How and When to Clean Carpets at Home

How to do carpet cleaning in the right way
Clean carpet in a living room

Table of Contents

It's easy to clean carpets at home if you know how and when to clean them. This blog will help you know everything about the process.

From the frequency of carpet cleaning to the cleaning tools, materials and process, you will get to know all of this right here.

We will start by explaining when to clean carpets at home. And then move towards the carpet cleaning process. You will see some basic tips and tricks as well. So, try not to skip sections.

How Often Should You Clean Carpets - A Detailed Guide for You

In general, it is fine to vacuum carpets twice a week and deep clean them thrice a year. However, exact carpet cleaning intervals depend on how dirty your carpet gets. This further depends on two factors: traffic area and type of space.

  • High or Low Traffic Area: By traffic area, we mean how many people go through your carpet every day. For example, if you have a family of four and guests don’t visit you daily, yours is a low traffic area.

On the contrary, if you have a big family, yours is a heavy traffic area. In case you live alone but you have guests at home quite often then you receive heavy traffic on carpets.

  • Open or Closed Space: You need to see where your carpets are placed. Carpets that are in open areas like lawn, balconies and corridors will have different needs from carpets of closed areas like living rooms or bedrooms.

Now, that you have read factors affecting intervals of cleaning, let’s move ahead.

There are three ways of carpet cleaning: vacuuming, steaming, and shampooing. Both home and professional carpet cleaning are done in any or all of these ways depending on the two factors explained above. We will discuss them in detail right away.

A. How often should you vacuum a carpet at home

Carpet vacuuming at home for dust removal
Lady vacuuming carpet at home for dust removal

Vacuuming a carpet removes dust from the surface area. Let’s figure out how often you should vacuum a carpet at home:

(I) Vacuuming frequency on the basis of traffic

Low Traffic Area: Vacuuming your carpet once a week will be good. You can even do it anywhere between 7-10 days.

High Traffic Area: It is better to vacuum your carpets twice a week to prevent the growth of germs, moulds and mildews.

(II) Vacuuming frequency on the basis of space

The carpets you have in open areas will accumulate more dust and dirt in comparison to those in closed areas. So, you can vacuum your carpets in open areas twice or thrice a week.

Whereas, it is fine to vacuum the carpets of your living room, bedroom etc. once a week. You can also clean them every 7-10 days.

B. How often should you steam clean your carpets at home

Don’t know what steam cleaning is? No issues, here is a brief explanation of the process:

Use of steam carpet cleaning machine at home
Carpet cleaning with a steam machine at home

As the name suggests, steam is used to clean carpets in this process. There are two types of steam cleaners, you can use them to clean carpets at home:

  • Dry Steam Cleaners: In a dry steam cleaner, the machine boils water and releases it as steam. The hot steam acts as a disinfectant too.
  • Cool Steam Cleaners: The steam that comes out of these cleaners is humid. Hence it does not act as a disinfectant. Cool cleaners consume more water. This is why people prefer dry steam cleaners.

You can buy a steam cleaner machine online from Amazon, Flipkart or other e-commerce sites. They are also easily available at electronic retail stores like Chroma, Reliance Digital, eZone, etc.

We will be explaining how to use steam carpet cleaners at home in the upcoming sections. So, keep reading if you want to know everything about steam carpet cleaning at home. As of now, we will see how often you should do steam carpet cleaning.

(I) Steam cleaning frequency on the basis of traffic area

Low traffic area: It is fine to do steam carpet cleaning two times a year. Try to keep an even gap of 6 months between your steam cleaning sessions.

High traffic area: Too many people on the carpets invite more dust, stains and germs as well. So, to maintain good hygiene, do steam carpet cleaning after every 3-4 months.

(II) Steam cleaning frequency on the basis of space

Space plays a major role when it comes to steam cleaning. You should steam clean carpets of open spaces every 3-6 months.

