Carpet Cleaning: The Complete Guide (2018 Update)

Carpet Cleaning GuideAre you looking for the most comprehensive carpet cleaning guide?

Look no further.  Today you’re going to learn the A-Z of carpet cleaning.

The best part?

Every tip and nugget in this guide are the most relevant pieces you’ll get on the internet today. Each section is intuitively curated to meet your 2018 upholstery needs.

Grab your pen and paper, and let’s get started.

The Ultimate Carpet Cleaning List

1. Health Dangers of Dirty Carpets
2. Why Should I Keep The Carpet Cleaned?
3. When Is The Right Time To Clean Your Carpet?
4. How to Clean Different Types of Carpets
5. Are You a DIYer? Here are Our How to Clean Carpet Tips & Nuggets
6. Tips of Maintaining Your Carpets
7. Why Hire Professional Carpet Cleaning Service
8. How to Select the Right Carpet Cleaning Service
9. How to Avoid Carpet Cleaning Rip-Offs

Table of Contents

Health Dangers of Dirty Carpets

Cleaning your rugs is a necessity, not a luxury. It is wrong to see professional cleaners as an unnecessary cost.

Even if you are operating on a tight budget, it is extremely important to have your flooring cleaned professionally at least once a year.

Here are some of the health dangers of having dirty rugs:

House mold

Mold can cause serious human discomfort and other health problems if left unattended. Bacteria and mold in your dirty floors can cause allergies when ingested.

Bacterial infections can as well occur in a home.

Therefore, if you keep feeling cold-like symptoms that come and go, it is time to have your floors scrupulously cleaned professionally.

Athlete’s foot

Dirty carpets can house parasitic organisms, which can cause a number of health problems. Fungi and other organisms get kicked into the air in your house by foot shuffling on the floor.

Even if the organisms are not kicked into the air, they can cause other problems such as athlete’s foot by entering the body through cuts in the foot.

Can cause asthma

According to a recent study conducted by the Kuopio Regional Institute of Occupational Health, damp rugs increase the incidences of asthma in environments where the victims are constantly exposed to dirt in the rug fibers.

Microbial growth and volatile organic compounds thrive here.

Hence, this is a potential for bronchial asthma, which is considered to be one of the most lethal forms of asthma.

House dust mites

Unclean carpets are good breeding grounds for dust mites. Dust mites are known to feed off the human skin cells and fungi that filter into the flooring.

Hence, if not cleaned on schedule, your rugs will become a comfortable home for dust mites to stay and start multiplying. Dust mites are harmful to allergic people.

Inhaling the dead bodies of dust mites can also cause nose and eye irritation.


Prolonged exposure to mycotoxins in dirty rugs can cause a bunch of health issues.

Therefore, living or working in buildings with mold is very dangerous.

Some of the adverse health problems caused by mycotoxins include fatal stomach infections, depending on the initial health of the person who has been exposed to the mycotoxins.

Mycotoxins are generally known to wear down the body’s immune system.

In particular, Stachybotrys chartarum has more mycotoxins than most indoor molds and is associated with respiratory inflammations and allergies.

Why Should I Keep the Carpet Cleaned?

Carpets add to the décor of our indoor spaces by using patterns, colors, and pile heights. They can create a chic, regal, or contemporary vibe in your home or business. At least when they’re kept clean.

They act as indoor filters that’ll trap dander, dirt, dust, soil and all sorts of pesky debris from the air and outdoors.

But despite our best efforts to keep them clean, carpets will always be victims of spills, drops, accidents and whatever’s on the bottom of our shoes.

And, really, the need to clean our carpets goes beyond preventing the spread of allergens. No?

The reason for cleaning our carpets is two-fold:

First, for sanitary reasons – a clean carpet is a healthy carpet.

The second is the cost factor. Installing new carpet isn’t cheap. So, you’ll want to clean it to make sure that it last as long as possible.

Installing carpets makes your home comfortable. It is an excellent flooring choice that improves the overall appearance of your interior décor.

It is important to clean and maintain your flooring routinely for it to last longer.

Here are some benefits of cleaning and maintaining your rug:

Improved health

Carpets can easily become a home for bacteria, dirt, and allergens. If you or one of your family members is susceptible to breathing problems, the allergens and particles may increase or cause complications such as asthma.

The contaminants can cause serious health problems, especially to children and the elderly.

Although vacuuming may help remove these contaminants, it doesn’t completely remove all the particles that may accumulate and cause more health problems.

A professional cleaning service can remove all dust mites and bacteria to help reduce the risk of health problems and cold in your home.

Improve airflow

A dirty rug will greatly affect the airflow in your house.

