How to Clean Carpets Yourself

As a mom with two young children and a dog, messes on the carpet are an inevitable fact of life. But if you have to call a professional carpet cleaner every time somebody spills juice on the rug or the dog has an accident, you’ll end up spending some serious money. That’s why it’s a good idea to learn how to clean carpets yourself.

As a mom with two young children and a dog, messes on the carpet are an inevitable fact of life. But if you have to call a professional carpet cleaner every time somebody spills juice on the rug or the dog has an accident, you'll end up spending some serious money. That's why it's a good idea to learn how to clean carpets yourself.

Limit your carpet cleaning

First things first…prevention goes a long way in keeping your carpets clean. For example, if you don’t allow your kids to eat or drink in places that are carpeted, you’ll have less to clean.

I usually make my kids stay in the kitchen area to eat snacks…or, at least, on the wooden floor, where wiping up a spill is much easier. If they want to have snacks in front of the television, they aren’t going to eat cherry jello or grape juice…I limit their drinks to water, and their snacks to things like crackers, which are easy to clean.

We also have a “take your shoes off when you come in the door” policy at our house. This limits dirt being tracked in and prevents wet or muddy shoes from walking around on the carpets.

But no matter how careful you are with food and drink and shoes, there are going to be potty-training accidents, wet dog feet (since they can’t take off their shoes!) and any number of things that can get onto the carpet.

Home Carpet Cleaning Solutions

You can find lots of guides online on the specific types of cleaning solutions to use on certain stains…for example, using hydrogen peroxide on blood or vinegar on urine stains…but as a busy mom who just wants her carpet clean, I don’t have time to go find the chart that tells me what to use and then hope I have whatever it is on hand (because I never have club soda in my house…)

Your best bet is to keep an all-purpose carpet cleaner on hand, which can work at getting a multitude of stains out of your carpet. I’ve had the best luck with Resolve Oxi Advanced carpet cleaner (affiliate link) for general stains and Nature’s Miracle (affiliate link) for pet stains.

As a mom with two young children and a dog, messes on the carpet are an inevitable fact of life. But if you have to call a professional carpet cleaner every time somebody spills juice on the rug or the dog has an accident, you'll end up spending some serious money. That's why it's a good idea to learn how to clean carpets yourself.

How to Clean Carpet

When cleaning up a spill or stain, you’ll first want to blot up any liquid with paper towels or a clean rag. If there are solids, it’s best to use a spoon to scoop them up.

Don’t rub the carpet, as rubbing causes the stain to go deeper into the fibers. Just blot, blot, blot until you have soaked up as much of the liquid as possible. Then spray the area with your cleaner, following the directions on the bottle. Usually you’ll have to leave the cleaning solutions sit on the carpet for a period of time, then wipe it with a clean cloth and/or vacuum the area.

If you have wax from candles or crayons on your carpet, you can remove it with a warm iron. Simply lay a piece of white paper (brown paper from grocery bags is good too) over top the wax and lightly iron the paper with a warm iron. The wax should melt into the paper, removing it from the carpet fibers. You may have to do this several times to get rid of the wax completely.

Get a good steam cleaning once a year

To keep your carpets looking their best, it’s a good idea to have them professionally steam-cleaned once a year or so, to really get them clean. The professionals have much stronger machines that can get down to the backing of the carpet to remove any dirt or stains.

A professional carpet cleaner can also get out stains that you can’t. For example, when our cat was dying of kidney failure, he had so many accidents in one particular corner, that no matter what I used to clean with, the smell wouldn’t come out. I even rented a steam cleaner from the grocery store to clean the carpet, but the cat urine smell remained.

Finally, I hired a carpet professional, who had a selection of different solutions in his truck. He used one that was specifically for old pet stains, and it took the smell right away and hasn’t returned.

Keeping carpets clean can be a chore, but when you learn how to clean carpets yourself, you can ensure that they always look nice and save money on professional cleaning.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever tried to get out of your carpet?

4 thoughts on “How to Clean Carpets Yourself”

  1. Great tips, Erin! We have issues with Play-Doh getting stuck in the carpet – lol. This is mainly because Elisabeth doesn’t always use her Play-Doh at her table, and it ends up on the floor and in the carpet. My husband recently gave the carpets a good cleaning with our carpet cleaner, but I like your idea of having them professionally cleaned once a year.

    I also agree that having a good carpet cleaning solution on hand goes a long way for cleaning up spills. Elisabeth just spilled her smoothie on the carpet today, but thankfully, my husband did a great job of quickly cleaning it up with microfiber cloths and water. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. These are great tips, Erin. The stain that I feared the most in my carpet was a grease stain that happened when our rocking recliner broke and when I set it down it made a huge grease right in the middle of our light gray carpet.

    But I was able to get the stain out with Fels Naptha soap. It worked so well. I’ve also found it works great on other carpet stains too.

    1. Hi Jean! Thanks so much for stopping by ๐Ÿ™‚

      I used to have a Hoover steam cleaner (affiliate link), but haven’t used it in a while, because the water container broke and I never replaced it (the cost of a replacement was about half the cost of the entire machine!).

      I’ve also had good results with the cleaning machines you can rent at the grocery store, although it didn’t take out the cat smell, like I mention in the post.

      Hope that helps! Happy cleaning ๐Ÿ™‚

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