Happy Thanksgiving! This time of the year is often spent will family and friends, which means a lot of us are looking to clean our homes – both before and after guests leave. And today, I have a great guest post from cleaning and organizing expert, Donna Smallin Kuper, that will show you how to clean carpets and rugs like a pro!

How to clean carpets & rugs like a pro!

How to Clean Carpets and Rugs Like a Pro

by Donna Smallin Kuper

Vacuum carpet


Want a healthier home? Clean your carpets more often.

Much like your furnace filter, carpeting and area rugs filter and trap dust and other allergens. But they can only do their job when they’re clean. That’s why it’s important to vacuum more often and deep clean your carpets periodically.

The Right Way to Vacuum

The majority of soil that’s tracked into your home accumulates at the door. That’s why cleaning experts always recommend placing mats inside and outside every exterior door and cleaning them frequently. About 85 percent of the soil in your carpet is dry soil, which gets trapped in the carpet fibers and will cause premature wearing if not removed.

Carpet manufacturers recommend vacuuming once a week for each person living in your home, and more often if you have pets. At the very least, vacuum high-traffic areas frequently, though daily vacuuming is preferable. Always push the vacuum away, which is the positioning pass, and then pull it back slowly for the soil removal pass. Empty the bag when it is one-half to two-thirds full to keep the vacuum cleaner performing at its peak.

Vacuuming is also the best way to eliminate dust mites, the number one trigger of indoor allergies, according to the American Academy of Asthma, Allergies & Immunology. Choose and use a vacuum cleaner with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.

Why and How to Deep Clean Carpets

How to clean carpets


Deep clean your carpets, area rugs and bath mats every 12 to 18 months to remove trapped soils. If your carpets are under warranty, it may be void unless you can show proof of having them professionally cleaned every 18 to 24 months by a certified Seal of Approval service provider.

If you do it yourself, know that the biggest mistake people make is using too much soap. More is not better. Too much detergent leaves residue, which may cause re-soiling and a stiff texture. Whether you use your own carpet steamer or rent one, read the instructions to ensure the proper ratio of water to cleaning solution. Also, be sure to vacuum thoroughly before steam cleaning, as moisture will “wick” up to the surface as the carpet dries, carrying with it any dry soil left in the carpet.

Pro Tips for Removing Stains

The fresher the stain, the easier it is to remove. Believe it or not, the solvent that dissolves the most substances is water, so try that first.

Just spilled red wine? Blot with a clean white towel and then pour on salt or cat litter to absorb the stain. Allow to dry completely and then vacuum. Or try treating it with white wine or vodka—it works, but only if it is the first method you try. Otherwise, try three percent hydrogen peroxide.

Hydrogen peroxide can be used to remove older wine, blood or urine stains. Generously spray the stained area. (It won’t bleach the carpet or rug.) Cover with a damp, white towel and grab a steam iron. Set it for the lowest setting and place it on the towel over the stain. Be careful not to touch the iron directly to the carpet or inhale the steam.

Iron the towel for 10 to 15 seconds and then look underneath. You should see some transfer of the stain from the carpet to the towel. Repeat until all, or almost all, of the stain has disappeared. Lightly spray again with the hydrogen peroxide. Place a clean dry towel on the area and weight it with something heavy, like a skillet. Allow to dry overnight.

Easiest Carpet Cleaning

Stain resistance treatment makes soils, including hair and fur, much easier to remove. Almost all carpeting today is treated, but the stain resistance doesn’t last forever. Professional carpet cleaners recommend retreating carpets and rugs with stain resistance with every cleaning of high traffic areas, and every other cleaning of low traffic areas.

Donna Smallin Kuper is an organizing and cleaning expert as well as the author of a dozen bestselling books on uncluttering, organizing, cleaning and simplifying life.

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88 Comments

  1. It was a great post. I really enjoyed how you explained it. It was helpful, and I think everyone should know. I hope you will bring more of this content. Thank you! very much.

  2. We just barely moved into a home where the previous owners were very rough on the carpets. Multiple animals, I believe two little kids, just an all-around mess when we arrived. We opted to have a company do it for us. We found a service for carpet cleaning and were able to get the carpets brought back to life in a matter of hours! Ever since then, we have been on top of the cleaning with a bunch of your tips here! PLEASE keep up the great work we love it!!

  3. Thanks for sharing the information about how to clean carpets and rugs like a pro, I think your blog is very helpful for lot of people.

  4. Very helpful article. I’ll definitely use your tips when I’ll clean my carpet. Thanks to the publisher for sharing such a wonderful post for us.

  5. I’m so glad you mentioned not using too much soap/detergent! I definitely made that mistake my first time DIY carpet cleaning. Now we use a professional carpet cleaner once a year and it’s the best–so much easier haha I’m definitely going to bookmark this post for the future just in case I need some of your stain removal tricks!

  6. These are such great tips! I recently just had a professional carpet cleaning done, and my carpets look fabulous! I found out just as it is mentioned here, that carpet cleaning or rug cleaning really shouldn’t take that much water or soap. The carpet cleaning company had my carpets and rugs dry in just a few hours because they didn’t use excess water or soap. Now it’s up to me to keep them vacuumed regularly in between each carpet cleaning!

  7. These are some great tips! And you’ve got it right; it makes a massive difference. Choosing the right mattress can be pretty tricky, but this guide made it a lot simpler! Thank you so much for writing; this was helpful!

