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I have been a professional carpet cleaner for 17 years and I am going to post a series of articles to help you give your carpet the proper care.
Our home is the biggest investment most of us have.We do all we can keeping up the appearance on the outside. Especially the lawn and landscaping, making sure it is groomed and weeded. We also make sure the kitchen and bathrooms are sparkling for when people visit. Unfortunately too many of us neglect the biggest investment we have inside the house...the carpet. As expensive as carpet is today and hard to replace we tend to overlook the proper care to make it last.

I have seen carpets in homes for 10 years that look almost new. Then I have seen other homes where the carpet has been down for only a year but it looks like it already needs to be replaced. Why is this? The answer: The differences in the way we take care of it. There are too many of us that wait until the carpet gets really dirty and we can't stand to look at it any more. The traffic areas look bad, there are spots and stains, so they then decide to call a carpet cleaning company to come out and clean it for them. The problem here is it could be too late to get the carpet looking like it did before. There are many reasons for this and I am going to explain one of the main issues and how to help prevent it.

Carpet graying
Carpet graying occurs most often in the heavy traffic areas, like hallways and stairs. Also in front of chairs and couches and the areas coming out of the kitchen and bathrooms. These are choke points which get the bulk of traffic on them.

So what is carpet graying?
It is when the light on the carpet doesn't reflect the same in those areas as it does on the rest of the carpet. It is caused by soil and other particles wearing and scratching at the carpet over a period of time. It wears the fibers of the carpet to where the it appears darker than other areas in the light. It can look okay when you are looking down on it but if you move away it looks darker. This is permanent and cannot be fixed. If you have it cleaned it will be just as clean as the rest of the carpet in those areas but doesn't look like it. This can be very frustrating for people and we will often blame the company for not cleaning it right. The truth is though if we had taken certain steps to prevent it this wouldn't have happened.

How do I prevent my carpet from graying?
There are simple steps you can take to prevent graying from happening. One is to place area rugs in strategic places. You can put runners in the hallways and on the stairs. I also suggest placing area rugs large enough to cover the area in front of your couch, love seat and chairs you use the most. Make sure they go right up under the edge of the sofas and chairs. Also keep these areas vacuumed as much as possible to keep dirt from staying in the carpet and wearing on it. The most important thing is to have a professional carpet cleaning company on a regular schedule to have it cleaned. I recommend at least once or twice a year. If you have a larger family or just more traffic than normal you should have it done more. I have customers I service 3 or 4 times a year.
One other thing on this issue. Just taking your shoes off will not prevent it. We Humans have oil in our skin, so when you walk on the carpet that oil will stick to your carpet and attract soil like a magnet. If you do take your shoes off wear socks or slippers to prevent it.
 

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Once you have picked out the perfect carpet for you, the trick is caring for your carpet. Carpet may be one of the easiest types of flooring to take care of.
Vacuuming – prolong the life and beauty of your floor.
Spot and Spill Removal – be prepared for the unavoidable.
Overall Cleaning – get regular care with carpet cleaners.
DIY Cleaning – get the right equipment to do it yourself.
 

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Thank you for this information!

My husband and I do residential cleaning and there is one woman we go and clean floors for. We personally know the cleaning company that does their carpets and they are top knotch. She kept mentioning this gray area on her carpet in front of the couch - where she sits the most and we were telling her we are not professionals, but this seems like wear on the carpet. She plans to have it replaced, but I am happy to be able to share this information in your post on how to prevent the carpet graying from happening for when she does have her carpet replaced!
 
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