Everything gets dirty. That’s just the way things go in London. In fact, the way that things get messier and more chaotic as time goes by is one of the things discussed by heavy-duty physics boffins pondering the mysteries of time and space. However, nobody wants things to get dirty, especially the carpets. In fact, if there’s one thing that you can do to make your home look better instantly, it’s making sure that the carpet is free from debris.
Prevention is better than the cure, they say. This means that if we can understand the reasons why the carpets in your London home or office are getting dirty, you might be able to eliminate or at least minimise your exposure to them. To help you pinpoint why your carpets seem so darn filthy and smelly so often, here’s our breakdown of the top ten causes of dirty carpets – although I dare say that the exact order could be debated!
And if things have got pretty bad on your carpets, or if it’s more than a year since you last got your carpets deep cleaned, then it’s time you did something about it and contacted a professional carpet cleaning company!
Cause #1: Pets
Our four-footed (and sometimes two-footed) friends are part of the family. However, animals being animals, they don’t seem to care about things like mess and germs. They might be able to grasp the idea that the humans don’t like pee and poop on the carpets but that’s about as far as it goes… and even then, some pets don’t seem to get the hang of this. Pets shed hair, especially during the spring and autumn moulting seasons, walk inside with muddy paws, dribble, puke and drag in dead birds. We love them anyway, but it’s no wonder that people have invented special vacuum cleaners designed to pick up pet hair!
Cause #2: Children
We’ve all been children so we’re all guilty in this department. New-borns puke and have nappy accidents. Toddlers going through the toilet training stage also have accidents. Motor skills are still developing, so spilled food and drink go everywhere. Then you’ve got the inevitable moments when someone gets into Mummy’s makeup and spreads lipstick all over the carpet (or, what’s worse, nail polish). As children get older, they improve, but they still accidentally get paint here and there while doing craft projects and forget to take shoes off at the door. Fortunately, children are usually capable of using a vacuum cleaner and most of the ones I’ve met enjoy doing this chore.
Cause #3: Shoes
It’s no wonder that a lot of cultures consider it proper to take shoes off at the door. If you don’t whatever you’ve been walking in will be dragged through onto the carpets, even if you wipe your feet. This is how grit, sand, dirt and lawn clippings get into the house. Take them off at the door!
Cause #4: Just Living
As fans of detective fiction, true crime and shows focusing on forensics know, everywhere you go, you leave traces of yourself in the form of skin and hair particles, and tiny scraps of fibre from your clothing. In fact, this is one of the main sources of the grey dust that builds up in odd places where you don’t walk. Not much you can do about this, except showering regularly and even that will only do so much!
Cause #5 Dust Mites
Linked to Cause 4, dust mites or, more accurately, their faeces, make up a lot of the dust in your home because they like to eat your skin and hair particles. These mites are bad news for allergy sufferers and asthmatics, because dust mite crap is a major trigger for a lot of people. Fortunately, the high temperatures involved in hot water extraction can reduce the population dramatically.
Cause #6: Plants
Indoor plants are obvious: they shed leaves, sap and pollen onto the carpets at odd moments. However, they’re not the only guilty parties. Outdoor plants, from trees to grass, can end up getting bits onto your carpets. Depending on the time of year, seeds (birch seeds are the worst!), pollen and dead leaves can often blow in through open doors and windows and end up all through the carpets.
Cause #7: Mould And Mildew
If your home is just a tiny bit damp or if you’ve got water onto the carpet somehow, whether that’s through leaving a window open during a thunderstorm or through an overflowing sink, this makes it much more likely for mould and mildew to grow on your carpets. This often tends to happen in neglected corners. Let’s just say that it’s not all that healthy for you!
Cause #8: Food and Drink
In a perfect world, we’d never drop crumbs or spill our drinks, and we’d never eat anywhere apart from in the kitchen or at the table. In the real world, someone makes us laugh just as we’ve got a mouthful of coffee, a raconteur makes an expressive gesture during an exciting story and collects a full wineglass, cherry tomatoes explode when bitten, and all the other messy things that food and drink can do happen. In the case of things that stain, like curry and red wine, it’s important to act quickly or the stain will set. For everything else, vacuuming and periodic deep cleaning will do the trick.
Cause #9: Household Products
If it can spray, splash, drip or trickle, it will end up on the carpet – that’s inevitable. Strangely, even cleaning products can make your carpets dirty if they fall on them, as they attract dirt particles. Things like furniture polish and hairspray are even worse!
Cause #10: Soot And Particulate Matter
I know we’re switching to electric vehicles, but there are plenty of vehicles with internal combustion engines on London’s roads and this will continue for some time. The solid matter in vehicle exhausts has to end up somewhere, and that somewhere is sometimes your carpet. The same applies to the particulate matter in smoke, whether it’s from a humble barbecue or burnt toast or from an old-school open fire or a Guy Fawkes’ night bonfire.
No matter how diligent you are about vacuuming, taking shoes off at the door, not eating or dropping crumbs where you shouldn’t and so forth, your carpets will still get dirty. It’s just the annoying way that things happen. Blame it on the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This means that from time to time – about once a year, the carpet manufacturers tell us – you’re going to have to pull out the big guns and go beyond the everyday level of carpet care in the form of deep cleaning.
You can have a go at hiring one of those carpet shampooing machines and cleaning your own carpets but from my experience, this isn’t such a good idea. For one thing, you have to dedicate a fair chunk of your spare time to hauling your rear down to the nearest place that hires them out, working out how to use the machine and then madly scrambling in the face of busy traffic to get the machine back in time so you avoid extra charges for returning it late. Then you’ve got the hassles of using the machine – and hoping that your carpets are suitable for the high temperatures involved in steam cleaning – and waiting for the carpets to dry out before walking on them, which can take a very long time indeed, especially if your carpet has a natural jute backing.
However, with professional carpet cleaners, you just have to call them in, get the rooms ready then go out for the day. A well-trained professional will have the knowledge and the equipment needed to do the job right – and those truck mounted vacuums can remove moisture from the carpet fibres much better than the little DIY hired machines can. It’s worth it!