If your carpet is looking old, frayed, and worn, shampooing it can make it look a bit better. Shampooing may brighten the color and remove some stains, adding a touch of vibrancy to the old carpet. However, shampooing can also be hard on an older carpet if you're not careful. Take these precautions to ensure your carpet cleaning session does not do more harm than good.
Avoid overly threadbare sections.
If there are any areas of the carpet where the fibers are looking particularly sparse, it's best to just avoid these when you're shampooing the carpet. Going over and over them with a carpet brush may put too much wear on these spots, causing the carpet to lose more fibers and make the spot more conspicuous. If these spots appear stained, wait until you are done using your carpet shampooer and then gently blot them with a rag dipped in a solution of carpet shampoo and water. This should help remove stains without putting so much stress on the fibers.
Use a mild shampoo.
Harsher carpet shampoos may be too much for your older carpet to handle. They may bleach the fibers or weaken them so much that they look frayed. So, try looking for a carpet shampoo product labeled as "gentle." Natural and green carpet shampoos are also good choices, since most contain much milder ingredients that won't damage your older carpet. Before you buy a shampoo, however, also make sure it's compatible with the brand of carpet shampooer that you have. Otherwise, your shampooer may not dilute the shampoo to the proper concentration, which can cause a whole array of other issues.
Don't use too much water.
This is important when shampooing any carpet, but it's even more important when your carpet is older since there may be more mold spores in the older carpet, just waiting to grow when enough moisture is present. Make sure you only go over the carpet once with the shampooer on spray mode. All further passes should be with the "suction only" mode activated. Open windows and turn on fans to encourage the carpet to dry quickly, and also make sure you don't put furniture back into the room until the carpet is completely dry. The furniture may leave marks and moldy spots on a moist, aging carpet.
If you are nervous about shampooing your older carpet, contact a carpet cleaning company to inquire about their services instead.