Some of the most luxurious carpets are deep, soft and squishy underfoot. They feel comforting and strangely reassuring — that’s until they become flattened over time.
Sadly, that soft and comforting feel of new carpet doesn’t last anywhere near as long as it should. Life takes over, and it’s busier than ever. Before long, deep pile is short pile, thanks to a never-ending stream of traffic.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. If you’re vigilant from the day your carpet is fitted, you might be able to preserve that new-carpet feel for a lot longer.
Carpet pile has a memory of its own. If it’s constantly being flattened, it will eventually pass the point of no return. And no amount of fiddling and restoration work will breathe new life into your floor covering.
But if you take maintenance and cleaning seriously, you can drastically slow down the rate at which your carpet flattens. Here’s how.
Keep things moving
Have you ever moved an item of furniture after it has sat on thick carpet for a long time? The carpet underneath was probably flat, deformed and beyond repair. But that’s because you never gave the pile a chance to recover.
Unless you’re never going to move furniture again, it’s always a good idea to keep changing the layout of your carpeted rooms. The good news is that you don’t have to move stuff around a lot to preserve your carpets.
Every two weeks or so, move your household furniture a couple of inches. The legs of a table, for example, can be moved just a few centimetres to drastically change the general position of the item. This gives the partially flattened area of carpet underneath time to recover.
And the same goes for your sofas, chairs and units. Move the feet an inch or two every couple of weeks to take the pressure off your carpet.
As well as moving furniture, you can change the flow of traffic, too. For example, if there’s a well-trodden pathway in and out of a room, change it. Get people to walk through a different way — thus eliminating a route to allow the carpet time to recover.
Nothing breathes new life into thick pile carpet like a vacuum cleaner. As long as it delivers enough suction power, your vacuum should be able to pull up individual fibres before they become permanently flattened.
Vacuuming also removes dirt and dust that can make flattening worse. These unwanted substances mat individual fibres together, which makes fluffing up pile a lot more difficult.
You don’t have to vacuum every square inch of your carpets every day. Identify the high-traffic areas that need attention. Vacuum these areas daily. Take your time to allow the pile to be pulled up from its flattened position. And use the full range of accessories and attachments to tackle badly affected areas.
Use a vacuum with a motorised brushroll
A brushroll agitates carpet pile to dislodge dirt and dust before its sucked up. This is a great way of getting into particularly deep pile — where older, less efficient vacuum cleaners can’t reach.
But by using a vacuum with an independently powered brushroll, you can get even further into the pile of your carpet. Bristles pull up the pile for you. Identify the direction in which the fibres are leaning, and vacuum in the opposite direction.
Spread the weight
When weight is concentrated on small areas of carpet, the flattening is often much worse and longer lasting. By spreading out the weight of your furniture, you can minimise the effects on your carpet.
The simplest way to spread out weight is to place the feet or legs of your furniture on coasters. Of course, the carpet underneath will still flatten. But the process will take longer, and it won’t be nearly as pronounced. Alternatively, look for furniture with wider feet, legs and bases.
Steam clean your carpet regularly
The power of steam can clean and revitalise carpet pile. If you proceed with care, you can breathe new life into your flattened carpet with nothing more than a domestic steam mop.
Use the carpet attachment that came with your steam cleaner and treat the affected area. Once the carpet is dry, gently pull up the individual fibres with a fork. This is a painstaking process, but it delivers results if you have enough patience.
This is a great carpet hack that always delivers results. Place ice cubes over the flattened carpet, and leave them to melt. This is best done when the room is cool, however. The longer the ice cubes take to melt, the more effect they’ll have. Once they’re melted, you should notice that the flattening is much less pronounced. Just spend a few minutes gently lifting up the fibres with a blunt spoon or fork.
Introduce protective barriers
Let’s be honest, if your furniture is always going to be in the same place, how the carpet looks underneath isn’t too much of an issue. But what is a serious issue for many householders is the problem of flattened carpet in high-traffic areas. Fortunately, the solution is a simple one.
Identify the main carpeted thoroughfares in your home. Then protect the carpet in these areas with runners, mats and rugs. And if you can’t divert traffic at all in the area, consider an alternative type of flooring such as laminate or tile.
Carpet maintenance should be a continual process — it should never end. And, crucially, it should start from the day your carpet first goes down. Always clean messes as soon as possible. Vacuum daily in high-traffic areas, whether you think it’s necessary or not. And be proactive when it comes to manually lifting individual fibres with a spoon or fork.
Delay the process of flattening, and your carpet should deliver many years of faithful service.