One of your kids spills his juice on the carpet. You think, ‘It’s okay; I’ll get that later.’ Two days later, you’re dining in front of the TV in your living room, and a fork full of spaghetti sauce hits the carpet head first. Well, it’s too bad because you’re not leaving your dinner to clean. Before you know it, your carpet is full of stains, smells funny, and needs a deep clean. But do you know how to clean a carpet? Even if you do, it won’t be as good as our guide! Read on for the best methods to clean your carpet.

How to Deep Clean a Carpet in 4 Steps

Deep cleaning a carpet is no easy feat. It takes a lot out of you, so freeing yourself for the day would be good. After you’re done, it’ll feel like the most rewarding experience ever. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Vacuum all Dirt and Dust Away

If you jump right into cleaning, it’ll be like digging the dust and dirt into the carpet, itching it there forever. That’s why vacuuming always comes first.

  • First, move the furniture around so nothing obscures the carpet. 
  • Plug the vacuum in, and run over the carpet multiple times until it’s spotless. It’ll be full of dirt from the bottom of your shoes, pet dander if you have any, and stubborn stains.
  • Use the vacuum’s attachments to get the stubborn areas in corners. You can use the extensions underneath if a piece of furniture is particularly hard to move.

Step 2: Treat the Stains

Now, removing the stains is the trickiest part of cleaning your carpet. Vacuuming is easy, and what comes later is even easier. But removing blood out of the carpet, for example? These are the real challenges. Depending on their severity and type, you have plenty of options to clean the stains. Here’s a roundup.

Option 1: Use Carpet Shampoo

Carpet shampoo seems like the most obvious option to clean your carpet. However, it means you have to buy it beforehand. For some reason, using vinegar or baking soda already in your pantry seems much easier. The shampoo will clean better and leave you with a pleasant post-cleaning smell.

  • First, check the packaging for mixing directions. Some shampoos must be diluted with water first, and some are made for instant use.
  • After that, apply the shampoo to the carpet without going overboard with the amount. The rug shouldn’t be too wet because shampoo needs a long time to dry.
  • Start scrubbing the shampoo into the carpet using a brush. You can use an old cloth for blotting minor, stubborn stains. 
  • Leave the shampoo to dry, which will take a few hours, then vacuum it off. You can also remove the excess bits beforehand using a cloth.

Option 2: Use Distilled Vinegar

Cleaning carpets with vinegar

Vinegar is more affordable than carpet shampoo, but it’s only suitable for mildly dirty carpets with no stubborn stains. It’s worth noting that it may cause discolouration sometimes, so you’ll have to try it on a small batch first.  To use distilled vinegar, mix it in a spray bottle with some water. The ratio should be 1:3, respectively.  Choose a large spray bottle if your carpet is big, so you don’t have to refill it halfway through. Additionally, if your carpet doesn’t have a waterproof bottom, you may want to add a barrier to protect the floor.

Start spraying the vinegar on the entire carpet. No scrubbing is needed here; you’ll only wait for the solution to sink into the rug for a few minutes. Then, grab a microfiber cloth and start blotting away at it. Dip it in water, wring it well, and blot again until the vinegar isn’t soaking the carpet. After you’re done, leave the carpet to air-dry for a few hours.

Read more: How to Clean Carpet by Hand

Option 3: Baking Soda

If your carpet isn’t large, you can get away with using baking soda to clean it. It’s almost as effective as vinegar. However, you’ll need massive amounts to cover a large carpet, so it’s only convenient for small ones.

  • Start by mixing some baking soda and salt—in equal amounts—in a bowl. Sprinkle it on the carpet, making sure to cover the entire area. Then, start spraying water on the entire carpet. You can use a spray bottle for better coverage.
  • The carpet should only be damp, so don’t go all the way with the water. 
  • Grab a brush and start scrubbing the fabric, preferably in one direction.
  • After scrubbing the whole carpet, use a cloth to wipe away the dirty paste, then leave the rest for the vacuum.
  • Leave the carpet to dry for a few hours, then use a vacuum to remove the baking soda and salt remnants.

Step 3: Steam Clean the Carpet

After you wash the stains out of the carpet, it may be time for an excellent steam cleaning session to give it the glow of a new one. If you don’t have a steam cleaner, you can borrow it from one of your friends or rent it. Believe me, it’s worth it.

  • Fill the water compartment with some water, and add detergent if you want a fresh scent. Keep in mind that some models can only be used with water, so make sure to read the instructions first.
  • Then, use the cleaner according to its manufacturer’s instructions. In most cases, you’ll have to push it forward to get the water out and then retract it to suck the water again. 
  • Move the cleaner’s rod slowly to ensure it removes all the moisture. If you don’t do steam-cleaning correctly, you may have mould on your carpet.

Step 4: One More Vacuum

Now that you have removed the stains and steam-cleaned the carpet, leaving it for a while is better to ensure it dries properly. Preferably keep the windows open, and maybe direct a couple of floor fans on it to speed the process up.

