Carpets may not appear dirty easily, but they can hide a treasure trove of dust, hair, debris, and germs within their furry fibers. Visible spills and messes are more easily spot cleaned, or crumbs vacuumed up, but what about the junk that hides in the depths of your carpet? Regular vacuuming should already be a part of your usual cleaning routine, and you may think this is sufficient in keeping your carpets clean, but carpets like any other fabric materials in the home need a deep cleaning to remove dirt and grime and keep them in good condition. But just how often does a deep carpet cleaning need to be conducted, and how is it done? Let’s discuss how often you should be cleaning your carpets, why it’s important to keep them clean, and what methods you can integrate into your daily life to keep them clean longer.
Why you should clean your carpet
Everything that goes up must come down, meaning, any dust floating in the air of your home eventually settles onto the ground. These dust particles can settle particularly well into the dense fibers of carpets and accumulate, reducing the air quality in your home, and becoming more difficult to clean over time. Not only does dust in the air settle in the carpet, but so does everything on our shoes and feet that we potentially track throughout the home. Carpets can also act as a breeding ground for dust mites, which can trigger allergies as well as asthma attacks in asthma sufferers. Air quality aside, your carpet can also begin to appear dingy if it is not cleaned often, as well as harbor bacteria. Bacteria buildup can damage your carpet, as well as make your home smell musty. To keep your carpets looking their best, and your family feeling their best, deep clean your carpets regularly, and vacuum often.
How often should you vacuum?
Depending on your lifestyle, you may need to vacuum more or less than others. Do you have multiple people living in the home? Do you have pets? Are there children in the home? Do you remove your shoes before entering? The average person should vacuum carpeted areas at least once a week to remove visible debris and allergy-causing dust build-up. If there are pets or children in the home, this could mean needing to vacuum at least twice a week. A good rule of thumb is to vacuum once a week, and if you can fit another vacuum in each week, there’s really no harm in doing another once over.
How often should you clean your carpet?
The frequency at which you need to deep clean your carpet is also impacted by your lifestyle, and unsurprisingly, by how often you vacuum. For instance, “if you vacuum once a week, you should deep clean every 12 to 18 months”. If you vacuum less frequently than once a week, you should do a deep clean closer to every 6 to 9 months. Which is another good reason to stay on top of frequent vacuuming.
Deep cleaning can be done by a professional carpet cleaning company, or you can rent or buy a carpet cleaning machine for personal use. Deep cleaning involves using a cleaning machine that agitates the carpet and dispenses hot water and cleaning solution into the carpet and then vacuums it back up. Carpet cleaning requires 24 hours of drying time, so be sure to set out a full day for the task to be completed. You will need to move your furniture, and avoid walking on the cleaned area for at least 24 hours as it dries.
Steam cleaning can also be done between deep cleans. Steam cleaning does not involve a cleaning solution but uses hot steam to lift trapped dirt and debris. Steam cleaning can be done twice a year or more depending on how much foot traffic there is in the carpeted areas or your home.
How to keep your carpet clean
- Remove your shoes when entering the home: An obvious way to keep your carpets cleaner is to remove your shoes at the door. Though you might not see the dirt you are tracking in, it is most definitely being absorbed by your carpet. The bottoms of our shoes are covered in harmful germs, odor-causing organic materials, and soils that can stain your carpet. Always remove your shoes at the door and save yourself from having to vacuum up a trail left behind by your dirty shoes
- Place floor mats in entryways: A floor mat placed at your door can prevent dirt from being tracked into the rest of the house. It can also act as the space to remove your shoes before entering the home. You can place a plastic floor mat or carpeted floor mat inside the home, and a doormat outside to wipe your shoes off before stepping foot inside. These mats can be easily shaken out often to get rid of dust and dirt build-up.
- Regularly change air filters: Changing your air filters regularly will greatly reduce the amount of air-born dust and allergens in your home. Using clean air filters ensures that clean air is being circulated. An unclean HVAC filter can spread allergens and dust which can exacerbate allergies and asthma. It can also cost you more money on energy, as your HVAC system will be using more energy for less payoff. The recommended time to change your HVAC filter is every 3 months. With less dust pumping throughout the air, less will end up on your carpet.
- Always clean up new messes right away: Target spills before they become stains. As soon as messes appear on the carpet, use a spot cleaner right away to treat the area. Spray a spot cleaner on the carpet, and lightly agitate it with a brush to remove any visible staining, then you can blot the area with a cloth to absorb product residue and any liquid in the carpet.
- Vacuum often: Vacuuming should be done often, especially in high foot traffic areas. Regular vacuuming prevents surface dirt and debris from settling into the carpets, harboring bacteria and creating difficult to remove stains or odors. You should vacuum carpeted areas at least once a week. You can up your vacuuming to twice a week if there are pets, children, or extra housemates in the home. This will also lengthen the amount of time needed between deep cleanings which can be much more time-consuming and costly.
- Allow sufficient time for carpets to dry after deep cleaning: Deep cleaning and steam cleaning carpets can be time-consuming, but this is for a reason. It can take up to 24 hours for a carpet to fully dry after being cleaned, and this process cannot be rushed. You can help the process along by using fans or leaving the windows open while carpets dry, but you must allow a full 24 hours for your carpets to dry before placing the furniture back or walking in the area as normal. If your carpet doesn’t have time to sufficiently dry it can grow mold and mildew, which can damage your carpet, subfloor, and cause foul odors. Mildew can also have negative effects on your health if you are subject to long-term exposure. Keep your carpets in their best condition by allowing the necessary drying time after cleanings.
Vacuuming often and regular bi-annual (or more) carpet deep cleanings not only make your carpets look better and smell better, but they also can extend the life span of your carpets. Taking care of your carpets now can save you from expensive replacement in the future. You also reduce the amount of dust and allergens in the home and can increase the air quality. Luckily, you don’t have to spring for a new carpet cleaning machine, or even hire professionals, you can easily clean your carpets at home by renting a carpet cleaning machine from your local hardware store. If deep cleaning your carpets still sounds like a mammoth task, just remember, the more often you vacuum, the more time you can put between deep cleanings. To keep your carpets fresh, clean, and in peak condition, commit to regular vacuuming and carpet cleaning.
- Apartment Therapy. “Here’s How Often You Should Clean Your Carpets (And How to Do It)“
- This Old House. “How Often You Should Change Your Air Filter“
- The House Wire. “How Often Should You Clean Clean Your Carpet: A Quick Guide“