Maintaining Your Carpet When You Have Young Children
When it comes to toddlers and young kids, it doesn't matter how strict you are about keeping food in the kitchen. Something is bound to make a mess on your carpet – a drippy sippy, a sneaky snacker, and toilet-training troubles are only a few examples. Despite the wear, tear, and possible rough treatment your carpet will get during these years raising a young family, there is a lot you can do to maintain your carpet and keep it in good condition.
Carpeting First Aid
Just as you have a first aid kit for your little one's booboos, you can assemble a first aid kit of sorts for your carpet. Having these items on hand will save you a lot of time and effort in removing stains. Here are some things that belong in a first aid kit:
- Gauze: Towels that are specifically for cleaning are a good thing to keep in your kit. If your child has spill or accident that leaves a wet spot, use the towel to blot the area. This simple action can transfer a lot of the mess onto the towel and preps the area for a more thorough cleaning.
- Medicine: Carpet medicine isn't like the antibiotic ointment and sterilizing solutions you find in a basic first aid kit. Medicine for carpets includes stain removers and odor eliminators. Both store-bought and homemade cleaners are effective.
- Splint: A medical splint is used to prevent movement that might cause extra harm to an injury. Similarly, you should have some way to make a barrier between your child and the mess. Stain removers are most effective when you can leave them on the carpet for 15 minutes or more. During this time, you'll have to keep inquisitive infants and toddlers away from a potentially harmful cleanser. A baby gate or overturned bench can divide the room and keep your child safe.
- Bandages: Whenever possible, hold on to the spare carpet pieces that are left over from when your carpet was installed. You can actually patch your carpet with these pieces when damage is too great for repair (the first time your little one finds the scissors and trims a section of carpet, for example).
- Scissors: To patch your carpet, you'll need scissors and a few other materials such as a stiff-bristled comb, a hot iron, a carpet glue pad, and a carpet repair mat. Using the scissors you will cut the size and shape of the patch. Then you insert the glue pad into the hole, place the replacement "bandage" over that, and put a damp repair mat over it all. Use the iron to melt the glue pad and fuse the carpet to it. Once the area has cooled, use the comb to remove loose fibers.
Other Upkeep Tips
While a first aid carpet kit is handy to have around, its best use is for emergency situations. Simple but regular upkeep will help your carpet stay nice and fresh on a daily basis. Here are 2 ways to maintain your carpet:
- Vacuum Weekly: Vacuum at least twice a week. Not only is this a safety measure for infants and toddlers who find all sorts of crumbs and small pieces of garbage to put into their mouths, but it is a way to refresh your carpet. When you vacuum, the carpet fibers are pulled up and fluffed out. This keeps areas from getting worn out too quickly.
- Deep-Clean Annually: Each year, arrange for your kids to get out for a few hours so you can shampoo your carpet. You decide whether do it yourself or hire a professional, but make sure it's done annually. This will remove particles that can't be reached using a vacuum, and can help make your home a healthier environment.
Keeping your carpets clean and fresh looking doesn't have to wait until you have older kids. With a first aid kit for emergencies and a plan for regular maintenance, you can have a carpet to be proud of.