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How to clean a carpet

How to clean a carpet
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Knowing how to clean a carpet as well and efficiently as possible is the best way to keep your carpet looking good as new for many years. Carpet is a warmer and more comfortable option than wooden or laminate flooring, but it does require more care to keep it looking fresh. From everyday wear–and–tear to pet accidents and coffee stains, a carpet can go through a variety of stresses that takes a toll on how your home looks. 

Thankfully, there are many methods to maintaining a clean environment, as well as quick solutions for when stains occur. To make life easier when splashes and spills inevitably happen, we've rounded up tips and tricks for how to clean a carpet. 

Alongside ways to spot-clean pesky spillages, we have consulted the experts on how often you should be keeping up with regular vacuuming. By eliminating everyday dust and grime, it will mean that dirt isn’t embedded into a floor, improving the lifespan of a carpet. Once you have figured out a chore routine that works for you, explore some of the best vacuum cleaners and best handheld vacuums that will help take the stress out of housework.

When it comes to tackling deep cleans, however, you may need an extra helping hand in the form of a professional machine. These will purify surfaces so that your space is left clean to the core. Don’t miss our guide to the best carpet cleaners for advice on the top brands and features to look out for when deciding on a thorough scrub. 

How often you should clean a carpet

This will vary from household to household, however, for those with pets or children in tow, more regular cleaning will be needed. While smaller families or couples may find they can cut down on intensive vacuuming, making sure floors are swept free of grime is a great way to make a room feel larger and more inviting. 

Not only is frequent maintenance great for making a home appear more attractive, but it’s also beneficial for your health. Cleaning a carpet is great for dust allergies and hayfever sufferers, as it helps to sterilize a space. In terms of a professional deep cleanse, once every six months will suffice, or more frequently in high-use areas that see more footfall. 

How to clean a carpet at home  

Regular upkeep is just as important as managing significant stains on a carpet. Making sure to vacuum and keep surrounding areas dust-free will result in a space that feels, and smells, brand new. 

How to clean a carpet

A good vacuum cleaner can help keep your rugs and carpets looking good-as-new.  (Image credit: Getty Images)

Ideally, it is best to vacuum several times a week or everyday, to limit dust particles and keep on top of common dirt. However, we know that life can get busy so a few times a week should manage the build-up of grime. It is also essential to move furniture around so that when it comes to rearranging a design or moving house, no patches are left discolored or damaged. Vacuuming from wall to wall is a useful rule to go by, so no corner is left unturned. 

Before you begin, you should also check what your carpet is made from, to decide on the best method. If yours is synthetic, it's best to move the device in different directions. Meanwhile, a wool construction will require more care to move the machine in the direction of fibers. Check out this guide on preparing a carpet for a professional clean for plenty of tips and useful steps to follow. 

How to clean a carpet stain 

What the expert says…

George Mazruku, Founder of G’s Cleaning NYC, says, "A stain itself has its own makeup. Is it acidic? Oil based? Water based? When adding a cleaning solution to it, you’ve now created an opportunity for a chemical reaction to take place. Add a second or third cleaning product and forget about it, you may have caused irreparable damage. This is why I suggest cleaning with cleaners that have minimal chemicals, to reduce the chance of a chemical burn occurring."

As frustrating as accidents are, they are also inevitable when living in, and enjoying, your home. Whether it is coffee, wine, pet accidents, or even crayons that have gone astray, there are many ways to target a mark to ensure you have the best possible chance of getting your carpet back to full health. 

If it’s wet, first blot it with a towel to remove any residue. Alternatively, if the stain is already drying, try using a hard brush to scrape any excess debris off the carpet. Then opt for your favorite removal method to lift the mark while it is fresh. 

Likewise, with a vacuuming method, it is also worth considering what a carpet is made out of before attempting to clean it. According to George Mazruku, "not all materials release stains the same, not all cleaners react the same to every material and not all stains react the same to every cleaner."

Tips to keep a carpet clean for longer

While there are many great ways to remove grime and marks, finding ways to increase the longevity of a floor will mean that there is less pressure on your regular chores. The good news is there are many additional ways to cut back on maintenance that can be implemented easily in a household. Even keeping cleanliness in mind when navigating a home will mean that spills become less commonplace. 

• Remove shoes at the front door to avoid bringing debris in
• Place mats at every exterior entrance
• Vacuum multiple times a week
• Regularly change the vacuum bag to avoid any unpleasant smells
• Treat stains immediately 

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Holly is the Features Editor at Top Ten Reviews where she focuses on creating informative, how-to advice. She has a degree in English Literature and previously worked as a copywriter at Howdens, specializing in kitchens and trend-led interiors. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her exploring the best London bars and brunch spots, or planning the next budget-friendly city break. 

With contributions from