How to Shampoo Carpets

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Vacuum before shampooing your carpet.
Vacuum before shampooing your carpet. (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Clean the carpets in your home at least once a year to remove the grime that sticks to the fibers and lift out the dirt that get ground deep into the carpet, shortening its life. For serious soiling, consider a professional carpet cleaning. For normal dirt and wear, shampoo the carpet yourself. Avoid the common mistakes of too much water and not enough drying time or your carpets will soon be dirtier than when you started.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum
  • Stain treatment
  • Carpet Shampooer
  • Carpet cleaning solution

Choose the right method for shampooing your carpet. Use dry cleaning chemicals to lessen the risk of overwet carpet. Steam cleaners can offer the deepest clean but may leave too much moisture in carpets. Shampooers that brush liquid cleaner into the carpet and extract it back out are the oldest and most popular method of home shampooing.

Move all of the furniture out of the room and off the carpet. If you cannot do this, move it to one end of the room. Remove any area rugs, cords or anything that might get in the way when you shampoo carpets with a carpet shampooer.

Vacuum the carpets thoroughly in the area to be cleaned. This will take up all the loose dirt and make the area easier to clean. Treat heavy traffic areas and spots before you begin to shampoo carpets.

Read the instructions on the bottle of carpet shampoo. Mix carpet shampoo according to the instructions and add to carpet shampooer.

Spray cleaner on the floor using the button on the carpet shampooer and go slowly back and forth over a 4 or 5-foot square area. Take care not to overwet the carpet. Go over the same area several times to extract as much of the fluid as possible. Keep an eye on the solution. Replace as needed and empty dirty water.

Allow carpet to dry before replacing furniture. If the weather outside is dry, open the windows.

Tips & Warnings

  • Go over stained areas with carpet shampooer several times
  • Most places that rent carpet shampooers give you 24 hours to complete the job and return the shampooer. To save time, prepare the room before picking up the equipment and return carpet shampoo equipment while the carpet is drying.

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