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The Problem With Carpet That Hides Dirt

Carpet in living rooms, hallways, steps, and other high traffic areas can soil quickly. Some colors and styles of carpeting look clean longer than others. Chances are you have heard the well-intended but ill-advised suggestion to choose carpeting that hides dirt so there will be less vacuuming required and you will not feel the need to get it professionally cleaned as often. Why is this bad advice? Here are the details.

Carpets That Hide Dirt

Two factors to consider when it comes to how long a carpet looks clean are color and texture. Keep in mind that we are not talking about the actual cleanliness of the carpet but only how clean it appears to be. Carpeting with speckled patterns, crazy designs, or dark colored carpeting will hide dirt more than solid or light colored carpet. Certain textures with loosely distributed fibers, such as a low shag or Berber, will allow dirt to fall down below the surface, whereas other textures with densely distributed stiff fiber bundles, like cut pile carpet, will keep dirt on the surface longer.

The Cost of Less Vacuuming and Fewer Professional Cleanings

One might imagine that having carpets that stay looking clean longer would be a good thing, but hiding the dirt means you are also hiding the devastating long-term effects of dirt.

Think of dirt as tiny shards of glass. The sharp edges slice along the carpet fibers every time someone takes a step. Over time, the carpet fibers weaken and break. If you allow premature wear to be the norm, you can count on spending more money, because any money you save with fewer professional cleanings will seem insignificant once you are forced to replace your carpet a lot sooner than expected.

If you want to get the most mileage out of your investment, treat carpet that hides dirt like carpet that doesn’t hide dirt.

Carpet Care Tips

The best way to keep carpets looking clean is to actually keep carpets clean. If you keep your carpet looking clean by hiding the dirt, even professional cleaning won’t be enough to resolve the problem once premature wear becomes apparent. Whether your carpet hides or advertises dirt, it can look clean with proper care.

Vacuum regularly, especially high traffic areas. Vacuuming slowly and evenly to remove the most ground in soil. Place high quality, heavy-duty mats at entrances to reduce the amount of grit and grime tracked in from outside. Have your carpet periodically professionally cleaned, whether it looks dirty or not. Professional cleaning loosens, dislodges, and extracts dirt particles and contaminants that a vacuum can’t remove.

Our Carpet Selection Suggestion

Do not choose your carpet based on how well it hides dirt. It may seem counterproductive, but carpet that does not hide dirt may actually be a better choice. Like the adage, “The squeaky wheel gets the oil,” the dirty-looking carpet gets proper care. Go for the solid or light-colored carpet if that is what you really want. Regardless of your carpet selection, proper care is what really matters.

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