How to Clean Your Carpet

Cleaning Carpets

Eventually, we need to clean our carpets.

Even if we don’t have kids, or we take our shoes off before stepping into a carpeted room or we never invite guests over for fear of spills and stains, we have to clean the carpet.

While some people clean theirs regularly, others wait until a big event necessitates it.

If your carpet hasn’t been cleaned in awhile or if you’re getting ready for an open house or party, follow these steps and your carpet will look extra clean and spiffy in no time.

Know your Carpet Type:

How you clean your carpet depends on what it’s made of. Some carpets are made of synthetic fibers; some are made of natural fibers like wool. Most carpet manufacturers provide detailed instructions on care and cleaning. However, if you’ve lost the information, you can use these general tips:

Vacuum Regularly:

Vacuuming removes dirt and helps the carpet fibers lift and get back into their proper position. To vacuum properly, separate the carpet into quadrants and fully vacuum one before moving on to the next.

If your carpets have not been vacuumed for some time, you can also vacuum in a horizontal then vertical direction over the same space to help lift all the dirt.

Freshen with Baking Soda:

If pet, food or other odors are trapped in your carpet, sprinkle baking soda on it. Be sure to test a small, hidden area of the carpet first to ensure that the baking soda won’t discolor it. Then, vacuum as usual.


Remove Tough Stains:

If your carpet has ground-in stains that you’d like to try and remove before renting the steam cleaner, make a borax paste by combining:

  • ¼ cup of salt
  • ¼ cup of borax
  • ¼ cup of white distilled vinegar

It’s important to use white distilled vinegar and not red wine or balsamic vinegar. While these also clean, they will stain your carpet.

Mix the paste and apply to the stain.

If you’re using your hands to push the borax mixture deep into the fibers, you might want to wear rubber gloves as borax can be a little rough on the hands.

Steam Cleaning your Carpet:

Steam cleaning without soap or detergent is generally safe for most carpets. Steam heats the fibers to open them, while the suction action of the cleaner removes the dirt. Steam will also sanitize your carpet.

To steam clean your carpet, either rent or purchase a steam cleaner. Follow the directions on the machine exactly and always test a small area before doing the entire carpet.

Once your carpet is clean and dry, it’s important to brush the nap of the fibers back up.

Over time, the fibers become compressed. As they are continually stepped on, they create “parts” within the carpet. These parts can collect dirt and prematurely wear out the carpet.

Take a clean, white bath towel and move it along the carpet in the direction that gets the fibers standing up.

You’re doing with the towel in essence what your vacuum cleaner does, albeit more gently, you’re pulling the fibers up so they are upright.