A Detailed Guide On How To Clean A Carpet At Home

by Pooja Dara | January 19, 2024 | 10 mins read

Tips on how to clean carpet at home

A carefully selected carpet can indeed transform a space’s overall vibe, but keeping it new and fresh forever can become quite a task. To spare you the hassle, here’s a detailed guide on how to clean your carpet at home

A carpet does much more than just enhancing the aesthetics and personality of your home. Today, it plays a more functional role, which is probably why it is becoming increasingly popular in modern urban homes.

Let’s have a closer look at the advantages of carpets at home:

  • They cushion footsteps and the impact of slips and falls, minimise injuries and provide extra safety protection, especially for senior citizens and small children. 
  • They improve the air quality indoors by acting like a passive air filter that traps and removes the dust and other harmful grime from the breathing zone. 
  • They provide more comfort and warmth owing to thermal insulation and resistance and also provide an ideal space to play, sit and work; hence, they are more convenient. 
  • They act as excellent sound barriers that reduce or even block the transmission of sounds to other adjoining rooms or the floors below and even absorb/mask the sound of constant/heavy foot traffic.  
  • They can provide significant cost savings to those who are more financially conscious of reducing the overall electricity bills.   
  • On the interior decor front, they enhance your decor (~artwork for the floor), cover imperfections, brighten up a relatively dark room and make it more inviting to visitors. 
  • They are easier to clean compared to actual wooden floors due to the presence of fibres in them, which can be easily brushed off or vacuumed.  
  • They help a particular space or room feel more grounded and the furniture in it more anchored, say the living room, dining room or even a bedroom.
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Now, let’s move onto the part that you all must be eagerly waiting for: The Comprehensive Carpet Cleaning Guide. Take a thorough read and bookmark it for future use.

Note that the type of cleaning method or combination of cleaning methods that you ultimately use will depend upon the type of material the carpet is made up of (synthetic/natural fibre), the colour (dark/light), the style (woven/Berber), the frequency of usage, the flow of traffic, homeowners’ lifestyles and so on.

How To Clean A Carpet At Home With A Steam Cleaner/Vacuum Cleaner?

Carpet fibres are often the hub of pathogens, dust, germs and other minute substances that you can’t even see with the bare eyes. However, the good news is that there is a sure-shot way of eliminating them from your homes using these two carpet cleaning methods:

Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning is one of the best carpet cleaning methods, which uses just hot water vapour and no chemicals. Not only does steam mopping kill bacteria, but it also eliminates dust mites, fleas and more. For the maximum effectiveness of steam mopping on your carpet, combine it with regular vacuuming to reduce dust particles and viruses by 98%.

The steps involved in steam cleaning are:

  1. Remove the furniture/any other items from the floor/to another room so that the cleaning process becomes easier. 
  2. Pick up the crumbs, hair strands and loose dirt particles first using a vacuum so that it doesn’t get stuck on your mop head when you use the steam mop next.  
  3. Read the steam mop’s instructions carefully as they differ between machines. Carry out a patch test on an inconspicuous corner of your carpet to see if it is safe to use a steam mop on the entire carpet. The reason is that high-temperature water vapour may have different impacts on different kinds of carpets (synthetic fibre carpets → distorted, Berber carpets → become frizzy, woven carpets → shrink).
  4. Use distilled water instead of regular tap water to fill the tank of your steam mop. This ensures that salts, limestone and minerals present in the tap water don’t clog your mop head over time, thereby impacting its full steam distribution potential. 
  5. Start steaming from the far corner of the room and slowly work your way back so that you never have to walk on a wet carpet and ruin your spent effort. 
  6. Work in sections by running the steam mop in long lines rather than short strokes to not leave any dirty lines behind. 
  7. Dry the carpet thoroughly by opening windows or turning on the ceiling fans to prevent mould/mildew from forming over it. Check out more steps on how to steam clean a carpet here. 
Hacks on how to clean carpet with the steam cleaner at home
Remove all the furniture from over the carpet to make the carpet cleaning process easier

Vacuum Cleaning

Vacuum cleaning helps you trap and collect only dry dust particles and crumbs from the carpet’s surface. It needs to be done slowly back and forth using repetitive strokes. This way, it removes nearly 85% of the dry soil in the rug. It is recommended that you vacuum your house at least twice a week and get some professional cleaning done by the experts at least once every year.

How To Clean A Carpet At Home Without A Carpet Cleaner? (DRY METHODS)

If you’re an advocate of home remedies and don’t like spending much on buying heavy cleaning equipment, then worry not. There are some easy and efficient ways in which you can do carpet cleaning yourself. Some of these methods are:

  • Upside down placement and beating method (place your carpet upside down outdoors and beat it with your hand and paddle to remove excess dirt from it, move it to a newer spot and repeat the same process until there is no more dirt falling out it on the floor). 
  • A stiff-bristled broom and a dustpan (low-pile carpets → easier and quicker to clean, high-pile carpets → may take a little more patience, time and a sharp eye).
  • Lint brush or packaging tape to remove pet fur from the most visible areas in your carpet. (You can also groom your pet regularly to make your job a bit easier.)

