Carpet Cleaning Tips

Carpet cleaning tips

If you live in North America or Europe, chances are your home has a carpet in it.

This is necessary because it keeps homes warm during winter and doubles as a sound deadener as it absorbs the noise of footsteps.

It also acts as an indoor filter that traps dirt, dander, dust, soil, and debris from the air and outdoors.

Unfortunately, this can also be a source of bacteria and allergens that could trigger asthma and other respiratory ailments if we don’t take steps to keep the carpet clean and dirt piles up.

My mom’s home had thin pile carpets. But they didn’t do the proper maintenance. So they had to change it to linoleum after ten years because it was too dirty.

Replacing it was costly and unnecessary had they done their due diligence. This is a big reason I’m sharing these tips so you won’t go through something similar in the future.

You can also avoid costly fees charged by professionals by using simple techniques and tools found around the house to remove stains by yourself.

Let’s start with maintenance.

Vacuum Regularly

Vacuuming is a must-do chore for every home with carpet.

You must do it at least once a week, especially if you have a plush carpet.

We MUST do this regularly if we want a clean living environment free from pet dander, dust, dirt, soil, and other potential contaminants.

It will lengthen the carpet’s life because it removes abrasive dirt, like sand, that breaks through the carpet right up to the base, which can be a source of molds and other bacteria.

Experts recommend doing this once a week for the entire home and more on high-traffic areas like the living and dining rooms.

I understand that lugging around a massive upright might not suit your back.

There are alternative options that won’t be as heavy.

Cordless stick variants provide an alternative lightweight solution perfect for spot clean-ups when bringing out a full-sized corded cleaner isn’t practical.

Newer models like the Dyson Outsize and V15 Detect can remove embedded dirt from carpets.

But these premium options will cost much more than a comparable upright vacuum.

These are also great for cleaning hard-to-reach areas like baseboards and areas underneath furniture.

If you’re busy and have the means, look at robot vacuums that automate this task without you lifting a finger.

The newer models have decent agitation and a strong enough motor to clean the carpet to a certain extent.

It won’t be as good as an upright, but since it does the task autonomously, it will save you time.

But if you genuinely want to deep clean carpet, you’ll need a vacuum with a powerful motor and strong enough agitation to pick up dirt trapped under carpet strands.

Please check our guide for the best vacuums for carpets for an in-depth guide on the best options available.

Clean Those Stains ASAP!

It’s simple: the longer you wait before cleaning stains, the harder it is to remove!

Always have the tools ready in a bucket or a toolbox, so when the inevitable happens, you won’t be scrambling around looking for these items because it is sitting in a designated area, ready for action.

You need the following tools so that you’ll be ready when the inevitable happens (place all these in a bucket or box if possible):

  • 5 to 10 pcs of white terry cloth, cotton, or microfiber towel
  • Dishwashing liquid like dawn or Joy (don’t use laundry detergents as they can be too harsh)
  • White vinegar (don’t use apple cider or red vinegar, only white)
  • Borax
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Steam iron (yes, the thing you iron your clothes with)
  • Spatula – used to remove stuff like spaghetti or chocolate
  • Bowl
  • Wet/dry vac (for sucking up excess moisture)
  • Spray bottle
  • A pair of gloves

The basics

  1. If you’ve spilled spaghetti or meatballs, use the spatula to pick up as much as possible.
  2. Avoid rubbing fresh stains because this will only spread to a larger area. Instead, use a blotting technique – place the towel (soaked in warm water) on the surface, gently apply pressure with your hands, and let the towel do the work.
  3. This basic homemade cleaning agent consists of a quarter of dishwashing liquid to a cup of water; you can place this mixture in a spray bottle if you want to be ready.
  4. Pour or spray the dishwashing liquid/water mixture on the affected area, let it sit for around 5 minutes to allow the cleaning mixture to work, then rinse with clean water.
  5. Place a few pieces of clean terry cloth or microfiber towels over the wet area, then place a heavy object on top of it, like a pile of books, to absorb excess moisture. (Preferably use white towels)
  6. Check to see if there are still stains left. Repeat steps 4 and 5 if visible blemishes are remaining.
  7. If you could remove the stain, use a vacuum cleaner to fluff the carpet and bring back the texture.

Sometimes, there are stains that we might have overlooked that may have dried out.

These always happen after parties or if your pet pees somewhere without you knowing.

Don’t worry; I’ll share some techniques online that have been proven to remove stains, even dog pee.

Scroll down below to see all of these techniques.

Leave Those Shoes Outside

Have separate footwear for indoors and outdoors.

This will prevent bringing in sand and soil from your garden indoors!

If you don’t have a garage, leave a rug by the door where you can place your shoes to minimize dirt transfer.

Deep Clean Once Every 12 to 18 months

You can do this by yourself or hire a professional.

Going the DIY route will require renting a machine or buying your own. I prefer the former as these machines cost a ton! And you’ll use it only once every year and a half, not a good investment unless you have a business.

Before using any steam cleaning machine, you must thoroughly clean the area.

If you find any caked-on stains, Apartment Therapy recommends that you use a mixture of the following

  • 1/4 cup salt
  • Quarter cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup borax (mix until it transforms into a paste-like substance)

Spread this mixture over areas with stains.

Let it dry for a few hours, remove residue using a spatula, and then vacuum excess debris.

Here are some homemade cleaning recipes that have worked wonders:

White vinegar + water + steam iron

There are occasions where you’ll find carpet stains in your home that you couldn’t clean immediately and have dried up. Before calling a professional, try this homemade cleaning solution.

