Curb Appeal Basics

When I decided that I was going to put my house on the market, I knew that I would have to do some renovating first. The house was a good, solid structure, but I hadn’t kept up the outside of it as well as my husband did before he passed away. I knew that I would need curb appeal if I wanted the place to sell quickly. I had my yard landscaped, my home exterior repainted, and my driveway replaced before putting the home on the market. It cost me a bit of money, but it was worth it – the house sold quickly and I was able to move into my brand new condo – much less maintenance work for me. I started this blog about curb appeal, to help others learn how to move their homes quickly too.

Keep Your Carpet Clean Between Steams


Regular maintenance of your carpet prolongs its life and beauty. If you have new carpet, you were likely instructed to have it professionally cleaned at regular intervals to keep the warranty valid. These tips can help keep the carpet in better condition after cleaning, but you will still need to have it deep cleaned periodically.

Tip #1: Start a Shoes-Off Policy

Your feet track in most of the oily dirt that clings to your carpet fibers or works its way deeply into the carpet. Implementing a no-shoes policy inside the house will cut down significantly on tracked in dirt.

To make the rule easier to enforce, provide a shoe rack or tray right next to the main entrance of your home. Make sure there is a pair of slippers or indoor-only house shoes for every family member. If you have young kids, it will take time to adapt to the new rule. Make it a game to remove the shoes or implement a reward system for remembering.

If your dog is the main culprit when it comes to tracking in grime, switch its entrance to one without carpeting, if possible. Use a rug or mat at the entrance to catch most of the debris off its feet.

Tip #2: Utilize Area Rugs

It's easy to spot the high traffic areas in your home by looking for the dingy paths across your carpet. Use rugs and runners along the main paths that lead from entrance ways or where carpeting joins with a hard surface to catch the excess soil. Rugs may trap the dirt, but soil can work its way through the rugs and into the carpet if you don't wash or shake the rugs out regularly.

Rugs also serve another purpose. Moisture from wet shoes may not track in dirt, but the wet spots collect dust and quickly look soiled. Having a rug absorb the bulk of the moisture minimizes damp carpet and the soiled spots. Select rugs with a plain, non-dyed backing to prevent dyes from a wet rug from staining your carpet. Skip the rubber-backed rugs on carpet, though, because these allow no air circulation so they dry out slowly. This can lead to mildew growth and stains.

Tip #3: Vacuum Often

Don't wait for your carpet to look dirty before you vacuum. By the time it looks dirty, much of the soil has worked it's way deep into the carpet where it may resurface as a stain if the carpet gets damp. Once weekly vacuuming is usually sufficient, but you may need to do it more often if you have pets or children. Although regular vacuuming isn't as good as a thorough carpet cleaning, it will help keep your carpet looking nicer between cleanings.

When vacuuming, skip the deodorizing powders. These contain oil-based fragrances that may later resurface as stains. Over-use of powders can also resurface as a sticky residue after a steam cleaning. If your carpet has an unpleasant smell, it's time for a carpet cleaning.

Tip #4: Tackle Spills Quickly

Soak up a spill before it turns into a stain. For most spills, these simple steps will get rid of it if you act quickly:

  1. Soak up as much of the wet liquid as possible with paper towels or a plain white towel. Skip the colored towels, they may transfer dye to the carpet.

  2. Lay a dry stack of paper towels or a white towel on top of the stain. Apply pressure to blot up as much of the liquid as possible. Don't rub—that will just spread the stain.

  3. If the stain remains, apply a carpet cleaner to a clean rag and scrub gently. Work from the outside of the stain toward the center so you don't spread it.

  4. Once the spot looks clean, cover it with a towel and set something heavy on top of it for 24 hours. The towels will absorb the excess moisture.

Even with regular weekly care and cleaning, you will need to get your carpets professionally cleaned every six to 12 months (by companies such as Ideal Carpet Cleaning). Doing it yourself only works well for spot cleaning, because home machines aren't powerful enough to get all the dirt particles. Home machines also leave a lot of water in the carpet, which can result in mold growth.


20 January 2015