Carpet Cleaning Basics

I have a new carpet. Now what do I do?

For a novice, home ownership can be a challenge. Life doesn’t always prepare Life doesn’t always prepare you for things like cleaning and updating a home. The same goes for carpet cleaning and maintenance. How often should you vacuum? What happens if you get a stain? What about shampooing? Here, we discuss some of the basics of carpet cleaning.

Basics of carpet maintenance

  • Vacuuming – Vacuum your carpet at least once a week. In areas of high traffic, vacuum more often to prevent build up of dirt and grit, especially in high-pile or plush carpet. Think of your carpet as a grid and move in quadrants so you are sure to cover the entire surface with your vacuum. Use the crevice tool on your vacuum to clean around baseboards and other hard-to-reach areas.

  • Stains – If your carpet gets stained, there are several methods you can use to get it out, depending on the type of stain. You should attack the stain as soon as possible to avoid the stain setting. The longer the stain is there, the harder it will be to remove. For general stain removal: blot or scrape the area to remove as much of the debris as possible. Before using any cleaner, test it in an inconspicuous area to make sure it won’t discolor or harm your carpet. If you find yourself in need of a quick stain remover, mix ¼ teaspoon cup of clear liquid dishwashing liquid with one cup of lukewarm water. This solution will work on both synthetic and natural fiber carpets. Apply the cleaner by blotting – do not rub, as this can affect the shape of the pile. The best material for applying cleaner and drying the spot is a clean towel. Paper towels tend to break up and fall apart. Allow the spot to air dry on its own. Using a hair dryer, iron, or any other heat source is inadvisable as it may discolor the area.

  • Removing solids – If you get chewing gum on your carpet, don’t fret. It can be removed by freezing the gum with an ice cube. Once the gum is frozen solid, you can then scrape the frozen bits away with a spoon. If you drip wax on your carpet, place a white cloth (such as a towel) over the wax then heat the wax with an iron. Once the wax has been heated, you can scrape it up with a butter knife.

  • Shampoo/Steam Cleaning – Even with regular vacuuming, soil particles and oily dirt will cling to carpet fibers. Foot traffic drives these particles and dirt deep into the carpet. Most manufacturers require professional hot water extraction cleaning every 18 to 24 months or sooner if necessary. Periodic cleaning by a certified carpet care professional using the hot water extraction method will refresh the carpet appearance. A new carpet is an investment in your home and surroundings. If you take care of it properly, your carpet will retain its looks and texture for many years.

For more carpet care tips go to:

For stain removal guide go to: