How to Clean Carpets and Maintain Their Quality Over Time

How to Clean a Carpet - TOP 9 Cleaning Carpet Tips

Sep 26, 2023
With time, your carpet will become dirty. And there is no better way of restoring its sparkling look other than cleaning it. No matter how hard you try to maintain its cleanliness, dirt will always catch up. As such, cleaning your carpet is inevitable.

A woman exhausted from cleaning her Carpet
A woman exhausted from cleaning her Carpet

With the appropriate carpet cleaning method, you will maintain your carpet’s excellent look effortlessly. There are a few methods that you can use to clean your carpet depending on a few factors.

Below are some incredible methods to fully take advantage of. They include simple steps that you can easily follow through. Most methods down below will require you to use some kind of cleaning equipment.

Someone cleaning their carpet using a vacuum cleaner

Someone cleaning their carpet using a vacuum cleaner

Some, however, don’t need any special equipment or machine to successfully use. Read on to find some of the methods that you can use to clean your carpet.

What methods and steps should you use to clean a carpet?

You already know that a clean carpet has better appearance and improves the health condition of your home or business. There are a few methods that you could use to clean your carpet depending on the mess or the nature of the carpet. For a sparkling clean carpet, be sure to try some of the methods below:

Method 1: Cleaning a carpet with a vacuum cleaner

This vacuum cleaning method of a carpet is ideal for carpets with soil, pet hair and dander. If you’re looking to get rid of such debris and materials from the carpet, then this method will help a great deal. But before you can begin cleaning your carpet, you need to follow the steps below:

Step 1: Prepare the room with the carpet you want to clean. You can start by picking up small objects such as toys, papers, and coins that might block the passage of the vacuum cleaner.

The next preparation exercise would be dusting your window blinds, furniture, baseboards and window sills first so the dust can fall to the floor or the carpet.  Remember to check under the furniture as well for any small objects.

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Step 2: Clean the carpet. You can start vacuuming the carpet using your vacuum cleaner. Use nozzle attachments to clean hard-to-reach areas such as the edge of the carpet and baseboards.

For hard-to-move furniture, use the cranny extension to clean under the couches and other pieces.

Step 3: Vacuum clean your carpet in both horizontal and vertical directions. This vacuuming technique will remove all the dirt, hair and dander from the carpet. With the twisted carpet fibers, it might be hard to clean it perfectly. 

Step 4: Clean your carpet with a vacuum cleaner regularly. For the carpet to be always clean, you will have to clean it a few times a week depending on a few factors. If you’re a single person, you can vacuum the carpet once a week.

But if you have a 60-pound dog and you’re single, you will have to vacuum the carpet four times a week!

The rule of thumb here is one vacuuming for 20-pound pet per week, and one vacuuming per person in one week. Larger pets shed more fur than smaller ones, hence the need for more vacuuming.

A middle-aged woman cleaning her carpet manually

A middle-aged woman cleaning her carpet manually

For optimal results, you will need to have access to the best vacuum cleaners. Vacuuming your carpet works when you’re looking to remove pet fur, human hair or dander from the carpet. For other stains, you will have to employ other methods. It’s an easy method that anyone can use. As such, the vacuum is your DIY carpet cleaner.

Method 2: Cleaning a carpet with a shampoo

Cleaning the carpet using shampoo is more effective than vacuuming. It gets rid of more dirt than from vacuuming. If you’re looking for how to clean carpet stains, then you should consider shampooing your carpet. You can follow the steps below for a sparkling clean outcome:

Step 1: Clear the room with the carpet you want to shampoo. You can start by removing your furniture out of the room to a room nearby. If you have furniture that’s hard to move out of the room, you can move it to one side of the room as you clean the other side.

Step 2: Vacuum the carpet before you can start shampooing it. If you’re intending to shampoo the carpet, you will need to use a shampooer. Fortunately, shampooers have a vacuuming feature to help you get rid of dust balls, large dirt particles and water from the carpet.

Step 3: Remove stains on the carpet using a carpet stain remover. It’s also very important to remove any stain on the carpet before shampooing it. However, you will have to follow the usage instructions of the stain remover.

Stain removers work differently from each other. Be sure to follow the instructions. You might spray some and leave them so your shampooer can pick them up during cleaning. For some, you need to blot them up with a wet towel.

Step 4: Fill up the shampooer with water. You should fill it with the right amount of water. Shampooers have either removable water tanks or fixed ones. In all the cases, the tanks have a max line that you shouldn’t exceed while adding water for optimal performance.

You should take time to study the shampooer so that you understand how it works.

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Step 5: Add the carpet soap. Be sure to choose the right carpet soap for the machine. Also, add the recommended amount since an excess might leave soap scum on your carpet or clog the machine.

You can always find the best carpet shampoos from online retailers. Just make sure you understand how to add shampoo into the machine. Some shampooers will need you to add the shampoo directly to the water inside the water tank. Some will, however, need you to add shampoo into a separate compartment.

Step 6: Thoroughly clean your carpet using the shampooer. You can start running the shampooer from one corner to the other in a straight path. Turn around and run it in a straight path so the new path slightly overlaps the previous one.

Shampooers aren’t supposed to be pulled back and forth like vacuum cleaners. For excellent carpet cleaning outcome, you will need to make straight lines across the room until you have cleaned every inch of the carpet.

Step 7: Pull the shampooer slowly. Shampooers work slowly as compared to vacuum cleaners. They have to shoot the soapy water into the carpet and suck it back, hence cleaning the carpet. If you pull it too fast, it may not suck up all the water on the carpet and you will end up with a damp carpet.

Method 3: Spot cleaning the carpet

Sometimes, your carpet might be marred with stains such as blood drops, coffee or ink. In such a case, you will need a different cleaning method that’s exclusively for removing stains. You might use other methods but they might not yield the best results.

A young man tired and sleeping on a dirty carpet

A young man tired and sleeping on a dirty carpet

If you’re looking to get rid of the stains from your carpet, spot cleaning then becomes the best way to clean carpet in this case. And to successfully clean your carpet using method 3, you can follow the steps below:

Step 1: Pick the right stain remover. There’s a wide plethora of carpet stain removers to choose from. Some are labelled as “all purpose” stain removers. However, you should keep in mind that stains from body fluids such as blood will need a specific stain remover.

Always make sure you’re getting the right product for your carpet and stain. For fresh blood stains, you can blot it hydrogen peroxide to spot clean it. For a dry blood stain, you can blot it with hydrogen peroxide first then use an enzyme-based detergent to clean it.

For pet urine, you can always use an enzyme-based cleaner to spot clean the carpet. In case you are unable to find the right spot cleaner, you can blot fresh stains with ammonia solution, and then blot them with detergent and warm water afterwards.

Step 2: Test the carpet stain remover on a small inconspicuous part of the carpet. The main reason for doing this is to make sure the stain remover is appropriate for your carpet. You can choose hidden areas such as the interior of a closet to try the product.

Don’t test the stain remover on a stain just yet. You want to make sure the product doesn’t discolor the carpet or leaves behind stain. If everything is fine, you can use the product to remove stains on your carpet.

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Step 3: Use a clean, white cloth to wipe the stains. Dyed rugs or those with color patterns are unsuitable for use in cleaning off the stains after they’re blotted. Such rugs will transfer their colors to your carpet, thus ruining them. It’s important to use a clean, white cloth in this cleaning method. A white paper towel is also suitable for use.

Don’t use brushes or bristles to clean off the stains since they might fray the fabric of your carpet, leaving them ruined.

Step 4: Dab the areas with the stains. You can apply small amounts of the stain remover on a clean, white cloth and gently blot the stains. Don’t apply larger amounts of the stain remover on a clean cloth and dab the stains. This action might leave soap behind which might worsen the stains rather than removing them.

Also, don’t scrub the carpet or press hard on it with the damp cloth. This action will drive the stain deeper into the fibers of the carpet, worsening the situation instead of improving it.

Step 5: Rinse your carpet. If there is any remaining soap on the carpet on the blotted area, you can soak it up with a fresh, clean, white cloth and water. Avoid soaking the carpet with water. If you do so, the pad underneath the carpet will absorb some water, leading to mold and mildew problems.

After rinsing the carpet, you can let it air dry completely. You can also use a specialty carpet dryer to dry the carpet more quickly if you used large amounts of water. 

Method 4: Cleaning a carpet with Vinegar

If you don’t know how to clean carpets with vinegar, you can follow the steps below. But first, you will need a few items to pull this off. You will need a spray bottle, vinegar and water, and a clean, white cloth.

