How Often To Clean The Carpet

Carpet can make your home feel comfortable, soft, and luxurious. You spent time picking out the carpet and enjoy all that it has to offer. But to get the most out of it, make sure you clean it properly. How often should you clean your carpet? We've searched to find the answer so you'll know how to keep your carpet in top condition. 

You should vacuum your carpet at least once a week and shampoo it every twelve to eighteen months. However, if you have pets, a lightly-colored carpet, or people with allergies in your home, you should vacuum and shampoo more often. If this describes your home, plan on vacuuming at least twice a week and shampooing at least twice a year.

This amount of cleaning might sound overwhelming: how will you ever have the time to do these chores? Don't worry, because the information below will show you that cleaning your carpet regularly is worth it! Plus, we'll explain how to clean the carpet and answer other common questions to help you understand the entire process. Read on for more details about carpet cleaning!

Person cleaning carpet with vacuum cleaner in living room, How Often To Clean The Carpet

How often should I clean my carpet?

This question has various answers based on your situation and personal preference. However, if your home is relatively clean, plan on vacuuming weekly and shampooing every twelve to eighteen months. Additionally, consider the following timelines if your home has pets, children, or other cleaning needs such as: 

  • Homes with pets should be vacuumed twice a week. Your pet -- while cute and cuddly -- tracks in the dirt, sheds fur, and has accidents more often than you realize. In addition to regular vacuuming, plan on shampooing every six months.
  • If you have a lightly-colored carpet, keep on top of the cleaning instead of waiting until you have a stain or the carpet looks dirty. Stay on top of the cleaning to give your carpet a chance of looking bright for years. 
  • Children are another factor that can increase the dirtiness of your carpet. If you have children, make sure that you're cleaning the carpet regularly. 
  • If there is a heavy smoker in your home, plan on shampooing your carpet at least every three months. If there is a light smoker in your home, shampoo the carpet at least every six months.

Also, keep in mind that you can spot-clean your carpet as often as necessary. This is especially true if you own your own carpet cleaner. Pay special attention to high-traffic areas: walkways, under the eating areas, or where the carpet meets hard floors. Spot-cleaning should not replace cleaning the entire carpet; plan on shampooing the entire room regularly. But keep in mind that vacuuming and spot-cleaning regularly, while a hassle, makes deep-cleaning less of a project. 

Clean Carpet Lasts Longer

The carpet in your home is most likely dirtier than you realize. Carpet naturally traps all kinds of dirt, dust, bacteria, dander, and particles. In particular, dirt and dust trapped in the fibers of your carpet will shorten its lifespan. When these particles get crushed into the carpet, they fray the fibers and loosen the carpet. In order to get the most out of your floor, you need to get rid of these things regularly.

Clean Carpet Reduces Allergens

Do you find yourself or others showing signs of allergies such as sneezing, itchy eyes, sore throat, or runny nose? This might be a sign that you need to clean your carpets more often. Allergens get caught in the fibers and get stirred up when people walk across the floor.

Vacuuming Tips

Vacuuming often is helpful, but most people do not vacuum properly. Vacuum slowly, going over each section repeatedly. Make sure to vacuum in two directions, perpendicularly. Go east and west, then turn and vacuum north and south. If you're vacuuming correctly, it should take you fifteen to twenty minutes for a 300 square foot room (about seventeen feet by seventeen feet). 

A good rule of thumb is that if you wait until your carpet looks like it needs to be cleaned, it's probably too late to restore it. A high-traffic area you may forget about is your stairway. Check out this article for advice on how to clean the carpet on your stairs.

Is It Bad To Shampoo Carpets Often?

Though shampooing your carpet is good for the carpet, there are some ways it can harm the flooring. First of all, too much shampooing with harmful chemicals can harm the carpet. Routine chemical use can, potentially, discolor the carpet. While chemicals might be necessary for filthy carpet, it should not be used every time. Here is an all-natural, chemical-free shampoo that works great to clean your carpet more than once a year.

Click here to view this shampoo on Amazon.

Another potential danger is loosening the carpet with high-powered suction. Professional cleaning companies use extreme suction to get as much dirt out as possible. While this is helpful, it can weaken the glue or adhesive on the carpet if used too often.

