Carpets are not only comfy for your feet, but they actually help keep allergens at bay if properly cleaned and maintained.
Have your carpets seen better days? Should you replace it or get it professionally cleaned?
Our handy guide will help you decide whether you need to hire some professional carpet cleaners to get your carpets clean again or whether they are destined for the trash.
Signs that your carpet needs cleaning
If it hasn’t been cleaned in a while
Depending on whether you have pets and how often your carpet is walked on, carpets should be cleaned professionally once or twice a year to remove the dirt, dust and allergens that build up daily. Bacteria can live in a carpet for more than four weeks
It looks a darker colour
When you walk over your carpet every day, it can be hard to remember what colour it should be. Move a piece of furniture that hasn’t been moved in a while and compare it to the carpet around it. If it’s a lighter colour and fluffier, chances are your carpet needs a good clean.
If you’re having allergy problems
Are your family constantly coughing, sneezing and rubbing their eyes? Allergy-inducing particles such as bacteria, dust, bed bugs and dust mites live in your carpet, causing some people to have reactions. Cleaning your carpet regularly is the only way to stay on top of allergies caused by things that live in your carpet.
You have children and pets
When you have young children and pets it’s inevitable that body fluids will end up on your carpets. Clean carpets also play a large part in maintaining a healthy environment in your home. Whilst just mopping accidents up may solve the short term problem, bacteria will live in your carpet unless cleaned properly.
How much does it cost to get your carpet professional cleaned?
The national average cost of a carpet cleaning service is between $25 to $70 per room. Some carpet cleaning companies may charge per square foot, whilst others will charge more to clean heavily soiled carpets.
Typical carpet cleaning add on services include:
- Pet stain and odour removal
- Furniture and upholstery cleaning
- Stairs cleaning
- Treatment for water damage
- Teflon treatment
Carpet cleaning methods
Carpet cleaning companies often use the following cleaning methods.
Hot water extraction – this method uses high pressured hot water to disrupt the carpet fibers and dissolve dirt. This process typically takes up to two hours for the cleaning and four hours to ensure the carpet has dried completely.
Shampooing – Carpet cleaning shampoo is a special formulated liquid detergent compound used to clean carpets and rugs. It can take a long time to dry so and it could leave behind a sticky residue, but it is great for removing surface stains.
Encapsulation – A crystak polymer-based cleaner is brushed through the carpet to loosen any dirt that is trapped in the carpet’s fibers. This method of carpet cleaning gives fast results and doesn’t require any drying time.
Bonnet cleaning – an absorbent pad is soaked in a mixture of cleaning chemicals and water which is then spun across the carpet. The pad will absorb any dirt that sits on the surface of your carpet. The process is repeated on each section of the carpet to avoid the spread of dirt.
Dry carpet cleaning – dry chemicals are applied to your carpet and sprayed with a little bit of water to cause a reaction. Once the carpet dries, the chemicals are then hoovered up with any dirt. This process also helps your carpets stay fluffy by lifting the piles.
Signs that it’s time to replace your carpet
Here are a few ways that you can tell that your carpet is reaching the end of its life.
It’s matted down
One of the first signs that your carpet has seen better days is when the pile starts to mat down. Well-trodden carpeted areas of your house such as the hallway and stairs will become compressed over time and show a trail of matted carpet fibers that will not return to their original state after using a carpet rake.
The padding has worn out
The padding underneath the carpet is what makes it comfortable to walk on. It also helps to buffer sound and acts as a layer of insulation. If the padding underneath your carpet is old it could also be contributing to bad odours as they are absorbed in to the padding. Unevenness, wrinkles and a crinkling sound when walked across are all signs that your carpet padding has worn out.
If you’ve spilt red wine or ketchup on your carpet and simply mopped it up, chances are it will stain if left untreated.
Whilst professional carpet cleaning services may remove most household stains, in some cases they won’t get rid of tough stains entirely.
Permanent stains can also be a health hazard if they can’t be removed, which is a sign that your carpet should definitely be replaced.
It smells after professional cleaning
Lingering smells mean that the cause of the odour has penetrated deep into the carpet fibers, the carpet pad or even the subfloor. These types of odours are impossible to eliminate, even by a professional carpet cleaner. Instead of paying for all the add on treatments to try and shift the stench, it’s usually more cost-effective to just replace the carpet at this point.