For closed spaces, pull your steam carpet cleaner out after every 6 months and steam clean your carpets.

The process of steam cleaning consumes time. It is better to use this method for stain removals especially if your carpet is big in size.

Don’t want to clean carpets yourself? Get hassle-free carpet cleaning service from professionals.

C. How often should you shampoo your carpets at home

Did you imagine lots of foam and water on the carpet while thinking of carpet shampooing? If yes, you are right. The process is quite similar to what you imagined. Let’s see what it is.

Carpet cleaning at home using a shampooing machine

Carpet shampoo is a cleaning product to wash carpets. What detergent does to your clothes is exactly what a carpet shampoo does to carpets. You can easily purchase them online or from your nearest retail store. Cleansol carpet shampoo, natural care shampoo, and winkle carpet shampoo are some good options to buy online. They all are available on Amazon.

We will explain how to use a carpet shampooing machine later in this article. Meanwhile, let’s see how often you should shampoo a carpet at home.

(I) Shampooing frequency on the basis of traffic area

Low Traffic Area: Shampooing your carpet once in 12 months will be good enough.

High Traffic Area: Do carpet shampooing every six months especially if you are not deep cleaning it in any other way.

(II) Shampooing frequency on the basis of space

You should shampoo the carpet in open areas twice a year. Otherwise, your carpet might turn into a storage tank of dirt and dust. Shampoo your carpets that are placed in closed areas at least once a year.

Some factors like having kids and pets at home, or smoking can also affect carpet cleaning frequency. To know more about this, you can go through a detailed insight on carpet cleaning frequency.

We hope that now you can easily understand whether it’s time to wash your carpet or not. Let’s move to know how to clean carpets at home.

You can clean carpets at home with or without using machines. We will explain both of them in the upcoming sections.

How to Do Carpet Cleaning at Home Without Using Machines

While doing carpet cleaning at home you will need different things. It is always better to keep them handy to clean carpets without any mess.

A. Must have tools for carpet cleaning without machines

  • Vacuum Cleaner
  • Spray bottle
  • Scrub brush with stiff nylon bristles
  • Old towels or rags
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Bucket
  • Oscillating fan

Here is how you can clean carpets without buying or renting machines:

STEP 1: Wipe away dirt and dust first

Getting rid of dirt is a simple job. You can use a vacuum cleaner. But if you don’t have it at home, there are other ways to do it as well. You can use:

  • Broom: Simply use the normal brooms used for floor cleaning. Keep a dustpan along. Broom short areas and keep collecting the dust in the pan.
  • Rug beater: Hang on your carpet. First, you have to shake it from the ends. Later on, you can beat the carpet using your beater. We suggest you do this at a place where you don’t mind dust all over you or your valuables. Because beating and shaking a carpet release lot of dust directly into the air.
Lady using a rug beater for carpet cleaning
Use of rug beater before deep carpet cleaning
  • Carpet Sweeper: Carpet sweeper is a tool. All you have to do is run it over your carpet. It will suck in the dust. Later on, you can empty it in a bin.

STEP 2: Remove stains from the carpet

Before and after images of ink stain removal shows perfect carpet cleaning
Images of ink stain before and after carpet cleaning

PRO TIP: Don’t wait for your scheduled cleaning time to remove stains. Because the longer they will stay, the harder it will be to remove them. Try to remove your stains immediately after they happen.

Some of the toughest stains come from things like ink, paint, wine, food, blood and long-settled dust. You can try some hacks/ homemade stain removers for these stains.

Homemade stain removers for carpet cleaning

  • Ink: Rubbing alcohol, colorless hand sanitizer, or hair spray
  • Paint: Acetone-based nail polish remover (Lakme)
  • Red Wine: Food grade hydrogen peroxide (3%). Add baking soda and hot water for tough stains
  • Tea and Coffee, Food: Same as wine
  • Dried Blood: Same as wine or use a protein digester for stains that are too old.
  • Blackness caused due to long-settled dust: Baking soda in warm water + mild detergent (like Ezee)

Just put a small amount of these items as mentioned so that the product can cover the surface area of the stain.

