Carpet Cleaning Extra Services

Do I need to have my carpet professionally cleaned?

The short answer is yes. Carpet manufacturers all recommend that you have your carpets professionally cleaned on a regular basis. Regular cleaning helps to prolong the look and life of your carpets. Regular cleaning doesn’t mean weekly or even monthly. Depending on the type of carpet you have, wear and tear, foot traffic and if you have children or pets, regular cleaning is recommended every 6-18 months.

Is basic carpet cleaning service good enough?

Again, the short answer is yes. However, there may be circumstances where you need some “extra services” that the carpet cleaner can provide.

What are some of the extra services my carpet cleaner may provide?

  • Furniture moving – Some carpet cleaners charge for this service, some do not. Check with your cleaner to see how they handle it. There may also be a limit to how much and what they will move.
  • Stain removal – Some stains you can handle yourself, some you can’t. If you happen to have a stubborn stain that you can’t get out yourself, let your carpet cleaner know. Be prepared by knowing what the stain is (coffee, pet accident, etc.), how old it is, what you tried to clean it with and what your carpet type is. This information will help your service provider to bring the right cleaning materials for your situation.
  • Step or staircase cleaning – Obviously, steps and staircases aren’t flat, so they do require more work to clean them. Also, staircases are not always lit the same way a room is, so you may not realize how dirty your steps are. If you know you need this service, inform your cleaner from the start. It may be part of a service package they offer, or there may be an extra charge. If you are unsure, talk to your service provider when they are in your home.
  • Deodorizing – Deodorizing is meant to eliminate odor. This added step will have your carpet or rug smelling good, to go along with looking good after the cleaning. You might wonder if you really need it since you are having your carpet cleaned anyway. Keep in mind that no process is 100%. This is especially true if you have pets or small children, there is a smoker in the home, or if it has been a while since you last had your carpet cleaned. These circumstances may dictate a deodorizing procedure.
  • Sanitizing – If you are having your carpet steam cleaned, this added step may not be necessary since the hot water will kill most germs and bacteria. However, again, keep in mind that no process is 100%. If you have young pets or children prone to accidents, or if someone with allergies or breathing issues is in the home, you should discuss this with your service provider.
  • Stain repellent – There are products your service provider can put on your carpet that will help prevent staining. This application is usually recommended for high traffic or high use areas where accidents and spills are more likely to occur.

Regular carpet cleaning is a great way to enhance the beauty of your carpeted areas, plus it helps to minimize the damage regular wear and tear can create. Extra services provided by your carpet cleaning professional can boost the effect of carpet cleaning and help to prolong the life and beauty of your carpets. Just be sure to discuss your budget, circumstances, and concerns with your service provider so they can best assist you with your concerns and expectations.

By Sharon Koehler. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

Upright vs Canister Vacuums

Choosing a Vacuum Cleaner

It’s common knowledge that having your carpet and floors professionally cleaned regularly extends their life and keeps them looking newer longer. Yet, there needs to be some routine cleaning done in-between professional cleanings. Spills and stains need to be addressed as soon as possible and routine vacuuming is essential to keeping your carpets and floors clean in between professional cleanings. However, what you vacuum with is just as important as the vacuuming itself. Here we are going to look at the pros and cons of the 2 most commonly used types of vacuums: upright and cannister vacuums.

Pros of Upright Vacuum Cleaners

Ease of Use: Due to the all-in-one design, an upright is easier to move. It can be pushed easily from room to room with little effort.

Wide Footprint: The vacuum head of an upright is usually bigger than a canister making it quicker to vacuum even the largest of areas.

Emptying Debris: Most modern uprights have plastic containers that collect the debris. These containers snap in and out quickly and easily, plus they have a one touch button making emptying easy.

Storage: Their design makes it possible for uprights to stand alone in corners or closets without taking up much space.

Pros of Cannister Vacuum Cleaners

Noise: Cannister vacuums are a bit quieter than uprights. Their decibel level is about the same as a washing machine. This may be a factor if you have babies, dogs or someone in your home that has sensitive hearing.

Suction: Generally, cannister vacuums have more suction power. They are great at cleaning bare floors and can clean carpets effectively.

Cords: Retractable cords are stored inside a cannister vacuum. This reduces the chance of a trip and fall accident while it is in use or in storage.

Weight: Cannister vacuums usually weigh less. The difference in pounds may not be much, but their design makes them seem less cumbersome and heavy.

