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How To Clean Your Carpet With These 7 Simple Steps

Cleaning your carpets is a vital part of the home maintenance routine that people can sometimes let fall to the side. However, regular carpet maintenance is crucial for extending the carpet’s life and maintaining the air quality of your home.

The 7 steps for cleaning your carpet include vacuuming regularly, spot-cleaning, pre-treating, disinfecting, steam cleaning, vacuuming it again, and drying it adequately.

The hard part of maintenance is knowing what you can do with DIY carpet cleaning methods and when to contact a professional service provider to take over.

This blog will outline how to clean a carpet at home. These tips and tricks will help you lengthen the time between these professional cleans, as regular maintenance will keep your carpet in good condition. For an advanced cleaning technique, your best bet would be to contact a professional carpet cleaning service provider.

If you have read our guide to rug cleaning, you will know carpet cleaning can be tricky but we have made it easier with the below 7 steps.

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Vacuum Your Carpet

Vacuuming is a significant part of any cleaning routine but is especially vital for carpets. Vacuuming removes any dirt and debris that may be present and caught in the carpet fibres, such as pet dander and general dust.

Ensuring that the carpet is vacuumed is a must-do when starting your deep cleaning routine. Vacuuming regularly throughout the week with overlapping strokes can help extend the time between deep cleans. The high-traffic areas in your home should be the focus of your weekly routine, such as the stairs and landing. Pre-inspection before vacuuming can be a helpful tool to identify any spots or objects you might miss when vacuuming.

There are many factors to consider when choosing the right vacuum, such as if you have stairs, carpet, hardwood floors or pets in the house. Upright vacuums are best for carpets, while canister vacuums are better for stairs, so this is important to consider when choosing a vacuum for each area of your home. You may also need to incorporate vacuum attachments for extra help with edges and under furniture. When vacuuming, there should be minimal resistance. If it is difficult to push, adjust to the higher setting. For bare floors, use the lowest or bare floor setting. Short and medium pile carpets use a medium setting. Finally, for plush carpets, you need to use the highest setting. We have more tips here on how to vacuum your carpet here.

Spot Clean Your Carpet

Spot cleaning refers to cleaning a small section of your carpet rather than the whole space, for example, tea or coffee spills. Before you start the spot clean, be sure to remove all excess liquid or other material that is causing the stain.

When you spot clean, use a clean white cloth to avoid colour transfer to the carpet. Use this cloth to gently dab at the spot from the outside moving in, using water or a carpet cleaning product to help get the stain up. When done, pat away any excess water or cleaning product (which will also help to remove the stain). Finally, allow the spot to fully dry before walking on it again. Spot cleaning and frequent vacuuming both minimize dirt and extend the lifespan of your carpet.

Pretreat Stains

Pre-treating refers to treating a settled stain with a chemical before cleaning. This would be done for a stain that had dried in and couldn’t be cleaned with spot cleaning or for those stubborn stains that may need a second go.

Pre-sprays loosen stains and dirt before shampooing and steam cleaning. OxiClean is an effective pretreatment for carpets. First, spray on the area that needs to be cleaned and allow 10 minutes for the product to penetrate the problem area. After 10 minutes, blot up the stained area with a clean cloth. If the problem persists, repeat a second time after drying.

You have to be cautious when using pretreatments because using one with harsh chemicals can damage the carpet fibres. Other pretreatments include Vanish Oxi Action, ideal for high-traffic areas like stairs and Dr Beckham Carpet cleaner, great for removing red wine stains.

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Disinfect Your Carpet

Disinfecting your carpet is a must-do for every carpet owner, but especially for people with pets & children and those who suffer from allergies. Disinfecting will help to improve air quality in your home and will also help to extend your carpet’s life.

You can get both natural and chemical disinfectants to clean your carpet. Natural disinfectants may be the best option for someone with allergies as they don’t contain soaps or phosphates. It also makes them safer for children and pets as they don’t contain any harsh chemicals. Some examples of natural disinfectants are alcohol, vinegar and hot water. However, chemical disinfectants are better for commercial or high-traffic areas as they are more efficient and work faster. To disinfect your carpet, spray the solution (natural or chemical) onto the carpet fibres and allow it to sit for an appropriate amount of time. Then rinse and blot with water and a clean towel, then blot with a dry towel.