On the other hand, not cleaning the carpet is harmful too. If you need to clean the carpet more often for one of the reasons listed above, consider purchasing your own cleaner and using natural shampoos. The carpet cleaner below is plenty strong without endangering the carpet adhesive. It is specially designed for homes with pets or people with allergies.

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Click here to view this carpet cleaner on Amazon.

Can You Over-Shampoo A Carpet?

Too much shampoo can leave a soapy residue on the carpet, making it feel greasy. Too much shampoo is also known to discolor the carpet if left in for too long.

Shampoo also might harm the carpet if it contains too-strong chemicals. This is particularly important if your carpet is a natural material such as wool. Natural materials are less durable than synthetic ones. If you aren't sure what your carpet is made out of, play it safe by using a natural-safe shampoo like the one below.

Click here to view this shampoo on Amazon. 

Another common issue is applying too much water and not drying it properly. Leaving your carpet wet for too long can cause it to shrink or grow mold and mildew. Always make sure to dry the carpet as well as possible after shampooing. Leave fans on and windows open for several hours after cleaning.

Do Carpet Cleaners Clean The Pad?

A carpet cleaner that uses the right amount of water will not clean the pad. The carpet pad is a sponge-like material used under many carpeted rooms. It provides cushioning and helps the carpet adhere to the floor. Because of the material, the carpet pad absorbs moisture quickly but does not dry easily. It is trapped between the carpet and the subfloor, so too much moisture means that the subfloor will get wet. Bad news all around!

When shampooing your carpet, make sure not to use too much water. Always follow the directions on the machine for the best results. The only thing that should still be wet after you shampoo is the surface of the carpet. This will evaporate quickly.

How to Clean the Carpet Pad

The only way to truly clean the carpet pad is to pull the carpet back. This is tedious, but it might be necessary to get rid of pet urine or other residual odors beneath stained areas.

  1. Once you've pulled back the carpet, mix a quart of warm water and a half cup of white vinegar together. With a sponge, spread the diluted vinegar on the stained part of the pad. Let it soak into the pad for thirty minutes.
  2. Then, add dish soap to warm water in a bucket. Use the sponge to rub the soapy water into the pad, using as much force as necessary.
  3. Rinse the whole section with a clean sponge and water, getting rid of all the soap.
  4. Let the pad dry completely, then spread a layer of baking soda on the area. This helps remove all the odors, including the vinegar.
  5. Finally, pull the carpet back to its original place and refasten it.

Have more questions about freshening a stinky carpet? Check out this article!

How Long Does It Take To Shampoo Carpet?

The amount of time it takes to shampoo your carpet depends on factors such as how dirty it is, how long ago it was cleaned, pile height, room size, and personal speed.

Small rooms can typically be cleaned in twenty to thirty minutes, while it might take closer to an hour for bigger rooms. If the carpet is extremely dirty, it will take more passes with the cleaner. Similarly, if you are new to carpet cleaning and are doing the job yourself, it will take you longer to figure out the machine's intricacies.

However, this time doesn't count prepping the room, vacuuming it beforehand, dry time, resetting the furniture, and vacuuming afterward. When you consider all of these steps, the whole process might take 24 hours or more, depending on the factors listed above.

Should You Vacuum After Carpet Cleaning?

It is a good idea to vacuum after shampooing your carpet. This makes sure that all of the work and expense are not negated by a new layer of dirt being ground into the clean carpet. It also gets rid of any dust that you stirred up while moving furniture back into its place. Before you do this, however, you should make sure the bottom of the vacuum is clean. Pull any dirt or hair out of the roller and wipe down the wheels and rim with a damp rag. 

In Closing

To get the most out of your carpet, vacuum it weekly and shampoo it every twelve to eighteen months. If you have pets, children, a lightly-colored carpet, or people with allergies in your home, you should double the amount of cleaning. This helps your carpet retain its texture and eliminates harmful dirt. Make sure not to over-shampoo or over-saturate the carpet, and don't overdo it with harmful chemicals. 

Follow these tips to make sure your carpet lasts for years!

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