Cons of Upright Vacuum Cleaners

Noise: Their nose level is louder than cannister vacuums. It is something close to a coffee grinder. If you have babies or dogs, they may find it uncomfortable.

Weight: Uprights can weigh 20 pounds or more. While they push fairly easily, if you have stairs, lugging 20+ pounds up and down can get tiresome. You might want to consider a hand-held or stick vac for stairs.

Maneuverability: The vacuum head is bigger and wider on an upright so it doesn’t get into all the little corners and may require balancing on stairs if the head is wider than the stair itself.

Cords: Cords are stored on the outside of the vacuum and frequently lay on the floor while in use. This presents a trip and fall hazard.

Cons of Cannister Vacuums

Storage: Due to their design, cannister vacuums along with their cords and attachments take up much more space than an upright. If you have limited storage space, that may be a consideration.

Effectiveness: Even though they generally have more suction power than an upright, uprights are routinely rated to clean carpets more effectively. Take into consideration what types of flooring surfaces you have in your home when making a vacuum decision.

Maneuverability: A cannister vacuum rolls on wheels as you pull it from room to room. If you have thick carpet or rugs, the smaller wheels may get bogged down or stuck in the carpet.

Emptying Debris: Bagged cannister vacuums are more efficient at picking up dirt and debris. However, throwing away a dirty bag filled with debris and dust can be a hassle. Those vacuum bags need to be replaced every month or two, so you are continuously having to buy new bags. That can become costly over time. There are bagless models available, but they tend to be more expensive.

A vacuum clearer should be considered an investment in helping to extend the life of your flooring surfaces. Price should not be the only consideration.

  • What types of surfaces do you have?
  • Are there stairs involved?
  • Do you have pets?
  • Are there people or animals that may be bothered by noise?
  • Does anyone have a respiratory problem?

All these things need to be taken into consideration when purchasing a vacuum cleaner. In this particular situation, if all you consider is price, you may end up not getting what you need.

By Sharon Koehler. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

Carpet Padding

What is carpet padding?

Carpet padding is a separate piece of underlayment that you put down between the floor and the bottom of your carpet or area rug. It can be made of a variety of different materials, such as rubber, fiber, or foam. Carpet padding can normally be purchased as a pad or a roll and if needed, it can be cut, usually with scissors, to fit your space

Why do I need carpet padding?

There are several reasons you should always get carpet padding under your carpet or area rug.

  • Makes walking easier – Carpet padding absorbs the shock and impact of your footsteps, helping to alleviate walking fatigue. It also makes walking softer and more comfortable.
    Absorbs sounds- Studies show that carpet padding actually absorbs sound, making your footsteps quieter and less likely to disturb other people. This is especially important in multi-story homes.
  • Carpet Life – Having a carpet pad under your carpet or area rug helps to extend the life of your carpet. A carpet pad helps to reduce fiber crushing and keeps your carpet looking and feeling softer for much longer than a carpet without a pad underneath. It also absorbs the impact of everyday wear and tear, which also extends the life of your carpet.
  • Insulation – Carpet padding helps to insulate your home. It helps with heat retention in the winter and cool air retention in the summer, in turn helping to reduce your heating and cooling bills.
  • Protection – A carpet pad underneath your carpet or rug helps to protect your original floor from damage. Sometimes the backing on a carpet can scratch your original floor. Plus, any spills or pet stains that seep through the carpet itself, will also have to go through the pad before it reaches the original floor.
  • Safety – This is important with area rugs. Padding can keep area rugs from slipping and sliding, reducing slip and fall accidents

Does thickness matter?

The thickness of carpet padding actually does matter. The thickness of the pad should range somewhere between ¼ inch and 7/16 of an inch, although some experts say ½ inch is fine. Thickness should depend on the type of carpet fiber and the location where the carpet is being put.

  • If your padding is too thin, it will not absorb the shocks, and wear and tear needed to extend the life of your carpet or area rug. Plus, it will not cushion your footsteps or absorb sounds as well.
  • If your padding is too thick, it can cause uneven wear on your carpet, as well as promote seam splitting.
  • Talk to your carpet specialist about the thickness that is best for the carpet or rug you have.

Can carpet padding be cleaned?

Sometimes yes and sometimes no. The trick to cleaning the pad is to remove the carpet on top. With wall-to-wall carpet, that is not so easy. With area rugs, that process is much easier. However, if you can’t remove the carpet or if the stain is very bad, the best thing to do is to consult your carpet cleaning specialists. They can guide you on the best course of action for cleaning your pad.