Disinfecting will also help to get rid of any odours that may be lingering in your carpet fibres, making your home a more pleasant place to live. You should disinfect your carpets seasonally as part of your comprehensive carpet maintenance routine.

Steam Clean Your Carpet

Steam cleaning is a very beneficial part of the carpet cleaning routine as steam kills up to 99.99% of bacteria naturally. There are no chemicals involved and you get a much deeper clean with steam (steam penetrates much further into the fibres and pores of the carpet than other cleaning methods). Since they run on water, steam cleaners are a cost-effective and eco-friendly cleaning solution. It is important to note that when steam cleaning your carpet, use slow and even strokes to avoid overworking the fabric.

Some factors to consider before buying or renting a steam cleaner include power rating, run time, flow rate and pressure as these determine how effective the steam cleaner will be.

Be cautious not to over-wet the carpet, as that can cause mould growth and underlining damage.

Vacuum Your Carpet (Again)

When you have completed all the other steps, vacuuming again is a must to pick up any loosened dirt and enhance the carpet’s appearance. Ensure your carpet is sufficiently dry before vacuuming, as you can damage the vacuum if the carpet is too wet. When vacuuming again, use an empty vacuum bag to maximise efficiency.

Vacuuming after the cleaning and steaming will help to fluff up the carpet fibres and restore their texture and feel.  Always check your vacuum manufacturer’s recommendations for the best setting. This is important for getting the best post-cleaning results.

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Dry Your Carpet

It is critical to check that the carpet is fully dry within 24 hours of cleaning as if it is not dried properly, you risk mould and mildew growth. The most practical drying methods include air circulation, dehumidifiers, and fans. When checking to see if it is dry, the touch test should be enough, meaning the carpet should be dry when you walk on it or touch it with your hand. You should avoid heavy foot traffic on the carpet until you know it’s dry. The sun can also help dry your carpet and act as a natural disinfectant but it is important to note that the UV of the sun can cause damage to the colour of your carpet.

Additional Tips For Maintaining Your Carpet

If you want to get a good lifespan out of your carpet, it will inevitably need to be professionally cleaned at some stage. It is important to know when you can DIY and when it’s time to call in the professionals.

A way to avoid wear and tear on carpets in high-traffic areas includes adding an area rug or a runner.

Do not leave any spills for later, as the sooner they’re cleaned the less damage there will be. Pets can cause stains very quickly, such as having accidents on your carpets. A tip to minimize this is to ensure that your pet is house-trained.

Something to consider for homes with carpet is to enact a no-shoes policy, as shoes often track dirt and debris into your home, which can get stuck in the carpet fibres.

When cleaning you will have to consider where in the house your carpet is. For example, carpet stair runners will require more frequent cleaning than a bedroom carpet would, as stairs are a very high-traffic area.

If you are trying these steps but think your carpet has seen too much wear and tear, you may need to consider buying a new carpet. If you are looking for advice on your carpet, here at Des Kelly Interiors we have 50+ years of experience with carpets and carpet maintenance. If you need a new carpet we have a wide range available, shop online or visit us in-store.

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FAQs: Carpet Cleaning

Does baking soda clean the carpet?

Baking soda can be used to clean your carpets. If you add a sprinkle of baking soda to your cleaning mixture it will help to remove stains and dirt and neutralise any odours that may be coming from the carpet.


How to deep clean your carpet?

By following the 7 steps in this guide (vacuuming, spot cleaning, pre-treating, disinfecting, steaming, vacuuming again, and ensuring adequate drying) you should be able to deep clean your carpet at home. Keep in mind that you may need to call in specialists for the job, but that is okay and sometimes needed to ensure no damage occurs.


Can you clean your carpet by hand?

You will need a vacuum and a steamer to clean your carpet, but all the other steps can be done by hand.


What is the best way to clean a carpet?

The best way to clean a carpet is to follow the steps in this guide or call in a professional if the job seems too big for you to handle.

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