While ensuring your carpet is cleaned by professionals on a regular basis keeps it fresh and clean as well as helps it last longer, there will surely come a point when it needs to be replaced.
Like everything else, carpets have a lifespan too. Even though proper maintenance increases the duration, foot traffic, dust particles, and occasional spills will damage the carpet in the course of time. Unfortunately, when this happens, even professional cleaners can fix things up to a certain extent. At some point, you have no choice but to replace your carpet.
The average lifespan of a carpet is between 5-15 years. Factors affecting this time are usage frequency, environment, occasional spill rate, dustiness of the room, cleaning frequency and cleaning materials used. There are also some signs which remind you that its time to replace your carpet like flattened fibers, mold, stains, odors, and matting. Also, with conscious cleaning and care, you can extend your carpet’s life.
Carpets placed in living rooms need to be replaced more frequently than carpets placed in kitchens and bedrooms for example. Because the usage frequency of living room carpets is higher than other rooms. So, the foot traffic and occasional spill rate will also be higher, and this will cause that carpet to get worn easier.
Another example is that the carpets placed outdoors get worn faster than the ones placed in indoors. The reason for this is direct sunlight exposure on the carpet. Sunlight causes serious deformation on the carpet pile.
In this article, I will first get into detail about the factors affecting the lifespan of a carpet. Then I will give information about the signs that tell you to replace your carpet. After that, I will give you tips about extending the life of your carpets. Let me start by explaining some parameters which play a big role in determining a carpet’s life.
Factors Affecting the Lifespan of a Carpet
Among the factors affecting the life of a carpet, there is usage frequency (aka foot traffic), cleaning frequency, cleaning materials you use, the environment where the carpet is placed, and having little children and/or pets who can spill anything at any time on your carpet.
Usage Frequency: Foot Traffic
A carpet’s usage frequency is measured by means of foot traffic. Normally, foot traffic is a term used to describe pedestrian visitors to a pre-defined place. When it comes to carpets, it means the number of steps taken on a carpet.
Foot traffic is classified in 4 groups as light traffic, moderate traffic, heavy traffic, and extra heavy traffic. One foot traffic unit is defined as a person walking across a section of carpet one time. Light traffic means 100 foot traffic units per day. Moderate traffic corresponds to 100 to 1000 foot traffic units per day. When we say heavy traffic, we mean there are 1000 to 10000 foot traffic units per day. Finally, extra heavy traffic is equal to any number bigger than 10000 foot traffic units per day.
Whatever the foot traffic is, all carpets get worn out over time. And there will be some point when you need to replace your carpet. However, even if you can not prevent this, you can extend the life of your carpet.
For the areas with heavy and extra heavy foot traffic, you should prefer
shorter pile carpets (carpets under 2cm tall). Those are the most durable ones.
In addition to this, using wool carpets in high traffic areas would be a better choice. Wool fiber is ideal for high traffic areas as the wool bounces back making it extra durable to crushing and losing shape.
It is recommended that you sweep your carpets 1 time a week under normal conditions. In addition, when a stain occurs on the carpet, you should intervene it immediately. By this way, stain on the carpet won’t be permanent. Sweeping the carpet too often will cause faster aging, just as not cleaning the dirt and dust accumulated in the carpet will cause damage to its pile.
On the other hand, the frequency of carpet washing will vary depending on the number of residents and the level of use. You should clean your carpets in 3-6 months in more used rooms and in 9-12 months in less frequently used rooms. If you have a child or pet, you should clean all carpets at least twice a year.
Experts generally recommend that the carpets should be washed every 6 months. However, if there is an abnormal dust increase in the house, they should be washed more frequently. Carpet cleaning interval for families with children may be settled as every 3 months. Children of the 2-3 age group spend a lot of time on the carpet, in case of excessive dust and dirt their health will be adversely affected.
Dust and dirt are generally not visible because they penetrate deep into the carpets. This creates the perception that your carpet is clean, but no matter how strong a vacuum cleaner is, it is not completely cleaned up unless it is washed regularly. Trying to clean your carpet at home does not provide a complete cleaning. In addition to that, you should send them to be washed on a regular basis.
Cleaning Materials Used
The active ingredient of many of the shampoos produced for cleaning carpets and upholstery fabrics is perchloroethylene, a solvent often used as a stain remover. This substance is known to be carcinogenic means not only harms your carpet but also harms your health. Carpet shampoos containing naphthalene, ethanol, ammonia, and detergents may also damage your carpet.
Carpets and rugs are mostly made of plastic materials such as nylon, latex, polyester, polyurethane, PVC / vinyl chloride, acrylic. Plastic materials attract and hold much more dust than natural materials. Even if you have a wall-to-wall carpet made of natural materials, polyurethane is probably used on its base. Synthetic materials and wall-to-wall carpets should be avoided if possible.
