First Aid for Carpets

Carpets in everyday use may become marked or stained as a result of a mishap. Prompt action could limit or reduce any damage, but wrong treatment may only make the problem worse. The list below provides some general information on methods of stain removal for common household emergencies. If you have any doubts, or where damage is severe, it is best to seek professional advice from a reputable carpet cleaning company.

For most spills, use a clean absorbent cloth or kitchen towel to soak up as much of the liquid as possible. Prompt action may prevent the spilled substance from penetrating the pile of the carpet. If this is the case, then a final wiping with a damp cloth, leaving the pile sloping correctly, may be sufficient. Never rub too vigorously, or you could damage the texture of the yarn. Always work from the outside of the stain towards the centre, this will help to limit the affected area.

Cake and cream spilled on carpet

Care & Maintenance

To retain your carpet's appearance and prolong its life, we suggest you follow these basic suggestions:

1. Vacuum thoroughly on a daily basis to remove dirt and grit.
2. Take prompt action to clean any area affected by spillage before it dries in. We have produced a stain treatment chart to help you.
3. Seek professional cleaning advice in the event of heavy soiling.

Vacuuming

Without doubt, the most important aspect of carpet care is vacuuming. This should start from the moment the carpet is fitted. We recommend daily vacuuming with a well serviced upright cleaner, incorporating a beater bar/brush head. Daily vacuuming is also essential to remove any dirt and grit, to prevent it from collecting at the base of the tufts where it could act as an abrasive and contribute to premature wear. Do not rush when vacuuming, but do go slowly; allowing the beater bar/brush mechanism to do its job properly. Concentrate on the areas that are subject to most wear, such as in front of' chairs, in corridors and on stairs. Make sure that your carpet gets a thorough clean to the base of the tufts where it is most needed. If you have a loop pile carpet it should only be cleaned with a suction head. Beater bars may catch the fibres and give your carpet a hairy appearance.

Wear Prevention

There are a number of precautions you can take to reduce wear and tear to your new carpet

1. If you can, change the position of your furniture to equalise the wear on the carpet.

2. Shifting your stair carpets can compensate for heavy wear, particularly on the nosings. Wherever possible, provide an extra length of carpet at the top and bottom for shifting. As an alternative, you could order a little extra carpet for replacement purposes.

3. Where your carpet is fitted up to external doors, use a rug or mat to catch dirt and grit.

4. Outdoor shoes with special gripping qualities, such as trainers, should be worn with care to avoid the soles pulling and tearing at the pile, particularly in turning areas and on stairs.

You may notice the following characteristics in your new carpet:

Sprouting Tufts

To give our carpets their smooth level, surface, we put them through a shearing process. This action can be likened to that of mowing a lawn. Each roll is made up of millions of tufts and there is a likelihood that some of them may have been missed during shearing. After a time, these work their way to the surface and appear as sprouting or shooting yarn. Pets with claws may also snag or pull the tufts causing the same effect. NEVER pull a tuft, simply cut it off level with a sharp pair of scissors.

Shedding

All newly fitted carpets will tend to shed, or fluff, which is perfectly normal and will diminish naturally in a few weeks. The only efficient way to remove this is by vacuuming. If this is not done, the fluff remains on your carpet and will be trodden back into the pile resulting in a flat, matted and dull look.

Visible Bands

When carpets are stored in warehouse racks, they are subject to considerable and sustained pressure. As a result, crush lines may be visible when the carpet is first unrolled and may be more noticeable in lighter, open ground shades. This is quite normal and the lines will disappear within a few weeks of normal use, particularly if you vacuum regularly.

Shading and Pile Pressure

Through use and in time, all carpets will flatten to a certain degree and as a result, cut pile carpets will tend to shade in the same way that velvet curtains do. The degree of noticeable shading will depend on the amount of design in the carpet, together with the depth of colour. A light, open ground or plain carpet is more likely to show greater shading than a darker, heavily patterned carpet.

