Carpet Cleaning 101: Tips and Tricks

If you have carpeted floors, then you likely know the importance of carpet cleaning. Keeping carpeted surfaces clean is important for a variety of reasons. It helps your home look nice and stay fresh, and helps to reduce the amount of dust and allergens in the air.

While a good rule of thumb is to vacuum weekly—or more if you have pets and/or small children—the true challenge with carpet cleaning is dealing with spills and stains. While these tricky problems should be dealt with immediately, all too often our carpets show the lives we lived. Whether your little one knocked over a bottle of juice or melted candles got wax all over your floor, it's important to know the right carpet cleaning methods to keep the fabric looking its absolute best.

Naturally, all homeowners and renters should give their floors a deep clean by hiring a carpet cleaning company, or renting out a steamer, at least twice per year. For many renters, it's stipulated in your lease to give your floors a deep clean before moving out (although really, steaming floors should be done much more frequently).

Our experts know a number of tips and tricks for keeping your floors in excellent condition, and we've outlined a few of these tricks below. Although, it's important to note that there really is no replacement for professional services. To discover our Arlington handyman professionals' insights into carpet cleaning, keep reading.

What Do I Need to Clean My Floors?

Having the right tools and equipment is quintessential to making your floors sparklingly clean. A few items you should have on-hand include:

  • Vacuum

  • Spray bottle

  • Microfiber cloth

  • Bucket

  • Oscillating fan

  • Scrub brush with stiff nylon bristles

  • Old towels or rags

  • Clothes steamer

  • Steam mop

  • Distilled white vinegar

  • Baking soda

  • Table salt

How Should I Go About Routine Carpet Cleaning?

Ideally, you should conduct regular carpet cleaning at least weekly. However, if your family has allergies, a family member has asthma, or you're sensitive to dust and dander, then the following carpet cleaning process can be completed as many times as necessary. Follow these steps carefully to ensure your floors always look and function at their best.

1. Get Rid of Dust and Dander

Have you ever noticed how much better your floors look after a good vacuum? It's almost as if they are a different color! Well sometimes...they actually are a different color. Allowing dust and soil particles to remain on your floor is what makes it look dull. Not to mention, your interior may start to smell musty. Without proper maintenance, carpets will start to wear out and look lackluster. Also, all that debris circulates through your air and decreases your indoor air quality—clogging up your air vents and HVAC system.

By using a vacuum with strong suction, you can get rid of nasty dirt, dander and debris. If you don't have a vacuum, hope is not lost. There are still ways to get rid of dirt, debris etc. For instance, you could pick up an old-fashioned broom or carpet sweeper. If you don't have secured carpets, but you have rugs, then you can also clean your rugs the old fashioned way: by taking them outdoors and beating with a stick or broom handle. Be sure to wear a mask and protective eyewear to avoid getting dust in your eyes or lungs.

Our Top Vacuuming Tips:

  • Ensure you move furniture and other items out of the way before vacuuming.

  • Set your vacuum to the proper height for your floors to get optimal suction.

  • Take your time. By vacuuming slowly and going over high-traffic areas a couple of times, you'll get better results.

  • Use a lint roller to clean up small messes.

  • Use a rubber-edged squeegee to collect pet hair.

  • Take time to vacuum sofas and other fabric furniture while you're at it.

  • Use baking soda to brighten your floors' appearance. By letting it sit on the floor for an hour or too before vacuuming, it will absorb unpleasant smells and oily stains.

2. Spot Clean Pesky Stains

Just like when it comes to getting stains out of clothing the best time to treat carpet stains is as quickly as possible. For liquid stains, say your cat knocked over your morning cup of Joe and there's a hideous black stain on your floors, immediately blot away the moisture with paper towels or a clean, white cloth. Do not use very colorful cloths as they may impart color onto your floors.

For more solid stains, such as mud tracked in by your playing children or food dropped on the ground, carefully lift away any solid material using a knife. It's important to lift away as much of the material as possible before cleaning. As a rule of thumb, you should never rub a stain. Dabbing is key, as rubbing will work the material deeper into your carpet's delicate fibers. Either use a department store stain remover suitable for your carpeted material, or use cold water and dish soap to gently dab at the stain. Do not use hot water, as this will set stains.

How Do I Give My Carpets a Deep Clean?

While the above methods should be used for frequent regular cleanings to keep your home looking and smelling good-as-new, from time to time you should still give carpeted areas a deep clean. Why? Because even with vacuuming regularly, your floors still take a toll. Heavy soil gets worked into the fibers, and the fibers themselves need a little lift every now and then.