Try to use natural cleaning methods since chemicals are harmful to your carpets almost all the time. Best natural cleaning methods include carbonate and vinegar. You can also use mineral water and corn starch as well.
The place where you keep your carpet is also important in determining its lifetime. For indoors, carpets placed in more humid and sunless rooms get old faster than ones used in lighter and moisture free rooms. Air ventilation is also important. Fresh air helps to keep your carpet dry and clean. But be careful, if you ventilate the room with dusty air, it may be worse than before!
For outdoor use, carpets placed under direct sunlight tend to get worn more quickly compared with the ones placed under a shade. Also, if the environment is dusty, it will accelerate the aging process. Dust particles accumulated within the carpet fibers will most likely cause it to be replaced sooner than you think.
Having Childs and Pets: Occasional Spill Rate
The number of kids you have is inversely proportional to the lifespan of your carpets. Yeah, kids can be true carpet destroyers. They can spill anything on your carpet and they tend to do it quite often. You may think of laying a cover over the carpet in your kid’s room. Or watching your kid more carefully (like it is possible).
Another enemy of your carpets is your dog and cat friends! They can be both harmful and cute as your little kids are. Pets can pee on the carpet, spill food and drinks as well as bite and scratch it to death. Especially cats are fond of toppling anything to the ground. On the other hand, one day when you come home, you can find your carpet eaten by your dog. So, if you have one or some of these little lovely friends, you should look after your carpets more carefully!
Signs Which Tell You That Its Time to Replace Your Carpet
Carpets don’t have an expiration date. However, several signs indicate that it is the time for a replacement. Worn carpet padding, threadbare wear, flattened fibers, warping or stretching, molding, matting, shade shifting and odors or stains that do not go away no matter how often you clean the carpet are the signs which remind you that its time to replace your old carpet.
When you begin to try hiding the stains on your carpet with furniture, it may be time to replace it. If there are multiple and large stains on your carpet, you should replace it. You can try cleaning them with some special formulas, but by the time passes, it gets more difficult to remove those stubborn stains.
Carpets trap dust, dirt, allergens, and debris, and after 5-10 years (depends on the use), it gets harder to clean even with a deep cleaning. Those dust and allergens may cause trouble for people having asthma or allergies. If the stains cannot be removed even with professional help, it’s time to consider buying a new carpet.
Even if your carpets have a stain resistant finish, after a couple of years, its protective effect will be gone, leaving your carpets vulnerable to stains.
You should also avoid using risky homemade formulas to remove stains as they may damage your carpet irreversibly.
Whether your carpet develops matting or not, mostly depends on the material type of that carpet. For example, polyester which is one of the most popular carpet materials tends to develop matting more than any other carpet type. Instead, you can use nylon carpets, which are actually very resistant to matting.
Another factor that causes matting is heavy foot traffic. As your carpet gets older, it is more likely to develop matting.
Once your carpet develops matting, you can’t do anything but replace it. So, pay attention to the carpet material when buying a new carpet as well as whether it can withstand your foot traffic or not. You can help your carpet last longer with regular cleaning as well.
Condition of Carpet Padding
Carpet padding is any material used under the carpet to ensure that the carpet has sufficient softness and support when walking on it. It increases the insulating properties of the carpet and also extends its lifetime. In some cases, carpet padding can be added to the carpet during the manufacturing stage. Otherwise, you can buy and place it yourself.
If your carpet starts lying unevenly, having wrinkles, or making rustle sounds when you walk on it, it means that you need to replace the carpet padding as soon as possible.
As the name implies, mold fungus, which is a fungus type, is formed by the increase of spores in the air, especially in humid and nutrient-rich environments. The mold fungi, which comes together with thousands of small fungus, contributes to nature by decomposing waste. However, it can be a big problem if you have it in your carpets.
Some of the things we do in our daily lives can be the basis for the formation of mold fungus. For example; carpets that are left damp after washing can cause mold fungus. There is a direct relationship between moisture and mold formation. Carpets placed in dark and humid places such as sunless rooms, basements or attics, as well as places which cannot be ventilated enough like toilets and bathrooms, are more vulnerable to the mold formation.
You can identify mold by its mildewy smell or simply because it is a marker of allergies. You can also buy a mold test kit to detect the mold levels in your carpet. If you find mold in your carpet, the only thing you can do to make sure you completely solve the problem is replacing the molded carpet before it spreads to other carpets and furniture.
