If you have shag carpet (yes, they are still available), plush carpet, or one with a Saxony pile design, then you need to be aware of a problem that might already be occurring. It is called corn rowing, and it has nothing to do with farming.

Corn rowing is seen in entry and high-traffic areas of carpet with longer-pile designs. It shows up as hard, entangled, and matted rows of tufts extending across the traffic lane – hence, the name corn rowing. Gummy soil, which causes tufts to stick together, contributes greatly to this problem.

Not the Worst of It

But that’s not all the bad news. The rest of the story is that these hard-packed rows of tufts experience greatly accelerated wear, which translates into carpet replacement much sooner than anticipated.


So, what do we do to prevent this unsightly and, ultimately, destructive situation? First, your home maintenance procedures should include weekly grooming (raking or combing) of carpet with these longer-pile designs. Grooming tools are available from carpet retailers or janitorial supply houses. Second, a routine cleaning must be accomplished annually to remove gummy binders that hold the tufts together and aggravate the problem.

Corn rowing is one of the fastest ways to shorten the life of your carpet investment. A little preventive maintenance can make sure this doesn’t happen to you.