This story shows how to maintain carpet and cork.
Carpet requires periodic deep cleaning because no matter how frequently you vacuum, dirt and grime eventually work their way down into the fibers.
Both materials benefit more from routine preventive maintenance than from occasional deep cleaning. Regular vacuuming helps keep tracked-in grit out of the fibers and joints.
Nonstaining mats at entrances control dirt, and casters or cups under furniture legs minimize dents. Floor mats in front of stoves, refrigerators, and sinks help prevent stains.
When deep-cleaning carpet vacuum first to remove as much loose soil as possible and apply a spot removal agent to heavily soiled sections. Remove all the furniture you can and put plastic bags around the legs of everything you can't move. Ventilate the room with fans to speed drying.
Although these pages feature a cleaning powder, some carpet can stand up to steam and water-base cleaning methods. Ask your supplier which cleaning methods are compatible with your carpet's weave.
About 2 hours for an 8x10 floor
Vacuum cleaner, floor brush or carpet machine, sponge mop, utility knife and putty knife (for tile removal), scissors for carpet repair
Manufacturer's cleaning agents, varnish for cork tiles, sponge or applicator
From time to time even the best carpet tiles will have a fiber or two that comes loose from the backing. If your carpet shows "sprouts," don't pull them -- you'll create holes in the fabric. Gently pull the sprouted fibers up and trim them flush with the others.
Dents in carpet are more difficult to remedy than other maladies. Start by using the back of a tablespoon to work the fibers up in the dent. If this doesn't work try wetting the area by allowing an ice cube to melt on the spot or warm the spot slightly with a hair dryer.
The procedure illustrated here and on page 8 works equally well for both carpet tiles and cork tiles. The removal of cork tiles is more difficult because of the reciprocating glue. Always work from the center of the tile outward. Working from the edges will damage them.
Insert a 3-inch putty knife under the cut you've made and remove one-half of the tile by prying and seesawing the putty knife back and forth to break the adhesive bond. Repeat the procedure on the other half of the tile. Replace the adhesive, press in the tile, and roll.
Although a wear-layer varnish protects modern cork products, the cork's surface still needs to be renewed periodically. Clean the floor as described above and let it dry. Then use a sponge or lamb's wool applicator to reapply the varnish. Never use a generic product -- always use a solution made especially for cork.