You wouldn’t wash dishes without detergent or get a new computer without virus software. You shouldn’t get new carpet or rugs without the correct padding underneath. Consider the padding to be a helper in your carpet or rug investment. It will help to extend the life of your carpet or rug and make you more comfortable at the same time. Remember, always get the padding with the carpet.

This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

Why You Should Rearrange Your Furniture

There is a Lot to Be Said for Rearranging Your Furniture

[This article was originally published in October 2018]

Furniture arrangement sets a tone for how a space is used. Once you’ve settled on a layout that works for you, why change it? Well, it turns out that there are actually quite a few benefits associated with changing your furniture layout. Here are the details.

Psychological Benefits

Did you know there may actually be psychological benefits to rearranging furniture? For creative people, rearranging furniture is an opportunity for creative expression. For people who want to hit an emotional reset button, rearranging furniture provides physical and visual evidence of change. If the urge for a fresh decorating scheme hits you, rearranging furniture can create a sense of newness without the expense of replacing your current furniture. And last but not least, it certainly can’t hurt to take the focus off of the TV and establish a space that is more conducive to social interaction.

It’s Good for Carpets and Rugs

Carpets and rugs are subject to damage from foot traffic, heavy furniture, and sun fading. Rearranging your furniture is a great way to combat all three problems. The more you are able to alter traffic patterns and create new walkways in a space, the less likely your carpets and rugs are to develop uneven wear, tracking, and footpaths. Moving heavy furniture also helps prevent excessive compression of the fibers, because it gives the fibers a chance to recuperate and bounce back. When you rotate the position of furniture, solar damage is spread more evenly and is less noticeable.

Better Health and Fatter Pocketbook

Dust and dander tend to collect under and behind furniture. Every time you rearrange your furniture, it creates a convenient opportunity for some quick spring cleaning. If you have carpeting or rugs, they act as giant air filters, reducing the allergens in the air you breathe, and consequently, they should be professionally cleaned on a regular basis. Many of our clients time their furniture rearranging with our services twice per year. Their most used furniture is placed according to the season, maximizing warmth coming in from a sunny window or near a fireplace in the fall or winter and taking advantage of coolness near an air conditioner vent or open window in the spring or summer.

Overcoming Limitations

If the room size limits your ability to rearrange furniture, consider reducing how much furniture you have or replacing large pieces with smaller ones. An overcrowded room feels oppressive. The more walking space there is, as well as the more space there is between walls and furniture, the less confining a room will feel. Having less furniture or smaller size furniture can really help.

If, for whatever reason, you can’t rearrange your room entirely, consider adjusting the furniture by a few inches every few months to avoid excessive compression of the carpet and rug fibers.

By Sharon Koehler. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

Central Vacuum Systems

Should You Invest in a Central Vacuum System?

As we know, vacuuming our home’s floor surfaces is the first line of defense against dirt and grime building up. This buildup can make floors look dirty and dingy or it can cause the floors and carpet fibers to be damaged. Vacuuming is essential to floor surface care.

Today’s homes often have mixed floor surfaces such as: hardwood, area rugs, tile, and wall-to-wall carpet. Not all vacuum cleaners are meant to clean all surfaces. You may end up having to buy more than one type of vacuum cleaner to take care of your surfaces. Plus, if you have a multi-level home with stairs, you either have to buy multiple vacuums for each level or you have to lug vacuums up and down the stairs to get all your surfaces clean. What a drag. If this does not appeal to you, think about installing a central vacuum system in your home. Let’s take a look at some the pros and cons of central vacuum systems.


  • Warranties: Most systems come with multiyear warranties, some up to 10 years. Whereas, most portable vacuums, even the high-end ones come with a one-year warranty.
    Suction: Since the motors on central vacuum systems are so much larger, they have much more powerful suction, enabling you to pick up more dirt and debris.
  • Convenience: Instead of lugging a heavy, portable vacuum around, with a central vacuum system, you only need to carry the hose AND if you get a retractable hose option at your ports, you won’t even need to carry that.
  • Options: There are tool options for all your flooring needs and there are options for the systems such as wet/dry to help with spills, HEPA filters, retractable hoses, and baseboard dust slots to eliminate the need for dustpans. You can sweep directly into the slot.
  • Noise: Regular, mobile vacuums have a noise rating of 70-85 decibels, approximately the sound level of a lawn mower. It annoys kids and pets alike. A central vac system goes to roughly 60 decibels or about the same as a window air conditioner. Quieter and much less annoying.
  • Air Quality: Since the suction is superior to that of a standard vacuum cleaner, it eliminates more allergens and dust. Plus, it sucks these things out of your immediate living area, and you only have to empty the dust container a few times a year reducing your exposure to these irritants.


