, shading may also occur in areas of less traffic, such as under furniture. It can even be present in brand new carpet.

Shading occurs most frequently on dense, deep, velvety cut-pile carpets. Many Chinese and dense-pile Indian rugs will show some shading or pile distortion after use or the first cleaning. Although it can affect multicolored or printed-design carpet, the problem is most obvious on solid colored carpets.

In some cases, shading becomes more apparent after the carpet is cleaned, which may lead you to believe the shaded appearance developed during the cleaning process. But this phenomenon CANNOT OCCUR overnight, it must develop gradually over time. The shading was probably not visible before cleaning because of lighting, the placement of furniture or uniform soiling over the entire surface.

Little can be done to prevent or correct shading. It is an inherent characteristic of certain types of carpet. It can be slowed by vacuuming or brushing the pile in one direction during daily or weekly maintenance, for ex, with a Perky Groom, a handy tools available for sale in our plant.

Shedding Carpet Tips

Shedding is the fluffing or fuzzing of short, loose fibers which remain in a new carpet after manufacture. Shedding is a normal process which does not damage the carpet, nor does it indicate any defective condition.

New carpet and rugs tend to shed loose fibers for several months. If during this time the carpet is not vacuumed thoroughly and regularly, the fluffing may continue for as long as a year, sometimes longer.

The fibers coming out are those which are not anchored into the back of the carpet. They are short fibers which are not tightly held in the tufts or fibers. These short fibers have fallen into the pile during the shearing operation. Even though the volume of fiber lost may appear to be great, the actual amount is small when the total amount of fiber is considered. This loss will not appreciably change the wear life.

Static Carpet Tips

Do you 'snap, crackle, and pop' when you walk across your carpet? Do you feel a slight shock when you touch a metal object like a door knob? This is static, generated by the friction from your shoe soles against the fibers in the carpet. In the spring or summer months, there is usually enough humidity or moisture in the air to carry off the static charge as it forms. When the weather turns dry and the humidity is low, static electrification due to walking across carpet is much more likely to occur and to cause an annoying or unpleasant shock.

The tendency to generate an unpleasant static charge at lower humidity varies from fiber to fiber and carpet to carpet. It's possible to build up on your body surface an electrostatic potential of 2,000 to 5,000 or even 10,000 volts or more. By touching a metal object and conductor such as a door knob, the static charge is transferred from you to it in the form of a noticeable or unpleasant shock (although at extremely low current so no danger exists.)

Untreated nylon and wool carpets are more prone to noticeable static problems, but polyester and olefin carpeting may also be affected. This is especially true in the drier winter months with their low humidity.

To avoid this static problem, some carpets have conductive filaments or antistatic agents built into the carpet pile fibers. Other specialty carpets add anti-static backing fabrics and/or conductive latex adhesive to the carpet to further reduce or eliminate static buildup. But certain carpeting may not have these features and is thus prone to static buildup.

If your carpet 'bites back' in dry weather, it may still be possible to obtain some relief by increasing the humidity in the affected area. Adding a room humidifier or a central heating humidification system can accomplish the goal of raising the humidity to 30%, 35% or even 40%. As the humidity goes up, both the static charge and resultant shocks are lessened.

The use by the consumer of an over-the-counter anti-static spray treatment on the carpet fibers may slightly increase soiling. Never over-use or over-apply the product. These topical anti-static spray treatments are not permanent and will become less effective after a period of time.

Let us know you have a static electricity problem when you call for an appointment for carpet cleaning. We can apply an anti-static treatment. Although this treatment is not guaranteed to be permanent, it is usually more effective and lasts longer than over-the-counter anti-static sprays because it is applied with professional skill and special equipment and techniques.

Sun Fading Carpet Tips

Almost every interior textile (carpet, rugs, upholstery, draperies, and wall coverings) will lighten in color or fade over a period of time. The extent of damage depends on the item's location, exposure to light and elements, color intensity and type of dyes, as well as the dyeing method used.

An interior textile that has been solution-dyed (or producer-colored) is least susceptible to sunlight fading. The pigments are added to the polymer before the fibers are formed, sealing in the color. Most olefins (polypropylene and polyethylene), many acrylics, and some polyester and nylon fibers used in carpets are dyed with this method.

Lighter shades will usually fade more quickly than darker shades because they contain less dye. Most dyes are composed of two or more color components. If one color is affected more than the other, the fading may appear as a color change rather than a lightening of the color. For example, many greenish hues are made from yellow and blue dyes. If the yellow dye is affected and the blue is not, the green textile may seem to be turning blue. To confirm this process for yourself, next time you visit a museum, examine antique tapestries with trees and grass. These green colors now appear very blue because the yellow dye has faded.

In other instances, colors may fade uniformly, appearing as a lighter shade of the original color. In severe cases, the color may be completely removed, appearing to be 'bleached' white. The fiber itself may also deteriorate. This is especially problematic with silk textiles.

You may be able to prevent interior textiles from fading in sunny locations by keeping the windows covered with draperies (which may fade, too) or by treating the windows with a protective coating that filters out the ultra-violet (UV) rays of sunlight. If you live in an area where sunlight fading is a problem, shop carefully for all interior textiles.


Textile Insects Carpet Tips

It is important to remember that insect pests such as carpet beetles and clothes moths can digest protein fibers such as wool, silk and specialty hair fibers, but they can also be found on synthetic fibers if they contain protein substances. This means carpets, rugs, draperies, and upholstery made from nylon, acrylic, polyester, acetate and other synthetics can harbor these insects if they contain food or beverage stains, blood, urine, perspiration or other sources of nutritional protein.

Firebrats and silverfish are also textile pests that attack carbohydrates. They eat the paste on wallpaper and book bindings as well as starched clothing.

Termites digest cellulosic materials including wood and carpet backings in addition to yarns made of jute and cotton.

Fleas can lay their eggs in the carpet pile and backing. A thorough, professional carpet cleaning will kill all the adults but cannot kill all the eggs. For this reason, whenever there is a flea infestation in the home or business environment, we recommend calling a professional pest remover before getting your carpets cleaned. The first visit will remove the adults and a residual treatment will kill the fleas hatching from the eggs. This usually requires at least a 2 week waiting period.

For information on removal of dust mite infestations and pet allergens, please see Anti-Allergen Green Cleaning for Dust Mite Allergies and  Anti-Allergen Green Cleaning for Pet Allergies on this website.


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ABC Oriental Rug & Carpet Cleaning Co.
130 Cecil Malone Drive Ithaca, NY 14850

607-272-1566

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