How to Really Clean Your Carpet for a Healthy Home

There's more to keeping a carpet clean than perfunctory vacuuming every so often. Vacuuming alone cannot reach deep into the fibres to get rid of all the dirt and germ build-up in your carpet, though it's certainly helpful in maintaining the carpet between deep cleanings.

Importance of professional cleaning

Professional cleaning is mandatory to ensure that the carpet fibres are adequately cleaned – in fact, most carpet suppliers require that your carpet be professionally cleaned every one to two years, or else your warranty will be voided (confirm here, here and here).

Aside from the warranty, professional cleaning at least twice a year is recommended to improve indoor air quality. If you have pets or live in a dusty place, this should done be more often – as often as 6-8 times a year! Without proper cleaning and maintenance, your carpet can contribute to making your indoor environment much worse than the air you breathe outside. This is a problem particularly for vulnerable family members – the young, the old and the allergy-prone.

How to vacuum properly between cleaning visits

Now, this isn't to say that vacuuming your carpet isn't important; in fact, it's one of the best methods to keep the carpet clean by yourself. Below are tips to help you make it count:

  • Vacuum at least once a week, more frequently in high-traffic and/or dust-prone areas. This prevents debris from building up and cutting your carpet fibres.
  • For wall-to wall carpeting, move furniture every so often to reach every nook and cranny. A tip is to divide the  floor into sections and handle each at a time before moving on
  • Vacuum slowly to allow the suction to draw out as much dirt as possible – especially if you wait long between cleanings or you have plush rugs. Pass the vacuum over every section multiple times.
  • Use overlapping strokes and change direction of vacuuming to capture as much dirt as possible
  • You can add some baking soda to the vacuum bag to prevent odour build-up

Take out the rug during good weather (when you have strong hands around). Shake it up and beat with a broom, then leave it to air in the sun for a day before replacing it.

Special considerations

You can use soil retardant products, but these should be done by a professional using the right equipment. They are best used on freshly-cleaned carpets or new carpets following installation.

Clean spills immediately to get the best shot at clearing them completely. Scrape or blot the area to remove as much spill as you can. Use a cleaning solution (ensure that it's allowed for the type of carpet you have), but avoid vigorous rubbing which may spread the stain. Instead, spray the solution then blot it carefully, working from the outer edges into the middle of the stain. Stack some dry towels and hold down with something heavy to suck out all the moisture.