Best Way to Clean Carpet [3 Vital Steps]

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best way to clean carpet

Here’s our take on the best way to clean a carpet.

Employing the following methods in sequence on a regular basis can prolong the life of your carpet.


Running the vacuum cleaner over your carpetRunning the vacuum cleaner over your carpet’s high-traffic areas keeps the fibers fresh and clean. Carpets attract dust and dirt from foot traffic. Dust isn’t exactly friendly or attractive on a carpet.

You can also do a full house cleaning once a week. When vacuuming, here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Make overlapping strokes with the vacuum to make sure you pick up everything.
  • Move slowly. If you move too quickly, the vacuum passes over the carpet without enough time to pick up dust. Try counting to three on each forward and backward stroke.
  • Set your cleaner to the proper height for your carpet. This may take some experimentation but go for a height that allows the cleaner to roll with only a little resistance.
  • Don’t neglect attachments. Those little brushes and hoses on your vacuum cleaner are invaluable for reaching places the main unit can’t.
  • Clean your bag and change your filter. If you let gunk build up in your vacuum, it won’t be as good at cleaning your carpet.

Stain Removal

removing stainVacuuming is good for getting up dust, but what if you’ve got stains on the carpet?

Here are a few tips on removing various kinds of stains.

First, you need to know what you’re dealing with. Also, you’ll be applying various chemicals to your carpet that could damage the color if your carpet isn’t colorfast.

Test it out first in a secluded area.

Blood: Use a steel wool pad or brush (with rubber gloves to prevent contamination) and gently scrub at the stain if it’s dried to loosen it from the carpet. Use a solution of two cups of cold water and one teaspoon of dish detergent, dip a cloth in it, and blot at the solution from the outside in. You can also use salt, baking soda, or hydrogen peroxide to clean up blood.

Urine: Use an enzyme-based cleaner like Nature’s Miracle. Get as much of the stain up with a cloth as you can, then spray the remainder and allow the chemicals to do their work. After about half an hour, you should be able to scrub up the rest. This method can also clean up vomit and feces.

Ink: Depending on what kind of ink, you can use dishwashing liquid, hydrogen peroxide, or rubbing alcohol to remove an ink stain. As with other stains, work from the outside in.

Grass: Sweep or vacuum up any soil or other pesky matter that may have crept in along with the stain. Create a mixture of laundry detergent and cold water. Dip a clean cloth into it and dab at the stain until it completely transfers. If this doesn’t work, try ammonia after making sure the area is well-ventilated.

In the case of pet stains, you need an enzyme-based cleaner to break down the stain completely and remove it. Otherwise, a faint lingering scent might entice the pet to use the same spot again.

Vinegar For All Purpose Stains

vinegar for stainsVinegar is great at removing a wide variety of stains from the carpet. The acidity in vinegar allows it break up most kinds of stains ranging from light juice and soda to red wine and coffee.

It’s always best to get a stain as soon as it happens but vinegar works excellent on accrued stains such as mud and dirt along heavily walked areas.

Here are a few different ways vinegar can remove stains from your carpet:

For red wine or dark juice

  • Combine two tablespoons of salt with a half cup of white vinegar.
  • Scrub the stains using a toothbrush for at least five minutes.
  • Once, the stain has lifted, and the area has dried vacuum the area.
  • If the stain persists – consider adding a small amount of cornstarch to the mixture to thicken it up.

For coffee

  • Combine two cups of white vinegar with two cups of hot water and pat until the stain lifts entirely from the carpet.
  • Continue this process until the stain is removed.

For dirt and mud

  • Mix one tablespoon of vinegar and one tablespoon of cornstarch.
  • Stir the mixture until it thickens up.
  • Using a clean cloth, vigorously scrub the stain in up and down motions.
  • Let the area rest for twenty-four hours and then vacuum it up.
Another thing to consider: don’t mix chemicals unless you know for certain they will create no harmful reactions. Ammonia and bleach, for instance, should never be mixed because they can create a poisonous fume that will likely kill you. When in doubt, don’t mix.

Carpet Cleaning Machine

A deep carpet cleaner like the Rug Doctor or the Bissell Big Green Carpet Cleaner uses a proprietary solution to clean the carpet. The carpet shampooer forces the solution down to the backing, using the force of the backwash to loosen dirt and other stains up, then acts as a normal vacuum.

Home carpet cleaners used to be fairly expensive, but can now be had quite cheaply, especially handheld carpet shampooers.. Carpet cleaners for pets tend to be a bit more costly since they have specific functions like pet hair trappers, pet stain removers and pet smell removers.

The larger the unit, the larger the tank and the longer it can clean. So smaller carpets can often get away with a cheap portable carpet shampooer.

See this list of the best carpet cleaners 2022 for a complete guide.

Steam Cleaner

A steam cleaner works much the same way as a wet vacuum, but with the added element of heat. Steam cleaners can be effective, but as mentioned earlier you should not use one if you know there are pet stains, because they could be sealed to the carpet.


These methods are a few of the best ways to clean your carpet. Vacuuming works best for day-to-day cleaning. Stain removers are for specific trouble spots. If you have a larger carpet, you also need to use a home carpet cleaner regularly in order to deep clean the carpet, prolong its life and keep it smelling fresh.

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Nora has more than 5 years experience in the floor covering industry, acquiring vast knowledge about installation and material selection. She now enjoys working as a writer and an interior decorator. Her work has been featured in The Spruce, Homes & Gardens, Southern Living and Real Homes. See full biography here.

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