Over the years, carpet tends to take plenty of abuse. Even if you don’t see visible stains, there’s a good chance that dirt, dust, and allergens have built up below the surface due to daily use.
These contaminants not only make your carpet look worse, but they can also generate musty odors in your home and even affect the feel of your carpet. The best way to prevent this from happening is to perform a deep cleaning of your carpets every so often.
If you’ve never done so, you might be shocked to discover how easy and affordable it can be. Whether you need to deep clean your carpet before you move out of your rental, or simply wish to rejuvenate your carpet’s appearance, here are several ways to deep clean carpet.
What You Need for Deep Cleaning Carpet
If you have a strong DIY spirit, you’re in luck. You can usually perform a deep carpet cleaning with items you probably have lying around the house. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Vacuum cleaner
- Distilled white vinegar OR baking soda and salt
- Spray bottle
- Scrub brush
- Bucket with water
- Towel or microfiber cloth
- Fan (optional)
How to Deep Clean Carpet in 4 Easy Steps
Any deep carpet cleaning is going to start with a thorough vacuuming. We’re not talking about the quick once-over that you do on weekends, either.
Go the extra mile – remove furniture from the room entirely to get all the dust that’s collected underneath. If you need a helping hand getting bulky furniture out the way, Moving Help® is available to do the heavy lifting.
When vacuuming the carpet, be sure to go over it in two or three directions to ensure that all debris is removed. You may want to empty the cannister (if applicable) in between passes to maintain suction power and ensure that all particles are extracted from the carpet fibers.
2. Create a Homemade Carpet Cleaning Solution
When selecting a cleaning solution, you can consider two methods.
The first method involves using distilled vinegar. To prepare this solution, mix the vinegar with cold water in a spray bottle. The ideal ratio is one-third vinegar and two-thirds water.
On the other hand, if you prefer to use salt and baking soda, which is the second method, create a powder mixture in a bowl. The mixture should consist of equal parts of salt (either kosher or table) and baking soda.
3. Treat the Carpet With the Solution
For method one, use the spray bottle filled mixture to dampen the carpet. It might be easier to do so in smaller batches rather than an entire area at once. Let the solution sit on the carpet for about five minutes, then use a towel to blot. Be sure not to scrub or rub. Rinse the towel in your bucket as needed to ensure your rag is as clean as possible throughout.
Method two is similar, but instead of spraying, you’ll sprinkle the powder mixture over the affected area. After the desired area is covered, use the spray bottle filled with regular water to dampen the carpet. Use the scrub brush to lift the dirt from the carpet, scrubbing in one direction. With the dirt lifted, use a towel to wipe it away, then vacuum any remaining powder.
4. Allow It to Air-Dry
After the carpet is cleaned, open windows and doors, or plug in a fan, and allow the carpet to fully air-dry. Be sure no one walks on the carpet throughout this process. Plastic sheets work well to cover freshly cleaned carpet while it dries if people must walk throughout that area.
That’s it. Your carpet should be fresher than before in terms of the scent, look, and touch.
Other Ways to Deep Clean Your Carpet
If you don’t have those items on hand, or you’re looking for a deeper clean for those truly stubborn stains, other alternative methods are available. It’s important to note that these methods may be more expensive and often require robust cleaning products or supplies.
You’ve probably seen carpet cleaners at the hardware store or grocery store. They’re often available for rent or purchase. These machines use specialized carpet cleaning solutions (also sold in stores) and sometimes steam power to provide a very thorough cleaning.
Generally, the same steps above apply when using a carpet cleaner. You’ll first want to vacuum the carpet, then treat the carpet using the machine as instructed.
After you’re finished, allow the carpet to air-dry completely, allowing as little foot traffic as possible in the meantime.
Carpet cleaners typically have a reservoir that holds the water/carpet cleaner. Depending on your machine, you may not need to dispose of this water before returning it. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for disposal directions.
If you own a steam cleaner for clothes or a steam mop, you may be able to use that for cleaning carpet. Create the salt and baking soda mixture mentioned above, then use the steamer instead of spray bottle to dampen the carpet, holding it about a foot above the surface.
After the carpet is thoroughly dampened, use a scrub brush to work the mixture into the carpet, especially over stubborn stains and heavily soiled areas.
After you’ve cleaned the carpet, use a towel to blot and absorb the soil. Again, allow the carpet to air-dry completely, then vacuum to clean the remaining baking powder and other materials.
How Often Should I Deep Clean My Carpet?
This of course depends on how much traffic your carpet gets, and whether you have pets and small children. Generally, once every six to 12 months should be enough to keep your carpet looking and smelling fresh.
Remember to Spot Treat in Between Deep Cleans
Spot treating stains as they happen is another way to keep your carpet looking its best (and making your bi-annual deep clean less demanding). It may sound obvious, but when a spill happens, act immediately. Blot liquids – never scrub – before they have the chance to set.
When small stains do occur, treat them individually using a homemade solution of distilled white vinegar and cold water (like we outlined previously). Treat the stain, let it soak, then firmly blot with a cloth or towel, then rinse.
By following the steps listed throughout this guide, you should now have the cleanest carpet on the block. If you’re deep cleaning your carpet prior to moving, remember that Moving Helpers are available to help you pack your stuff, clean your old home, and move — whatever you need. Schedule your Moving Help visit today.