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.