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How to Clean Carpet

A woman uses a heavy-duty vacuum to clean up dirt on her living room carpet.

Carpet can be difficult to clean, especially if you’ve got light-coloured carpet in high-traffic spaces like your family room. A regular cleaning routine and a little know-how can go a long way when it comes to keeping your carpet in tip-top shape though. We’ll show you how to clean the carpets in your home in this guide.

Skill Level: Beginner
  1. Step 1 Vacuum Regularly

    A person in rubber cleaning gloves and an apron vacuums a cozy living room.

    Keeping your carpet clean and tidy starts with vacuuming. Move furniture off your carpet for a deeper, more thorough cleaning. You can work around large, heavy-to-move items like sofas for general maintenance.

    Use a height-adjustable vacuum with a carpet setting. Choosing the proper vacuum height will give you the best, deepest clean with no extra effort. Be sure to clean or change your vacuum’s filter regularly. A clean filter will help your vacuum perform its best.

    Use a handheld hose attachment to get tough-to-reach spots like corners. You can use these attachments for vacuuming around baseboards and wall trim as well.

  2. Step 2 Pick the Right Products

    A kneeling person uses a spray bottle and microfibre cloth to spot clean carpet.

    The right cleaning products can keep your carpet looking its best. Look for products that are safe for your type of carpet. Always test them in an inconspicuous spot or on a carpet sample first. Avoid abrasive cleaning products. They can take the colour out of your carpet or create their own stains!

    You can also go the DIY route. A drop of dish soap mixed with a cup of hot water can go a long way toward cleaning spots. Put it in a spray bottle to avoid soaking your carpet.

  3. Step 3 Clean Stains as They Happen

    A soapy sponge is used to soak up a stain on neutral-coloured carpeting.

    A spill only becomes a stain once it sets, so it’s important to act quickly when you get a spot on your carpet. Blot up spills right away using a clean microfibre cloth or sponge and plain water at first. This may be enough to lift certain spots, stains and spills if you act right away.

    For more stubborn spots, try something carbonated like club soda before moving on to cleaning products. Club soda won’t damage your carpet or leave any odour. Use your homemade dish soap mixture or a pre-made spot cleaner to tackle tough stains right away. Always be sure you follow the manufacturer’s directions if you choose a store-bought product.

  4. Step 4 Use a Machine to Deep Clean your Carpet

    A casually-dressed person vacuums his living room during the busy holiday season.

    Once in a while, using a machine to do a deep clean can really help. Be sure to vacuum your carpet before using a carpet cleaning machine. You want to start with relatively clean carpet to get the best possible results. Then, remove as much furniture as you can from your room. Shampooing your carpet isn’t something you do every day, so you’ll want to get all of your carpet as clean as possible. Pre-treat spots and stains with a homemade solution or store-bought spot remover.

  5. Step 5 Allow for It to Fully Dry

    Crisp, clean white carpet adds an effortless sense of style to an all-white bedroom.

    Before you put your furniture back, you’ll want to let your carpet fully dry. This typically takes between eight and twelve hours, but you may be able to speed up the process by opening windows or using fans pointed at the carpet. If you must walk on your newly cleaned carpet, consider putting down plastic until it has dried.

  6. Step 6 Vacuum Again

    A silver handheld vacuum is used to clean off-white, medium-pile carpet.

    Once your carpet is completely dry, using your regular vacuum can help you pick up any debris particles that were loosened during the shampooing stage. Vacuuming after shampooing also helps keep your carpet in shape, as the shampooing process can leave your carpet fibres going in multiple directions.

  7. Step 7 Carpet Maintenance Tips

    A child and dog are relaxing on clean carpet in a comfortable family room.

    Vacuuming, spot-treating and learning how to get stains out of carpet is easy once you know how. Here are a few carpet maintenance tips you can use between cleanings:

    • Make vacuuming part of your regular routine. Do it at least once per week to keep your carpet look its best.
    • Move furniture at least once in a while and vacuum beneath it. You’ll remove those dents caused by heavy furniture and help your carpet retain its shape.
    • Do two passes in high-traffic areas. Dirt is likely to be trapped in the fibres of your carpet in these spots. Spending a little more time here can ensure your carpet looks new longer.
    • Don’t let spills settle. Tackle them right away even if you can’t fully get rid of them.
    • Clip or trim any snags with sharp scissors. This minimizes damage to nearby areas.

What You Need for This Project

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