Let’s Talk About Carpet

posted by Andrea | 11/14/2014

carpeting

If I had my way, our house would have absolutely ZERO carpeting. I really, really don’t like carpeting because of all the dirt, dust, and other allergens that get trapped in carpet fibers.

Gross!

I’m sure most of you who have followed my blog for a while are scratching your head wondering why on earth I’m bashing carpet when we clearly have several rooms of carpeting in our home… right?

It’s true, we do have carpeting in our living room, our playroom, Nora’s bedroom, and the guest bedroom — and we are actually planning to keep these rooms carpeted for a long time… even though I hate carpeting.

Dave “allowed” me to put beautiful reclaimed barnwood flooring in almost every room on the main floor, but requested that we leave carpet in the living room. I was originally a little bummed that he didn’t want the entire main floor to be wood — but I will admit, it was the best choice. (Did you read that Dave!)

I am stubborn on many things, but when it comes to carpeting, Dave’s preference won out as I do realize carpeting is much warmer in our cold West Michigan winters.

Plus, carpeting is much nicer for little kids to play and crawl around on. In fact, for a long time, Simon actually refused to crawl onto the hardwood floor so the carpeting was like an invisible baby gate!

Of course, once he realized how much fun toilet paper can be, he braved the wood floors and hasn’t looked back 🙂

Anyway, back to the carpeting…

Even though I don’t particularly love carpeting, I get SO many questions about the “best” way to care for carpeting, how to clean it, how often to clean it, what type of carpeting to buy when shopping for new carpeting, etc. etc.

So while I’m not an expert on carpet, I thought I’d share what I know and how I care for my carpets… and then leave the comments open for you to share your carpet tips and knowledge.

My Vacuum:

I use this Hoover High Performance vacuum — and I’ve been really happy with it for the past couple years. It has several attachments and the canister is very easy to empty. We use this vacuum for all our carpets, on our hard floors, and even to vacuum out our cars.

hoover-high-performance

If you have heavy-shedding pets, I’m not sure this would be the best vacuum for you, but it works well for our needs and is moderately priced compared to many other vacuums.

Daily Carpet Maintenance:

I recently heard that it’s best to vacuum your carpet every day… but then I also heard that vacuuming too often could damage the carpet fibers and cause them to break down more quickly.

I usually vacuum twice a week — sometimes 3 times if we have people over or if I feel like the carpets are extra dirty for some reason. Keep in mind we don’t have pets, we don’t often eat in the carpeted areas, and we usually take our shoes off inside.

Also, I will admit that I rarely (like almost never) vacuum the stairs to our second floor. I don’t know what my deal is but I absolutely HATE vacuuming the stairs. I know this is probably so gross but it’s not like we’re sitting on the stairs — just walking up and down 🙂

Eventually, we plan to remove the carpet from the stairs (after kids are finished crawling) and install hardwood treads with white risers… but for now, our “dirty” carpeted stairs will do!

Carpet Cleaning:

I use a a $4.00 can of carpet stain remover to clean any small spots throughout the year. I also get our carpets professionally cleaned once a year (and yes, he cleans the stairs really well!)

I thought once a year was completely “normal” until our carpet cleaner said many of his clients cleaned their carpets 2-3 times every year. In my opinion, once seems like enough for me — but I’m sure it couldn’t hurt to have it done more regularly if it fits into your budget.

Since our carpet cleaner is my parent’s neighbor and we’ve known him forever, I’ve honestly never even considered trying to rent a carpet cleaner and do the work myself. As I mentioned in this post, there are just some things Dave and I feel are worth paying the pros for — and carpet cleaning is definitely on that list!

Buying New Carpeting:

If you’ve ever shopped for new carpet, you know it’s expensive! I can’t believe how much it costs — and then you have the cost of the pad and the labor to install it.

If you’re in the market for new carpeting, I would definitely recommend shopping around. We found a large variation in prices between different companies and brands. However, also know that for the most part, you do “get what you pay for”, so the more expensive stuff SHOULD hold up a lot better over time.

I would also recommend talking with a trusted carpet cleaner and asking their opinions on what carpet to buy. When we were shopping for carpeting in Nora’s room and the playroom, I called our carpet cleaner to see what type of carpeting he would recommend. He quickly listed off 2 or 3 very durable and easy-to-clean types of carpeting (as well as 2 or 3 types to stay away from). This helped me narrow down my options and walk into the carpet store more informed.

I will say that one of my favorite things about carpeting is that you can totally transform a room in just a couple hours — which is definitely not possible when you need to install, sand, stain, and seal wood floors!

I think that’s it for now — I’ve exhausted my limited knowledge about carpeting 🙂

However, I’d love to hear any of your tips.