  • Expense: The initial outlay for a system, depending on options, location, and brand can be upwards of several thousand dollars.
  • Energy: Central vacuum systems have larger motors and more suction power, so they require more energy than smaller, portable vacuum cleaners.
  • Storage: If you don’t get retractable hose ports, hoses can be up to thirty feet long, taking up much more space in a closet than a regular vacuum cleaner.
  • Suction: While a central vacuum system has more powerful suction than a standard vacuum, that can be a problem. If you are not careful, the extra power can accidentally suck things up you wanted to keep. Or it can suck up items too big for the system causing clogs or other malfunctions.
  • Potential Damages: Hoses can reach up to thirty feet enabling multi- room cleaning. However, unless you are careful, hoses can rub on walls and furniture causing wear, scuffs, and other damage.
  • Repairs: If something does go wrong, repairs can be costly, especially if the issue is behind the walls of your home. Some brands require that only certified, licensed technicians work on your system, or the warranty may be voided.

Whether you decide to invest in a central vacuum system or not, vacuuming alone should only be considered the first line of defense against carpet wear. While vacuuming does help prevent premature wear and damage, it does not replace the routine, deep cleaning performed by professionals. The three-pronged approach of: taking care of spills and stains immediately, proper vacuuming and routine deep cleaning is the best way to keep your carpets and rugs looking their best for years to come.

By Sharon Koehler. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

Cleaning Synthetic Carpets and Rugs

How to Keep Your Synthetic Carpets and Rugs Clean, Fresh, and Inviting

No matter what type of synthetic fiber your carpets and rugs are, proper cleaning and care not only enhances the look of your carpet but can help prevent premature wear. All synthetic fiber is not created the same, and each material requires its own unique cleaning methods, even when it comes to vacuuming. Let’s look at how to keep your synthetic carpets and rugs clean and looking good.

Nylon Carpets and Rugs

Nylon is the most popular fiber for synthetic carpets and rugs. It is estimated that two thirds of synthetic carpets sold are nylon. It is stain resistant, static free, and retains its pile height extremely well. However, you need to use proper care to help it maintain these qualities.

General Care:
  • Vacuum at a minimum, weekly, and more often in high traffic areas.
  • Use a soft bristle beater bar in the vacuum. Hard bristles can cause fuzzing.
  • For area rugs, flip them over and vacuum the underside as well.

It is recommended that you get your nylon carpet professionally cleaned at least every year.

Spill and Stain Care:
  • Immediately blot up or remove as much of the stain or spill as possible, using a clean white cloth. You can also use a wet dry vac.
  • Wet but do not saturate the area with warm, not hot water.
  • Blot up excess moisture until the stain is removed.
  • If the stain persists or reappears, use a mixture of ¼ teaspoon dish detergent and 1 cup warm water. Rinse with warm water and blot. Repeat until all the detergent is gone.
  • Area rugs can be machine washed on the gentle cycle at home or in a large commercial machine at your local laundry mat.

Polyester Carpets and Rugs

Polyester rugs are affordable, stain resistant and great in high-spill areas. However, dirt and debris can damage the carpet fibers, so routine carpet maintenance is a must.

General Care:
  • If the rug is small enough, shake it outside before you vacuum.
  • Vacuum at a minimum, weekly, and 3-4 times a week in high-traffic areas.
  • If possible, vacuum both sides of the rug.
  • For shag rugs, disable or remove the beater bar and vacuum with suction only.
  • It is recommended that you get your polyester carpet deep cleaned by professionals yearly.
Spill and Stain Care:
  • Immediately blot up or remove as much of the spot or spill as possible with a white towel or paper towels.
  • Put a few drops of dish detergent in a cup of cool water and blot on the spot with a clean sponge. Don’t rub.
  • Clean the sponge and repeat until the stain is gone.
  • Rinse the area with cool water until the soap is all gone.
  • Let dry completely before you use it again.
  • Area rugs can be machine washed on the cold water cycle at home or in a large commercial machine at your local laundry mat.

