Clean or replace carpet? 5 things you need to consider when Cleaning your Carpet, Orange County, CA


Installing carpet in your home is a lot like buying a car — the moment you use it, the value starts depreciating.

Most carpet manufacturers say their carpet lasts around 10 years, but with proper care, many families are able to extend the life of their carpet even longer by utilizing professional carpet cleaners. At some point, though, you’ll need to decide whether cleaning or replacing your carpet is the best choice. To find out if replacing is right for you, consider these factors:

1. Wear and tear

Has your carpet seen better days? Are you putting rugs all over it to cover rips and tears, or rearranging furniture to cover defects? Are your kids scared to lay on it? Matted carpet, tears and significant wear on the main walkways are major signs your carpet is on its death bed.

Polyester carpet fibers have a reputation of matting and losing their form. Once it falls down and loses its tuft, it doesn’t return to normal, even with professional cleaning. Nylon carpeting, however, is typically more resilient than polyester and responds well to carpet cleaning, even when matted down.

You might be able to fix small tears and rips yourself, or you can hire a carpet professional to make the repair. However, large rips and tears tend to signal the carpet needs to be replaced, especially if the tears are present on stairs or major walkways.

2. Excessive stains

Are you covering up stains with furniture and rugs when cleaning fails to remove them? If your house is starting to resemble a mine field, it’s time to replace the carpet. Most carpets come with a stain-resistant finish, but over time the treatment fades, and eventually leaves the carpet unprotected. Luckily, professional carpet cleaners know tricks to remove tough stains. Dean Leffel, owner of highly rated Home Cleaning Centers of America in Indianapolis, says most carpet cleaners only clean to the base of your carpet, to avoid damaging the glue that binds your carpet to the pad. However, he says this doesn’t get any stains that penetrate deeper than the carpet.

“We have a system of flushing out deep stains with a flood extraction tool,” he says. In this method, Leffel floods the area with cleaning solution and uses a heavy duty extraction tool to remove the stain from the carpet and pad. Sometimes, Leffel says, stubborn stains just won’t go away. Bleach, plant food, tea, wine and mustard are typically the toughest stains to remove, and carpet cleaners say many homeowners make the stains worse by using shoddy DIY stain-removal methods they find on the web, or store-bought carpet-cleaning products that can actually damage carpet with harsh chemicals.

Stains caused by pet urine, feces, vomit, mold and mildew are usually easy to clean if you act fast. But these biological substances eventually will absorb into the carpet padding, leading to mold and mildew buildup under the carpet. If the biological stains are in several places, consider replacing the carpet to avoid health hazards with mold. Leffel says they sometimes get creative with replacing small pieces of stained carpet by removing carpet from a rarely used closet.

3. Consider age of carpet

Are you still using the 1970s shag carpet that came with your house? Have you had it cleaned several times? Believe it or not, carpet doesn’t last forever, even with good care. Most manufacturers say carpet should last for 10 years with proper care. After 10 years, signs of wear show on the major walkways and the carpet fibers start losing their texture and tuft. If you find yourself cleaning the carpet over and over and not getting the results you want, it might be time to lay the carpet to rest. Signs of old carpet include color loss, fading, matting, ripples, wrinkles and lack of padding support.

4. Condition of padding

Carpet padding is like the pillow under the case, the carpet is nothing but a layer of fabric without the padding. It helps support the carpet, working as a foundation and making it comfortable to walk and lay on. It buffers sounds and keeps a room quieter and even improves insulation. However, carpet padding also absorbs a lot of spills and cleaning the carpet doesn’t necessarily clean the padding. Signs of aging padding include unevenness, wrinkles and a crinkling sound when someone walks over it.

5. Odor

Are you spraying fabric freshener and lighting candles every time you have company? Spot-cleaning carpets and even professional cleaning might remove stains and odors from the carpet, but the padding often absorbs the smell. Leffel suggests asking carpet cleaners what method they use to remove wetness beneath the carpet, if odors are a problem. “The odor won’t go away unless they deep clean the stain and ensure the pad is dry,” he says. If you’ve tried to get rid of the old carpet smell and can’t, consider replacing the carpet.

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