Question: What steps should I take to maintain carpet in a high-traffic area on a daily basis, and to deal with spills and stains?

The following steps should be taken when dealing with carpet in a high-traffic area:

  • It’s a good idea to keep sand, grit and grass clippings off walkways outsideentries to prevent inward tracking of these abrasive soils.
  • Purchase a properly sized entry mat (the bigger the better, but there must be room for at least two steps to sufficiently wipe soil from feet before encountering the installed carpet). Nylon face, vinyl back for better moisture and oils absorption, combined with the resiliency necessary to collect a quantity of particle soil. The IICRC suggests a rental mat, since that guarantees frequent maintenance. Place entry mats on hard surfaces rather than on carpet where they can trap moisture or cause plasticizer migration.
  • Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum; daily, especially after major events. The sooner you collect soils from the surface, the easier it is to remove them. For most carpet, you should use an upright vacuum with brush agitation, unless your canister vacuum is particularly well designed. The wider the head, the more efficient.
  • Typically, deep cleaning should be accomplished on at least a semi-annual basis, with no more than two entry and high-traffic area “rinse” cleanings between the deep cleaning. This is dependent on traffic and daily maintenance as well. At a minimum, some attention should be given to primary entry areas on a quarterly basis or more often as needed.
  • If spots are treated immediately, most will respond with plain warm water and very little mild detergent