Olefin Carpets and Rugs

Olefin carpets are fade and moisture resistant. They also dry very quickly after cleaning due to their moisture and stain resistance. One thing to keep in mind is olefin fiber has a low melting point starting at 225 degrees, so be careful with heat treatments.

General Care:
  • Vacuum at a minimum, weekly, but more frequently is preferred.
  • If possible, vacuum both sides of the rug.
  • Steam cleaning is not recommended for Olefin rugs. It can discolor or damage the fibers.
  • Dry cleaning is fine for these types of rugs. There are DIY kits on the market, or you can contact us.
Spill and Stain Care:
  • Immediately blot up or remove as much of the spot or spill as possible, using a clean white cloth.
  • Spray the area with a commercial carpet cleaner and let it dry. Then vacuum the area.
  • Always blot with a clean, white cloth and allow the rug to dry completely before walking on it or brushing up the pile.
  • Olefin area rugs can be machine washed on the cool water cycle at home or in a large commercial machine at your local laundry mat.
  • If the spot or spill is oil based, you may need the help of a professional, as oil-based material is very difficult to remove from Olefin fiber.

Triexta Carpets and Rugs

Triexta is still a rather new material for carpets and rugs. When seeking a carpet cleaning professional, be sure to ask if they are knowledgeable about Triexta.

General Care:
  • Vacuum weekly, but in high traffic areas, more frequently.
  • Set the beater bar at high height to help prevent fuzzing of the fiber.
  • Get the carpet professionally cleaned every 12-18 months.
Spill and Stain care:
  • Blot immediately with white paper towels.
  • Do not scrub, as this may cause fuzzing.
  • Spray with cold water and blot from the outside to the middle of the stain or spill.
  • Repeat until the stain is gone.
  • Press dry by layering white paper towels over the area and pressing in place with a flat weight until dry.
  • If the spill area is large, you can use a wet/dry vac.

Wall-to-wall carpets and area rugs can add so much to the décor and warmth of your home.

By Sharon Koehler. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

Synthetic Fibers for Carpets and Area Rugs

Synthetic Carpet Fibers

Carpet and area rugs can enhance the décor of any space, but not all floor covering is made the same. Carpet and area rug materials generally fall into 2 different categories: natural fiber and synthetic fiber. They each have their pros and cons. Make sure you get the one that is right for your needs. Here we will explore synthetic floor covering.

What is synthetic carpet fiber?

Synthetic carpet fiber is created in a man-made manufacturing process. It is not as eco-friendly as natural fiber in either its creation or the manufacturing process. Synthetic carpet makes up the biggest percentage of wall-to-wall carpeting. It is much more stain and mold resistant than natural fiber carpet, making it great for both offices and homes.

What types of synthetic fiber are used in carpet?

There are 4 main types of synthetic fiber for carpets and rugs: Nylon, Polyester, Olefin and Triexta.


Nylon is the most well known of the synthetic fiber carpets. It’s strong and resists “crushing,” making it great for high traffic areas. Nylon does have staining issues, but that can be minimized by making sure it is protected with a stain treatment. Most nylon carpeting is pretreated with stain protection, but it never hurts to double check. Nylon is great for wall-to-wall projects.


Polyester has gotten a bad reputation in the past for not being as durable or strong as nylon, but with the advent of new technology, polyester is making great strides in that area. Polyester also has better stain resistance than nylon. Some polyester carpeting is now made with recycled material, making it a bit more eco-friendly to make, but the actual carpet itself is not recyclable. Polyester tends to have a lower price point than nylon. It does resist fading and is softer than its nylon counterpart. It is great for wall-to-wall applications.


Olefin has a look that is similar to wool, in a manmade sort of way. As synthetics go, Olefin is considered to be inferior, as far as strength and durability are concerned. Consequently, it is considered by many to be a contractor- grade item. Before you decide against it, it should be mentioned that Olefin is good in low-traffic areas, and it is very fade and stain resistant. Olefin does not absorb liquid, making spill cleanup much easier. Possible uses would be a guest room, outdoor carpet, or basements. It is generally not recommended for wall-to-wall projects in high traffic rooms.


Triexta has been around for just a little over a decade. It is a relative newcomer to an industry that has been around for eons. Although similar to polyester, it is softer and resists crushing better than polyester. Triexta is resistant to staining, and most water-based spills can be taken care of with cold water. Even though it is a synthetic fiber, part of the manufacturing process uses corn glucose (sugar), making it just a bit more on the eco-friendly side. The biggest drawback to Triexta is that it is relatively new on the market, and its longevity, while looking promising, is unknown at this time.