There’s mould and mildew in the carpet
If you have mould and mildew in your carpets, you need to remove it as soon as possible. Mould spores can cause serious health problems such as asthma. Carpets are the perfect home for mould because they are the perfect environment for trapping moisture.
Here are some top tips on how to remove mould from carpets:
- Ventilate the area and isolate it with a plastic sheeting to stop the mould spores from spreading to other areas of your carpet. Use a fan to blow air out and keep the windows open when dealing with mould and cleaning chemicals.
- Use a hard brush to try to remove as much mould as possible and dispose of it safely.
- Scrub the area with a mould-safe cleaner. Steam cleaners are also an effective way to remove mould.
- Allow the carpet to dry completely.
- Use a HEPA vacuum to go over the area of the carpet and remove as many of the spores as possible.
If after trying the above, there is still mould in your carpets it’s time to rip them up and get them replaced. Mould is extremely difficult to remove from carpets and can easily spread to other areas of your house. Prevent mould from growing in the first place by keeping carpets dry or drying them out quickly if they get wet.
Excessive water has damaged your carpets
Homeowners should strongly consider replacing carpets if flood water has entered your home. This is because the water can become contaminated with micro-organisms that produce diseases if it sits still for too long. Also, mould and mildew can start developing in your carpet from water that has been soaking your carpet for more than 24 hours.
It’s possible that water-logged carpets can be cleaned with carpet shampoo, disinfectant and dried to kill any bacteria and make it safe for people and pets. However, the cost of this deep clean is often quite high, so investing in a new carpet instead may be a healthier and financially smart move.
It’s more than 15 years old
Carpets are not designed to last a lifetime. On average, a carpet will last between five and 15 years depending on the quality of it, how much it’s used and how you care for it. Most households replace their carpets every six to seven years to transform their home and make it feel like a new space. Busier households may update their carpets more than this as they are exposed to more general wear and tear.
How much does it cost to replace your carpets?
Don’t forget to factor in the cost of removing and disposing of your old carpets when budgeting for a new carpet. Carpet removal costs approximately $1 to $1.50 per square foot including labour, cleaning up and waste disposal. Consider removing the carpet yourself and just paying for somebody to collect and dispose of it to save some money.
Carpet prices vary significantly, so it’s sensible to set a budget before shopping for your new carpet. On average, carpet costs $2.50 per square foot, and that price can range between $0.65 and $12 per square foot, or around $10 per square yard. The price can vary depending on the material, weave and pile style.
Most carpet retailers sell carpets to fit budgets of all sizes so even if your funds are low, you will be able to find a suitable carpet.
The following factors affect the price of carpet:
- Area of carpet (square meters)
- Type of fiber used in the carpet
- Whether it’s machine-made or hand-woven
- Texture of the carpet
- Carpet pad
You shouldn’t try to fit carpets yourself because you could make a mistake cutting it and ruin the entire carpet. Shop around for the cheapest quotes from recommended carpet fitters in your area.
Things to consider before getting a new carpet fitted
1. Measure the room, your door and molding heights. New carpets can rub against the bottom of door frames and the baseboard (moldings), causing damage to the new carpet if it’s not measured properly. Check with the person or company who is providing your new carpet to ensure the right checks have been made before handing over your money. Getting the right room measurements will also help you budget effectively, preventing you from wasting money on excess carpet that you didn’t need.
2. Moving your furniture. Everything must be removed from the room where your carpet is being fitted beforehand. You may need to pay for professional help for the larger items, but try to remove as much as possible to save some money.
3. Clean the room. Once your old carpet has been disposed of, it’s important to thoroughly clean the room before the new carpet is fitted to remove any dust and dirt. Keep your windows open during the installation process to help remove any new dust and fibres that are in the air.
4. Vacuum your new carpet. It’s safe to vacuum your new carpet straight after it’s been laid. This will remove any loose, short fibres.
Carpet cleaning Vs Carpet replacement
Now you have the knowledge of how to spot the common signs of when you need to get your carpets cleaned and when it needs replacing. It’s important to know the difference because you could end up saving yourself some money by making the right decision.
For more ways to save money around your home, check out our personal finance blog.