The Carpet and Rug Institute recommends that carpets be cleaned every 12 to 18 months, but the exact vacuuming and carpet cleaning schedule depends on the number (and type of) household occupants, amount of room traffic, and carpet warranty. To keep flooring looking new, carpets should be vacuumed at least once a month (more often in a busy household with kids and pets).
How Often to Clean Carpets
They may be small and cute, but kids and pets can stain and dig in more dirt and grime while enjoying a plush carpet (and area rugs). They also tend to spend more time on carpeting than adults. For that reason, households with kids or pets (or both) should get their carpets professionally cleaned more often (in addition to regular vacuuming and spot cleaning).
- In homes with kids, carpets should be vacuumed daily and spot cleaned every 6-12 months. A professional carpet cleaning should be scheduled every 12 months. More frequent cleanings remove deep stains and grime, allowing kids to crawl, roll, and play on a clean carpet.
- In homes with pets, carpets should be vacuumed twice a week and spot cleaned every 6-12 months. A professional carpet cleaning should be scheduled every 12 months. Because pets track in dirt and water from going in and out, a simple way to keep grime off carpets is to place rugs by all exterior doors. Homeowners can also clean off their furry friends paws every time they enter for added protection.
- In homes with kids AND pets, carpets should be vacuumed daily and professionally cleaned every 6-12 months. These more frequent carpet cleanings ensure that any dirt or grime tracked in by pets is removed so the carpets are clean and ready for family play.
Many new carpets come with a warranty that is dependent on the care of the carpet. Most carpet warranties state that the carpet needs to be cleaned regularly (both vacuuming and carpet cleaning). Because every carpet warranty is different, homeowners should ask carpet professionals how often the carpet should be vacuumed and cleaned.
How to spot clean carpets
If carpet (or an area rug) does get stained in between carpet cleanings, use these tips to remove the spot:
- Choose a carpet stain cleaner carefully. Some carpet manufacturers may require homeowners to use an approved cleaner in the carpet warranty. Visit local carpet professionals to get the right carpet stain cleaner for the job and the warranty.
- Test the cleaner in a hidden area before using on carpet. Some carpet stain cleaners can fade or damage carpeting (even cleaners with household ingredients); always test the carpet cleaner in a hidden area, such as in a closet or under furniture, before using on the stain.
- Clean the carpet stain as soon as possible. Don’t let the carpet stain set and become permanent.
- If the stain is a puddle of fluid (such as pet urine, wine, soda, juice, etc.), use a cloth to absorb the fluid before applying carpet stain cleaner. A wet/dry vac can be incredibly handy if there is a lot of moisture. If the source of the stain is pet urine, spray the stain with a mixture of two tablespoons of white vinegar and one quart of water to eliminate the odor.
- Apply the cleaner. Follow directions on the carpet stain cleaner. Some cleaners may require the homeowner to wait before wiping the stain.
- Carefully blot at the cleaner. Avoid hard scrubbing which can damage carpet fibers.
Vacuuming & Carpet Cleaning Tips
- Choose a vacuum cleaner approved by the carpet manufacturer. Some carpet manufacturers have a list of approved vacuum cleaners that should be used on the carpet. Visit a local flooring store to find out what vacuum cleaner is recommended by the carpet manufacturer. Some vacuum cleaners also come with specialized filters that can be beneficial in homes with family members with respiratory or allergy issues.
- Vacuum slowly and carefully. One of the biggest vacuuming mistakes homeowners make is to go too fast. Instead, homeowners should vacuum slowly and take care to vacuum under furniture and in every corner.