When dirt and debris get clogged in fibers, it can compromise airflow in your home. Dirty floors will make your living spaces stuffy and unpleasant.

With regular vacuuming, you can make the air quality in your home better.

Improved look and feel

As dirt builds up in the fibers, it causes the fibers to look old, become matted, and feel rough. Routine cleaning makes your home look and feels better.

Regardless of the padding underneath your carpet, regular cleaning will protect the fibers from tearing away.

When Is The Right Time To Clean Your Carpet?

Carpets should be cleaned on schedule and not just when you are about to have visitors or when they look dirty.

However, most homeowners don’t know the right time to clean them.

Averagely, in residential settings, they should be cleaned after every 12 months.

Here are some key factors that will help you decide on when to clean them:

•Number of people in the house:

The cleaning frequency in a house with active children is different from that of a house with one person.

•Presence of allergies:

Studies have shown that fibers in rugs are notorious for people prone to allergy. Hence, if you or anyone in your home is susceptible to allergies, then, housecleaning should be done more regularly.


Smoke can be easily trapped in the fibers and start causing problems over time. This can cause your rugs to be a source of odors in your home.

Therefore, if anyone in your household smokes, you should consider more frequent cleaning routines.

•Best time of the year:

Fall is the best time to houseclean. During this time, house activity can be minimized.

All contaminants, abrasive soil, and other debris should be cleaned thoroughly before winter when homes are tightly shut up.

•Best time of day:

You should clean your floors when you can manage to stay off them for at least eight hours.

Walking on them while they are still damp will easily make them dirty again.

Also, it can be a slip and fall hazard, if you walk from wet carpets onto a hard surface such as vinyl.

How to Clean Different Types of Carpets

Often, vacuuming is the very first approach to carpet cleaning. But it is not the only option!

There are various cleaning techniques you can use to keep your rugs clean.

You can also choose to DIY your carpet cleaning or hire a professional cleaner to do the work for you.

The reality is, there is a world of difference between what you can accomplish on your own and what the professionals can do.

Different types of rugs require specific cleaning methods to avoid increased damage from wear and tear. Regular cleaning schedules can keep them looking good for longer.

If you are unsure about the right cleaning approaches suitable for you, consult a professional house cleaning company.


You can routinely vacuum your synthetic carpets. They can be cleaned thoroughly through steam cleaning to deep clean them, or hire a professional cleaner to them for you.

In a typical DIY carpet cleaning, it is advisable to test cleaners on a hidden area before you start the cleaning process.

Sometimes, it is more economical and viable to hire a professional to do the legwork for you because some of these tests are not foolproof and might end up causing more damage to your expensive flooring.


While vacuuming is a viable cleaning option for wool rugs, you need to be very choosy on the vacuum tools you choose because some can cause fuzziness.

Spills should be cleaned with water and blotting.

It is not advisable to deep clean them without the help of an experienced professional who knows the right solutions to use on wool.

Moreover, wool takes longer to dry than synthetic and most of the readily available cleaning chemicals may damage your wool carpet permanently.


Although plant carpets have become so popular, they’re difficult to clean and maintain.

You should routinely vacuum it and remove any grit or dirt as soon as possible as they can cause excessive wear.

You should blot any spills immediately. Avoid using water and detergents which might damage the plant fibers.
Plant rugs should only be cleaned by professionals with experience in using dry cleaning methods.

Are You a DIYer? Here are Our Tips & Nuggets On How to Clean Your Rugs

Clean the carpet before it becomes really dirty

Clean your carpet when the color starts looking dull. Waiting for it to be filthy will take more time to clean, and will cost more.

Often, your housecleaning needs will depend on the kind of traffic in your space.
Do you have kids? Pets? Is it a high-traffic corridor?

Vacuum well before and after cleaning

Vacuuming before ensures that you get rid of large particles of soil and debris. Vacuum it again after cleaning, when it has dried, to pick up small particles that might wick to its surface during drying.

Pretreat stains and high-traffic areas

Add detergent to a spray bottle with hot water and lightly mist high traffic zones and dirtiest areas. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before cleaning.

Remove or elevate furniture

Use wood or aluminum foil squares to elevate heavy furniture that cannot be moved during cleaning. This will prevent rust and paint from metal casters from transferring to it.

Don’t over wet the carpet

Most DIY machines put a lot of moisture into the carpet yet have weak suctions. Therefore, make one pass with soap and water solution to minimize the moisture content. Be sure to run 2 or 3 drying passes with the water off.

Let it dry thoroughly

If not left to dry thoroughly, rugs can be a perfect ground for mildew and mold.

After housecleaning, you can use fans and dehumidifier, open the windows and put the AC on to a moderately high temp to remove excess air moisture.

Do not walk on it or replace the furniture until it’s completely dry.