Someone cleaning white cream from the carpet

Someone cleaning white cream from the carpet

Once you have everything ready and in place, you will be ready to start. And to kick-start the cleaning initiative, simply follow the steps below:

Step 1: Get to the stain as soon you notice it. The stain could be pet pee, wine, or a muddy footprint. The longer the stains remain on the carpet, the harder it will be to remove them. Making sure you act swiftly is very important. Therefore, you can get to the stains when they’re still wet for excellent cleaning.

Step 2: Lay a clean, white cloth over the stains and blot the liquid up. You can use your fingertips or the heel of your palm to blot the stains up. Do not rub the stains with the cloth since this will spread them further, worsening the situation.

Step 3: Repeat the step above as much as necessary. You might need a few extra cloths depending on the severity of the damage the spill has caused. The idea here is to soak up as much spill as possible.

Step 4: Now you can bring the vinegar into the mix. Set the bottle spray to the “mist” setting. You should be sure to mix vinegar and water in equal measures. That means water should be half of the mixture in the spray bottle. Once you have the mixture in equal proportions, you can spray the stains, one at a time, with the contents of the spray bottle.

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Step 5: Allow the sprayed mixture to rest on the stain for approximately five to ten minutes. Once vinegar has softened the stain, you can use a clean towel to soak it up. Simply blot the vinegar up.

This method works great with stains from spilled wine. Vinegar does a great job of cleaning your carpet at a low cost. You might need more towels to excellently clean off the stains. If you are looking for how to clean carpet yourself, then you just found a method that could help you out.

A lady cleaning a carpet using a bottle sprayer

A lady cleaning a carpet using a bottle sprayer

You just need to have the right requirements and mix water and vinegar in the right proportions. For other stains, this method might not work very effectively. Be sure to read on and find which other methods to take full advantage of. Also, remember to blot the vinegar solution after five to ten minutes.

Method 5: Cleaning a carpet with baking soda

Baking soda is easily available in most homes. It’s, therefore, an easy-to-find carpet cleaner. Besides, it is very affordable. If you’re looking for how to clean a carpet with baking soda, you can follow the steps below. You need to understand that this method works great at removing some stains. You will find the kind of stains you can safely and effectively remove with baking soda through this method.

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1) Removing non-greasy stains with baking soda

Non-greasy stains are those that don’t leave residue on the carpet. You can easily remove them but it will take you some time, probably hours. To remove such stains, you can follow the steps below:

Step 1: Dust the areas with the stain with a generous amount of baking soda. Do this step so the baking soda is over the stains.

Step 2: Mist the area you have dusted with baking soda with hot water lightly.

Step 3: Leave the mixture of hot water and baking soda to sit there for at least three hours. You can also leave the mixture there for longer. You can do this step best at night when you’re going to bed.

Step 4: Vacuum the area with the mixture. Once the three-hour period has elapsed, you can use a vacuum cleaner to clean the carpet. The stains should be gone, leaving your carpet sparkling clean.

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2) Removing greasy stains with baking soda

Greasy stains require a different approach while cleaning them with baking soda. But nothing is impossible if you have set your mind to cleaning your carpet. Just follow the steps below and your stains will vanish:

Step 1: Blot the greasy stains with a clean rag or paper towel. This is to absorb as much of the grease as humanly possible. You will need varying amounts of paper towel depending on the area affected by the greasy stains.

Do not rub the greasy spots with the paper towel or rag. This action might cause the stains to set in the carpet, making them harder to remove.

Step 2: Sprinkle dry baking soda on the stains and leave your carpet that way overnight. This step is to let the baking soda absorb as much of the greasy stain as possible. The longer you leave the baking soda on the carpet, the better the cleaning result. As such, you can sprinkle the baking soda on the greasy stains on the carpet and leave it overnight.

Step 3: Vacuum clean the carpet the following morning. This should remove the stains. In case there are a few persistent stains, you can blot them with dish soap. The soap will help reduce the greasiness of the stains for excellent stain removal.

Step 4: Using a clean paper towel and water, slowly remove the soapy residue still on the carpet. Do not scrub the carpet since this might spread the grease further, ruining the fabric of the carpet.

Step 5: Dry the area you cleaned with water until it’s slightly damp. Again, sprinkle some baking soda and leave it to sit for three hours, and then vacuum clean the area. This should completely remove all the greasy stains, leaving your carpet fresh and sparkling clean.

Baking soda works great at removing pet odor from the carpet as well. It is a very effective carpet cleaner that’s readily available at ridiculously inexpensive price. You don’t need to call a commercial carpet cleaner to do the cleaning work when you can do it yourself, adding to your home maintenance cost but saving a few coins in the long run.

Method 6: Cleaning a carpet by steaming it

The steam cleaning method doesn’t only clean the carpet but also disinfects it at the same time. It kills fleas, bedbugs, and mold spores just to mention a few things by using this method. It is, therefore, a great carpet cleaning method that you can try.

A close-up picture of a person cleaning a carpet with a spray can

A close-up picture of a person cleaning a carpet with a spray can

The only requirements necessary for this method is a steam cleaner and water. The method is easy, giving you the chance to get your hands-on if you’re handy. To successfully pull this off, you can follow the steps below:

Step 1: Start by clearing the room. Be sure to remove furniture, toys and other objects from the room. Steam cleaners work efficiently if you drag them back and forth over the carpet. So, clutter is something you do not want to deal with.

For hard-to-move furniture, you can wrap their legs with a waterproof tape. In case you don’t have such a tape, use aluminum foil instead. If the furniture is movable but you’re out of rooms to take it to, simply move them to one side of the room. Clean the other side and switch places to clean the remaining side.

Step 2: Vacuum the carpet. Carpet steamers are unable to remove solid particles lodged between the fabric of the carpet. As such, you will have to vacuum the carpet to remove such solids like hair, dust, and crumbs, just to mention a few. To make sure there are no solid particles still lying around, vacuum the carpet at least thrice.

Step 3: Treat all the stain spots first before steaming the carpet. If your carpet has stains from lipstick, wine spills and pet urine, spot treat the stains first before steam cleaning your carpet. You will have to choose the right stain remover for you to successfully remove the stains. For more information, refer to method 3 above.

Step 4: Prepare the steam mopper. You will need to refill the tank of your steam mopper as directed by the manufacturer. You can detach the water tank of your unit if it’s detachable and fill it with distilled water, making sure to use a measuring cup. Add the recommended cleaning solution. Some units will recommend dish soap, others white vinegar. Connect the unit to a power outlet and let the water heat to steaming temperature.

Step 5: Run the unit from one corner to another. Make sure to run the steam mopper in a straight line. Overlap the previous line when making a new one. This action will ensure proper steam cleaning of the carpet. Repeat this step unit you have cleaned every inch of the carpet.

Step 6: Allow your carpet to dry. Even though steam cleaning doesn’t leave much water behind, it leaves the carpet damp. You might have to leave your carpet to dry for four to twelve hours. You can shorten the time your carpet takes to dry.

For example, you can use a dehumidifier to dry your carpet fast. You only need to place it in the middle of the room and have it run on a high setting. You can open all the windows of the room to permit the evaporating moisture to escape.

And if you have a shop vacuum cleaner with both dry and wet capabilities, run it over the carpet, just as you would with a regular vacuum cleaner. Let it soak up excess moisture from the carpet. Fans are also great at speeding up the drying of the carpet.

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Simply face them downwards so they directly blow over the carpet. Run them for faster drying. After your carpet is dry, it will be very clean.

Method 7: Cleaning a carpet using the Bonnet cleaning technique

Bonnet cleaning is yet another carpet cleaning method that you can take advantage of. It’s a cleaning method that only cleans the top of the fibers of your carpet, areas you’d normally observe when looking at the carpet.

A person closely cleaning a carpet with gloves on

A person closely cleaning a carpet with gloves on

But still, it does a great job of leaving your carpet sparkling clean for a revitalized and appealing look! And to get the job done, you are going to need a some equipment and supplies. In your arsenal of cleaning supplies, be sure to have a floor machine with a speed of 175 RPM, a two-quart pump-up type sprayer, a mop bucket with wringer combination, and a cotton-made absorbent pad.

Once you have gathered all the above mentioned equipment, you can proceed to follow the steps below:

Step 1: Clean the carpet first with a vacuum cleaner. This will work to remove any small dirt, hair of dander from the carpet for an excellent cleaning process. And for a safety alert, you might put up wet floor signs so other people can keep off your workspace.

Step 2: Fill up the mop bucket with water and add the recommended bonnet cleaner.

