How To Avoid Traffic Lanes In Carpeting

Does Your Carpeting Have A “Runway” Through It?

Looking at your carpeting, do you see a pathway leading down the hallway, in the front of your bed or favorite chair, or right down the middle of a room?

The minute Tru-Clean Surface Care technicians set foot in your home or office; in addition to problem areas visual to the technician, they will most likely ask what is bothering you most about your carpeting.  Often a client will point out that their carpeting is getting “dirtier in some places” quicker than others.  Upon examination, our technician may find that not only is a particular area “dirtier,” but the carpet fibers are damaged due to repetitive wear.  In pathways, this damage is called “Traffic Lanes.”

Traffic lanes are areas in your rugs or carpets where repetitive walking, feet shuffling, or standing has occurred.  Dirt and abrasives such as sand have accumulated, and through weight and repetitive motion, structural damage of the carpet fibers has occurred. It usually happens in carpets in hallways, in front of our favorite furniture, or in heavy traffic areas. These areas look more soiled and dirtier than the carpeting edges, where people usually travel less often. Traffic areas are subject to abuse every day.

Most carpeting is made of nylon or a class of plastic.  Carpeting is designed to hide soil until your next recommended vacuuming.  Without proper vacuuming, carpeting will reach a point of saturation where damage will begin to occur, and the textile is no longer able to hide soil. This soil, sand, and other contamination can cause fiber distortion and abrasion, and in the long run, this causes carpeting to lose its ability to reflect light correctly. In addition, once carpet sanding has occurred, the damage can not be cleaned out.”

Carpet soils contain vast amounts of grit and sand, especially in SW Florida. Grit is microscopic rock-shaped particulate with many sharp, jagged cutting edges. The grit gouges and scratches the yarn’s smooth, polished finish, similar to a piece of sandpaper rubbing against fiberglass or the outside of your clothing.

After scratching and cutting abrasive grit, carpet fibers no longer reflect light rays effectively. The result is a dull or gray appearance. The damage caused by abrasive wear is permanent, and no amount of cleaning can remove it. In addition, these scratches are an ideal place for new soil to become lodged. Since soil absorbs light, the carpet will appear dirtier in traffic lanes.

The ground in contaminates in walk areas can be challenging to remove, so never permit pathways to become excessively soiled before you clean.  Once damaged, it’s permanent.

Traffic Lane Graying

Carpeting, area rugs, and all other textiles will eventually show signs of wear. This wear creates an illusion of soiling, which often causes frustration and misunderstanding between homeowners and carpet care experts. Even though a carpet had been cleaned, it doesn’t mean that it will look the same all over. Wear often causes what is known as traffic lane graying, a condition that has been nicknamed, “ugly out.”

There is not a lot that a carpet care expert can do with “ugly out.” If a 10-year-old carpet is cleaned, you have a clean 10-year-old carpet. Just as a clean pair of old jeans will show wear and discoloration around the knees, a clean old carpet will show signs of wear in the traffic lanes.

What Can I do About Traffic Lanes In Carpeting?

Tru-Clean Surface Care regularly cleans carpeting for clients who have had carpeting for twenty years and still looks phenomenal.  Their secret?  Regular carpet cleanings every 12-18 months, area rugs or runners in high traffic areas, and a quality carpet protector are applied after each cleaning.

Cleaning and Protecting Carpet Throughout SW Florida Since 2006

Tru-Clean Surface Care is proud to be the “cleaner of choice” to many SW Florida homeowners, interior designers, realtors, and carpet retailers who use or refer our services exclusively to maintain their homes or the homes of their clients.

Tru-Clean Surface Care is a Certified Partner with the prestigious Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) and the International Carpet & Rug Institute (CRI).  We are A+ Rated with the Better Business Bureau and an eight-year-in-a-row-winner of the coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award.  Our cleaning solutions are residue and allergen-free, and safe for pets and infants.

A quality carpet cleaning with Tru-Clean Surface Care that exceeds manufacturers’ recommendations will extend the life of your carpeting, help improve indoor air quality, and doesn’t cost more than a “so-so” carpet cleaning effort that you may have had in the past.

For more information on Tru-Clean Surface Care award-winning carpet cleaning services, please visit us online at or “call us on the carpeting any time” at 239-541-4888 – Cape Coral and Lee County, 239-206-1935 – Bonita Springs, Naples and Marco Island or 941-621-2198 – Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte, Florida.

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