How do I Keep a Carpet Clean?

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  • Written By: Deborah Ng
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2019
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Carpets are a source of contention for many homeowners. On the one hand, they feel soft and warm to bare feet, but on the other, they're just one more thing requiring maintenance and upkeep. Most home owners vacuum their carpets once or twice a month, bringing in a professional once or twice a year for cleaning. This isn't always enough, however. If you're interested in keeping your carpet looking fresh and clean, there are a few simple basic upkeep tips that will ensure its longevity.


  • Don't wear shoes on the carpet. The last thing you want to do is track in outside dirt. Leave dirty shoes at the door. If this isn't an option, utilize a heavy duty door mat and make sure feet are thoroughly wiped before entering the home.
  • To keep dirt from building up and your carpet from looking dingy, vacuum as regularly as possible -- once a week should be fine. You may also want to try a robotic vacuum cleaner for the added convenience.
  • If something spills, spot clean it immediately. The longer you leave a stain, the better its chance of becoming a permanent addition to your room.
  • Never rub frenetically at a stain because this will only cause it to spread. It will also weaken the fiber helping it to wear out quicker.
  • Use a mild soap such as dish detergent or shampoo to spot clean, rather than something chemical. Club soda and vinegar also work wonders.
  • If a stain reappears, you're a victim of wicking. Wicking is what happens when liquid pools at the bottom of the carpet. You may have believed you cleaned that stain, but in reality, you've only cleaned the surface and soon the liquid will make its way up to through the fibers to pay you another visit. To prevent this, cover the stain with a thick towel and weigh down with something heavy. Leave twenty-four hours, or at least overnight, and then clean as usual.
  • Never use heat such as a hair dryer or iron to dry a stain. This will just seal the stain into your carpet.
  • Every six months or so, give your carpets a good steam cleaning. This will help it to look fresh and remove anything ground in. No need to call professional, steam cleaners can be rented at just about any supermarket.
  • If you'll be employing the use of a chemical spot cleaner, test in a hidden area such as in a closet or under furniture, first.
  • To keep your carpet smelling fresh, sprinkle baking soda or carpet freshener on your rug every two weeks before you vacuum. This will prevent smells such as those coming from cigarettes, food or even body odor from permeating into your carpet.

This may seem like a lot of work, but in reality keeping your carpet clean doesn't entail much heavy labor at all. As long as you frequently run a vacuum and spot clean as necessary, your carpet should last for a very long time.


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Discuss this Article

Post 10

Does wearing shoes on carpet break down the fibers quicker?

Post 9

Absolutely no shoes on the carpet. If it is a light carpet, then have your family wear slippers. For guests, keep slippers for them or ask them in advance to bring their own. Oils from bare feet can damage your carpet and eventually mark them.

Post 8

Remove shoes. This is a sure method to make carpet last longer. If you have a nice home with nice carpet, people generally aren't offended by this rule.

Post 6

Steam cleaning your carpet can actually decrease the life-span of the back of the carpet.

Post 5

Professional steam cleaning "resets" the pile on a crushed carpet. It uses less water and soap than a carpet shampooer that you might buy in Sears.

Soap and soap residue do attract dirt. That's why we use them to wash. But, when they're left over, they'll make the carpet look dingy faster.

Post 2

Why do you recommend steam cleaning carpets when the water seeps through the carpet and into the padding ruining both. Isn't dry cleaning the best way?

Post 1

I have always heard don't use heat or soap on carpet and the heat breaks down the fibers and the soap is sticky and tends for carpet to look dirty faster because the dust and dirt stick to it. Is this true? I have 9 year old white builder grade carpet, raised two kids a dog, two cats, don't ever wear shoes, but have only used cold water to clean up spots and cold water in my carpet cleaner. It looks brand new.

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