Tag Archives: traffic areas

Winter’s Toll on the Health of Your Home

winter_health_homeIt’s almost time to break out the winter weather shoes. Some are stylish, some are rugged, but all good winter weather shoes have a heavier tread on the bottom compared to off-season shoes. These treads and deep groves make foot travel safer and easier, but are also perfect for collecting soil and debris. With freezing temperatures and snow, salt and extra sand is added to the mix of fiber damaging substances collected in these great treads.  With cleanliness and health in mind, winter months may require a little more effort to maintain interior spaces.

First off, what is soil exactly? Soil is unwanted substances that lodge themselves within fibers, carried into spaces with traffic.  Typically, analysis on general soil samples show that it is comprised of abrasive particles, dander, and vegetable fiber. Add in oily or sticky substances and you’ve added a binder, allowing the soil to glue itself to fibers.

Keeping a building clean and healthy during the winter months all starts within the first 5-6ft of the entry way. This is where most of the damaging soil accumulates. Lay down a matting system that will be resistant enough to the soil that it will be easier to clean than carpet, but heavy enough that it will keep the soil from spreading past that point. You’ll want to cover the first 10 feet around the entry way (five feet on either side of the door).

Next, make sure you have your carpets sprayed with a protective coating after each cleaning. This is actually suggested as a year round maintenance item to keep your carpets looking their best and staying their healthiest. Original factory protectors eventually wear off or are cleaned off.  We have a lot more detail on why this is so important in our article How can I keep my carpets, area rugs, and upholstery looking their best.

Make more time to put extra effort into keeping the exterior travel routes clear. Sweep, rake, or blow outside walkways more often. Depending on how much traffic you experience, think about adding exterior matting or grates to collect more soil before the door mat.

Last but not least, have your carpets cleaned and vacuum often. Clean them a little more frequently than you do in the other seasons. Not only do you have the extra soil from winter shoes, there’s also holidays, decorating, and more time spent indoors to track it all around. By adding mats, keeping the exterior walkways to entrances clean, and making sure your carpet is protected, you’ll have a healthier cozy winter.



How You Know it’s Time to Call for Professional Carpet Cleaning

Many customers who use are services take advantage of our service reminders and special customer discounts on regular cleaning. They get on a routine schedule and never have to worry about going too long between cleanings. Their rugs last longer, stay cleaner, and their homes are healthier. If you aren’t on a routine cleaning schedule, here are a few questions you can answer to determine if it’s time to schedule your professional cleaning or not.

Professional Carpet Cleaning (3)

When was the last time your carpets were cleaned?

If you can’t remember ever having them cleaned, I’d say it’s about time. If you think it has been at least over a year, now would be a good time to call and schedule. Keep in mind that some companies may be booking one to two weeks out, so plan accordingly.

Have your allergies been acting up lately?

Whether it is seasonal allergies, dust mite allergies, or just a sensitivity to dust, a good deep cleaning could make you feel much better. Dust, dirt, and allergens are attracted to your carpets and upholstery fibers. Although you may not be able to see it, a simple walk down the hallway could be kicking up these irritating particles, dispersing them into the air and directly exposing yourself to them. Chem-Dry even offers a special cleaning package with additional allergen relief.

How do your carpets look?

If you have an area that is usually covered by a piece of furniture or even an area rug, move it and take a peek at the color difference. If you see one, call for a cleaning and brighten the room back up. Keep in mind that sometimes areas that get a decent amount of sun exposure can also discolor. The sun has been known to only tan your skin but bleach your textiles. Unfortunately, a cleaning won’t restore the color after it’s been bleached, but a good cleaning can certainly give you peace of mind.  Check traffic areas for spots or stubborn soiling.  If they are looking a little dull, clean them now before they become permanent. Dirt and sand that collects in traffic areas will wear down these spots, making the soiling more permanent as the fibers are damaged.

Hopefully these questions have helped you decipher if it is time to schedule that professional carpet cleaning.  If its time, make sure to research your options and go with a company you’ll feel comfortable with. There are many green options out there today if you are concerned with the products used, or if you have pets and children. Cape Cod, MA locals are invited to call Chem-Dry by Whalen Services and we will be more than happy to discuss your options with you.

Clean your vacuum!

The very best thing you can do for your carpet is to vacuum it regularly. When using your vacuum often, you may eventually find that it isn’t performing at its top capability. A little maintenance can go a long way to keeping it functioning at its best. You may also save hundreds on repair costs or replacement.  Here are a few guidelines on how to clean your vacuum.


Have you checked the vacuum bag recently? Even though the bag may be less than half full, it might be time to change it. The more debris in the bag, the harder your vacuum has to work to get the air to pass through it. Some bags have “full” lines, or you can check it with a quick squeeze. If it’s about half full it’s time for a new one. Make sure you have the correct size and type of mag for your model vacuum. To find which size you need, contact the manufacturer. Many brands have easy online search tools.

