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When Should a Carpet Be Replaced or Cleaned? (Homeowners' Guide)

October 12, 2022

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When should carpet be replaced in your home or business? Obviously, there is no “one size fits all” answer to this question. Your decision should take into account the carpet’s age and condition, your budget, and other such factors. Also, some carpets are simply beyond cleaning and otherwise restoring, so replacement is the only option!

On the other hand, thorough cleaning can often provide better results than property owners expect. Since new carpeting is more costly than cleaning, consider some details to remember when choosing between the two. Additionally, a carpet cleaning and installation professional can also help! They can note the current carpet’s condition and other factors, and offer their expert opinion.

when should carpet be replaced or cleaned

When Should Carpet Be Replaced or Cleaned? (Signs to Consider)

A good rule of thumb is if your carpet is continually visibly dirty and overly stained, it should be replaced soon. Most heavily trafficked carpets and rugs don't last more than 5 years. If it is not visibly dirty or stained, it can most likely be cleaned. However, if your carpet is more than 10-15 years old, it may need to be replaced.

Carpets and rugs are often the first places that show wear and tear. You may notice fraying, discoloration, or just general deterioration over time. If your carpet is starting to show these signs, it may be time to replace it.

Another way to tell if your carpet needs to be replaced is by its smell. If your carpet has developed an unpleasant odor, it is probably time to get rid of it. This is usually a sign that the fibers are breaking down and the backing is deteriorating.

If your carpet is showing any of these signs, it is probably time for a replacement. However, if you just have a few stains or you think it just needs a good cleaning, you may be able to extend its life for a little while longer.

Factors when deciding replacement vs. cleaning

Since there is no simple answer to professional carpet cleaning versus replacing carpeting, consider some factors to keep in mind. These can help you make the right decision when it comes to your home or business flooring.

  • Have you tried professional carpet cleaning, versus DIY shampooing? Experts can usually remove ground-in dirt and other debris overlooked by amateurs!
  • Also, amateur cleaning can leave detergent and rinse water behind. These can attract more dirt than before cleaning! Consequently, it’s good to have a pro tackle those carpets before assuming they need replacing.
  • Steam cleaning also restores carpet fibers and nap. In turn, the carpets look and feel “fluffier” and softer underfoot.
  • Many carpet cleaning professionals offer odor-neutralizing services along with cleaning. This service can remove musty or otherwise unpleasant smells from carpets and rugs.
  • In some cases, making some changes around your property can keep carpets cleaner after shampooing. For instance, an air filter can keep dust from settling onto your carpets. Welcome mats by entryways can also remove dirt from shoes before you walk on those carpets. These simple changes are cheaper than new carpet installation.
  • How old is the carpet? High-quality rugs should last 10 years or so. If your carpeting is well within its expected lifespan, cleaning can keep it looking new for years.
  • Also, note the carpet materials. Wool, cotton, polyester, and nylon are durable and should also last a good decade. Unless the carpet is a delicate silk blend, don’t assume it needs replacing after just a few years.

For all these reasons, consider professional carpet cleaning before you shop around for replacement rugs! You might be surprised at the result a pro can offer for your property.

Do Carpet Cleaners Ruin Carpets?

Many homeowners especially believe the common misconception that carpet cleaners ruin carpets. However, this is far from true! One, carpet cleaning actually prolongs a rug’s lifespan. Two, amateur cleaning can typically ruin carpets, not professional care. Check out some details about these claims so you know the right decision for your property’s carpets.

How professional carpet cleaners prolongs its life

First, consider how professional carpet cleaning prolongs the life of that flooring. Over time, untouched dirt and grime ruins carpet fibers, grounding them down until a cleaner cannot restore them. On the other hand, regular carpet cleaning removes that grime, preserving the carpet.

Also, allowing mold and mildew to grow along carpet backing also breaks down that material. Eventually, it might become so widespread that cleaning simply won’t remove it. However, professional care removes that mold, mildew, and other damaging materials before they ruin carpets.