Step 3: Also fill the pump up-type sprayer with warm water and add the correct solution of bonnet cleaner.

Step 4: Using the pump, spray a 10 x 10-inch area on the carpet with the contents of the pump. Let the solution or mixture sit there for a while. Be sure to spray the right.

Step 5: You can wring out a pad after putting it into the cleaning solution in the bucket. Place the pad under the floor machine. Then move the machine back and forth over the carpet making sure you’re cleaning every inch of the carpet. To make sure you’re doing an excellent job, you can overlap at least two inches when you’re making a new line with the machine.

Step 6: Flip the pad and use the other side of it if it feels like it’s drying out.

Step 7: Replace the pad with a new one once both of its sides are soiled. Continue repeating steps 6 and 7 until every inch of your carpet is clean.

Once you are through with this method, you should have a clean-looking carpet. The carpet will take a short time to dry, making this method a great option for people looking for a quicker result.

Method 8: Cleaning a carpet with baking powder and corn flour

If you are looking to dry clean your carpet, you can use this method. It doesn’t involve using water, which means your carpet will not get wet at any point. All you need is baking soda and corn flour. The steps to follow here are also simple.

Step 1: Mix sufficient amount of baking soda with corn flour. Sprinkle the mixture on the stained areas and let it sit there for a while. This method works great if you act fast. The moment something has stained the carpet, that’s when to act. Also, you can use it the moment you notice the stains if you want the best results.

Step 2: Vacuum clean the carpet to get rid of the mixture. Corn flour absorbs greasy substances causing stains on the carpet. On the other hand, baking soda fights any unpleasant odors on the carpet.

Step 3: Repeat the previous step until you have a spotless and odorless carpet. You might not get the result you expected instantly. That’s why you might have to repeat step 2 a few times.

Step 4: Examine the carpet to make sure it is as clean as you want it to be.

This method works great for removing grease and other similar stains from the carpet. It is a very simple method to use and the supplies are readily available.

You don’t need any drying time since water is out of the picture here. As such, it is a great carpet cleaning method when water conservation is key or when you have none.

Method 9: Cleaning the carpet using traditional cleaning technique

If you are looking at how to clean a carpet without a machine or you don’t have fancy cleaning equipment, you can try out the traditional carpet cleaning method. You will require a few items which are not only intensive but easy to source as well. This method deep cleans a carpet. You will, therefore, need to sun-dry the carpet after cleaning it.

A lady frustrated from doing many chores including cleaning her carpet

A lady frustrated from doing many chores including cleaning her carpet

The duration the carpet will take to dry will depend on the intensity of the sunlight, duration of the sun and the fabric density and quality. Some of the items you will need to have include a carpet scrubbing brush, detergent soap and water. To clean the carpet, be sure to follow the simple steps below:

Step 1: Drench the carpet with soapy water and scrub. Make sure to scrub every inch so the entire carpet is cleaned.

Step 2: Rinse the carpet with clean water. You will have to rinse it until it is no longer soapy. You might end up using a lot of water if the detergent you used persists or the fabric of the carpet is thicker.

Step 3: Take the carpet out in the sun. Let it dry naturally. It might take a few days to dry completely. So, this method is for those with patience. You can also use this method if you’re also looking for how to deep clean a carpet by hand. It removes all stains if you use the right soap or cleaner. Since some stains might be hard to remove or persistent, you can spot treat them first before resuming your traditional and very natural carpet cleaning technique. It the carpet is very large, consider bringing in an extra pair of helping hands.


For effective carpet cleaning, you will need to choose the appropriate method according to the kind of stains that have plagued your carpet. Be sure to follow the steps of the methods you have opted for if you want to see the best possible result.

Cleaning a carpet doesn’t have to be expensive. With the right equipment and supplies, you will get the job done in a short time. No need to follow everyone running around the house with some paper towels trying to clean the stains they leave behind.

Instead, you can let your kids and pets play happily on your carpets. Some of the methods involve the use of natural products, which means you will be helping to keep the environment safe.

Even if you don’t have a particular piece of equipment, say, a steam cleaner, you can rent one. You don’t have to spend a lot of money sourcing some cleaning equipment. This will help reduce the cost of cleaning your carpet.

You now have the right knowledge to help you effectively clean your carpet. The only task you have ahead is to restore your carpet’s great looks and fresh odor. Use one of the methods above and notice how revitalized your carpet will be.

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