A primer on carpeting
Regular cleaning is important

Sarah Holland
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Feb 28/00) - Have you ever actually thought about the carpet you walk on?

Most of us probably haven't. Oh sure, we think about the colour and maybe if it matches the furniture. But there are actually a number of different methods of carpet construction and a variety of ways to keep your carpet looking like new.

The most common types of carpet construction include machine woven, tufted and bonded.

With machine-woven carpet, the pile yarn and the backing yarn are made into a carpet at the same time. Tufted carpet uses a pre-woven backing cloth and the yarns are tufted into the cloth. Bonded construction uses several methods to bond either individual yarns or a web of fibres onto a pre-woven backing.

Once the carpet is installed though, these methods of construction don't really matter to the average carpet buyer. What does matter to most of us is the condition of our carpets Battered by wear and tear, full of dirt and allergens.

There are three basic rules you should follow to keep your carpet in good shape: vacuum regularly (at least once a week, more often in heavy traffic areas), tend to stains and spills immediately, and wet- clean as required (professional wet-cleaning is the best for removing all the dirt).

Vacuuming is important so that dirt doesn't become embedded in the pile, which could cause accelerated wear by grinding the fibres. If you are wet-cleaning your carpet at home, never use household detergents or shampoos which smell of ammonia. Some other methods of cleaning your carpets include powders and aerosol foam shampoos. Factory cleaning is the best way to effectively remove all dirt from your carpets.

For stain removal, it is crucial to act quickly. Start by blotting liquids with paper towels or a clean, absorbent cloth. Carefully pick up any solids and then begin the cleaning process.

For oily or greasy stains, dry-cleaning solvent or an aerosol spray stain remover is recommended.

For water-based stains, use a carpet shampoo or an aerosol spray. Always work inwards from the stain to prevent it from spreading. Apply small amounts of cleaner so you don't saturate the carpet, and don't rub the stain -- it could spread and distort the pile in your carpet.

Always remember, know your carpet, vacuum regularly, and act quickly when spills occur. Your carpet will not only look better, it will last longer.