In our homes and offices where we spend most of our time, we generally use carpets. Therefore, it is quite impossible for us to get them out of our lives. When this is the case, we should look for solutions if our carpets smell bad. Any foul odor or smell can cause both us and our guests to be uncomfortable.
Let us first look at how the smell of a new carpet is removed. New carpets have a distinctive smell as you know. Sometimes even airing may not be the solution for the smell to go away. Or sometimes your children, you, your spouse, or your guests accidentally spill something on the carpet and cause foul odors. In fact, as for every houseware, the most useful method to get rid of smells originating from carpets goes through proper care and cleaning.
Washing the carpet twice a year (or less according to the type of its material) can reduce the odor. Unfortunately, the smell of carpets cannot be completely eliminated or mitigated. If you have air pollution in your house, the effect can continue even if you clean your carpet.
You can try the carbonate miracle to remove the carpet odor. You can pour some carbonate on the carpet and left it for at least half an hour and then sweep it with a vacuum cleaner.
However, if you smell odors even after deep cleaning, it probably has penetrated deep within the carpet fibers. These kind of situations often require carpet replacement.
If the carpet’s shade is significantly darker in one spot than another, or if the entire carpet seems to have a different shade than when you purchased it, it means its fibers have faded. Getting old and exposure to sunlight, air and cleaning materials may change the color of carpet fibers.
Fading alone is not a reason to replace your carpet, but if the color appears uneven or shades shift completely, you should better buy a new carpet.
Flattened fibers and threadbare wear
If your carpet’s pile starts to looking flat instead of standing tall, and you can not fix it no matter how hard you try, it might be the time to buy a new carpet. A carpet which looks stretched beyond its normal shape and creating warps and tripping points should also be replaced.
Olefin and polyester carpet fibers are prone to both matting and getting flattened. Instead, you can choose nylon and wool carpets. But don’t forget, all carpet fibers, even highest quality ones made from looped fibers will get flatten over time.
Even if you buy a short fiber carpet, which is designed to be durable and last for many years, it will wear out eventually. When you see horizontal threads on the carpet in some areas, you should start thinking of buying a new carpet. You can not fix it by cleaning or anything else. These generally occur in areas with heavy foot traffic like living rooms, stairs and hallways.
How to Extend the Life of a Carpet
In order to extend the life of the carpets, there are some points that we need to pay attention to. Especially, if they are wool or silk which you buy at high prices, you want to use them for many years without getting old and damaged. In order to use your carpets for many years, you should give importance to the cleaning and care of your carpets.
Carpets are used for thermal and sound insulation in our homes but nowadays they have become more preferred for decorative purposes. Carpets that match with the seat and curtain colors give your rooms a beautiful look.
To extend the life of your carpets, which are an important part of your home decor, you should avoid using the wrong methods. Especially chemical carpet shampoos and some chemical cleaning fluids can damage your carpets.
Carpets are very easy to contain bacteria because of their structure and may negatively affect human health. Therefore,they need to be washed regularly.
The better you care your carpet, the longer it will last. If you use it carefully, your carpets will remain vivid, soft and aesthetic for many years.
Your carpets should be cleaned regularly every week. In this respect, you should regularly sweep your carpets and remove accumulated dust and dirt. In the meantime, if your home is crowded and/or has a quick dusting environment, you should do the cleaning work more often. This is completely proportional to the use and contamination.
Be sure the filter of the vacuum cleaner you will clean your carpets is “Hepa”. These filter cleaners trap dust, dirt, and bacteria into their bags and prevent them from going out again. This prevents dust and dirt from being accumulated inside your carpets.
The other stage is professional cleaning. You can do this through carpet cleaning companies. This cleaning is done with large washing machines and special detergents.
You should also wash your carpets according to the usage frequency. But the best thing is to do it every 6 months. The most effective factor in extending the life of the carpet is the way the carpet is washed.
If you want to extend the life of the carpet, you should pay attention to the company you want to choose. Because during the washing process, there are many factors having an effect on the life of the carpet like processes performed and types of cleaning materials and machines used.
If you pay attention to all these conditions, your carpets will last longer and will maintain their first-day appearance for many years.
It is not the end of the world if you need to replace your carpet. The bottom line is knowing when to replace it, as well as using it carefully. If you know the factors which have a negative effect on your carpet’s life, you can avoid them easily. Similarly, if you know when to replace your carpet, you won’t have to buy a new carpet earlier than you should. Besides, proper cleaning and care will add extra a few years to the lifespan of your carpet.
Extending the life of the carpet is all about the care and cleaning. When we perform the proper care and use it correctly, we can extend the life of our carpet much more than we think. And without disturbing its beauty, vitality, softness, aesthetics, and appearance, we can use it for many years.