This simple but ingenious solution was submitted by a Life Hacker reader that will work on dried stains rather than be a pain to clean.

The “proprietary mixture” that professionals use turned out to be a mixture that includes three parts water and 1 part vinegar. You can either mix it in a bowl, then pour the contents on the stain, or pour it in a spray bottle.

The process involves

  1. Spraying or soaking the stained area with this mixture
  2. Covering the soaked area with a clean, damp terry towel (should be soaked in warm water)
  3. Set the iron on the steam setting
  4. Iron the damp terry cloth towel (the idea here is that steam from the iron will pull the stains out of the carpet onto the towel)
  5. Remove the sheets and check the area if the stain is still visible. If it is visible, repeat steps 1 to 4; if not, go to step 6
  6. Blow-dry area and vacuum to fluff up the carpet

Dishwashing liquid + warm water + steam iron

The technique and mixture here are similar to the first mixture; the difference is that this uses a dishwashing liquid instead of vinegar.

This mixture will work great on stains that have been there for a few days, like pet pee (as seen in the video below). The blend includes a tablespoon of grease-fighting dishwashing liquid like Joy and a cup of warm water.

Again, the idea here is to use the steam from the iron to lift stains (using steam from the metal) and transfer it to the stack of towels. This is a simple but clever hack.


  1. Add a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid to a cup of warm water.
  2. Pour the mixture into the stained area.
  3. Place a stack of terry cloth towels on the wet area then run the steam iron (in steam mode) on it.
  4. Check if the stain is still there. If so, please repeat steps 2 to 3
  5. Use a blow dryer to dry the area.

To see the whole process, watch this video.

You can use this technique on worn stains on fabric upholstery.

Hydrogen Peroxide + Microfiber Towel

I found this technique in this blog! This combo again works great for spot-cleaning dried-up stains.


  1. What you need to do here is to soak the microfiber towel (preferably white) in hydrogen peroxide
  2. Blot/rub the stained area. Now, before you say, “I thought you said no rubbing,” this technique applies to dried-out stains; if it is a fresh one, blot it.
  3. Blot/rub the area until the stain is no longer visible.

This technique is a bit time-consuming as you’ll have to manually work on one stain at a time with your hands, but the results are well worth it.

I usually use cornstarch to remove foul odor inside the refrigerator. But I didn’t know you could use it to clean stains and absorb oily stuff!

You can use it to spot clean or clean the whole area.

There are two ways you can do about it.

Dry method

  1. Sprinkle cornstarch over the stained area after you’ve blotted off excess liquid
  2. Wait around 15 to 20 minutes to allow the cornstarch to absorb stain and excess oils
  3. Use a vacuum (preferably an upright) to remove excess corn starch.

Wet method

  1. Mix one part cornstarch and one part vinegar to create a paste-like substance
  2. Apply this paste on the stain and wait for it to harden
  3. Remove the hardened paste residue with a spatula or a blunt knife
  4. Vacuum excess cornstarch debris using a wet/dry vacuum

Paperr Towel + Steam Iron

This combo works great for stuff like wax and oil.

Here’s how you do it.

  1. Place a stack of paper towels or terry towels on the stain.
  2. Set the steam iron on steam or warm setting
  3. Go over the stain a few times and finish with a paper towel.

If you don’t want to waste paper towels, use a microfiber or terry cloth towel instead.

These are simple but useful tips to keep your carpet in tip-top shape.

Regularly cleaning them, you can double their lifespan and avoid expensive repair or replacement costs.

If you have a tip to share, please use the comment section below.

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About the author: Garrick, the visionary behind Cordless Vacuum Guide, brings over a decade of hands-on expertise in cordless vacuum testing to his insightful reviews showcased on this platform. Beyond his passion for empowering consumers with informed choices, he cherishes precious moments with his family, exploring global cuisines and exploring different horizons with his beloved wife and son. Follow him on Youtube, Tiktok, Facebook, and Instagram.

  • Wow. Tons of valuable info here. I will have a field day the next time I go to clean. Thanks for this great resource!

  • I think it is great advice to get it deep cleaned or professionally done every year, possibly more. We have three kids under the age of 5 and two dogs so keeping the carpets clean is an everyday struggle. It is probably about time to have them deep cleaned.

  • Really helpful stain removal tips, Garrick. Like Kenneth, we also have kids and pets that have done a number on our carpet. We’ve had best success with getting our carpets professionally cleaned once a year, like you suggest, then using a DIY method for spot treating stains right when they happen. We like the dish liquid, warm water and iron method you talk about; it works every time! Thanks for sharing!

  • I love your advice to vacuum your carpet regularly. I think that a lot of people don’t understand the difference that comes from that. However, if you really want your carpet to look great, you will have to clean it often. Do you have any advice for finding a professional to help you with extra dirty carpets?

  • What I appreciated the most was how you said that we should have a separate set of footwear for indoor usage in order to prevent the sand and soil from outside to get inside and ruin the carpet. I’ll be sure to let my sibling know about that because all of them were engaged in some kind of sports. I’m usually left at home to clean and worry about all the dirt that they leave behind. Now that I can see how dirty that carpet is, I plan on hiring a professional to help me clean them. Afterward, I’ll follow your advice. Thanks.

  • I think lemons are considered as the best for the removal of stains.

  • Hello Garrick, thank you for the absolute carpet cleaning tips you’ve shared in this article. I have also the same problem just like the others who commented here. A number of pets and children playing and messing up with our carpet is really something, right? Hahaha, nonetheless, thanks for these tips!