If your vacuum doesn’t require a bag, there are other steps for you to take. Make sure to empty the bagless canister often if not after each use. Gently tap the canister to try and release any held debris. If you have an air compressor handy, you should blow out the air diffuser holes inside the canister. Try and make sure no small grits of sand or dirt are still stuck in the corners.

Now it’s time to clean out the beater bar which also known as the brush roll. This is the head of the vacuum that makes contact with the carpet. Each model vacuum is different, but some have a cover around the bar that is held in by screws. After the cover is off, be careful removing the roll as there should be belt around it that’s responsible for turning the roll. Once free of its housing, clear the roll with a seam ripper or scissors. Make sure to get all of the tightly wound debris. If you can unscrew the sides of the roll, gently remove any debris from the bearings. You may need to either lubricate or replace these bearings if you find they are worn.

Before putting the beater bar back in, check the belt you found around it before you removed it from the housing. You’re looking for any cracks, loss of tension, alignment, and wear. Vacuum belts should actually be replaced about once a year if not more. When replacing, it should slide right off the pulley or drive shaft. While these areas are exposed, clean up any caked on dirt with a rag and make sure the air passage ways are clean. Slide the new belt back on the pulley or drive shaft, reinstall the beater bar, check the alignment of the new belt, and screw the cover back on.

Proper airflow is key to a vacuum’s performance. Filers in and around your vacuum will keep the unit from blowing the super fine particles back into your home. Check your owner’s manual for the locations of your vacuum’s filters. Plastic filters and usually be rinsed off. Paper or fabric filters should be replaced when found full or very dirty.

Last but not least, make sure the wand and hose are clear. Gently thread a broom stick or wire hanger through the hose. If you find a clog, be sure not to pack it in. Try to remove the clog in bits until it loosens enough to clear it out entirely. Be careful when clearing the hose not to poke a hole in it.

Voila! Your vacuum is now fresh, clean, and ready for all the use it’s going to get keeping your carpets at their best. Removing dirt, sand, and debris from the carpet fibers is a major factor in avoiding those dark traffic areas. Try to do this about every 6 months or at the very least don’t exceed a year. Pat yourself on the back for the money you saved on a trip to the appliance maintenance facility. Happy cleaning!

Traffic areas and your carpeting

After having your carpets cleaned, have you ever noticed areas that look as if a stain still remains? Perhaps they didn’t clean up as well as you hoped. It may not be that the cleaner didn’t do a great job, or that the product is not very effective, but that the area that remains dark is not simply soiled; it’s a traffic area. The fibers in that spot have been permanently damaged by carpet sanding. Just like a cloudy piece of Plexiglas that has been weathered and scratched, light is not being reflected the same off the carpet fibers, making the area appear dirty. This happens when debris and soil settles between the carpet fibers and grinds them down with each step they endure. There may not be much you can do about it now, but you can learn how to prevent it from worsening, happening in other areas, and prevent it on new carpeting.

My first suggestion in preventing these traffic areas is to make sure you vacuum regularly. Although you may not see very much sand or soil, it is still easily tracked in and settles right into the carpet pile. The less soil you allow to remain in the carpet, the easier it is for your vacuum to be more effective in removing it. Focus most on the areas that you walk through or enter in each room, along with the areas you may sit the most. Without the buildup, your steps won’t have much to grind against your carpet fibers. It also never hurts to enforce the old “no shoes in the house” rule, especially if the main gathering areas are carpeted.


Along with regular vacuuming you should be having your carpets routinely cleaned with a non-detergent based solution. Cleaning the carpets will get most of the soil that your vacuum just can’t touch. Not only will your carpets last longer, but your home will be healthier. More than just dirt, sand, and soil settle into carpet fibers. Cleaning also reduces allergens like pollen, dust, and dust mites. I suggest a non-detergent based cleaning solution because soaps and detergents may remain on the fibers after being “cleaned”. They can actually attract more dirt, leaving your carpets looking dirty much quicker than before.

While you’re at it, have the carpet cleaners apply a coat of protection immediately after cleaning. This will help avoid those traffic areas immensely. Imagine it as a clear shield that will take the wear from soiling before allowing it to start grinding down the carpet fibers. Protection is also fantastic defense against stains as the fine waterproof coat delays liquid from being absorbed, allowing you ample time to easily blot the spill with a rag. Even if your carpeting came with a protection already on it, the factory supplied protector is only temporary and a new one will need to be applied. Read more on this available protection HERE on a previous article.

So if you have your carpets cleaned and an area doesn’t look as clean as the rest of the carpeting, consider the placement. If it’s in a highly traveled area, or an area of great use, it’s probably a traffic lane caused by soiling that ground the carpet fibers with the help of your feet.  Vacuum and have your carpets cleaned routinely to avoid them, and apply a barrier of protection for best results.