Carpets need prompt care.

A regular home-cleaning program must be maintained to prolong the life of your new carpet and help it keep its original good looks.

Deal with the stains promptly. Get special services when you need them.

How a new carpet looks years after depends not only on the quality of the carpet itself but on the attention you give to its maintenance.

Establish a regular vacuuming schedule - one that is appropriate to your carpet's color and style and the amount of traffic and type of soil on it. At least once a week (more frequently in heavy traffic areas), gives your carpet a thorough vacumming.

Generally, the upright vacuum cleaner with multiple height adjustments and a standard beater bar-brush will do the best job.

Carpet cleaners at Armstrong's Research and Development Center gives this advice about home cleaning:

Hot-water extraction ("steam" cleaning) provides the most satisfactory carpet cleaning in home use. Hot water mixed with carpet shampoo is flushed through the pile and most of it is vacuumed away in one step. A minimal amount of residue remains.

In spite of attentive home care, carpeting may need occasional professional cleaning to remove accumulations of embedded grease and dirt.

To get rid of spots and stains, remove excess spillage immediately, take up semisolids with a spoon, soak up liquids with a clean white cloth, facial tissue or paper towelling. Dampen a clean white cloth with a solution of liquid carpet shampoo (not a household cleaner) diluted according to directions.

Use this to "lift" the spot with a twisting motion, working from the edge to the center of the spot. Turn the cloth and rewet it as needed. Dry the area by placing a pad of tissues (about 1/2-inch thick) on the wet spot under a weight for several hours.

If the spot persists, repeat the cleaning process, using a dry-cleaning fluid.