Additionally, professional cleaning and steaming restores carpet fibers and its nap, before they become flattened permanently. A pro can also spot stains and other issues an amateur might overlook. Professional cleaners also know the right methods based on a carpet’s material, weave, and so on. In turn, their care can ensure pristine carpets in good condition for many years.

Amateur cleaning is what ruins carpets!

Why can we say that amateur cleaning is what ruins carpets? One reason is that property owners often use harsh detergents and machines that risk damaging carpet fibers. Two, it’s not uncommon for amateurs to leave behind detergent residues and excess rinse water!

Consequently, that residual detergent creates a sticky film on carpets that attracts more dirt than before. Also, leftover rinse water risks mold and mildew growth along carpet fibers and its backing. It’s also easy to trample damp carpet fibers, risking permanent damage. In turn, poor-quality tools and techniques can shorten a carpet’s lifespan, not professional services.

rug cleaning in CT

How Do I Deep Clean My Carpet?

First, note that a property owner should leave deep cleaning to the pros! Second, he or she might note the best deep cleaning method based on carpet materials and its condition. Most will recommend either shampooing or steam cleaning for carpets.

  • Shampooing helps loosen ground-in dirt while also removing stains and odors. Quality carpet shampoos can also remove grease, oil, and other thick residues.
  • However, shampooing carpets means using lots of rinse water to extract that detergent. In turn, carpets are often damp for hours after cleaning.
  • Additionally, some property owners are sensitive to shampoo smells and their chemicals.
  • Carpet shampooing doesn’t necessarily tackle mold, mildew, dust mites, and other irritants on carpets.
  • Steam cleaning helps kill mold and mildew, even as it grows along carpet backing. Additionally, steam cleaning helps restore fibers and carpet nap, for a like-new appearance.
  • Since steam cleaning uses little to no detergent, there are no bothersome odors or chemicals left behind.
  • On the other hand, steam cleaning doesn’t always remove tough stains and residues like grease and oil.

What Color Carpet Hides Dirt Best?

Dirt clinging to carpets usually appears in shades of gray and dark brown. In turn, you might consider these carpet colors, to hide as much dirt as possible! Also, note that multicolored carpeting or one with a pattern also tends to hide dirt. It’s difficult to see areas of dirt and dust when they’re camouflaged in those patterns!

Additionally, consider that carpets with low nap won’t show unpleasant tread marks or worn spots so easily. Berber and saxony carpets also have very tight loops, which also won’t show footprints or worn areas easily. These are excellent cuts for hallways, entryways, and other high-traffic areas in your home or business!

Lastly, consider that nylon, rayon, and polyester repel dirt, dust, and water. Consequently, they’re often easier to clean with a household vacuum cleaner than cotton, wool, and silk. Consider these materials as well for high-traffic areas, homes with pets and children, and the like.

Which Type of Carpet Cleaning Is Best?

There is no “best” carpet cleaning method, as each method offers pros and cons. Also, a professional carpet cleaning technician should choose a method suited for carpet materials and its condition. To help you decide the right option, check out the most common carpet cleaning methods. Then, discuss your property with a carpet care technician near you as needed.

  • Carpet shampooing uses detergents designed to loosen dirt, oil, stains, and other debris. On the upside, shampooing offers deep, effective cleaning. However, it’s difficult to remove all that detergent and rinse water! Consequently, carpets are often damp and have lingering odors as well.
  • Steam cleaning offers an excellent clean, removing some 90% of germs, bacteria, and other irritants. Professional steaming also restores flattened carpet nap and means few if any chemicals and their bothersome odors. On the downside, steamed carpets also tend to stay damp, and steaming might not offer the same cleaning as shampooing.
  • Encapsulation uses a specialty powder that traps and locks dirt, foaming and bringing it to the surface of carpet fibers. In turn, a contractor can then vacuum or extract that dirt and debris. One reason to choose encapsulation is that it uses little water, making it very eco-friendly. However, it doesn’t offer the same effective cleaning for thick dirt and ground-in debris.
  • Bonnet cleaning offers a lightweight, surface cleaning. A contractor uses a specialty spinning pad to apply detergent to a carpet. Next, he or she uses a clean pad to remove that detergent and dirt. Bonnet cleaning is affordable and offers a quick clean but isn’t as effective as other methods.
  • Dry cleaning carpets, as the name implies, uses specialty chemicals applied without water. These chemicals loosen dirt so a technician can then vacuum it away. Dry cleaning offers an eco-friendly clean but can leave behind some dirt and bothersome chemical odors.

