Learning Center

Find the answers to your home improvement questions.

How to Clean and Maintain Carpet

Carpet Cleaning with Steam Cleaner

The most important step in keeping your new carpet clean and in top condition is proper carpet maintenance. Good maintenance habits will extend the life and beauty of your carpet.

Vacuuming

The first step in your maintenance routine must be vacuuming. Dust, dirt, and other materials that find their way onto your carpet can become embedded in the pile of the carpet. Over time this can affect the color and may also cause the carpet fibers to mat.

Vacuuming the debris out on a regular basis, about once a week, will prevent an accumulation that could affect the long-term appearance of your carpet. Use a vacuum with beater bars and strong suction. The carpet setting on most modern vacuum cleaners utilizes the beater bar to help loosen dirt and other particles from the carpet so they may be more easily removed.

Spot Cleaning

If something spills onto the carpet, it is important to try to remove the substance as quickly as possible. Fast action may prevent a stain. Be sure to keep a stain removal guide and a stain removal kit on hand for emergencies.

Stain Removal Kit

●        Carpet cleaning solvent such as perchlorethylene

●        Detergent solution; one teaspoon non-bleach powder mixed with one cup water

●        Ammonia solution; one tablespoon ammonia mixed with one cup water

●        Vinegar solution; 1/3 cup vinegar mixed with 2/3 cup water

●        Absorbent white cloths or white paper towels

Pre-treatment

First, scrape the spill using the edge of a spoon. Begin at the outer edge of the spot and move towards the center. Next, blot any excess liquid by applying downward pressure on the area with a clean, dry white cloth or paper towel. Do not attempt to rub the spot. Finally, wet a clean white cloth or paper towel with the cleaning solution you will be using. Use it to dampen the carpet but do not wet the carpet all the way through. If a cleaning solution is necessary, test it in an inconspicuous area first to make sure it is compatible with your carpet.

Stain Removal Guide:

●        Beer – solvent, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Blood – water, blot, detergent, blot, ammonia, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot *use only cold ingredients

●        Butter – solvent, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Chewing Gum – freeze gum with ice, shatter the frozen lump with a blunt object, vacuum, apply solvent, wait, blot and repeat as needed

●        Cheese – detergent, blot, ammonia, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Chocolate – detergent, blot, vinegar, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Cocktails – detergent, blot, vinegar, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Coffee – solvent, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Crayon – detergent, blot, ammonia, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Excrement – detergent, blot, ammonia, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Fruit – detergent, blot, vinegar, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Furniture Polish – solvent, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Garden Soil – detergent, blot, ammonia, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Glue, white – detergent, blot, ammonia, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Grease – solvent, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Hair Spray – solvent, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Ice Cream – detergent, blot, ammonia, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Ink, point or felt – solvent, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Ink, permanent – detergent, blot, ammonia, blot, vinegar, blot, water, blot

●        Ketchup – detergent, blot, ammonia, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Mascara – solvent, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Mayonnaise – detergent, blot, ammonia, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Milk – detergent, blot, ammonia, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Nail Polish – solvent, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Paint, latex – solvent, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Rust – detergent, blot, vinegar, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Shoe Polish – solvent, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Soft Drinks – detergent, blot, vinegar, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Soy Sauce – detergent, blot, ammonia, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Tar – solvent, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Tea – detergent, blot, vinegar, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Toothpaste – detergent, blot, ammonia, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Type Ribbon – solvent, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Urine, fresh – blot, water, blot, ammonia, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Urine, dry – detergent, blot, vinegar, blot, ammonia, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Vomit – detergent, blot, ammonia, blot, vinegar, blot, water, blot

●        Wax, candle – freeze wax, shatter with blunt object, vacuum, solvent, wait, blot, repeat as needed

●        Wax, paste – solvent, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

●        Wine – detergent, blot, vinegar, blot, detergent, blot, water, blot

Professional Cleaning

Even if you perform routine maintenance and carefully clean any stains before they have a chance to set, you will still need to have a professional cleaning every twelve to eighteen months to ensure your carpet retains its beautiful appearance. A professional cleaning service may use a number of methods including steam cleaning, bonnet cleaning, rotary shampoo, and dry foam.

When choosing your carpet cleaner remember that they will be caring for an important, and expensive, component of your home. Ask the cleaner for references and a firm estimate.

Carpet Tips

Place doormats outside any external entrances into the home. This will limit the amount of dirt and debris that enters the home and makes its way into the carpet. Close blinds or curtains to limit direct sunlight on the carpet that can cause surfaces to fade. Finally, move the furniture in the room occasionally to give the carpet fibers a chance to recover. This may increase the life of the pile. Additionally, you can use floor protectors under the furniture to diminish the load on any one spot. For additional carpet and stain removal information, visit the Carpet and Rug Institute.

(8) Comments

  1. Wow I love the stain removal guide, detailed with examples of how to remove each type of stain! I’ll have to bookmark this so I can reference in the future, great post!

  2. Thank you for the information. I am a newbie but I read about the industry all the time and think I do a great job for all my customers. I try to do everything you discussed in the article. I am a big fan of pre vacuuming. I know some guys don’t think it makes much of a difference but to me it makes jobs come out better.

    Thanks again for your time

  3. Thanks for the great post and useful information. I spot clean and use a non-toxic homemade odour removal powder in between getting my carpets professionally cleaned.

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Nicky,

      Thank you for your feedback! We’re glad you enjoyed the article and found it informative! Please let us know if there is anything we can help out with!

  4. Carpet cleaning is very essential as it will not only help in cleaning the carpet as dust and dirt inside the carpets can put an adverse effect on your health especially kids in your home. Stains, drops of liquids, dirt, ink etc are some of the common things that you will see on your carpet. Never rub the stains on the carpet instead blotting them is the right approach. I always prepare a cleaning solution and use a clean cloth to dab the stain as it happens. Vinegar actually works as wonder on stains.

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Noah, thank you for the great reply! I definitely agree doing proper maintenance on a carpet is so important for the longevity of the product as well as the health of everyone living in the home!

  5. Hi, I have new carpet, it’s plush and soft (great pad). There are areas in my home that tend to have traffic dirt. What do you recommend for those areas to prevent this? I was left with several feet of the carpet that was installed. Would it hurt to cut out some sections and spread them on the heavy traffic areas?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You can use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.