How Often Should You Clean Your Carpet?

woman cleaning a shag carpet

Carpets are an essential part of many homes, and they usually get a ton of traffic. Yours may get vacuumed quite a bit, but how often do you actually clean it? It can be tough to know how much you really need to do this, but it’s an important part of your cleaning regime you shouldn’t overlook.

Every home is different, and certain external factors affect how often a carpet should be cleaned.


If you have kids, chances are you experience more messes in your home. It’s only natural! The presence of young children especially mandates a higher demand for more regular carpet cleaning.


Pets are another factor that make it important to clean your carpet more regularly. Not only do they tend to track in messes, but their hair and dander can get on carpets and make it necessary for more regular cleanings.

dirty puppy on carpet


If someone in your household has allergies, you may want to clean your carpets more often in order to keep allergens at bay. While the fibers in carpets do work as a filter to collect dust and other allergens within the air of a given room, once too many of these build up in the carpet, every time someone walks across it they will become airborne.

Why Isn’t Vacuuming Enough?

Let’s face it, vacuuming isn’t most people’s favorite chore. Moving the appliance around is cumbersome and tiring. It would be nice to think that simply vacuuming carpets is enough to keep them clean in the long run. However, that’s not quite the case. This is because it’s common for bacteria and debris to get caught in the fibers of carpets.

Hot water extraction and steam cleaning get the job done better than just vacuuming, and this method is more effective at removing oily soils as well as other harmful particles that vacuums can’t quite remove. Not only is leaving these particles in your carpet not good for the health of that room, but it makes your carpet appear dingy after enough time.

So How Often Should You Clean Them?

So let’s get down to the bottom line: how often should you deep clean your carpets? The straightforward answer is every 12 to 18 months to rid your carpets of bacteria and debris and to keep them looking and feeling their best. If you have kids, pets, or allergy suffers in your home, you may want to ramp up your cleaning to once every six to eight months. And while you may think this is a costly process that requires you bringing in a professional, that’s not necessarily true. You can follow the steps below to do your own, at-home carpet cleaning with a rented carpet cleaner for a fraction of the price.

woman sneezing on a sofa while vacuuming her carpet

Start by Vacuuming

First, do a thorough vacuuming job on the carpet you’re going to clean. Move furniture and cords so you can get every spot on the carpet with the vacuum in order to remove as much debris as possible. Vacuum in two directions to be most effective - the directions should be perpendicular to one another.

Test the Carpet Cleaner

Read the directions for using the carpet cleaner that you rented and start in a small, discreet area to ensure that it works as anticipated and doesn’t cause any snafus—like dyeing the carpet. From there, use the cleaner to spot-treat prominent stains on the carpet. For any really stubborn stains, you may want to spot-treat them ahead of time with a specific stain remover, cloth, and brush before going over them with the carpet cleaner for the best results.

cleaning a carpet with a spray bottle and brush

Go to Town Cleaning

Now that you’ve got some practice and tackled the problem areas, go to town with the carpet areas. Make sure it’s filled with hot water. As you push the machine forward, it pushes out the water and steam to clean the carpet. As you move the machine backwards over those same spots, it sucks up the water it had deposited in order to keep the carpet as dry as possible and avoid the development of mold and mildew. Be thorough and methodical in your cleaning patterns for best results.

Let the Carpet Dry

After you’re doing cleaning the carpet, it should dry for 24 hours. If possible, open windows to let fresh air in to aid in the drying process or use a fan (or both). After the carpet is completely dry, run your vacuum over it one more time to pick up any remaining debris or dust. Then, put your furniture back and your carpet and room will feel as good as new!

Carpet cleaning is an important part of keeping your home clean, so don’t delay on getting this done in your home.