When deciding between these carpet cleaning methods, note that you might choose more than one throughout the years! For instance, bonnet cleaning is an affordable way to “spruce up” carpets before the holidays. You might opt for this cleaning method in between regular shampooing or steam cleaning.

Also, you might need certain cleaning methods to address extra dirt and debris. As an example, shampooing can remove food and grease stains if your holiday visitors were not careful when eating! Then, consider steam cleaning throughout the year, to restore fibers and kill germs and bacteria.

carpet cleaning instead of replacement

Can Old Carpet Make You Sick?

Old carpet doesn’t necessarily affect your health. However, dirty and neglected carpets can pose many health concerns for homeowners and business owners!

Airborne irritants

First, note that dirty carpets hold dust, air pollution residues, chemicals, pet hair and dander, and other irritants. If you don’t clean those carpets regularly, you’re kicking up those irritants when you walk into a room! As a result, they can bother anyone with asthma, allergies, or breathing disorders. Dust and dirt also irritate your skin, eyes, and nasal passages.

Mold spores

Mold spores are everywhere and not dangerous in small amounts. However, an old and dirty carpet can allow mold to grow along its padding and underside. In turn, those spores might start to circulate around interior spaces. Mold can then risk breathing disorders and other sensitivities, and create very unpleasant odors!

Fungi and your health

Dirty and especially damp carpets often allow for fungal growth. These fungi can affect your skin and risk athlete’s foot! This condition means painful itching and burning between toes and along soles. Additionally, fungi exposure risks other skin irritations and health concerns.

Odors in old, dirty carpeting

Moreover, note that old, dirty carpeting often creates strong, unpleasant odors. Exposure to these odors can mean headaches, sleep disturbances, difficulty concentrating, and more. Also, bad smells in the home create a very unwelcoming environment! For all these reasons and more, it’s vital to consider carpet cleaning or carpet replacement when needed.

How Often Should Your Replace Carpet?

There is no “one size fits all” answer about replacing carpets, as the answer depends on its material, wear and tear, and other factors. However, you might consider replacing carpets when carpet cleaning no longer restores their feeling or appearance.

Most manufacturers note that carpets should last between 5 and 15 years. Nylon, rayon, wool, and polyester are tough, durable materials that often last at the high end of that spectrum. Additionally, high-quality manufacturing can mean carpets that maintain their look and feel as long as possible.

Moreover, consider wear and tear on a carpet. How much foot traffic volume is one factor; what gets trafficked over those carpets is another! As an example, you might not think your carpets suffer much wear and tear if you live alone. However, if you don’t take your shoes off at the door, have big pets who run over those carpets, and so on, they won’t last more than a few years.

How well you maintain those carpets also affects their overall lifespan. Regular vacuuming removes dirt and dust before it gets ground into the floors. Professional shampooing and steam cleaning also pull up dirt and grime a vacuum cleaner might miss. Also, installing an air filter and keeping the ductwork and the property’s HVAC system clean also keep dust and dirt off the floors.

Ameri-Best Carpet Cleaning is happy to provide this information about carpet cleaning vs. carpet replacement to our readers. Hopefully, you found it helpful! If you’re in the market for professional floor care, call our Connecticut carpet cleaning contractors. We offer free quotes and guaranteed satisfaction with every call. To get your property started on the expert, thorough floor cleaning it needs to have done, use our contact form or just give us a call.


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