All synthetic carpet off-gasses when first installed, which means that your new carpet may smell when you first get it. The smell will go away in a few days to a week. (Triexta gives off less smell due to being partially made with corn glucose.) Off-gassing shouldn’t be a reason to not get synthetic carpet. Lots of other things off-gas such as: cabinets, new furniture, cleaners, cosmetics, and a host of other items.

Carpets and area rugs can be a big investment. If you are interested in a particular material, make sure you are clear on the pros and cons of each type so that you find the floor covering that is perfect for you, your budget, and your home.


By Sharon Koehler. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

How To Take Care of Natural Fiber Floor Coverings

Cleaning Natural Fiber Rugs and Carpets

Even though natural fiber rugs and carpets are “natural,” they are made from different materials. While they do have some similarities, they need to be cleaned differently. In this article, you will learn some tips on how to take care of your natural fiber floor coverings.

There are several things you can do to all natural fiber rugs to help keep them clean:
  • Vacuum regularly. This keeps dirt from getting ground into the carpet.
  • Treat spills and stains at once. This helps to keep the stain from setting. Never rub or scrub spills. Blot only.
  • Try not to use store-bought stain removers. They may leave a film on your rug that can make it appear dull.
Before treating any spills or stains…

Always test any substance in an inconspicuous area first. If you see any problem, contact us and do not proceed.

Determine if the rug is colorfast, meaning that the dye will not run or fade when wet. If the carpet is wall to wall, find an inconspicuous spot like a closet and put a few drops of the cleaning solution on the carpet. Wait 5-10 seconds and then blot with a clean, white cloth, using a bit of pressure. If the cloth is clean, then the carpet is colorfast. If the cloth turns the color of the carpet, then the carpet is not colorfast, and you will need to call a professional. If you have an area rug, test a small spot on the edge the same way.

NOTE: Baking soda is a mildly abrasive alkaline substance. Baking soda’s abrasive properties can result in fiber damage and breakage with foot traffic if it is not completely removed from carpet, so, if you choose to use baking soda, be sure to thoroughly vacuum once the area is dry.

Wool Carpeting

Wool tends to be stain resistant, so it is fairly easy to keep clean. Vacuum weekly, and get it professionally cleaned yearly.

Treating stains and spills:
  • Identify the stain.
  • Spray the stain with warm water, but do not saturate.
  • Blot with a clean, white rag.
  • Start from the outside and work your way in.
  • If needed, use a soft bristle brush in a circular motion.
  • For a pet stain, use a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water.
  • For a makeup stain, use a 50/50 mix of rubbing alcohol and water.
  • For wine spills, make a paste the consistency of peanut butter with baking soda and water, spread it on the stain, and vacuum thoroughly when dry.
  • For a crayon stain, you will need to call a professional.

Silk Rugs

To keep silk rugs looking good, vacuum weekly, and have them professionally cleaned every 6 months.

Treating stains and spills:
  • If possible, use a silk rug shampoo to treat stains or…
  • Make a white vinegar and baking soda paste the consistency of peanut butter, and let it sit on the stain for 30 minutes, then remove with a clean white cloth.
  • Let the rug air dry and then vacuum.

Cotton Rugs

Cotton rugs need to be vacuumed weekly, but occasionally, the rug needs to be turned over and vacuumed on the underside. Plus, the floor needs to be swept underneath.

Treating stains and spills:

If the rug is not colorfast, you can take it to be dry cleaned.

If the rug is colorfast:

  • Blot the stain with a clean, white cloth.
  • Dip another clean, white cloth in a mixture of mild soap and cool water, wringing out the excess.
  • Place the cloth on the stain for 10 minutes.
  • Blot with a clean, dry white cloth, and let the rug air dry.
  • If the stain is still visible, try again, but use a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water.
  • If the stain is large, you can put the rug in the washing machine. If the rug is too big, you can take it to the laundromat and use a commercial washer.
  • Do not put a cotton rug in the dryer. Always let the rug air dry.

Jute, Sisal, Seagrass and Coir Rugs

These rugs need to be vacuumed weekly. An extra step, if possible, is to shake the rug outside first to loosen dirt, so the rug can be more easily vacuumed up.