How often do you get your carpets cleaned? How often do you vacuum? What type of vacuum do you use?

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24 comments

  1. Debbie

    09/01/2015

    Andrea, I have a question regarding professional carpet cleaning. You mentioned that you only do it once a year. Do you have it done on all your carpeted areas or just the areas that are well lived. For instance, we have 2 bedrooms that are mainly for guests and we hardly go in there except when I’m sewing or doing a craft project in one bedroom. It seems like a waste to get this professionally cleaned every year. Also, there’s a company in our area that uses a patented cleaning system without the use of soap, harmful chemicals and detergents. Instead, they use Empowered Water. What’s an average price for a “normal carpet cleaning”? For 4 BR, 1LR, hallway, 16 stairs this patented cleaning system will cost us $250. Is that more than average?

    Thanks for your help.
    Debbie

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Our house is mostly hard floor… so we have the living room, playroom, and stairway done every year. I know LOTS of people who don’t have their carpets cleaned nearly that often though. I just like to know that my carpet is relatively clean 🙂

    As far as the pricing, I really have no idea what is “good”. We’ve always gone with the same company because they are my parent’s neighbors so i’ve never even shopped around for a good price. We pay around $150 for the living room, playroom and stairs… but I don’t know how that compares to using “Empowered Water”. Also, I have a feeling the pricing would depend on the area’s cost of living as well.

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    Debbie Reply:

    Thanks, Andrea! I called a regular shampoo cleaning company and they are quoting us $175. The other company kept giving me different quotes depending on who I talked to. The last quote I was given was $320 and I’m shocked. I guess the new cleaning system is pricey because it’s green. We’ll probably go with the “old shampoo cleaning” system.

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  2. Kimberly

    11/15/2014

    I don’t really like carport, but with a little one it’s nice to have. Also, it’s amazing the difference high quality carport and pad will be!! High quality carport is worth it. I have a Dyson vacuum and it’s the best vacuum cleaner I’ve owned. I also have the smaller handheld Dyson that’s perfect for in-between vacuum jobs.

    [Reply]

  3. Chelsea M

    11/14/2014

    We use the Shark vacuum. I’ve been pretty pleased with it. The Dyson rep at Costco told us if paying $400+ for a Dyson was out of our budget at the moment, then the Shark is one of the next highest rated vacuums (and so much cheaper). We have a toddler, a cat, and a house full of a carpet in a rental. Even the dining area is carpeted. So odd! I vacuum every other day.

    We’re looking to purchase a carpet cleaner to clean up spills as they happen, especially after having a sick toddler last month. (I had to borrow a friends carpet cleaner). I do agree that stains seem to come back after a cleaning, but it sounds like a great idea to pay the professionals to deep clean the carpets once a year.

    I may put that on my Christmas list!

    [Reply]

  4. Laura

    11/14/2014

    Great tips! We are shopping around for carpet, what a confusing proces! I would be so very grateful if you would share the specifics of color and brand and grade carpet you put in Nora’s room!! And where you got it. It looks really nice! Have you been happy with how it has held up? Love your blog, thanks!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Laura, We get all our carpeting from Advanced Interiors in Jenison (it’s a very small company) We purchased a carpeting called Maybrook Shell (that’s all our invoice says) but it’s held up very well (we have it in our play room too and it’s been going strong for over 3 years now)

    [Reply]

    laura Reply:

    Thank you!!! I looked it up and found several dealers in our area that carry it. From your pictures, its exactly what I want and its so great to know its held up for you! I think we may just go for it; I really appreciate you getting back to me.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    great — glad to help!

    [Reply]

  5. sandra

    11/14/2014

    When my husband and I were doing the walk-through of our new home with our home inspector, we noticed dark spots on the ceiling of the (unfinished) basement. We asked about it and the home inspector said they were from the previous homeowner cleaning the carpets too much. Apparently the water seeps down and can ruin the floor. Anyway, when we replaced the floors with new carpeting, the carpet guys told us the same thing. So it seems carpet cleaning is one of the areas best left to the professionals!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for sharing Sandra — I too have not heard great things about trying to clean your own carpets. We’ve been happy to pay $130 (estimate) to have our carpets cleaned each year.

    [Reply]

  6. Pamela

    11/14/2014

    Does anyone else feel like their carpets are MORE prone to stains post-professional cleaning? Our carpet is only 4 years old, and we’ve had it professionally cleaned once a year, but each time it seems that stains appear quicker and darker. Am I crazy???

    I’d like to get rid of all our carpet too, but I am intimidated to shop for/buy area rugs. I have no idea which ones are good quality, how to care for them, what size to purchase for a room, etc….
    I guess I could leave everything just plain wood (no rugs at all) but that strikes me as cold and uninviting and unfinished. Hmmmm….

