While tile and sealed wood floors don't require vacuuming and you can wipe away pet accidents from them quickly, they don't have the soft, cozy feel of carpeting under your toes. Purchase durable carpeting that will stand up to the wear and tear your pets will likely inflict upon it.
Stain and Soil Resistance
Expect the occasional pet accident, even with the most well-trained and well-behaved furry friend. When picking a carpet that your pet's occasional potty faux pas won't ruin, look for fabrics treated with a stain-and soil-resistant chemical to prevent liquids from penetrating the fibers of the carpet material. Some manufacturers simply spray these treatments on the surface or very top of the carpet fibers. This process doesn't protect your carpet from stains that manage to seep past the top of the carpet fibers. Instead, choose a carpet that is made from synthetic fibers that have such repellents or repellent ability built-into or sprayed all over them, preventing any liquids or other stains from ever penetrating them. This also reduces the absorption of odors from our adorable, yet sometimes stinky furry friends.
Besides stains, a major worry of pet owners is those little claws that can easily become caught in carpet fibers from both our canine and feline friends if they scratch or dig at it. Avoid carpeting with loops, which snag and unravel under those little nails, and choose cut-pile instead. A style of carpeting known as "frieze" or "California shag" has a less formal and more casual, slightly messy look. Frieze carpeting fibers are tightly twisted and stand up to the machinations of our furry friends more than a traditional plush carpet would. Choose carpeting that also has a high durability rating by the manufacturer. Such carpets stand up to higher than normal wear and tear with little matting or crushing, which can affect the appearance of the carpeting over time, making it look worn. Flecked color patterns also tend to hide dirt and wear more so than solids.
Fibers and Warranty
While wool is a popular natural fiber with inherent soil-resistant properties, when it comes to pets, it's best to stick with synthetic fibers which stand up to heavy wear and tear. Nylon is one of the most stain-resistant and durable fibers, although polyester carpet fibers made from corn sugars are also quite durable and naturally very stain-resistant. Look for synthetic carpet fibers that come with a lifetime warranty against pet stains caused by urine or feces. Read the fine print of any warranty because not all carpet manufacturers or installers include these types of stains in their coverage. Warranty coverage also requires regular professional carpet cleaning, usually every 18 months to qualify for replacement due to stains.
Look for padding that is treated on top with a physical moisture barrier called a spill trap to prevent pet urine from soaking down into it. A soaked pad is impossible to clean and the urine odor will linger in your home, usually requiring replacement. You also want to choose a pad with antimicrobial protection to prevent mold and bacteria from flourishing. Not only do these microorganisms cause unpleasant odors, but they can lead to serious health issues for you like breathing problems and fatigue.
Modular Carpet Squares
Because pets can cause stains or damage to carpeting that are difficult to clean or repair, your best choice for wall-to-wall carpeting might actually be modular carpet squares. You adhere these squares to each other with removable adhesive stickers. The stickers only adhere to the bottom of the carpet squares, not the floor and no pad is needed. You can easily remove these carpet squares for deep cleaning if your furry friend soils them. In severe cases of set-in stains or damage from curious claws, you can also replace one or two squares rather than the entire carpet. Some modular carpet manufacturers even accept these damaged squares back for recycling purposes.
- Carpets by Otto: Ask Otto's: Best Carpet For Kids & Pets?
- Home Depot: Carpet Buying Guide
- HGTV: Carpets 101
- The Carpet Warehouse: 8 Tips for Choosing Carpet for Homeowners
- Better Homes and Gardens: Home Know-How
- Shaw Floors: R2X Resistance System and Cleaner
- Home Style Choices: Choosing Good Carpeting How To Make Informed Choices
- FLOR: What is FLOR?
- WebMD: Act Quickly to Beat Mold After a Flood
- Duncan Smith/Photodisc/Getty Images