Tips of Maintaining Your Carpets

Custom wall to wall flooring is often very expensive. In general, you should clean and maintain them properly to avoid wear and tear. Here are some quick tips to guide you in maintaining them so that they can last longer.

Clean Spills immediately

Dilute any spillage with water then clean them before the spills set in. Use a spot remover that you’ve already tested on an inconspicuous area.

Vacuum frequently

You should at least vacuum weekly. In fact, you can vacuum even more often if you have pets and children in your household. Apart from removing dirt and grit, vacuuming also helps remove small rocks that can mar your flooring.

Steam clean

Steam cleaning at least once every year will add a few years to your rugs. Steam cleaning penetrates the fibers to ensure they are thoroughly cleaned. The procedure should advisably be handled by a professional.

Remove your shoes

Kick off your shoes after taking a stroll around the neighborhood. When you wear shoes inside the house you end up bringing a lot of grime and dirt into your home.

You should institute a “no shoes” policy in your house to ensure your floors are free of unnecessary dirt and small rocks.

Consider the carpet color

The color and style you choose when buying a new carpet should satisfy your upholstery needs. While darker colors can mask the dirt, they will show pet hairs.

On the other hand, light colors can hide dust but will stain easily. Therefore, the choice of color and style depends on your needs and your personal preferences.

Use rugs and mats

Throw rugs and mats are simple yet witty ways of protecting your carpeting. They should be placed in high traffic areas such as hallways, living rooms, and entryways.

Why Hire Professional Carpet Cleaning Service

One of the major concerns to most property owners is whether to hire a professional to do the cleaning or to do the job themselves and save a few bucks.

After all, you regularly scrub and vacuum out stains and spills from time to time, so is a professional cleaning service really worth it?

Certainly, Yes.

Although you can DIY some simple carpet cleaning tasks, it is impossible to remove all the particles, fleas, pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and bacteria from the fibers without the help of a professional.

Here are reasons why you should consider hiring professional services:

Removes all critters

Some of the critters that hide in the fibers such as mold and fleas should be removed by a skilled technician. Professionals will stop the fleas in their tracks and save you the expense of hiring a professional flea removal service.

In addition, if the bacteria and virus are not fully removed and the floor sanitized properly, you and your family might start getting sick.

Saves time

If you have a day job, it is only wise that you hire someone else to do the heavy lifting. In other words, you can let in the technicians in the morning, head to the office and come back after eight hours to a clean home.

Although their expert attentions may cost more than buying a bottle of carpet cleaner, the results are definitely worth it.

Satisfaction Guaranteed

Established companies offer a guarantee on their workmanship. Sometimes the guarantee may include a follow-up consultation.

Expert Advice

Credible companies hire highly-skilled tradesmen who understand every aspect of flooring.

They are very knowledgeable when it comes to removing tough stains, restoring high traffic areas and cleaning or treating different types of fiber. They can also remove odors and do color correction.

The cleaning service will offer you a few maintenance tips such as proper vacuuming routines that can’t damage your carpet but make it last longer.

Pro Carpet Cleaning Techniques

Pro cleaners use sophisticated equipment and modern technology to restore your rugs if damaged.

It’s not feasible to start learning how to clean carpets for a few weeks or invest in expensive machinery for a one-time task, yet you can hire the professionals.

They will take notes of any worn areas and stains when they arrive in your house to assess your needs before commencing the job.

They use industrial vacuum cleaners to remove soil particles before a pre-conditioning agent is used to remove ingrained dirt in the fibers.

The most common cleaning method is steam cleaning. This eco-friendly process is so elaborate and quick. Your rugs will dry almost immediately because there is no water used actually.

They add some fluffiness and bounce by doing extra conditioning to make the cleaned surfaces look as good as new.

More Thorough Cleaning

A well-maintained carpet is a good reflection on everybody who touches them. Professional cleaners are more thorough in cleaning than any self-service machine could do.

They are meticulous in getting rid of the trapped dirt, odor and stubborn stains.

A thorough cleaning job ensures that your floor is allergens free. Any health hazards such as mold, dust, and mites will be cleaned up and removed professionally.

Extend Carpet Life

Most DIY cleaners involve the use of harsh chemicals and shampoos that will actually degrade your carpeting prematurely.

Professional cleaners, on the other hand, have access to the best industry-grade steam cleaning methods and gentler products that won’t damage it.

Regular professional cleaning will ensure it lacks unsightly stains and foul odors that would call for a replacement.

How to Select the Right Carpet Cleaning Service

Carpets provide a healthy indoor environment in your home. It is important to hire a professional cleaning service to remove all contaminants and critters.

But unlike a few years ago, property owners and managers are now spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a commercial cleaning service.

