How To Clean Your Carpet: Methods, Tools, Frequency, Cost & More

Carpet cleaning guide with methods, tools, and cost - steam, shampoo, DIY. Keep carpets fresh with effective cleaning solutions and equipment.

Keeping your home tidy and charming often starts from the ground up – with carpet cleaning. This crucial task enhances the aesthetic appeal of your flooring and contributes to a healthier indoor environment.

If you're trying to clean your carpet, this article offers an all-in-one guide to tidying it up using various methods.

We will delve into carpet cleaning types, appropriate cleanup frequency, the tools required, and the costs involved. Let’s get right into it. 

What Are the Main Types of Carpet Cleaning?

Carpet cleaning is not a one-size-fits-all task. Depending on your carpet material, condition, and personal preferences, various methods are applicable. Here are the main types to choose from:


Deep cleaning is a comprehensive method designed to remove deep-seated dirt and stains from your carpet.

This process involves using a specialized carpet cleaner to inject a solution deep into the carpet fibres and then extract it, bringing out dirt and other debris. The machine often has brushes to agitate the fibres and loosen the dirt. 

Deep cleaning is an excellent option for removing allergens and ingrained dirt, improving your indoor air quality. For optimal results, experts recommend using this method along with the other cleaning types. 


  • Highly effective at removing deep-seated dirt and stains
  • Can significantly improve indoor air quality by removing allergens
  • Prolong the life of your carpet by removing potentially destructive particles


  • It can be more time-consuming compared to other methods.

Steam / Hot Water Extraction

Steam or hot water extraction cleaning involves using high-pressure hot water to dissolve dirt in the carpet.

This method requires a detergent-based solution that is applied to the carpet. The solution and dirt are then extracted with a high-powered machine. It’s one of the most recommended methods by carpet manufacturers due to its deep-cleaning properties.


  • Highly effective at removing dirt from deep within the carpet fibres
  • Kills bacteria, mites, and other allergens due to the high temperature of the water
  • It's eco-friendly as it requires fewer chemicals


  • The drying time for the carpet can be lengthy.


Carpet shampooing is a tried-and-true method of cleaning carpets that produces a lot of frothy foam.

The process involves applying a carpet shampoo to generate foam. This is then worked into the carpet, which, when dried, traps the dirt, ready for vacuuming. While considered an older method, it's still effective for cleaning soiled carpets.


  • Very effective on heavily soiled carpets
  • The brighteners in the shampoo can make your carpet look vibrant
  • Material is widely available for purchase


  • The long drying times make the room unusable for a period.


Encapsulation is a modern carpet cleaning method that transforms the detergent into powder as it dries.

As the solution dries into your carpet, it encapsulates and traps the dirt particles, which you can then brush or vacuum. The encapsulation process leaves no residue and requires less water.


  • Leave no residue behind
  • Requires less water, which means less drying time
  • Environmentally friendly because it uses less chemicals compared to other methods


  • Not as effective for heavily soiled carpets


Dry carpet cleaning is a newer method that doesn't require drying time. A cleaning compound or powder is applied to the bottom of your carpet using a motorized counter-rotating brush machine to open the carpet fibres and allow the compound to settle inside. 

It's a popular choice due to its efficiency and convenience, especially for homeowners seeking a hassle-free cleaning method. 


  • No waiting period for the carpet to dry
  • Effective deep cleaning method
  • Ideal for areas that are in constant use, like offices


  • The cleaning compound used may leave a residue if not properly cleaned


Bonnet cleaning mainly deals with cleaning the surface of the carpet. This method uses a motorized machine with a spinning pad soaked in a cleaning solution. 

The pad picks up the surface dirt on the carpet. It's often used in hotels or areas requiring fast cleaning methods.


  • Quick and easy way to clean the carpet surface 
  • Requires less moisture and dries quickly 
  • Ideal for spot cleaning and regular carpet maintenance 


  • It doesn't provide a deep clean, and dirt can resurface.

What Cleaning Solutions Should You Use for Carpet Cleaning?

Using the appropriate cleaning agent is a critical part of carpet maintenance. Choosing the right one ensures your rug is free from bacteria and allergens. Let’s check out the different cleaning solutions for various carpet types


Powdered cleaning agents are a popular go-to for many carpet cleaners. Often employed in dry carpet cleaning, these agents are sprinkled onto the carpet and worked into the fibres by machine or hand. 

