How to Clean Your Own Carpets

DIY Carpet Cleaning Tips

How to Clean Your Own Carpets

If you’re like most homeowners, your carpets probably take a regular beating from spills, pet accidents, food stains, muddy shoes, and normal wear and tear. While some messes come out easily, others require more stubborn stain-fighting efforts to clean your own carpets. Furthermore, heavy traffic areas need periodic deep cleaning to keep your carpets fluffy and beautiful for years to come. With a bit of work and household tools, you can clean your own carpet.

This guide will teach you foolproof do-it-yourself methods to banish stains and deep clean your wall-to-wall carpets on your own time for a fraction of the price. With a little elbow grease, and the right solutions and techniques, you can keep your carpets constantly fresh and extend their lifespan significantly.

Carpet Cleaning Overview

Vacuuming10-20 mins per room$0 (already own vacuum)Easy
Spot cleaning5-10 mins per spot$10 for cleaning solutionsEasy
Deep cleaning2+ hours for whole home$30 rental + $15 solutionsModerate

What You’ll Need


  • Vacuum cleaner – Upright vacuums with rotating brushrolls remove more dirt than canister vacuums. Models with HEPA filters are ideal.
  • Portable carpet cleaner – Makes spraying on and extracting out cleaning solutions a breeze.
  • Scrub brush – For working solutions into heavily soiled spots.
  • White towels – Useful for blotting up liquid spills and checking for dye transfer.
  • Soft-bristle scrub brush – For gently working stains out of carpet fibres by hand. -pH testing strips (optional) – To determine the acidity/alkalinity of unfamiliar stains.
Liquid dishwashing detergentFor emulsifying oily stains like cooking oil before carpet cleaner solution is applied
White vinegarFor neutralizing alkaline spills like vomit or pet urine
Baking sodaDeodorizes and absorbs liquid spills
Hydrogen peroxideBleaching agent to brighten discolored or faded stains
Enzyme cleanerBreaks down organic stains effectively

Test for Colourfastness

Before you deep clean your carpets, it’s critical to do a colourfastness test first. This will check if the carpet dyes are colourfast or likely to bleed when cleaned. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Choose an inconspicuous area of carpet, like in a closet.
  2. Using a white clean cloth, blot the area with lukewarm water.
  3. Apply gentle pressure and check if any dye has transferred onto the cloth.

If the carpet dyes appear colourfast, you can safely proceed with cleaning. If dye is transferred, consult a professional carpet cleaner. Using certain products or techniques on non-colorfast carpets could cause permanent discoloration.

How to Vacuum Your Carpets

  1. Remove any debris and clutter from the floors and carpets.
  2. Attach the hose and upholstery attachments to your vacuum cleaner.
  3. Start by vacuuming all hard floor surfaces first, then move to any area rugs.
  4. Vacuum in long, smooth, straight strokes. Overlap strokes as you move across the room.
  5. Vacuum slowly to give the vacuum time to remove dirt and debris.
  6. Finish by vacuuming all upholstered furniture. Use the attachments to reach crevices.
  7. Empty the vacuum bag or canister when finished.

How to Spot Clean Carpets

  1. Identify the stain and blot up any liquid immediately using a white cloth. Don’t rub, which can spread the stain.
  2. Mix carpet cleaner and water per the product instructions. Stir well.
  3. Using a small brush or toothbrush, gently apply the cleaning solution to the stain.
  4. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes to work. Blot the stain again with clean white towels.
  5. Repeat steps 3-4 as needed until the stain is removed.
  6. Rinse the area with clean water and blot dry.
  7. Allow the area to fully dry before walking on the carpet.

For tough grease stains, spray a little rubbing alcohol on the stain before scrubbing with cleaner. This helps break down the grease.

How to Deep Clean Carpets

How to Deep Clean Your Carpets

Thorough cleansing extracts dirt, debris, and stains that regular vacuuming can’t reach. Follow these steps for best results:

  1. Remove all furniture, rugs, and debris from the rooms you plan to clean.
  2. Rent a carpet shampoo machine or a steam cleaner from a home improvement store or grocery store. Choose a hot water extraction machine for optimal cleaning.
  3. Mix the carpet cleaning solution with hot water per the instructions. Pour into the machine’s tank.
  4. Start at the farthest corner of the room away from the exit. Apply the cleaning solution while slowly moving the machine across the carpet.
  5. Go over each area twice to ensure thorough cleaning.
  6. Let the solution soak for 10-15 minutes before going over the area with just hot water to rinse out the cleaning solution and dirt.
  7. Use white cotton cloths on top of the machine wand to absorb excess moisture. Avoid saturating the carpet.
  8. Open windows and use fans to circulate air and speed drying. Do not walk on damp carpets.
  9. Once fully dry, vacuum again to lift carpet fibres and remove residue.
  10. Consider applying carpet freshener or dried baking soda and letting sit before vacuuming again.

With some time and effort, you can keep your own carpets looking fresh and clean yourself. You’ll also benefit from steam carpet cleaning. Proper maintenance will extend their lifespan.

How to Remove Carpet Stains

Carpet stains can be tricky, but with some supplies and techniques, you can get out even set-in stains yourself. Here are some tips for removing common carpet stains:

  • Food stains (coffee, juice, grease) – Mix a solution of dish soap, vinegar and warm water. Use a sponge to lightly scrub and lift the stain. Rinse with clean water and blot dry.
  • Wine stains – Blot up immediately and pour salt or club soda on the stain to absorb liquid. Mix dish soap with hydrogen peroxide and scrub into stain using a brush. Rinse and blot dry.
  • Pet stains – In a spray bottle, mix an enzyme cleaner or white vinegar with warm water. Spray on the stain and let sit for 15 minutes. Blot with paper towels. Repeat as needed.
  • Ink stains – Apply rubbing alcohol to the stain using a cotton ball. Let it soak in for 10 minutes. Scrub gently with a brush before rinsing.
  • Candle wax – Place paper towels over the wax and iron on low heat to melt it. Replace papers as they absorb wax. Once gone, clean with carpet shampoo.
  • Mud stains – Allow mud to fully dry first. Vacuum up dried dirt. Make a baking soda and water paste and gently scrub into stain. Rinse clean and blot dry.

With the right cleaning solutions and techniques, you can get rid of almost any type of stain and other common carpet problems yourself. Be sure to thoroughly rinse and dry any cleaned area.

DIY Carpet Cleaning Tips & Tricks

  • Always check carpet manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations first. Some carpets have special cleaning requirements.
  • Test cleaning solutions in an inconspicuous area first to ensure no discolouration.
  • Move furniture to fully clean carpets underneath. Replace furniture with carpet protectors.
  • Work in 1×1 m sections for manageable steam cleaning and to prevent overly wet carpets.
  • Make multiple light passes rather than pressing down hard on the machine in one pass. This improves cleaning and reduces risk of damaging carpet backing.
  • Change rinse water frequently to remove more residue.
  • Use white towels to blot up excess moisture – coloured towels may bleed dye.
  • Speed dry time by placing fans directed above (not directly on) carpet.
  • Sprinkle baking soda before final vacuum to deodorize carpets.
  • Be patient – cleaned carpets may take 24 hours or longer to fully dry.


Regularly cleaning your carpets helps maintain their appearance and extends their lifespan. The investment of purchasing your own equipment pays off over time compared to continually hiring professional cleaners. By following these steps, you can clean your carpets thoroughly and keep your home looking great.

The most important steps are vacuuming frequently, immediately treating stains, and periodically doing a deep clean by extracting all the embedded dirt. With the right techniques and solutions, you can handle all your carpet cleaning processes yourself.