A simple search online and on the ground for commercial cleaning services reveals numerous companies, each claiming to be “the top” or “best company in the industry”.

This is rather confusing. While variety is good, too many options can make it an uphill task to identify a suitable company.

Here are tips and guidelines on how to select the right cleaning service:

Guarantee schemes

Some of the recommended methods include dry foam extraction, shampooing, dry absorbent compound, and hot water extraction or steam cleaning.

Established cleaning services offer a wide range of services such as carpet cleaning, pet urine removal, odor control, and stain removal.

Therefore, highly committed professionals will choose a service or method that goes in harmony with the requirements of the customer.

A credible company will also offer customers guarantee schemes for their workmanship.

This is for the purpose of safeguarding the interests of the customer and as an assurance that the service provider is dedicated to offering the best cleaning services.

Environment-friendly carpet cleaning methods

It is advisable to choose a company that provides green’, non-toxic biodegradable solutions. Incompetent cleaning companies might leave residue in your home.

That can be detrimental or be harmful to you and your family.

Inquire with the company about their cleaning practices, the kind of products they use and whether they have adverse effects, both to (human beings and the environment) to be expected from using certain cleaning products in the long run.


Avoid cutting costs by selecting inexperienced technicians who might cause more damage to your carpets. Experienced professionals will consider the type of fiber, climatic conditions and the level of soiling to be cleaned before commencing the job.

Moreover, some carpet types and jobs can only be handled by experienced professionals who have handled similar jobs in the past.


Consider asking for references. A credible company will not hesitate to provide references upon request.

Ask your close friends, workmates, or neighbors for referrals about the best companies they have used in the recent past for review.

You should go an extra mile and conduct some quick background checks on your candidates of choice before signing a contract.

Free estimates

Established companies offer free estimates to their customers. This is one way of avoiding hidden costs.

Avoid closing deals over the phone before the technicians assess your exact cleaning needs.

Insured, licensed and bonded

Accidents can easily occur at your house during the cleaning process, hence working with unlicensed technicians is risky.

Make sure the professionals you hire are fully licensed, insured and bonded to offer these services in your area.

This is also one way of ensuring that your expensive home appliances and electronics are in safe hands, especially if the technicians will do the job in your absence.

It is important to check whether the technicians are registered under The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), which is the authorized watchdog of service providers in the cleaning industry.

How to Avoid Carpet Cleaning Rip-Offs

Exceptionally low price

Since everyone wants to work within a budget, it is very easy to get attracted to this rip-off. Many carpet cleaners use low prices as bait for their misleading advertising.

For instance, they can claim to charge between $9 and $20 per room, but once they arrive at your home, they’ll start pushing you into buying strange “add-ons”.

It is like being asked to pay extra money for the steering wheel or tires when buying a car. Deep cleaning is not as cheap as some unethical cleaning companies may want you to believe.

Bait and switch technique

The dual cleaning process involves heavy preconditioning or shampooing of your carpets and hot water extraction cleaning.

Sadly, rogue cleaners often use the dual process cleaning technique as a bait-and-switch process: they bait you to pay a small amount for the basic process, and then when you ask for a better service, they tell you to pay more for the expensive dual-process.

Unfortunately, if you don’t fall for their bait and switch approach, you’ll get poor workmanship and they won’t guarantee their work.

Unsupported claims

Almost every carpet cleaning ad claims to use the best method. The best method is the one that satisfies your needs. Remember, carpets are made of different materials and there is no one-size-fits-all method or approach.

For instance, if you want a method that takes a long time to dry for your wool carpets, then a method that dries quickly for synthetic carpets is not for you.

In other words, evaluate your needs properly and choose a method that satisfies your expectations.

Hot water damages your carpets

This is an outdated belief mostly used by untrained technicians who don’t know how to use hot water on carpets.

With the right cleaning techniques, a professional can clean them perfectly using hot water.

However, this depends on the material. Of course, a trained technician will advise you accordingly regarding the issue of using hot water for cleaning your carpets, depending on the type of your carpets.

The Bottom Line?

Regular and deep cleaning schedules can help keep your flooring fresh. Some of the key takeaways from this guide are:

Be sure to maintain and clean your rugs regularly.

•Vacuum at least once a week.

•If you’re a DIY hands-on person, be sure to use the right cleaning agents and cleaning kits for different carpets types.

•Do your research when choosing a professional service, and use this guide to ask some probing questions.

•And then schedule a regular deep cleaning to keep your carpets looking fantastic for many years to come.

So, there you have it. Now, with this information, it is easier to make an intelligent decision about your housecleaning needs.

However, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions about carpet or upholstery cleaning, feel free to leave us a comment below.