CarpetCare Newsletters

Traffic Areas…Dirty or Worn

Like all textiles, carpets eventually show signs of wear. The wear ‘patterns’ will first show up in the heaviest traffic areas. These ‘patterns’ create an impression of soiling which cause frustration for owners, thanks to the illusion of what it really is. Even though a carpet has been cleaned it still may look dull in appearance. This situation creates what is known as a ‘traffic lane’.

When synthetic carpet fibers are new, you can compare them to spaghetti noodles—thin, transparent little color reflection threads that are shiny & smooth much like a fishing line. With gritty sand particles (dirt) in the carpet as it gets soiled, with foot traffic providing a ‘grinding it in’ action, the gritty particles cause scratches in the fiber. You can compare this action to how you get scratches in your Teflon coated frying pans. First, the abrasions go through the protective treatment put on all new carpets (ie. Teflon or Scotchguard). Secondly, the sands scratch into each little filament (a single strand of fiber) itself, causing it to dull the surface.

A smooth filament refracts light evenly & makes a new carpet ‘shine’. However, a scratched fiber surface refracts light in many different angles causing it to appear dull instead of shiny. When hundreds of thousands of other scratches on the filaments are combined together, it produces the ‘traffic lane’ grey look.

Unfortunately, there is not a lot a professional carpet care expert can do about dull, grey traffic lanes. We cannot buff each filament to remove the scratches that are in each one, (like our vehicle paint surfaces) when they get dull & dingy. When a 10-year-old carpet is cleaned, you will end up with a clean 10-year-old carpet. However, there is hope…

Tips for prolonging wear

It shouldn’t surprise you that the best way to keep your carpet looking it’s finest, is to properly maintain it.

  1. Vacuum thoroughly and often as possible – in the high traffic lanes at minimum. Vacuuming removes the loose gritty sandy soil before it becomes semi-permanently embedded in the fibers which, when ground in, cause the scratches in the first place. Vacuuming is your #1 method of helping your carpet last a long time, infrequent vacuuming leads to premature wear & carpet replacement.
  2. Use proper spotting methods as outlined in our spotting chart. Try to avoid most products sold at local grocery stores. While most can clean very well, many are too strong chemically speaking & leave soap residues that, after drying, do not come out regardless of effort. This is a primary reason Crystal Clean Ltd. gives a free bottle of spot remover with our carpet cleaning services, and free refills every time we work for you. Use of the wrong cleaner can permanently “set” a stain that might have been easily removed with the proper product, and can potentially do permanent damage to the fiber or construction of the carpet.
  3. Have your carpets cleaned by Crystal Clean Ltd. Most homes require 12 – 16 month cleaning, more often if you have heavy traffic from multi-kids and pets, less often if you are single or snowbirds for example. The continual removal of fresh soils (vacuuming) and spots (spot removal) combined with our regularly scheduled professional care will double the potential lifespan of a carpet . Cleaning less often will always cost more dollars in the end due to the expensive replacement of carpets prematurely. Remember the increased health benefits of a cleaner breathing environment!
  4. Always have protector re-applied (Scotchguard, Teflon) after the carpets have been professionally cleaned. The stain & soil resistant treatment that was originally applied by the carpet manufacturer will wear off…especially in the traffic lanes—remember it’s the first layer to be ‘scratched away’ by gritty soils. The primary benefit of this is easier & more successful vacuuming—about 35% more dirt ends up in your vacuum with as compared to without. Just ask for carpet protector when we arrive.

Following these simple steps will prolong your carpet, keep it healthy for your family, and maintain it’s appearance. Smart moves prevent dumb mistakes.