    [Reply]

    jen Reply:

    Hi Pamela, You are right. I was a real estate agent and I remember learning that once you clean the carpets, they get dirtier quicker. Cleaning takes off the initial waterproofing and breaks down the fibers.

    We bought our house in 2002 and had new carpeting installed the day we closed on it. We cleaned the carpets for the first time in 2009 because we felt we should (they didn’t look bad, but we had done 3 massive renovations over the years). They have looked terrible ever since the cleaning . We have cleaned the main living areas twice since then and they get worse each time.

    We did them ourselves with rented equipment the first time. We were given a scrubber for Christmas after that and that is what we have used twice. Maybe they don’t get worse after professionals do them. We have been wondering if it would bring ours to a nicer condition if we had a professional come in or it they are ruined.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Jen,
    As I mentioned in the post, I personally would not recommend cleaning your own carpets. We have only ever had our carpets professionally cleaned and it is astounding the difference we see each time (and yes, it stays clean for a full year).

    Professionals have access to products and tools that are much more quality than anything we can rent or buy. I’d suggest hiring a professional and see if you change your mind.

    Also, one other thing to note, the type of carpeting you have will make a HUGE difference as to how they look after they are cleaned. Depending on the materials used, carpet will either “come back to life” or “lay flat” and get matted when it gets wet.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Pamela,
    Sorry to hear about your carpeting — that sounds frustrating! I’m obviously not an expert — but it COULD be the type of carpeting you have. I know lower-quality wool carpetings stain extremely easily. Also, Polyester carpeting does not respond well to cleaning of any sort (professional or DIY) because the fibers lay flat and get matted (making it look dirtier). You might want to check what type of carpeting you have and the research ways to clean that specific type.

    [Reply]

  7. Bonnie

    11/14/2014

    We clean our carpets ourselves twice a year. We get good results with our Hoover Spin Scrub Steam Vac. Working together, it’s not too difficult for my husband and I to do together. It seems like wood floors are the popular thing right now. We just had our wood staircase to our basement carpeted along with our basement. It looks warm and inviting and no dust bunnies! I’m happy with our choice and content.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — I totally hear you on the dust bunnie! I’m sweeping those up every few days 🙂 I guess for me though, I’d rather sweep them up than have them get trapped in the carpet — but I’ve always been really weird about dirty carpet!

    [Reply]

  8. Marie

    11/14/2014

    Could you share what types of carpeting your cleaner recommended and what types he said to steer clear of? We have been on the fence for months afraid to replace ours and take the plunge. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Well, I don’t want you to take my suggestion as “the right way” but our cleaner said that Nylon or high-quality wool are the best way to go (high-quality wool is extremely expensive though). One of the worst types of carpeting to buy would be polyester (that’s what most rugs from IKEA are made of!)

    [Reply]

  9. lydia @ Five4FiveMeals

    11/14/2014

    The stair thing cracked me up. I think everyone house a housekeeping thing they detest. Mine is putting pillowcases on the pillows. Can’t stand it. I just ask Jason to do it once a week.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    you know what, I don’t like putting the pillow cases on either. I usually just lay them on top of the pillows when I’m putting laundry away and then actually put them on the pillows when we’re headed to bed 🙂

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    Natalia Reply:

    That’s funny! 🙂
    Just put the case on the bed, with the opening towards you. Lay the pillow on top. Now bring the top corners of the pillow together, one over the other, almost folding the pillow in half, “vertically”. I’m right handed, so I bring Left over Right, holding them both with my right hand. Slide your hand holding the corners all the way inside, to the Right corner of the casing. Let go of the corners. The Left corner would naturally jump and move to its proper place. Shake if needed. 🙂
    Now – duvet covers…. That’s another story! I try the same method, but they are so huge!!!! I consider it a workout!

    [Reply]

  10. Alicia G

    11/14/2014

    Also not a fan of carpet and can’t wait to get more hardwood installed! We get our carpet steamed once a year but this year I am going to try buying our own steam cleaner (probably whatever Costco carries or gets good reviews on Amazon). Then I’d like to use that twice a year.

    We just got a new vacuum this week and I’m shocked at how much it picks up that our old vacuum did not. Our floors look great! It’s almost too heavy though so that is annoying but I like that it’s HEPA sealed bags so I don’t have to touch the dirt anymore b/c of allergies.

    http://www.sears.com/kenmore-elite-bagged-upright-vacuum-cleaner-silver/p-02031150000P

    I still want something lighter to do quick touch ups b/c this is way too heavy for just a quick once over type thing.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    don’t you love seeing all the junk being pulled from your carpeting!! My sister has a shedding dog and an extremely powerful vacuum. It’s AMAZING how much hair and junk she pulls out of her carpeting every other day!

    [Reply]