Its popularity lies in its ability to absorb dirt and grime from the carpet fibres. An example of a powder cleaning agent is baking soda, which is known for its deodorizing properties and mixed with other ingredients for cleaning efficiency.


  • Great for quick cleanups as it requires no drying time
  • Easy to use and store
  • Can double as a deodorizer


  • May not be as effective for deep, heavy stains


Liquid cleaning solutions are cleaning agents used in various carpet cleaning methods. These solutions are often mixed with water and applied directly to the carpet or used in a cleaning machine. 

They are preferred for their versatility and deep cleaning abilities. Dish soap and vinegar solutions are common examples, ideal for spot cleaning.


  • Versatile and can be used in various cleaning methods
  • Effective in stain and dirt removal, offering a deep clean
  • Has a wide variety available for specific carpet materials and stains


  • Incorrect dilution can leave a residue that attracts dirt.


Foam cleaning agents are a middle ground between liquid and powder cleaners. These agents, used primarily in the encapsulation method, are applied to the carpet and left to dry. 

They're preferred for their ability to encapsulate (trap) dirt as they dry. One example is the encapsulating foam detergent, which crystallizes upon drying and can be vacuumed off.


  • Easy application and removal
  • Excellent at trapping dirt and allergens within the foam
  • Requires less water, speeding up the drying process


  • Not suitable for heavily soiled carpets


Specialised cleaning solutions are designed for specific types of carpet materials or stains. These agents are chosen based on particular cleaning needs, such as pet stain removers or cleaners for delicate oriental rugs. 

They're preferred for their targeted cleaning approach, ensuring effective cleaning without causing damage. An example includes enzymatic cleaners for pet stains, which break down the stain at a molecular level.


  • Works efficiently for customized or special carpet types
  • Effective at handling specialised cleaning tasks
  • Can tackle tough stains that general cleaners can’t


  • May not be as readily available as general-purpose cleaners 

What Carpet Cleaning Equipment or Tools Should You Use?

Effective carpet cleaning relies on more than just the cleaning method or solution. Having the right equipment is also critical. 

Various tools, from simple home utilities to professional-grade equipment, can help achieve a pristine, allergen-free carpet. Below are crucial instruments you should consider for your carpet cleaning tasks.


A vacuum cleaner is a fundamental tool for any carpet cleaning process. Regular vacuuming of your carpet is the first line of defense against dirt, dust, and allergens. It can clean up the carpet surface before and after applying any cleaning solution. 

The American Lung Association suggests using a vacuum with a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter for optimum results. 

Here are the steps for vacuuming your carpet: 

Step 1. Check the Bag or Bin: Always ensure the vacuum bag or bin is empty before vacuuming. A full or nearly full vacuum bag reduces the efficiency of your vacuum.

Step 2. Choose the Right Setting: Vacuums often come with settings for different types of flooring. Make sure you have set yours to the carpet setting. 

Step 3. Vacuum Slowly and in Both Directions: Vacuuming slowly and in two directions can help to remove more dirt and dust from the carpet.

Step 4. Regular Maintenance: Clean or replace the vacuum filter regularly to ensure optimal performance and longevity of your machine.

Carpet cleaning guide with methods, tools, and cost - steam, shampoo, DIY. Keep carpets fresh with effective cleaning solutions and equipment.


A carpet steamer is a powerful tool designed for deep cleaning. Steamers are used for hot water extraction cleaning. They work by shooting hot water into the carpet to dissolve dirt, which is then sucked up into the unit.

Here are the steps for cleaning your carpet with a steamer: 

Step 1. Prepare your Carpet: Vacuum your carpet thoroughly before steam cleaning to remove any loose dirt.

Step 2. Fill the Steamer with Water and Cleaner: Fill the steamer's water tank and add the recommended cleaning solution.

Step 3. Start from a Corner: Start steam cleaning from a corner of the room and work towards the door to avoid stepping on cleaned areas.

Step 4. Let it Dry: Allow the carpet to dry thoroughly before walking on it. Speed up the drying process by ventilating the room or using fans.