  8. nICE POST WITH AWESOME CARPET CLEANING TIPS. I honestly don’t like cleaning carpets because they are too much work. However, since I can never avoid the task forever, I try as much as possible to keep it clean. As you’ve suggested, I try to clean up stains immediately before they get a chance to set in. This makes deep cleaning really easy and hassle-free. Will be checking out more of your posts. Thank you!

  9. This is a great article! I love the tips and pointers that seems so simple, yet are so important in maintaining one of the key aspects of a home, the carpet. Thanks for the informative blog!

  10. you spent your precious time to write this post. Also, provide great information to clean the carpet. It is really fabulous.

  11. Hi Erlene. Great carpet cleaning tips. While all of them are fantastic, I think the most important thing you mentioned is to BLOT your stains. That’s right, too many people will start rubbing the stain with a towel and when they do that, they actually are working the stain into the carpet. Blotting is the only way to go.

  12. Great tips! I have two dogs and kids so my carpets get a work out. I had never hear of getting a red stain out by bloting with a clean white towel and then pour on salt or cat litter to absorb the stain.

  13. Hi,
    There are too many comments so it means , many of the people like your post . your article is really awesome , i also use Dyson vacuum cleaner since 5 months its running smooth and it eases my hard work
    thanks for the great post

  14. Thanks for the great tips, I particularly found the technique of vacuuming really helpful since sometimes using the wrong technique could leave you thinking the vacuum is the problem yet you just have to change technique. Of course, you still need to have a good vacuum for carpets in order to have great results.

  15. thanks for sharing this great article.we always advice our clients to use a carpet sweeper, vacuum cleaner and cleaning solution to keep their carpet neat and clean.and i think a vacuum cleaner is must for every house and office.

  16. these tips are really awesome. My carpet needs a deep clean.hope this article will help me to do this .and what can I do to get rid of carpet battles ?
    many thanks.

  17. I found these tips very useful as I had recently moved into a newflat andmy caroets get ridiculous dirty in just a day or two

  18. Great article you post there! Despite our best efforts at cleaning our carpet, we eventually become the victim of dirt and whatever’s on the bottom of our guest’s shoes as we received a lot of them these days. Thanks to our rescuer, the Miele S2121 Vacuum.

  19. We don’t have a carpet but it’s a good tips for us. It can may help other people who has carpets. Thanks for sharing this.

  20. When I owned my own home, I had carpets in all the rooms except the kitchen and bathroom. When the house was built, they put tile at the front door, which was a blessing. I had a plastic runner that went from that tiled area into the kitchen to protect that high traffic area.

    Over the years I’ve developed allergies and now live where there is no carpet at all.

    Because of allergies as well, I never used a carpet shampooer, but a steamer. My magic stain solution was Oxy and water. It worked wonders.

    I’m going to be using hydrogen peroxide on a mattress that’s stained though, and I’m hoping for great results.
    Jane Porterfield recently posted…Christmas Decoration Ideas for KidsMy Profile

  21. We have beige carpets through out our home so these tips are very useful to me! It was so interesting to read that salt can actually help to remove stain! Never heard about that before! Thanks for sharing this!

  22. We vacuum daily here that puts us on track per person, lol there’s 6 of us here. I don’t have a mat in front of the door but had heard this reason before. I also never heard of using peroxide before. I hope to remember this tip!

  23. Wow, this was pretty helpful for me.
    I remember how stressed I used to feel when we had rugs and carpets all over our house before we got the place tiled.
    Thanks for sharing.

  24. I suffer from asthma so cleaning the carpets is something I should do more regularly. Thanks for the reminder, I will have to follow some of your tips to get on top of it.

  25. Great tips! I know I need to clean my carpet. At the moment though we are trying to figure out how to get purple nail polish out of it. Our son poured it all over.

  26. Love this! I am such a clean freak when it comes to my carpets. I vacuum daily, wash bath mats weekly too. Great tips on here!

  27. With the herd of animals I have I totally need help in with my carpets. Funny thing is I only have it in my master bedroom but I still have pet issues:)

  28. I have hardwood floors but I’ve been considering switching to carpet! I think it’s awesome to learn these tricks!

  29. I avoid carpets as much as possible because they’re really a dirt and dust trap, and unless you take great care in cleaning them very frequently, they’re basically gross (even though you can’t see it). Hardwood floors and tiles are much better choices for me. I live in a very warm region so I don’t even feel the need for area rugs!
    Lulle recently posted…Happy Thanksgiving weekend!My Profile

  30. These are really great tips, I knew about the peroxide and often used a product called shot spot, it works well no water to get stains out. Also never use the deodorizer powder stuff it cakes in the bottom of carpet and you never really get it all vacuumed. I also love using vinegar, the smell goes away after a day, but it gets rid of pet smells and accidents. Really great tips thanks for sharing.
    Jimmy and Tina recently posted…Trip Planning – Don’t Let This Happen to You!My Profile

  31. Interesting blog post. Totally agree with having the external and internal rugs to catch all those soil things. And then of course, having to clean them regularly!

  32. I seriously hate cleaning rugs and carpets but its something that has to be done. I will be sure to remember these tips the next time i need to clean them.

  33. That’s so cool that you mentioned Donna Smallen Kuper. She has been a FB friend of mine for years! I have one of her books. This was a very educational post. I never knew this stuff. Helpful. Thanks.

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