CAUTION: Some carpets should not be washed with warm water and baking soda because issues like discoloration or fabric roughness may occur. So, do not forget to check the directions of the manufacturer before cleaning your carpet. It’s generally written on the labels. If your carpet fabric will be prone to damage by some particular cleaning agents they will be mentioned on the label.

You can end the process right here if your motive was to remove stains only. However, if you want to do deep carpet cleaning at home, keep reading.

STEP 3: Prepare a deep carpet cleaning solution at home

Deep carpet cleaning can be done using both cleaners available in the market and homemade cleaners. You can simply pick any cleaner online or visit your nearest retail store to purchase one. Scotchgard, Zimmer, and Clecide are some good options for carpet cleaners. They are easily available on Amazon as well.

If you don’t want to buy a cleaner, you can clean your carpet using:

  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Vinegar
  • Regular dish wash

Here is how you can make tried and tested DIY carpet cleaning solutions using the above-listed ingredients:

  • Baking soda + Vinegar: Mix both of these in equal measures
  • Vinegar + Water + Dish Soap: Mix 1 tablespoon of dish soap with 1/4th cup of vinegar and water each
  • Water + Vinegar: Mix ¼ cup of both the ingredients together (Works great for steam cleaning)
  • Salt + Water: Mix 2 spoons of salt with ½ cup of water (Works great for fresh stain removals)
  • Baking soda + Water + Dried Spice like cardamom: ¼ cup of water + 1 tablespoon baking soda + 1-2 tablespoons of dried spice (Works great for deodorising carpets)

You can increase the quantity of your homemade cleaning solution depending on the length of your carpet. Just make sure to keep the proportion of every ingredient the same as directed above.

Things you should know before using homemade carpet cleaning solutions

  • There are no harsh chemicals in any of the ingredients we have listed above. Hence, there are no higher chances of damage to carpet fabric unless it is extremely delicate. Delicate carpets are made up of wool and acrylic. You can read on the labels which fabric has been used in your carpet.
  • The best way to ensure the safety of carpet fabric is to do a little patch test. Wash a small area with your cleaning solution. If it works well, then go ahead with the process.
  • While using solutions with baking soda or vinegar don’t exceed the portion to double the ideal quantity and nothing will go wrong.
  • The process of deep carpet cleaning remains almost the same. So, you can use any of the listed cleaning solutions to keep your carpet clean.

If you think your carpet is too delicate, too long or too dirty to be handled on your own, then send them to expert carpet cleaners near you. Because it may take extra time and effort to clean such carpets.

Now that you know all the effective DIY carpet cleaning solutions, let’s see how to use them.

STEP 4: Apply carpet cleaning solution and blot/ scrub

Difference between blotting and scrubbing while carpet cleaning
Difference between blotting and scrubbing while carpet cleaning

You can make any cleaning solution listed above with ingredients available at home.

  • Next is to fill that solution into spray bottles. Using a spray bottle is more important than you think. Because you have to sprinkle the solution evenly on the carpet.
  • Sprinkle the carpet cleaning solution in smaller areas (3-feet x 3-feet area). Keep sprinkling till the area gets damp.
  • It will be easy to clean the carpet if you follow a pattern. You can clean the carpet by making a grid or in stripes.
  • Leave the carpet cleaning solution to soak in for 4-5 minutes.
  • Then use a microfiber cloth (preferably a towel) to blot away the solution.
  • Keep rinsing the microfiber cloth. For this, you will have to keep clean water handy in a bucket.
  • Change the bucket water when it starts getting soapy. Use clean water and keep rinsing.
  • Prefer scrubbing gently if you are using baking soda. With other solutions, blotting will be good enough.
  • For scrubbing, you will have to purchase a scrubbing brush that is easily available in local markets and online as well.

