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Keeping Carpet Clean

Carpet cleaning professionals tell us that the most effective method of keeping carpeting clean -- and making it last a long time -- is to vacuum it regularly. In fact, they recommend vacuuming three or more times per week, and daily in high-traffic areas.

They also point out that the quality of your vacuum makes a difference. An upright vac does the best job of removing deep-down dirt. But a big canister vac with a beater-bar head is good, too. Whichever you prefer, the motor must be powerful enough to create enough suction to remove the dirt, sand, and debris that is ground into the carpet. If the vac has a beater bar, its brushes should be free of lint, fuzz, and threads. The suction port and hose should be checked regularly for suction-robbing blockages, and the bag should be changed frequently to ease the flow of air through the vac.

Why all this emphasis on vacuuming? Because soil is your carpet's biggest enemy. Carpets wear out because foot traffic grinds embedded dirt into the carpet fiber. And vacuuming is the best way to reduce the dirt that works its way into the carpet.

Aside from regular vacuuming, the best way to keep your carpet clean and reduce wear is to place welcome mats outside every exterior door, and rugs on the inside to catch any leftover grit before it gets further into the house. Finally, it really pays to have everyone remove their shoes when they come into the house.