A mop is a handy tool for cleaning carpets, particularly for small and manageable stains. Paired with the right cleaning solution, you can use it to clean the rug without fully soaking the material in water. 

Follow these steps to clean your carpet with a mop:

Step 1. Prepare your Cleaning Solution: Mix the appropriate cleaning solution for the type of stain you’re working on.

Step 2. Dampen the Mop: Dip your mop into the solution and wring it out so it's damp, not soaked.

Step 3. Mop the Stain: Work from outside the stain towards the center, and mop the stained carpet area.

Step 4. Rinse and Dry: Rinse the mop and go over the area with clean water. Let the carpet air dry or blot with a dry towel. 


A brush is effective for removing stubborn stains and grime. Carpet brushes can scrub stains, spread cleaning agents, and soften carpet fibres to remove dirt.

Here’s how to use a brush in carpet cleaning:

Step 1. Apply Your Cleaning Agent: Spot-apply your cleaning agent to the stain or soiled area.

Step 2. Scrub the Area: Using your brush, gently scrub the area to work the cleaning agent into the carpet and lift the stain.

Step 3. Rinse and Blot: Rinse the area with clean water and blot it dry.


Hand tools are often attachments that come with carpet cleaning machines for cleaning difficult-to-reach areas.

Handheld brushes or scrubbers can be used for spot cleaning, while crevice tools are ideal for cleaning tight areas like corners and furniture.

Here are the steps for using hand tools in carpet cleaning:

Step 1. Determine the Appropriate Tool: Choose and prepare all the tools you’ll need for cleaning.

Step 2. Attach to Your Machine: If necessary, connect the tool to your carpet cleaning machine. 

Step 3. Clean the Area: Use the tool to clean the area, apply a cleaning solution, and use the tool to lift the dirt or stain.

Step 4. Rinse and Dry: Rinse with clean water and allow the area to dry. 

How Frequent Should You Do Carpet Cleaning?

General carpet cleaning should be done at least once a week. High-traffic areas or homes with pets, kids, or allergy sufferers may require more frequent cleanup twice a week. Deep cleaning should be conducted every 12 to 18 months.

How Much Does Carpet Cleaning Cost?

The cost of carpet cleaning can range widely in the UK, typically from £20 to £300 per room. Other services also charge an hourly rate of up to £200.  

The total price can fluctuate based on the following factors:

  1. Carpet Size: Larger carpets will require more time, labour, and cleaning solution, which can increase the cost.
  2. Carpet Condition: Heavily soiled or stained carpets will need special treatments or extra cleaning rounds, thus increasing the price.
  3. Cleaning Method: Different cleaning methods come with different cost implications. For instance, dry cleaning may cost more than steam cleaning due to the cleaning compounds used. 
  4. Professional vs. DIY: Hiring a professional cleaning service can be more expensive upfront than doing it yourself. However, professionals have the skills and equipment to achieve more thorough and sustained results.
  5. Location: Prices can also vary depending on your location. Rates can be higher in certain cities or regions where the cost of living and services is generally higher.
  6. Special Services: Additional services such as spot stain removal, moving furniture, or using environmentally friendly cleaning solutions may increase the total cost.

Do You Need a Professional Carpet Cleaner, Or Can You Do It Yourself?

Yes, you can clean your carpets yourself, but only if you're confident in your ability to do so effectively using the right tools, techniques, and cleaning solutions. Hiring a professional carpet cleaner is preferable if your carpet is excessively dirty, stained, or made of special materials. 

Professionals have access to high-grade equipment, specialized cleaning solutions, and the training needed to handle different carpet materials and stains. 

While it may be more expensive, a professional cleaning service ensures that your carpet is deep-cleaned, its lifespan is prolonged, and any potential damage is avoided. Hiring professionals also offers convenience and saves you time and effort. 

Do-it-yourself (DIY) cleaning, on the other hand, can be more cost-effective and can be done at regular intervals for maintenance. It's most effective when promptly treating spills and stains and regularly vacuuming your carpet. 


Carpet cleaning is far more than a routine chore – it's critical to maintaining a healthy and pleasant home environment for your family.

Use this guide to identify your carpet cleaning needs and see if you’ve got all the tools ready for cleanup. If not, you can always call your local experts.  Do you have questions or require professional help? Contact our carpet cleaning professionals in London for expert tips and assistance!

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