If you have a ceiling fan, you’re a lucky fellow. It’ll circulate the air nicely in the room, and you won’t have to turn on several fans simultaneously. It may be enough with one open window in the room. After the carpet dries, give it another go with the vacuum. No dirt should be left to vacuum, but ensure there are no remnants of the detergent you used. Now, your carpet is as good as new!

How to Clean a Carpet From Mildew

Mildew can be challenging to remove because it’s not your typical stain. You know it’s there, but you can’t always see it. It produces a foul smell, though, so it should be easy to recognize. 

To remove mildew from your carpet, grab a dehumidifier and keep it in the room for a few hours. This step is crucial to remove any moisture in the carpet. Alternatively, you can turn on several fans and point them all toward the carpet. Afterwards, spray the carpet with a vinegar/water mixture like the one above. Vinegar kills any smell emitted from your carpet and removes mildew and mould. Blot the vinegar away, and leave the carpet to air dry. When you’re spraying, make sure to do so moderately to avoid getting the carpet wet again.

How to Clean a Carpet From Smoke

How to remove smoke smell from carpets

If you’re an avid smoker or live with someone who smokes in the room, the carpet may have caught on to the smell. In this case, you can use baking soda to remove the odour. Smoke doesn’t cause stains unless severe, so you’ll mostly have to deal with the smell without scrubbing. All you have to do is sprinkle some baking soda evenly on the carpet or the affected area. Wear a pair of slippers and walk on the carpet to ensure every area is covered. Then, leave it for half an hour. Grab your vacuum, and remove all baking soda from the carpet. The smell should be gone now; you can also use a freshener to give the room a fresh scent.

How to Clean a Carpet From Cat or Dog Pee

You can do little to prevent your pet from peeing on the carpet. Aside from training them and investing in the litter, you have no complete control over their actions. So, don’t be surprised when your adorable pet decides to pee on the carpet to mark its territory.

  • No fuss; cleaning pee is pretty straightforward—though not fun!
  • Create a mixture of vinegar, baking soda, and water in a small bowl. Pour equal amounts of water and vinegar, then add 4–5 tablespoons of the white powder.
  • Stir the mixture well, then put it in a spray bottle. 

First, blot the affected area with a cloth to absorb the moisture. Then, spray your cleaning mixture on it. Leave it for up to 15 minutes, depending on the severity of the smell. Then, wipe it clean with a rag, absorbing the moisture thoroughly. We recommend keeping a fan directed on the spot until it dries, or it may develop a foul smell.

How to Remove Indents From a Carpet

The legs of furniture are often unforgiving on your carpet. You’ll see an ugly indent staring back at you when you move a couch or a chair. No need to worry; it’s pretty easy to solve using a piece of ice.

Grab an ice cube from your freezer and place it on the indent. Repeat with all the dents in the carpet, and wait a few minutes for it to melt partially. Remove the remnants, and leave the spots to dry. The cold moisture from the ice cubes will fix the indents. If it doesn’t, you can move on to the following helpful tool: your hairdryer.  First, spray some water on the indent until it’s moist. Then, please turn on your hairdryer to the hottest setting and direct it towards the indent until it dries. Fix the indent using your fingers while drying it; the hot air will fluff it back up. Learn more about How to Remove Furniture Indentations from Carpet.

Tips to Make Cleaning Your Carpet Easier

Tips for easy carpet cleaning

Cleaning your carpet is pretty tiring. Even if there aren’t any stubborn stains, the different steps of vacuuming, steam-cleaning, etc., can take a lot out of you. Here are some tips to follow to make it easier for you after you clean it. That way, the next cleaning session will be more straightforward.

  • Don’t leave the stains hanging: always clean anything that spills the moment it spills. Leaving it may seem tempting, but it’ll create a stain you’ll have to clean either way. So it’s easier to clean it from the start.
  • Grab a lint roller: if you don’t prefer to vacuum every day, you can always buy a lint roller and use it every few days. It removes all dirt, pet hair, crumbs, or debris on your carpet. It’s better than a vacuum because it’ll leave nothing to chance, and at least it doesn’t need electrical power!
  • Don’t scrub stains: a stubborn stain may look inviting, but scrubbing is never good. Instead of cleaning the stain, it causes it to spread over a larger surface area. Alternatively, blot it away using a microfiber cloth.
  • Remove pet hair regularly: if you have a pet, don’t wait until their hair is covering the carpet. It’s better to give it a go daily using a vacuum or a squeegee.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning your carpet doesn’t have to be as daunting as you think. With some simple tips to follow, you’ll keep the carpet clean until your next session. In all cases, avoid scrubbing stubborn stains and use vinegar to remove any persisting smells. If you live in a humid area, you may want to invest in a dehumidifier to keep the air dry. Otherwise, the carpet may develop mildew eventually.