Treating stains and spills:
  • Blot the stain with a clean, white rag.
  • Use a clean white microfiber cloth to sparingly apply a cleaner specifically made for natural carpet fibers or use a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water.
  • Blow dry with a hair dryer to prevent mold or mildew.
To clean the whole rug:
  • Shake the rug outside, and then vacuum.
  • Sprinkle dry carpet shampoo or baking soda on the whole rug.
  • Let sit for 2 – 3 hours, then vacuum.
  • Turn the rug over and repeat the process.
  • DO NOT steam clean or wet shampoo. This can cause mold and mildew, plus it can damage the fibers.

Carpets and area rugs can add style and warmth to any home. But, just like anything else, they need proper care to look their best and to keep your home warm and inviting. Download our free Carpet and Interior Textiles Care Guide under the Resources tab of this site for more information. Contact us if you have any specific questions about these tips on how to take care of your natural fiber floor coverings.

By Sharon Koehler. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

Natural Carpet Fibers

Natural Carpet Fibers

Carpet and area rug materials generally fall into two different categories: natural fiber and synthetic fiber. For people who want to steer clear of synthetic fibers, there are many options. Here, we will explore natural fiber floor covering, including both animal-based materials and the most popular plant-based natural fiber materials. Learn more about possible uses in your home, so you can make an informed decision on your carpet or rug purchase.

What are natural carpet fibers?

Natural carpet fibers are carpet/rug materials that can be obtained from natural sources, such as plants or animals. Natural fiber carpets are considered more eco-friendly, because they come from natural, sustainable materials that can be regrown or harvested multiple times. Natural carpet fibers include, but are not limited to: jute, silk, cotton, wool, sisal, seagrass, and coir.

What natural fibers come from animals?

Most animal-based carpets and rugs are made from wool, but silk is also a luxurious option.

  • Wool is sheared from sheep and is considered the best natural carpet fiber. Any natural fiber wall-to-wall carpet is made almost exclusively out of wool. While wool is on the more expensive end, it does have several properties that make it a good fit for most homes. It is naturally insulating, keeping your winter heat out of your crawl space and in the room where it belongs. This will help reduce your heating costs. Wool has a natural elastic quality, which means it doesn’t “crush” like some other carpets. This makes wool great for high traffic areas. Wool also holds color dyes well, so they don’t fade easily.
  • Silk comes from the cocoon of the silkworm, and rugs created with silk are very highly prized and expensive. Those beautiful, vibrant, colorful Oriental or Persian rugs you see hanging on walls or laying under expensive furniture are silk. They are delicate and require maintenance and professional cleaning.

What natural carpet fibers come from plants?

If you are looking for plant-based carpeting or rugs, here are the most popular options.

  • Jute comes from the stem of the jute plant and is a very soft material. It is not good for wall-to-wall projects, but its softness does make good area rugs. It cleans up well with just a vacuum. Jute should not be cleaned with water. It can mildew. So, while it may be good for a playroom, it is not suited for bathrooms. Jute also does not generate static electricity, so you may experience fewer winter shocks. Jute rugs are generally tan/brown in color, but they can be dyed successfully.
  • Cotton grows in protective cases on cotton shrubs and, like jute, is considered to be a very soft material. Cotton rugs are great for people on a budget or for those who like to change out their look often. For the most part, they are relatively inexpensive, plus they come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. They are reversable and washable. The downside to cotton rugs is that they do stain rather easily (so it’s a good thing they are reversable and washable). The other thing is that they are light in weight, so they tend to slide or not lay flat creating a trip or fall hazard. These two drawbacks can be minimized by using a good rug pad underneath.
  • Sisal comes from the agave plant and is VERY durable, so it holds up well in high traffic areas. Sisal is a low pile rug, so it doesn’t hold on to dust particles, pet dander, or other allergens, making it a good choice for allergy sufferers. Like jute, it does not hold static electricity. Sisal is very absorbent, but the absorbency does make it prone to staining. Sisal should not be steam cleaned or put in the washing machine. Vacuuming should be all that is needed for cleaning. If you are looking for a soft, rub-your-feet-on-the-fibers rug, sisal is not for you. Sisal is rather rough to the touch.
  • Seagrass is the only flowering plant that grows completely underwater. Like sisal, it is also good for homes with allergy sufferers. It is a low pile rug, so it doesn’t hold onto dust particles, or pet dander. Seagrass cleans up with a vacuum and should never be steam cleaned. It is not a good outdoor or bathroom floor covering as it can get mildewy in humid conditions. It can be installed wall to wall BUT needs to acclimate first for at least twenty-four hours, as it does shrink once it gets unrolled. Seagrass has a natural, nonporous, waxy coating making it stain resistant. Seagrass rugs should only be dry cleaned. Excessive or prolonged moisture can lead to mold.
  • Coir carpets are made from coconut husks. These carpets are rough to the touch and shouldn’t be placed in barefoot areas like the bedroom or bathroom. They are very durable and good for high traffic areas. Coir rugs are mold and mildew resistant, but they can shed. If your coir rug has a PVC backing, then you shouldn’t get it wet.

