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How to Maintain and Improve Appearance of Old Carpeting

If you’re living in a home or apartment and love the look of carpet, you know the all-too-familiar feeling of having to keep up with it to make it look nice. You can clean and steam it all you want, but after a while, it can start to look a little “old.” In this article, James explains how to maintain and improve the appearance of old carpeting.

Maintain and Improve Appearance of Old Carpeting

Dear James: I am running over budget on remodeling my house, so I cannot replace all the carpeting. What are some methods to rejuvenate the older carpeting to look newer? — Sandra K.

Dear Sandra: You certainly are not the first person to overrun a budget and have to cut back a bit on the final touches. Generally, unless your old carpeting is extremely damaged, you can use some tricks to make it look better for a year or two until you can afford to replace it.

Crushing is one of the most common and unsightly problems with old carpeting. It can be caused by the weight of furniture (usually from the feet) or by foot traffic from your family. The crushing from foot traffic is worse because those areas probably also have other types of damage.

The best temporary method to improve crushing is to just hide it. Try to reposition your furniture so the heavily traveled areas are covered. The small crushed areas from the furniture feet that will be exposed can be fluffed up some. Vacuum them several times and use a spray carpet cleaner on them. While they are still slightly damp, vacuum them again.

Depending on the type of carpet you have, pilling made have occurred in the high-traffic areas. These are small balls of fiber on the carpet surface. Take a sharp scissors and trim them off as level as you can. It may not look like new, but it will definitely look better than it did before.

carpet care

If you have young children, you likely have some snagged spots. This is where sharp objects, such as toys, table legs, etc., have pulled up a piece of the carpet. Cut the snag off. Never pull on it because you may just make the spot larger.

Since you are going to replace the carpet in a year or so, pull some fibers out from a spot hidden under the furniture. Glue them into the open spot and trim them off level with the rest of the carpet. Use a hot melt glue gun to put a small blob of adhesive on the fibers before you place them in the spot.

If you have pile carpet, sprouting is another common problem even on relatively new carpet. This is where one or several fibers stick up further than others giving the carpet a rough appearance. Trim them off level and, again, never try to pull a long one out thinking it is just loose.

Regular vacuuming is the best method to maintain your new carpet. More than 75 percent of the dirt in carpets is loose and dry so the vacuum will pick it up. Make sure to set the beater bar on the vacuum cleaner head to the proper height. If it is too high, it will not adequately clean. If it is too low, it will cause excessive wear and tear on the fibers.

Professional cleaning should be done every two years. This deep cleaning will remove the sticky-type of dirt which your vacuum leaves behind. For high-traffic areas, rent a steam carpet cleaner at the supermarket or home center store and clean those spots each year. Also, rearrange some furniture every couple years to change the foot traffic patterns.

Send your questions to Here’s How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit

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