Everyone makes mistakes now and again.

Perhaps you submit a resume to a potential employer but later discover a typo in the third paragraph. Maybe you text your friend an invitation to your party but then realise that the last digit should have been a 4 instead of a 7. Or you meant to order onion rings but mixed up the menu and received curly fries instead.

In most cases, the above mistakes seem laughable and correctable. However, when you make the following mistakes with your carpet, you could cause irreversible damage and shorten the lifespan of your flooring.

1. You Wait to Clean the Spill

When you are busy or not present when a spill occurs, you might not have the chance to spot spills the moment they happen. You may find traces of the accident the next day or even the next week, depending on the spill and its location.

However, the longer you wait to address a stain, the harder it may be to remove. Some liquids can sink deeply into the carpet backing and underlay or seep through and stain all of the pile and not just the surface. Other materials bond quickly with the fibres, making removal more difficult and in some instances impossible. With some exceptions, set stains usually require advanced stain removal techniques and don’t respond to cleaning or normal spotting product so are unlikely to be a DIY option.

2. You Don’t Test Cleaning Products

In your hurry to clean a spill, you may feel tempted to grab the nearest all-purpose cleaner and attack the offending stain. But if you don’t check the label, you may end up using chemicals too harsh for your type of carpet to handle. Always follow label instructions to avoid the possibility of permanent damage. Even if the product seems suitable for carpet, always test the product on an extra piece of carpeting or in a discreet area such as the bottom back corner of a cupboard or wardrobe.

3. You Use Too Much Powder

There are a number of powdered products on the market designed to help you handle spills and odours as they happen. While these powders may work to an extent, we don’t recommend them. They usually leave a residual of the spilled substance and some damp powder in the carpet. We recommend a procedure that will completely remove the stain and rinse out any product used to aid the removal process.

Additionally, it is very easy to cause a build-up of powder in your carpet either from overuse or inadequate suction from your vacuum cleaner. If you are going to try a powdered product use it sparingly and make sure your vacuum cleaner is in good working order and preferably use one with a motorised power head (beating brush).

4. You Scrub Vigorously

When you face a particularly difficult stain, your initial impulse may be to scrub the area as hard as you can. After all, a little old-fashioned scrubbing and elbow grease cleans almost everything, right?

However, the more you rub, the more you run the risk of spreading and or pushing the stain deeper into the pile. Furthermore, vigorous scrubbing causes the fibres to untwist and fray causing an unsightly fuzz effect which in some cases is more obvious than the initial stain.

Rather than muscling the stain into submission, lightly dab the area with a damp cleaning cloth. Start with the outside of the stain, then gradually work your way toward the middle.

5. You Do All Your Cleaning Yourself

As a DIY homeowner, you may try to maintain every aspect of your home on your own. You vacuum your floors regularly to prevent dirt and debris build-up. You place mats at the entry way and you keep the areas directly leading onto the carpeted areas as clean as you can.