Shading is caused because the tufts in a new carpet are almost parallel with each other so that any inclination is regular and in the same direction. After a period of time, the tufts will gradually assume a greater slant in the areas of most use and this will expose their sides to the light. The sides of the tufts are now reflecting more light than the tips and will appear lighter in colour. This is known as pile pressure and there are no hard and fast rules as to when this will occur and to what extent. It is simply a natural characteristic of all cut pile fabrics.

Daily vacuuming may help to restore a more uniform colour. It is important to vacuum against the natural lay of the pile. This will lift the tufts upright again. The use of castor cups under heavy furniture will spread the weight over a larger area and minimise dents in the carpets surface.

Fading

Although every care is taken to ensure our dyes meet strict requirements, carpets, as with other natural textiles, cannot be dyed absolutely fast to light. Carpets will tend to fade when subjected to sunlight. Normal wear and light soiling will also give the appearance of fading and both effects are obviously beyond the control of the manufacturer.

Berber Lines

Natural yarns are random blended. That is to say that undyed natural wool is mixed with dyed wool, to give berber and tweed carpets their flecked look. Because of this there may be a lined effect not seen in a small sample. This is a natural characteristic of berbers and not a manufacturing fault.

Carpet Care
  • Carpet care at a glance
  • Blot, don't rub
  • Work from the outer edges inwards
  • Only use approved cleaners and cold water where necessary
  • Adding white wine to a red wine spill is a myth - follow the advice on this page instead
  • Vacuum new carpets to prevent the 'shedding' being trodden back in

Prompt action could limit or reduce any damage, but wrong treatment may only make the problem worse.

Dealing with Stains

The following three methods are recommended for dealing with stains. If your first attempt is not a complete success, we have suggested a follow up method. You should always blot excess liquid and allow to dry between steps.

Method A

Blot with clean, white absorbent material. When the excess liquid is removed, use a solution made from one teaspoon of detergent for washing woollens to half a pint of warm water. Sponge gently and then rinse in clean, warm water. Blot thoroughly and gently brush the pile to its natural direction.

Method B

Sponge the stain with a household dry-cleaning fluid following the maker's instructions. Do NOT soak. Open windows and the air the room thoroughly.

Method C

Sponge gently with a solution of one part white vinegar to three parts of clean warm water. Leave for 15 minutes, then sponge with clean warm water. Blot thoroughly and gently brush the pile to its natural direction.
Problem Solution
Animal and Baby Accidents Method A
Ball Point Pen Sponge with methylated Spirits, followed by Method A
Beers, Wines and Spirits Method A
Bleach Method A
Blood Method B, followed by Method A
Butter Method B, followed by Method A
Chewing Gum Apply a freezing agent and break away gum when hard, followed by Method B
Chocolate Scrape off excess, followed by Method A
Cola (Soft drinks) Method C, followed by Method A
Cooking Oil Method B
Cosmetics and Lipstick Method B, if unsuccessful try Method A
Cream Method B, followed by Method A
Egg Method A
Floor Wax Method B
Fruit Juice Method C, followed by Method A
Furniture and Shoe Polish Method B, followed by Method A
Gravy and Sauces Method C, followed by Method A
Grease and Oil Method B, followed by Method A
Ink (fountain pen) Method C, followed by method A
Mineral & Tonic Water Method A
Milk Method C, followed by Method A
Mustard Method A
Metal Polish Method B, followed by Method A
Nail Polish Dab with nail polish remover, followed by Method B
Paint (Emulsion) Blot excess, apply Method C, followed by Method A
Paint (Oil Based) Dab with white spirit or turpentine, followed by Method B
Rust Method B, followed by Method A
Salad Dressing Method A, followed by Method B
Soot Vacuum thoroughly, followed by method A
Tar Method B. If necessary follow by dabbing with eucalyptus oil
Tea and Coffee Method C, followed by Method A
Tomato Juice Method A
Urine Method A
Vomit Method A
Wax Scrape off excess, iron at a low temperature over brown paper, finally apply Method B
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