How To Spot Clean A Carpet At Home Without Machines/By Hand? (WET METHODS)

  • White vinegar and warm water solution (1:3) and a scrub brush (dip the scrub brush into the solution, massage it into the carpet fibres well without completely soaking the carpet in it, and then use a soft cloth to dab the carpet and blot the excess moisture). 
  • Ammonia and warm water solution (one tablespoon in one cup) (use it only on natural fibre carpets as it is highly alkaline and may damage the surface of the carpet, spray the solution over the carpet, wait for 2-3 minutes and then blot the area with a soft white cloth). Alternatively, use window cleaner and water solution (in equal parts). 
Methods on how to wash carpet at home without using machines or hand
Club soda is an efficient way to remove stains from a carpet as the fizz/bubbles help loosen the stains out
  • Club soda/ice cubes and a highly absorbent cloth to clean stain spots that are fresh, sticky and wet (dab the area with a soft and highly absorbent cloth so that the stain loosens itself before it starts setting in, and then rinse the spot with a fresh cloth). 
  • Mild dish soap/baking soda/table salt/cornstarch and warm water solution (2-3 drops in 1 cup of water) to remove stains (vacuum the area first to remove solid particles, use baking soda or mild dish soap with warm water to sprinkle the greasy or oily stain till it is completely covered, rub it softly in a circular motion using an old toothbrush till you see some bubbles, wait for a few minutes, dry the carpet using a fan and then vacuum it again).
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How To Wash A Carpet At Home?

Synthetic fibre or cotton carpets can be washed on a slow cycle in a washing machine. However, natural fibre carpets cannot be washed and need to be spot-cleaned with mild dish soap, warm water and a sponge and then rinsed. A common mistake that you can avoid at this stage is over-shampooing/over-wetting. 

The next step is to dry your carpet out in the sunlight to kill any lingering viruses, bacteria or microbes. Lay it flat on the ground instead of hanging on a rack as it may lose its shape otherwise. Also, remember to rotate/shift its position regularly to ensure that each area has been evenly dried. A common mistake that you can avoid at this stage is placing your furniture on wet carpeting.

DIY on how to wash carpet with proper methods
Make sure that the material of your carpet is such that it can be washed easily

How To Clean A White Or Light-Coloured Rug At Home?

White or light-coloured carpets look as pretty and fresh in your home as darker-coloured carpets, but they need a little more maintenance as they tend to attract more dirt/stains and lose their original colour over time because of regular usage.  Hence, you must know how to keep your white carpet bright and clean at all times.

How to wash light coloured carpet rug at home to keep it bright and clean at all times
Follow a ‘no dirty footwear in the bedroom’ policy to keep your carpets spick and span and odour-free

Here’s a list of things that you can do:

  • Clean stains with natural products to avoid gradual fading. You can also use a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution (whitening substance) to keep your white carpets as good as new.
  • In case some occasional spills happen, try to soak up as much of the spilt liquid as you can by blotting the spots with a clean and soft cloth (and not scrubbing it), rinsing it a few minutes later, and repeating the same process over and over again till the spills are no longer visible to the naked eye. 
  • Don’t get your shoes and other footwear indoors, be it clean or dirty (implying a ‘no shoes’ rule for guests too). 
  • Vacuum regularly to remove dirt and dust particles. Learn in more detail how to clean white carpets at home here. 

How Often To Wash/Clean A Carpet At Home?

This question doesn’t have a ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer as the cleaning/washing schedule depends upon several factors. These are:

  1. For light traffic homes → vacuum once a week, spot clean daily, deep clean every 12 to 18 months. 
  2. For families with one pet → vacuum four times a week, spot clean daily, deep clean every 3 to 6 months. 
  3. For large families with more than one pet → vacuum daily, spot clean daily, deep clean every 2 to 3 months. 
  4. For light-coloured carpets → vacuum once a week, spot clean daily, deep clean every 6 to 12 months. 
  5. For families with children/senior citizens → vacuum twice a week, spot clean daily, deep clean every 6 to 12 months.

Hope this blog post has provided you with valuable tips to wash and/or clean your carpet at home. Also, if you’re looking for more blog posts on any and everything related to interior designing and home maintenance, check out our blog section or book a virtual consultation on our website. We’d be glad to help you out!

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Pooja Dara is a content writer at Design Cafe home interiors blog.

Pooja Dara

Pooja Dara is a freelance writer and editor with over seven years of experience and has worked for several reputed companies in multiple niches. Having made a switch from quantitative research (of leading FMCG and durable brands) to secondary research, she is now an independent content specialist who believes in creating value for her clients through her work. She is also passionate about photography, spirituality, dogs, and traveling.

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