Carpets and area rugs can be a big investment. If you are interested in a particular material, make sure you research the do’s and don’ts so that you find the floor covering that is perfect for you, your budget, and your home.

By Sharon Koehler. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

Carpets vs Area Rugs

Carpets vs Area Rugs

We tend to use the words carpet and rug interchangeably. Even though they may be made of the same material, they are not necessarily the same thing. Carpet is a thick, fabric floor covering that is installed in a room or rooms in a wall-to-wall manner. Once installed, it is generally not moveable or interchangeable. An area rug is a fabric floor covering that is not installed but laid loose in a room. It is moveable and interchangeable. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of both types of floor coverings.

Carpet Pros

Carpeting offers a variety of favorable characteristics, but these ones stand out above the others when it comes to comparing carpets and rugs.

  • Hides flaws of the underfloor. If your hardwood or tile is old and in need of serious work, carpet may be the answer. Since it goes wall to wall it will cover every inch of the old, distressed existing floor.
  • Warmth. In the winter carpet acts as a heat loss barrier. It helps retain the heat in your home that might otherwise seep into your crawl space or basement, keeping your home warmer and your heating bills a little bit lower.
  • Safety. Trip and fall accidents are greatly reduced on carpet compared to hard flooring. Wall-to-wall carpet adds traction to floors and there are no unevenly laid tiles to trip over.

3 Carpet Cons

Every type of flooring material comes with disadvantages, and carpeting is no exception. Here are three factors to consider when comparing carpets and rugs.

  • Cleaning. Since you can’t roll wall-to-wall carpet up and take it somewhere to clean, you will need call your carpet cleaning technician to schedule periodic deep cleaning.
  • Uneven wear. Some areas in your home are high traffic and some are not. Unlike some types of hard flooring, when carpet gets worn in one area, that section cannot be restored or replaced. The whole carpet will need to be replaced.
  • You can’t take it with you. If you install wall-to-wall carpet and then need to move, the carpet stays with your house. On the plus side, with proper care and professional cleaning, carpeting can be an attractive selling point.

3 Area Rug Pros

We love area rugs for lots of reasons, but here are the top three reasons you might choose area rugs over wall-to-wall carpeting.

  • Easy, inexpensive redecorating. Like throw pillows and other accessories, area rugs are laid loose in a room. When redecorating, it is easy to swap out or move area rugs.
  • Cleaning. Since area rugs aren’t attached to the floor, they can be easily thrown in the washer or taken to the laundromat and put in a heavy-duty washing machine. If they aren’t washable, they can be easily transported by you or your carpet cleaning technician.
  • Cost. Compared to installed wall-to-wall carpeting, area rugs usually are less costly, so they are easier on your budget. You can also reposition area rugs to avoid uneven wear and the cost of replacement.

3 Area Rug Cons

Here are three disadvantages to area rugs compared to wall-to-wall carpeting.

  • Safety. Trip or slip and fall accidents tend to increase with area rugs, because people catch their feet on the edges. Since area rugs are not installed, they can slide, causing accidental falls. A rug pad underneath or anchoring the rug with furniture can help reduce the likelihood of a rug sliding.
  • They don’t generally cover the whole floor. Usually, area rugs are smaller than the room they are in, so if there are issues with the original floor such as stains, scratches or cracked tile, area rugs may not cover all the imperfections.
  • Limited availability of sizes. Unless you are willing to pay top dollar for a custom rug, you will need to choose from preset sizes, such as 4 x 6, 8 x 10, and 10 x 12. If you are unable to find the ones you want in the sizes you need, you’ll have to wait, shop around, or pick something else.

The words “carpet” and “rug” may be used interchangeably, but they each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Once you make a decision about your flooring materials, you can count on us to help you keep your fine surfaces clean, fresh, and inviting.

This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.