Carpet cleaning is a great option for most people looking to keep their homes clean, healthy, and allergen free. Unfortunately, at a certain point, no amount of cleaning, deodorizing or disinfecting will change the look, feel, and composition of your carpets, and replacement may need to be an option.
This last week I was in a home where I would have liked to help the homeowner, but was unable to do so because of the extreme level of filth and degradation of the carpet. I was able to recognize this before we got too far into the process, and informed the homeowner that I would be unable to help them with their needs. This is important. One of the most important things I learned from my time as an Officer in the Marine Corps is to know your capabilities AND your limitations.
So, when is a good time to replace your carpet instead of having it cleaned? Here are a few instances where replacement would be the best option:
1: Severe pet filth and soiling:
Let’s face it, sometimes our pets get the better of us. Normally, the CitruSolution process does a wonderful job cleaning up pet spots, as you can see in the picture below. In this instance, the pet had a few accidents when he was left inside for an uncharacteristically long period of time. Normally his owner would have been home, but due to an emergency, he was not able to make it home in time to let the dog out.
Instances like these are very common, and generally present no issue for us when getting your carpet cleaned. There are however instances where it becomes increasingly difficult, and at a certain point, impossible to clean carpets stained with pet deposits. The key to pet issues is VOLUME, TIME, and REPETITION.
The differences between a Pomeranian and a Great Dane can make all the difference here. Once we go from a few ounces to a few pints of urine, we start to encounter problems. A few ounces of pet urine may never penetrate the backing of the carpet, and may never make it down into the pad. A large dog may urinate so much that he not only soaks your carpet fibers and backing, but he may produce so much that he soaks your pad and subfloor. While instances like these are not impossible to remedy, generally, once a liquid has made it all the way down to the concrete or wood flooring underneath your carpet, it will continue to be there in perpetuity, causing numerous issues like odor, stain wicking, and repeat spots. Keep an eye on your large dogs, they are the main offenders here.
The longer you let pet spots linger in your carpet fibers, the longer they will have to alter and degrade them. Urine, like any other biological deposit, has the ability to PERMANENTLY stain your carpet. The uric acid, mixed with filtered dyes and food coloring can, and often does chemically change the dyes in your carpet, changing or breaking down the molecules that reflect light into your eyes. This is akin to continual exposure to the sun removing color from carpet, labels, paint, etc. The longer you let the urine linger, the greater the chance you will be faced with a permanent yellow or white spot. Be aware!
Much like volume, repetition has a huge part to play in pet urine. The more a pet urinates in a certain area, the more the dried urine crystals are pushed deeper and deeper into the carpet. Think of this as “volume over time”. While each individual instance may not produce enough urine to penetrate the backing, repetition in a single spot certainly will. This is more often the case when it comes to carpets that need to be replaced. They have been so soaked with urine, over such a long period of time, that there is nothing you can do to effectively cleanse the carpets of the sticky, invasive biological material.
2: Severe Wear:
Everything we see with our eyes is reflected light. Individual molecules within all substances either reflect or absorb certain wavelengths of light, producing the colors we see. I spend a lot of time explaining this to clients with very worn carpets. What you may not realize is that the high-traffic areas in your home (even after a cleaning) will still remain a darker color, simply because it reflects less light. Less light is reflected from worn areas because the carpet fibers are cut and worn at a microscopic level, in addition to the pad being smashed down after years of pressure. See the picture below for an example of a clean carpet, with sections of extreme wear in traffic areas.
The next picture is a great example of what worn carpet looks like close up. As you can see, the fibers on the right are unwound, splayed out and flattened. They will reflect less light and will, inevitably appear darker than the new carpet wind on the left.
While it is not always necessary to replace all your carpet when you experience damage (especially in small areas) there are a few examples of carpets that will require replacement. Luckily for those with these types of damage, the carpet they have is usually quite old and worn as well.
The main damage issue that will require replacement is pulling, fraying and loss of carpet from the tacks around the edge of the carpet. While carpets can be stretched, if there is not enough material in the middle of the room to pull from, this problem will only get worse, and your carpets will continue to pull away from the tack strip. There are techniques to repair this, but generally you will need a carpet sample of the carpet you had installed in your house, and a professional who knows how to make such repairs. See the picture below.
The replacement requirement comes when there are large areas of this in multiple corners of the room. This will eventually mean that the carpet can no longer be stretched in any direction to cover the distance.
I hope this post helps when deciding whether or not to have your carpets cleaned or replaced! If you have any questions, or if you’d like to schedule a cleaning, please free to call or E-mail us any time!
Owner- CitruSolution Carpet Cleaning of Orlando