6 Carpet Cleaning Tips Professionals Say Not to Do

We’ve all been there—our perfect carpet stained by a cup of coffee we knocked off the table, or muddy footprints when the kids forget to take off their shoes. We’ve scoured the internet for the perfect DIY hack using ingredients we have in the cupboard to lift the stain, but do these really work? Take it from the professionals – these are the only carpet cleaning tips you need.

Carpet is a pretty big investment. It’s only natural when you spill something on your precious shag, you pull out all the carpet cleaning tips in your arsenal. However, many professional carpet cleaners say in the process of trying to save your carpet, you could actually be doing more damage than good.

We’ve done the research and put together a list of the carpet cleaning tips you should definitely not be following. You’ll also find a few habits you can form to help maintain your carpet and take care of any nasty stains.

Carpet cleaning tips you shouldn't do

The Carpet Cleaning Tips to Avoid

Vacuuming is enough to keep your carpet clean.

Fact: Not having your carpets professionally cleaned every 1 to 2 years can void your warranty.

Even the most powerful vacuum cleaner can only extract so much dust and other nasties. While a person without pets should be vacuuming at least once a week, you should be having your carpets professionally cleaned at least once every 12 months, or more frequently if you have pets. This will keep your carpets in good condition and free of allergens.

How to vacuum your carpets for maximum efficiency:

  • Empty your vacuum filter before use.
  • Don’t reuse vacuum bags (doing so can reduce efficiency by up to 50%).
  • Take your time.
  • Vacuum in every direction over every spot.
Vacuum cleaner

Using store-bought carpet cleaning products to extend the life of your carpet.

Most of the carpet cleaning or freshening products you find in grocery stores contain a lot of chemicals. These chemicals can be very damaging to your carpet, leading to long-term damage deep within the fibres, and even to the eye with continued use. Wherever possible, you should use natural products or those recommended by your carpet manufacturer or professional carpet cleaner.

Before you use any products on your carpet, you should perform a patch test.

Thinking carpet that looks and smells okay is clean.

Most carpet deodorising products don’t work the way people think they do. The average vacuum cleaner isn’t powerful enough to suck up the excess powder, leading to a build up of product in the carpet fibres. This build up eventually makes your carpet even dirtier and can cause more dust and grime to stick deep within the fibres.

Speaking of deep fibres, your carpet is made up of several layers. Vacuum cleaners can pick up some loose particles in the top layers, but spills, dirt and products can sink deep within its many layers. One of the best carpet cleaning tips for combating odours is regular vacuuming with professional cleaning products as recommended by your manufacturer.

Carpet being cleaned using carpet cleaning tips

The Carpet Cleaning Tips You Shouldn’t Do for Stain Removal

How to remove stains from carpet:

  • Immediately remove solid excess and blot (don’t rub) with a white absorbent cloth.
  • Apply a manufacturer-recommended carpet stain remover.
  • Continue to blot with a white absorbent cloth, working from the outside in.
  • Repeat, if required, or call in a professional carpet stain remover.

Now, to what not to do.

Drowning a stain to remove the colour pigments.

Before you even touch a stain with product, you want to remove as much excess moisture caused by whatever was spilled. As mentioned above, use a white absorbent cloth to blot the spill, as coloured cloths can discolour your carpet. Next, use a manufacturer-recommended cleaning product.

However, use the product sparingly and do not flush with water. Using too much liquid on carpet can cause odours, discolouration or for the carpet to shrink, tear and lift.

Tip: Don't flood your carpet when cleaning a stain

Putting furniture on wet carpet.

After you’ve had a steam clean, you’ll be advised to wait until dry to walk on the carpet and re-add your furniture. Some furniture polishes and varnishes can stain carpet, which you often won’t see until you move it again—which will be too late for DIY stain removal.

If you do need to put furniture on the carpet while it’s wet, source foil-backed cardboard to put under each individual furniture piece.

Trusting the DIY hacks you find online.

Once upon a time, it was circulating social media that hairspray was a brilliant stain remover. If you tried it, you know it actually did lift a few not-so-stubborn stains BUT it often left a worse stain, which left your carpet sticky and crisp.

These are the common ingredients people use on their carpets that you should definitely avoid (as well as hairspray):

Dish soap: Dishwashing liquid is designed to be effective IF it is fully rinsed from the surface. Unless you plan on hosing down your carpet (see above why you definitely should not do this), you won’t be able to remove enough to the product for it to not cause long-term damage.

A hot iron: It’s said you can remove wax or plastic melted into your carpet using a hot iron. The thing is, you’d have to have very steady hands, a small and precise oven and be very vigilant to get it right. Just call a professional. You can remove stains but not burns.

Ammonia: Ammonia is often said to be an effective cleaning product if made up correctly. However, it can permanently damage wool carpet and rugs, fade colouring and strip manufacturer stain guards. It’s best to leave stain removal to a professional if you’re resorting to ammonia.

What to Do If You Have Done Any of These Not-Recommended Carpet Cleaning Tips

Check out our other blogs for carpet cleaning and flooring tips, or search for your local carpet cleaning expert below:

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      Sarah Russo

      UX Content Writer

      Sarah Russo is a UX Content Writer at Localsearch with a decade of experience in traditional and digital marketing. She has written for and assisted in the social media and marketing strategies for many different industries, including real estate, medical, health and fitness, trades and beauty. When she isn’t nose deep in data, SEO research or her content strategy, Sarah is a gym junkie, foodie and gamer with a brain full of random facts that come in handy far more often than you would think. As a digital marketing all-rounder and lifestyle specialist, her articles provide insight into marketing, advertising and branding for small businesses on the Localsearch Business Blog, as well as some handy lifestyle tips on the Localsearch Blog.