STEP 5: Dry your carpet after cleaning

Do you think you are done with carpet cleaning? No, your job is still not over.  The process of cleaning ends when the carpet dries out without catching any footprints and lumps of dirt on the wet surface.

Carpet drying in the sun after cleaning at home
Drying carpet in the sun after cleaning
  • The first step towards drying a carpet is to remove all the excess water and solution mix. You can use rags or old towels for wiping away this residue.
  • Next, you can hang it somewhere and leave it to dry on its own. If there is no such place at home where you can hang the carpet then you can spread it on the floor. But, restrict access to that area. If you cannot refrain people from going to that area, try covering your carpet with plastic sheets.

Don’t leave your carpet somewhere it can get extreme dust exposure. For instance, it is good to dry carpet in the sun. But, if there is some construction work going on in your neighborhood, then it is better to keep your wet carpets inside.

If in no way you can prevent direct exposure of dirt and dust to a freshly cleaned carpet, your efforts will go in vain. In that case, you should prefer to send it to your nearest carpet cleaning store.

How to Do Carpet Cleaning at Home Using Machines

To do carpet cleaning with machines, you should have all the required tools handy:

A. Must have tools for carpet cleaning with machines

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Cleaning solution
  • Rubber gloves
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Spray bottle
  • All accessories of the cleaning machine (hoses, brushes, shampoo tanks etc.)

The first step to cleaning carpets will be buying or renting a machine. There are majorly two machines that you can use at home.

  • Steam Carpet Cleaning Machine
  • Carpet Shampooing Machine

You have already read about these machines above. Some localised laundry stores give them on a rental basis. You can also buy a carpet cleaning machine online or from stores that sell cleaning equipment like vacuum cleaners.

A machine specifically designed for carpet cleaning may cost anywhere around INR 25,000/- to INR 50,000. You can find cheaper options for steam cleaning machines in steam mops available on Flipkart, Amazon etc. The price of steam mops ranges from INR 5,000 to INR 15,000.

There are no ideal cheaper options for a carpet shampooing machine.

Once you rent or buy a carpet cleaning machine here is how you can use it:

B. How to use a steam carpet cleaning machine

Keep these things handy

  • Water
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Mild detergent (You can purchase carpet cleaners online at Amazon or Flipkart, or you can simply use your cloth detergent)

What to do before using the steam cleaner?

  • Ensure there are no tiny objects like pins and toys on the carpet.
  • If you are using a dry steam cleaning machine, prefer adding hot water for a faster process.
  • Remove materials like decorative etc. from the cleaning area which should not come in contact with humidity.
Use of steam carpet cleaning machine at home
Carpet cleaning with a steam machine at home

Follow these steps to use steam cleaner

  • Fill water in the steamer: The amount of water required differ from machine to machine. Keep the quantity as per the instructions mentioned in the manual of your machine.
  • Add cleaning solution: Add detergent or cleaning solution to the dispenser. The quantity of cleaning solution is always specified in the manual that comes along with the machine.
  • Follow a pattern: Always follow a pattern while cleaning. The best pattern is to start running the machine from a corner and make vertical or horizontal stripes. This way you will not miss out on cleaning any portion.
  • Run the machine slowly: Your carpet will need time to soak in the steam. So, do not move it too fast. Try to move it slower than you move a vacuum cleaner.
  • Leave it to dry: Rinse the carpet using dry towels or a microfiber cloth. Then leave it to dry. You can hang the carpet at a place where it does not come in contact with too much dust. You can leave it on the floor as well. Either restrict access to that area or cover the wet carpet with plastic sheets if you are drying a carpet on the floor.

For detailed knowledge, you can go through a step-by-step guide to steam carpet cleaning.

