The Dirt On Your Carpet

by Swedish National Heritage Board

The dirt found in your carpet does more than you think. Dirt not only harbors bacteria but most dirt, sand in particular is extremely abrasive. Your carpet is one of the largest investments you will make in your home and carpet cleaning and maintenance should be a priority especially since carpet’s price is tied to oil and we all know where that has been going! Professional carpet cleaning mixed with solid every day practices can extend the life of your carpet by years.

According to the National Resources Conservation Service: a ton of bacteria is found in each acre of soil. For the most part it is harmless but some bacteria can make us sick if exposed to enough of it over time. Your carpets act as a filter in your house filtering the air as well as trapping anything you bring in from the outside. Carpet cleaning and maintenance can reduce these health issues.

The most damaging aspect about dirt is its abrasivness. Think of small shards of glass embeded in your carpet and what that might do to the carpet fiber. With carpet cleaning, over time, these tiny scratches begin to cause the light to reflect differently off the carpet. This causes the carpet to dull and look worn, especially in highly trafficked areas.


The best way to prevent dirt buildup aside from carpet cleaning has always been to vacuum on a regular basis regardless if the carpet looks like it needs it or not. Quite often we do not see the dirt buildup in the carpet and decide to maybe skip vacuuming that time. Also it is important to invest in a high powered vacuum with proper suction. When vacuuming, always vacuum in both directions across the carpet.

The shoes we wear act like a hammer slamming the dirt across our carpet fibers. Our shoes rub the dirt and sand across the fibers increasing the harm we do to our carpet on a daily basis. If at all possible its best we not wear shoes in the home.

Another tip to reduce not only the dirt in carpet but in the house overall is to have walk-in rugs at each entrance to the home. You will want to place these rugs on the outside and on the inside of exterior doors. Keep in mind that like an air filter, once these rugs become too soiled, they lose their effectiveness.

Once every couple of years you need professional carpet cleaning. The best method of professionaly cleaning carpet to remove dirt is what is known as hot water extraction which is a restorative cleaning. Many years ago it was called steam cleaning but this is somewhat of a misnomer. It is actually super heated water (but not hot enough to steam) being injected into the carpet then immediately vacuumed out. This flushes the dirt and other contaminates from the carpet and removing it from the house.

After a professional carpet cleaning ask your carpet cleaner about adding carpet protector. Carpet protector acts as a shield around your carpet fibers. In addition to helping with spots and spills, this shield helps block the dirt and sand from scratching the fiber. Over time the protection wears off, so re-applying once every year or two is important. Carpet cleaning professionals apply carpet protector immediately after the carpet cleaning.

Maintaining your carpets in the home is not only beneficial from a health and beauty perspective but also helps you retain the value of the home. Replacing carpet is very expensive, hopefully by following a few simple best practices and through professional carpet cleaning you will be able to put that cost off for many years to come. In the long run, proper carpet cleaning pays for itself.

Ash Downing is the author of this article on Carpet Cleaning. Find more information on Professional Carpet Cleaning here

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