But what does this involve? You can opt to hire professional carpet cleaning services, or do the work yourself. The experts usually use a combination of detergents and steam to really get in there and get rid of dirt, oil, and dander. However, it's also possible for homeowners and renters to rent a heavy-duty steam cleaner and use the recommended shampoo. Whether you opt to hire the pros or DIY, you'll be amazed at how much dirt and grime is trapped in your carpets—despite regular carpet cleanings. If you think it's worth the investment, you can also buy smaller, residential carpet cleaners that will do the trick. It's important to make sure you buy the right shampoo, so carefully read the manufacturer's instructions.

However, there are a few other ways you can clean your carpets, including the following:

1. Use Distilled White Vinegar

Before using a mixture of distilled white vinegar to clean your floors, it's important that you vacuum and treat any visible stains. This process is integral for getting rid of most of the build-up. Otherwise, you'll just be pushing around dirt and debris. This is no different than attempting to mop a tile floor before sweeping—you'll only make matters worse. Stain removal is also important here, as you should do your best to get rid of stains as much as possible.

Once the initial steps have been taken, combine vinegar and water into a spray bottle. Choose a small area of your carpet that is out of sight, and test the solution (the ratio should be about 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water). Make sure the fabric does not bleed or react to the solution before proceeding. Then, working in small sections, spray the solution onto the floor until damp—but not wet. Allow the solution to sit for a few minutes, then use a clean, white microfiber cloth to blot away any soil or dirt. Rinse the cloth before moving onto the next section.

Once the carpet has been cleaned, it's essential that you let it dry completely. If the weather is nice, you could open up windows and doors to usher along the drying process and let in some fresh air (this will also help reduce the smell of vinegar). Alternatively use an oscillating fan to let floors dry completely. Try not to use the floors while damp.

2. Clean With Baking Soda and Salt

As with the above DIY method, be sure you vacuum floors and get rid of any visible stains before proceeding. Then, mix together baking soda and salt. Use a bowl or a bucket, and place a ration of 1 part baking soda, 1 part salt into the vessel. It doesn't matter what type of salt you use, either table or Kosher salt is fine. Avoid using rock salt or colored salts, like pink Himalayan salt. Then, fill a spray bottle with cold water. If you've previously used the water and vinegar technique, ensure there is no vinegar left in the bottle.

Liberally sprinkle the floor with your baking soda and salt mixture. We recommend working in a grid—similar to the above method. This will help you stay on-track. Once your baking soda and salt has been placed on the floor, spray it with a little bit of water. You're aiming for damp fibers, not wet fibers. Use a scrub brush to work the solution deeply into the carpet (again, this is why it's essential to get rid of stains before attempting this DIY method).

Once finished, use a cloth to wipe away loosened soil or grime. Don't worry if you don't get all the salt and baking solution cleaned up, as that will be taken care of in the next step. Allow the floor to dry completely, either with the assistance of a fan or through opening up your windows. Once the area is dry, vacuum up any remaining salt and baking soda. Not only will this carpet cleaning method leave your floors looking fresher, but they will also smell great.


Use the above method, but instead of spritzing the baking soda and salt mixture with cold water, use a clothes steamer to dampen the mixture. Do not place the steamer directly on the carpet, as it may burn. Instead, hold it about half a foot above the surface, and allow the steam to dampen the fibers. Then, use a brush, scrub away, clean up any debris, allow it to dry, and vacuum as needed.

How Do I Prevent Stains?

Carpet cleaning is a must for any household—both regular vacuuming sessions and giving your floors a deep clean. However, there are a few steps you can take to help prevent stains and dirt build-up on your floors:

  • Apply a stain resistant treatment or protectant to your floors. This will help lessen the likelihood that stains will stick to the fibers.

  • Vacuum and clean carpets regularly. We've said it before, we'll say it again. Regularly vacuuming is key for keeping your floors looking their best.

  • Don't wear outdoor shoes inside. The easiest way to avoid dragging dirt inside is by not wearing your shoes, or changing into indoor-only shoes.

  • Use plastic mats and rugs for extra protection. If you have small children or pets, you may want to cover up your carpets entirely to avoid damaging them.

  • Treat spills as soon as they happen. This cannot be said enough. Do not let stains set.

  • Hire professional cleaning services one to two times a year. The best way to give carpets a deep clean is by leaving it to the professionals.

Need Help Around the House? Hire the Pros at Mr. Handyman of Arlington, Mansfield and Grapevine

While our team of service professionals don't provide carpet cleaning services, we do offer a wide range of other home improvement services to our clients in and near Arlington—including in Colley and Southlake.

Whether you need help with tile installation and repair, flooring installation or another service entirely, our team of experts has it covered. Each of our technicians has years of experience working in the trades, and our friendly customer service representatives are always more than happy to help you out. We may even be able to refer you to a trusted carpet cleaning service in the Arlington area.

To book an appointment today, we invite you to give our friendly office staff a call at 817-567-2433 .