One of carpeting’s main benefits is that it serves as a home air filter, trapping dirt and allergens in its fibers and making the air healthier and safer to breathe. Because one square foot of carpet can trap as much as a pound of dirt and dust, it’s important to implement a well thought out cleaning regimen that combines regular vacuuming with periodic professional cleanings.

Vacuuming the floors in high traffic areas can significantly impact the appearance and enhance the health of your home. Using a vacuum that contains a HEPA filter or microfiltration system on your carpets and rugs at least once a week helps remove particles from the surface of your carpet. To achieve a deeper clean, it’s recommended to have your carpets professionally cleaned at least twice a year —during which you can request they also include a sanitizer to kill bacteria and germs. Depending on the service, this can remove over 80% of the bacteria from carpets and up to 89 percent of the airborne bacteria, making for a far healthier living environment.

When choosing a carpet cleaning professional, it is important to pick one that does not leave a soapy residue, which can make your carpets get dirty again soon after cleaning. Traditional steam cleaners often use detergents that can leave behind a soapy and sticky residue that can not only be an irritant, but also attracts dirt and grime to the carpet much faster. Additionally, the excessive water used by typical steam cleaning often seeps through to the back of the carpet, creating a breeding ground for mold and mildew. A service that offers a quick drying time doesn’t give mold and bacteria time to grow. Services that use less water significantly reduce the drying time from a couple of days to a couple of hours.

To resist everyday staining and soiling of your carpet, cleaning services can add a protectant that coats the fibers of your carpet or rug and allows you a window of opportunity to clean up a spill before it causes permanent damage.

Keeping your carpets clean can gives them a revitalized look and feel, increases the life of your carpet and protects your investment. These helpful tips can also reduce allergens and bacteria and create a safer, healthier environment whether you’re cleaning the carpets in your home, an office building or a space you rent.

Jotham Hatch is the National Training Director for Chem-Dry, a carpet and upholstery cleaning service, with a global network spanning over 50 countries and serving over 10,000 homes and businesses a day worldwide. He first joined the company in 2003 as an Instructional Designer and has spent more than a decade focusing on training solutions through a variety of mediums including hands-on, face-to-face, on-line and text-based methods. A resident of Utah, Jotham graduated from Utah State University and has additional experience as a small business owner and an account manager.