Home > Flooring > Guide To Cleaning a Carpet

Guide To Cleaning a Carpet

Updated Dec 7, 2022

Updated Dec 7, 2022

Home > Flooring > Guide To Cleaning a Carpet

Our carpets are subject to a lot of damage from shoes, crumbs, pet stains, spills, pet hair, and debris from the outdoors. As a result, cleaning a carpet regularly and effectively is essential to extend the life of your carpet. When carpets aren’t cleaned frequently, dirt and dust particles build up in the carpet fibers, making the carpet smelly and dull. 

Eventually, this buildup will wear out the carpet backing and fibers faster, speeding up how quickly you’ll need a replacement. Since carpet replacements average between $700 and $2,000, most homeowners will want to put off replacing their carpets as long as possible. 

Keep reading for our guide to cleaning a carpet so that you can keep it looking nice and extend the life of your carpet. 

How Often Should I Clean My Carpets?

person cleaning a thick carpet
Image Source: Canva

Generally, you should vacuum all your wall-to-wall carpets a minimum of once a week. However, if you have pets, children, or many high-traffic areas, consider vacuuming several times a week or daily in high-traffic areas to keep your carpets well maintained. You can also strategically place floor mats in high-traffic areas to protect your carpets. 

Deep cleaning should be done once to twice a year by yourself or a professional carpet cleaning service. Deep cleaning removes embedded dirt and grime from the carpet fibers, preventing serious wear and tear. 

Changing your air filter regularly is another crucial step to reduce airborne dust particles before they build up in your carpets. 

Routine Carpet Cleaning

Get Rid of Dirt and Dust

A powerful vacuum cleaner with strong suction will be the fastest and most effective way to clean your carpet. If you don’t have a vacuum, use a broom or carpet sweeper. 

Here are our top tips for removing dirt and dust: 

  • Always check the height of your vacuum before you begin. Depending on the type of carpet, different heights will allow you to get a deeper clean and prevent damage from unnecessarily hard pulling on carpet fibers. 
  • Take your time vacuuming. Drag the vacuum cleaner over the carpet slowly. In busy foot traffic areas, go over the carpet several times. 
  • Move furniture and other items off the carpet to make vacuuming easier. 
  • Purchase a rubber-edged squeegee from your local retailer. Regularly run it over the carpet to collect pet hair, especially during peak shedding seasons. Bathing and brushing your pet more frequently can also reduce the amount of pet hair in your carpets.  
  • Lint rollers are great for quickly picking up crumbs and hair. 
  • Brighten and deodorize your carpet by sprinkling baking soda over the carpet monthly. Allow the baking soda to sit for an hour so that it can absorb undesired odors and stains. After an hour, vacuum the carpet and enjoy fresher carpets. 

Spot Cleaning

The biggest takeaway for spot cleaning and carpet stains is that speed is critical. 

When liquid stains happen, immediately address them. Wine, soda, juice, and blood will only be more challenging to get out of your carpet when you wait. Immediately take cold water to the stain and blot, but never rub the substance out of the carpet. Rubbing or scrubbing at the stain may spread it to a larger area of the carpet. Soak the stain for five to 10 minutes with cold water, a quarter-cup of white vinegar, and a splash of dish soap to lift tough stains. Never use hot water to clean a blood stain, as this can set the blood into the carpet deeper. 

You can remove solid stains or dropped food by using the edge of a dull knife or credit card to gently scrape the substance out of the fibers. Avoid rubbing at the stain, as this will push the solid deeper into the carpet fibers.

A clean sponge or white cloth is ideal for blotting at a stain on carpet or area rugs. However, you can use paper towels in a pinch. Just take care to avoid rubbing with the paper towels, as you’ll end up with paper towel fibers everywhere. 

We recommend keeping an excellent carpet stain remover on hand to help with new stains as they occur. A good spot remover is essential for parents because children and pets cause many stains. Always test new carpet cleaning products in a small, inconspicuous area to ensure they don’t stain or react to the carpet unfavorably. 

Deep Cleaning Carpets

If you’re interested in DIYing a deep carpet cleaning, you’ll want to create time in your schedule to do this one to two times a year. If you have small children or pets that soil the carpets frequently, consider deep cleaning your carpets quarterly. 

There are two primary options for homeowners wanting to deep clean their carpets. 

A fantastic carpet shampoo or carpet cleaner will help lift stains and dirt and brighten the look of your carpet. However, reaching the deepest part of the carpet with carpet shampoo can be difficult. 

A heavy-duty steam cleaner is typically the best carpet cleaning tool as it combines chemicals and hot water, penetrating past your carpet’s surface and removing all the debris and dirt that have sunk deep into the carpet. If you have a clothes steamer or steam mop for hard-surface floors, you could use this on your carpet to deep clean it. Alternatively, you can rent a steam cleaner from a cleaning company.

How to Steam Clean a Carpet

man steam cleaning a carpet
Image Source: Canva

Simply pretreat stained areas of your carpet and vacuum the carpet to remove dirt and allergens. Then, sprinkle your carpets with a one-to-one mixture of baking soda and salt. 

Take the clothes steamer and hold it about 6 to 12 inches from the carpet, allowing the steam to dampen the flooring thoroughly. 

If you use a steam mop, place the carpet or microfiber mop head attachment on and steam over the baking soda mixture. Take a scrub brush to the carpet to work the mixture into the floor in either carpet cleaning machine scenario. 

Allow the carpet to air dry. Most carpets need around six to 10 hours of drying time after steam cleaning or shampooing. After the carpet has completely air dried, take microfiber cloths or old towels to the carpet and blot at it to remove loosened soil. Vacuum once more to clean up the residual baking soda. 

Final Thoughts

Steam cleaning is the most effective cleaning method to deep clean carpets at home. Hiring a professional carpet cleaner or renting a professional steam cleaner is likely your best choice for an even more thorough cleaning. If hiring a professional carpet cleaner isn’t an option, DIY cleaning at home will do plenty to keep your carpets clean. In the end, regular vacuuming and maintenance will always help extend the life of your carpets and how often you’ll need to deep clean them. 

Other Flooring Resources