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nice house, shame about the carpet…

From Habitat magazine - issue 11

It’s a large part of your home’s fittings but does carpet come with an instruction manual?

Carpet stain remover

When you move house, it’s considered good manners to leave behind all the manuals and warranties for any appliances and instructions on how to set the alarm, should you have one. Most thoughtful. But how often are you left with any information on what brand of carpet (and style and colour) you have on the floor, and how to look after it? Yes, thought so. Hardly ever.

When you consider that carpet is one of the more expensive and long-lasting chattels in your house, you’d think that it might be first on the list of things ‘you might want to know’. Fortunately Cavalier Bremworth has been designing and making carpet in New Zealand for 50 years and has learned a thing or two about how to care for your carpet, and how to cope with the inevitable spills and stains that will occur on any floor.

They have a comprehensive carpet care section on their website but here are some of the fundamentals of carpet care that might save you some grief (and expense).

Basic carpet maintenance

The great news about wool carpets is they have a natural inbuilt dirt repellent. The unique scaly structure of the wool fibre means it resists soiling and releases dirt easily. As with any type of flooring however, it will need regular care to stay looking its best.

  • Vacuum regularly, once or twice a week depending on traffic.
  • Promptly attend to spills and stains.
  • Never rub, brush or massage the carpet when it is damp or wet as this permanently damages the pile.
  • When necessary, have the carpet professionally steam cleaned by a reputable operator.
Teddy bear
Three of the threats to carpet care – pets, drink spills and kids. Carpets shown are Elysium, Trojan Twist and Seregenti.

Dealing with spills and stains

Any accidental spills and stains need to be dealt with immediately to avoid permanent damage.

The first and most important rule is ‘contain the stain’ to stop it spreading further. Blot up any liquids straight away using a clean dry towel or paper towel and scoop up solids with a knife or spoon, being careful not to push the solid further into the pile.

Only then should you begin to treat the stain.

Wet stains

The hotter and darker the substance, the more difficult it can be to remove. In years gone by, tea and coffee were often used as a dye which is why these can be so hard to remove – drinking a latte is so much safer!

If you act promptly, however, you should be able to get liquid stains out. Once you’ve done your initial blot-up of the stain, try Cavalier Bremworth’s new stain remover specifically designed for wet stains (look for the blue and brown can). It looks like a shaving foam and will gently dissolve into the stain and help lift it from the carpet. Simply blot up once it has dissolved and then re-apply until the stain is gone. Some tricky stains might take two or three sprays.

If you don’t have a can handy, use some lukewarm water. Try gently squeezing water from a sponge rather than pouring water onto the stain directly which can over-saturate the carpet and damage the backing or create water marks. Blot up in the same way described above and repeat as required.

For a full list of stain remedies, visit for advice.

Dry stains

Most oily or greasy stains can be removed, even after a period of time. However, certain stains may have a chemical reaction with the carpet fibre and can cause irreversible damage – curry would be a classic challenge and liquid make-up is nasty, too.

Cavalier Bremworth has produced the best-selling stain remover for more than 20 years – now rebranded into a new orange and brown can. This was rated by NZ Consumer Magazine as the top-rated dry stain remover product in their 2007 survey and continues to be very effective, so much so that the company receives bulk orders from car dealers and mechanics who love the fact it gets the grease off their showroom carpets!

However, you will need to leave the stain to dry off before you apply the dry stain remover. This dry stain cleaner is also useful when you discover those stains a day or two after the guests have gone!

No need to panic!

If you act promptly and contain the stain, you are certainly well on your way to minimising any damage to your carpet. Then just take the time to understand what remedy is best suited to the stain, and apply accordingly. All the advice you need is on the Cavalier Bremworth website.

Myth busted!

Steam cleaning your carpet is bad because it removes the lanolin. No it doesn’t. Carpet makers do. 97% of it goes in the wool scouring process before carpet is made because lanolin is a greasy substance that attracts dirt.

Fascinating fact

Research carried out by Cavalier Bremworth showed clear gender differences in the stains inflicted on carpet. Men were more likely to spill gravy and sauces, women would spill jam and butter. With teenage girls it was make-up (the vilest stain) and for teenage boys it was muddy feet and flavoured milk.

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