C. How to use a carpet shampooing machine

Keep these things handy

Carpet cleaning at home using a shampooing machine

What to do before using the carpet shampooing machine

  • Vacuum the whole room – The process of shampooing will make the carpet wet. Vacuum the whole room because dirt around the furniture and dust clouds of ceiling fans can fall on the wet carpet. They will make it even dirtier.
  • Treat the stains first: Before running your machine all over the carpet, treat the stains first. You can blot/scrub the stains, rinse the cleaning solution and then move to clean the whole carpet.
  • Make arrangements to let it dry: A carpet takes more time to dry after shampooing than steam cleaning. Make arrangements to keep the space vacant for at least 24 hours if you will leave it on the floor to dry. No one should step on wet carpets. It may leave footprints or dust patches.

Here’s what to do next

Follow these steps to use a carpet shampooing machine

  • Fill carpet shampoo in the dispenser: The quantity and way of filling shampoo differ from machine to machine. You can refer to the manual.
  • Fill in the machine with water: The quantity of water again differs from machine to machine. You will have to see the directions in the manual.
  • Run the machine: Start from the corners. Move it in straight lines. Do not pull the machine back and forth as you do with a vacuum cleaner.
  • Move the machine slowly: Keep the speed lower than how you move a vacuum cleaner

Just in case you are too conscious to use a carpet shampoo machine. Go through a detailed guide to carpet cleaning using a shampooing machine.

PRO TIP: Don’t forget to read the guidelines!
Every machine comes with a guide from manufacturers. People often don’t bother to read them in detail, which is wrong. Go through the guide carefully. It will help you operate the machine easily.

If you don’t want to invest in a machine and you have changed your mind to clean carpets at home, you can head to professional carpet cleaners near you.

How Much Does It Cost for Carpet Cleaning by Professionals

Professional carpet cleaning can cost anywhere from Rs. 20/- per sq. feet to 50/- per sq. feet.  However, the exact cost of carpet cleaning service depends on different factors which are as follows:

  • Fabric of your carpet – Carpets made up of natural fabrics like wool requires intense care hence their cleaning will be expensive.
    Whereas carpets made up of synthetic fabrics like nylon, polypropylene etc. are easier to handle. So, their cleaning and washing are generally cheaper than the natural fiber carpets.
  • Status of your carpet – For removing stains of coffee, blood, paint or ink, etc. dry cleaners might charge high. If your carpet does not have any major stains the cost may be slightly lesser.
  • The dry cleaner you choose: The market is full of dry cleaners. The exact price of carpet cleaning by professionals varies from brand to brand. We suggest you choose reliable brands only. At Tumbledry, we assure our customers the best possible clean and wash service at affordable prices. Compromise on quality of service is something we don’t believe in.

Now that you have reached the end of this article, we hope you can spot which type of cleaning your carpet needs. We would like to share one more tip on the ending note – Take good care of your carpet after cleaning as well. Worrying about them only when it’s time to clean is not done. There are so many things that you need to take care of every day. The better you will care the longer they will last. Hope it helps!

Frequently Asked Questions on Carpet Cleaning

Both home and professional cleaning are needed for carpets. You should focus on how often you clean them. It is ideal to vacuum at home daily or at least twice a week. You can send your carpets for professional cleaning twice a year at least.

The cheapest way of cleaning a carpet is to clean it at home. You can use baking soda, salt, vinegar, etc. to make a cleaning solution. We have a detailed description of how to clean carpet without a machine at home above in this article. You can go through that.

Overall, steam cleaning your carpet is a lot more effective than shampooing. In case the stains are not too old or your carpet is not big in size, steam cleaning will be good.

However, in case you have to clean a large carpet surface or a carpet that has major stains on it, you should try shampooing.

It is super easy to find carpet cleaners near you on the web. Make sure you go through the reviews of the dry cleaner before choosing them. They will give a clear insight into how a certain carpet cleaner works.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not necessarily purport to reflect the values or views of Tumbledry.

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