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How To Clean a Carpet

From regular maintenance to the intricacies of how to deep clean a carpet, this guide provides the key to preserving the allure of your carpets, ensuring they remain clean, look their best and maintain lasting freshness.
Deep cleaning carpet and a vacuum cleaner.

How To Clean a Carpet

A beautiful carpet can completely transform the look and feel of a room—adding instant warmth, comfort and style. However, without regular care, even high-end carpets lose their appeal as dirt, stains and foot traffic take their toll. In this guide, we’ll walk through everything you need to know to clean a carpet and how to care for your carpets properly. You’ll learn the fundamentals of regular maintenance like vacuuming, how to handle spot cleaning for common spills and when it’s time to call in a professional for deep cleaning. Follow these best practices and your carpets will stay looking clean, feeling soft and enhancing your home for years to come.

Regular Maintenance

Regular carpet maintenance is the foundation of a clean and attractive carpet. A clean carpet begins with regular vacuuming. Aim for at least once a week, but high-traffic areas may need more frequent attention. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter for the best results. When spills and accidents happen, quick action is key to preventing stains from setting in. Blot the affected area with a clean cloth, working from the outside in to avoid spreading the stain. With regular vacuuming and spot cleaning, your carpet will look clean and fresh daily. If you have a bigger stain or mess to clean up, that's when a deep cleaning is needed.

Deep Cleaning Carpets

When regular maintenance is not enough, deep cleaning becomes necessary to remove embedded dirt and restore your carpet's overall appearance. Using a heavy-duty carpet cleaner or steam cleaner can tackle tough stains. Follow these steps for a thorough deep clean:
  • Select the Right Time: Choose a day when you can keep the room well-ventilated to ensure proper drying. Avoid deep cleaning during extremely humid or cold weather.
  • Gather Supplies: You'll need a few items such as a carpet cleaner or shampoo, a carpet cleaning machine, a bucket, a scrub brush and a clean, absorbent towel.
  • Pre-Treatment: Before you begin, it's advisable to pre-treat stains. Apply a stain remover specifically designed for carpets and follow the product's instructions.
  • Shampooing: Use a carpet cleaner or shampoo designed for your carpet type. Mix it with water as per the manufacturer's recommendations and load it into the cleaning machine. Follow the machine's instructions for effective cleaning.
  • Clean in Sections: Divide the carpeted area into smaller sections to ensure thorough cleaning. Start from one corner and work your way across the room, overlapping each pass for consistent results.
  • Rinsing and Drying: After cleaning, it's crucial to rinse the carpet to remove any residue. Fill the machine with clean water and go over the carpet again. To expedite drying, open windows and doors, and use fans if necessary.
Different types of carpets may require specific care. Using the right vacuum and floor care accessories is essential to avoid damaging your carpets. Wool carpets are delicate, so use a gentle cleaning solution and avoid excessive moisture to prevent shrinking. Berber carpets have a looped construction, making them susceptible to snagging. Be cautious when using a vacuum with a rotating brush. If you have stain-resistant carpets, use a cleaning solution recommended by the manufacturer to maintain their stain resistance. You can also deep clean area carpets and even wall-to-wall carpeting with some simple products you might already have at home, such as distilled white vinegar or baking soda.

How to Clean Area Rugs

Cleaning area rugs is a nuanced process that demands attention to maintain their beauty and longevity. Begin by taking the rug outdoors for a thorough shake to dislodge loose dirt and debris. Hanging it over a sturdy railing or clothesline and gently beating it can effectively remove embedded dust. In the event of spills or stains, address them promptly by blotting the affected area with a clean cloth and a mixture of water and mild detergent, avoiding harsh chemicals that might harm the fibers. When it comes to deep cleaning, the method depends on the size and material of the area rug. Larger rugs may benefit from a carpet cleaning machine, while more delicate or valuable rugs might be best entrusted to professional cleaners. Always adhere to the manufacturer's guidelines to prevent damage to the fibers. After cleaning, ensure thorough drying by laying the rug flat in a well-ventilated area and turning it occasionally to promote even drying. Cleaning area rugs goes beyond mere aesthetics; it contributes to a healthier indoor environment.
Person vacuuming area rug at home.

Professional Carpet Cleaning

For the most thorough cleaning, consider hiring professional carpet cleaners. They possess the expertise and equipment to handle even the toughest stains and maintain your carpet's longevity. Professional cleaning should be done at least once a year to keep your carpets in pristine condition. During a professional cleaning, the technician will typically follow a multi-step process, including pre-treatment, hot water extraction and drying. This cleaning method removes deep-seated dirt and allergens, leaving your carpets looking and smelling fresh.
A clean and well-maintained carpet not only adds to the aesthetics of your space but also promotes a healthier and cleaner home. By following the tips and techniques discussed in this article, you can enjoy clean, fresh and attractive carpets for many years to come. Whether you choose to tackle carpet cleaning on your own or enlist the help of professionals, the key is to keep your carpets in top-notch condition for both appearance and longevity. For questions about carpet and floor care, give our Abt team a call at 800-860-3577. If you want to learn more about various vacuums, shop vacs and carpet cleaners, take a look at our vacuum cleaner buying guide.