How Often Should You Clean Your Carpet?

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If you are wondering how often should you clean your carpets, the answer is almost certainly, more often than you have been. Let's face it, carpets take a lot of punishment. Dirt trailed in on your feet, animals, kids, spillages, food. There is a lot that comes into contact with your carpet, and the fibres will hold onto much of it.

Keeping your carpet clean is not only hygienic, but it also means your carpets look better and will usually last longer before needing to be replaced. So not only does it leave your home smelling and looking fresher, it might actually save you money.

How Often Should You Clean Your Carpet?

As you might expect, it does depend on a number of factors: how much traffic your carpets get, whether there are kids and/or pets in your home, does anyone in the household smoke, even the colour of your carpet, as a few examples. And there really is no hard and fast rule on this - different places will make different recommendations.

But as a rough guide, we'd suggest that the following schedule seems to be a reasonable one:

  • Vacuum your carpets at least one or two times a week. You can do this yourself, or get a robot vacuum that you can pre-program to do the job for you. Vacuuming will pick up loose particles and debris before it gets worked into the pile. This also means you'll need to shampoo your carpet less often.
    • If you have pets, vacuum at least twice a week, as they will shed hair and dander (skin particles)
  • When it comes to shampooing your carpets, the consensus is that you should do this at least once every 12 months, potentially every 6 months if you have light-coloured carpets. And then more often, depending on a range of factors:
    • For carpets that get heavy traffic, every 6 months is better than annually.
    • For households with pets, consider a deep clean every 3-6 months.
    • And with children, every 6-12 months is about right.
    • If anyone in the household has allergies, you'll want to shampoo your carpet more frequently, possibly every 2-3 months or so. Carpets can trap a lot of allergens, and these will build up over time. Then, when someone walks across the carpet, these allergens will be tossed back into the air.
    • If there is a smoker in your home, then you'll want to consider shampooing your carpet every 3-6 months, depending on how heavily they smoke. This will help to reduce any tar and nicotine stains.
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You can also consider having a professional cleaner come in every 12-18 months or so.

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Man cleaning his carpet - how often should you clean your carpet
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Credit: Bissell

Tips For Cleaning Your Carpets

While you probably don't need any advice on how to use a vacuum cleaner, if you're going to shampoo your carpets, there are a few important points to remember, to ensure you don't fall into the trap of making some common mistakes.

  • Don't over-wet or over-shampoo your carpet. If too much water gets into the carpet, it can cause discolouration. It will also struggle to dry out, which can increase the risk of mould and mildew. And too much shampoo can leave a residue that becomes difficult, if not impossible to clean. That shampoo can then actually attract more dirt.
  • There are lots of dedicated carpet cleaners on the market. We'd definitely recommend looking at one that separates clean water and dirty water, to ensure your carpets are not being cleaned with already dirty water. One example is this.
  • Make sure you allow your carpet to dry before putting furniture back onto it. Furniture on a wet carpet can lead to staining. And if there is metal on your furniture's feet, it could even lead to rust.
  • Thoroughly vacuum before shampooing, to remove as many particles as possible. Take your time, and give the vacuum the opportunity to pick up everything it can.
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Given the range of factors at play, there is no definitive answer to how often you need to clean your carpets. But given the myriad benefits of keeping your carpets clean, you should now at least have a good idea of whether or not your carpets are ready for some tlc.

How Long Should Carpet Last?

This will, of course, be influenced by how much traffic a carpet sees, and what quality of carpet it is. High-traffic areas will usually wear out more quickly than carpets that see very minimal footfall. And a good quality carpet will typically last longer than a cheap one.

But regularly cleaning your carpet can also influence its longevity. Dirt particles among the carpet fibres act a bit like sandpaper, wearing down the carpet fibres as you walk over them. So good maintenance can help carpets to last longer.

So while it is hard to definitively state how long a carpet will last, in general, expect a carpet to last for between five and fifteen years, bearing in mind the factors we've already mentioned.

If you start seeing threadbare areas, are unable to remove stains because they are so ground in, or notice lingering smells even after a deep clean, these are all indicators that your carpet may be in need of replacing.