It's obvious that vacuuming keeps your carpets clean, but this common chore is also the key to ensuring they stay looking like new. Dirt has abrasive qualities, and when it's repeatedly ground into the carpet by everyday foot traffic, it can actually erode the backing over time. Vacuuming once a week (twice a week in busy areas) can remove up to 75 percent of the dirt and debris and prevent your carpet from aging before its time.
Related: 10 Cleaning Habits to Blame for Your Messy Home
Soak Up Spills
Spills are inevitable, but how you clean them makes all the difference. The most important carpet commandments to keep in mind are to work quickly and never rub. Dab cleaning solution onto the trouble spot immediately—the longer you wait, the harder it will be to remove the stain. Then, blot with paper towels or a clean cloth, as this gently puts a small amount of pressure on the liquid, helping to soak it up instead of letting it set in. Remember to blot from the outside in to prevent the spill from spreading.
Related: How To—Get Rid of Every Carpet Stain
Choose the Right Vacuum
It's imperative that you choose the right vacuum for your household needs. Do you have kids or pets? Carpeted stairs? Because no model excels at all types of cleaning, it might be wise to invest in more than one vacuum so you can handle all your cleaning challenges. A cordless handheld vacuum can be convenient for stairs, for example, while an upright is great for large carpeted rooms.
Related: Editors' Picks—Today's Top 7 Vacuum Cleaners
Carpets, particularly Berbers, are bound to snag eventually—especially if you have kids or pets. Rule number one: Never pull a snag. This will inevitably make the problem worse, as it's likely that you'll tear the carpet away from the backing. Instead, grab a pair of scissors and trim the snag at the base to prevent further damage.
Related: 8 Cleaning Mistakes Everyone Makes
Clean with Club Soda
If used correctly, club soda can become an essential (and natural) weapon to combat carpet stains. Whether you're dealing with pet accidents, coffee, tea, or red wine, a healthy pour of club soda over the spill and a few dabs with a clean cloth should return your carpet to its original glory.
Related: Clean Faster with 8 Secrets from the Pros
Monitor High-Traffic Zones
Hallways, carpeted stairs, and rooms that experience a lot of foot traffic need a little extra attention. You may want to consider strategically layering an area rug or runner as another form of prevention, as it's much easier (and cheaper) to replace these temporary coverings when they become soiled from dirt or spills.
Related: Time's Up—9 Things to Repair in Your Home Before It's Too Late
Deep Clean Regularly
No matter how diligent you are with vacuuming and maintenance, your carpet will still need some extra TLC from time to time. It's essential to do a deep cleaning every six months to keep floors looking fresh and grime-free. Whether you rent a carpet cleaner or bring in a professional service, steam cleaning extracts deeply embedded dirt as well as any lingering stains to leave your carpets looking brand-new.
Related: 13 Lazy Cleaning Tricks for a Spotless Home
Have you ever been tempted to buy one of those products you see advertised on TV infomercials? Sure, the spokesperson swears it does everything (and more!) but can it really live up to the hype? Sometimes, yes! Click through now to see some of our favorites.