How to Use a Carpet Cleaner in Simple Steps

How to Use a Carpet Cleaner

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Are you wondering how to use a carpet cleaner correctly?

Purchasing a carpet cleaner can be one of the best things you can do for your carpets. While everyday carpet cleaning, like using a vacuum cleaner or mopping up after spills, is helpful, sometimes your carpets need extra support.

Carpet cleaners allow you to get deeper into the fibres of your carpets so that you can get rid of all kinds of ground-in muck from many years of use. Using a carpet cleaner correctly could mean that your carpets last longer, so you don’t have to pay for full replacements as often.

So, how do you make sure you’re getting the most out of your carpet cleaner?

Before You Start Cleaning

Carpet cleaning isn’t something you should do on a last-minute whim. Not only do you need the right carpet cleaning formulas on hand, but you need plenty of time to get into every part of your carpet as thoroughly as possible.

Plan Your Cleaning Day

Schedule your carpet cleaning for a time when you’re not going to rush. You’ll need a few hours to make sure that you cover the full carpet cleaning process properly and give your carpets plenty of time to dry before people start trampling them again.

Additionally, keep your children, pets, and anyone staying in your home away from the room you’re going to be cleaning. If you don’t want them to deal with a wet carpet, make sure they’re going to be out of the way for the next few hours. This will also stop you from exposing your clean carpet to any new sources of dirt.

Ensure Availability of Free Space

Planning when and how you’re going to clean your carpets will also give you a chance to move any furniture out of the way before you get started. Whether you’re using steam cleaners or a full carpet cleaning machine, you’re going to need as much open space as possible.

Check Accessibility

Make sure you have easy access to the sink so you can empty your water tank whenever necessary. Having easy access also makes it easier and faster for you to work.

Cleaning Your Carpet

Aside from your carpet cleaner, you’re going to need a few essential tools to get your carpet looking as good as new. But if you are considering staying away from carpet cleaners and chemicals, you may want to follow our guide on how to clean a carpet without a carpet cleaner.

Step 1: Vacuum

Start with your standard vacuum cleaner to remove dirt and dust from the surface of the flooring. Getting rid of all the loose dirt before you start wetting your carpet will mean you have less of a complex job to do. When you’re ready, plug your vacuum in at the wall, but don’t turn it on until you’re ready to start your cleaning.

Step 2: Check Water Source and Solution

Make sure you have a source of water where you can top up the water tank when necessary and a place where you can empty dirty water from the carpet cleaning system in between sessions. You’ll also need a cleaning solution and potentially a pre-treatment solution if you’re dealing with stubborn stains. Before you fill your system with soapy water, check the instructions.

Most carpet cleaners will come with recommendations about the kind of cleaning solutions and pre-treatment options you can use. The instructions will also advise you on whether to use warm water or cold water and how much to fill your water tanks before you start cleaning.

Step 3: Add Water

Vacuuming the carpet in the living room

When you’re ready, you can fill the water tank in your vacuum cleaner with your chosen cleaning solution and warm water. Make sure you don’t over-fill the tank, as this could damage your carpet cleaning machine. Never use hot water with your clean water tank, as this could damage the system.

Step 4: Check the Carpet Material

If you have certain kinds of carpets, such as wool carpets, or natural wool blends, it might be good to use a cooler water temperature in the room with this kind of carpet. This will stop the fibres from being damaged or shrunk. Getting the water hot can also drain the dye from some carpets.

Step 5: Add Detergent

Some machines will have a separate water tank for detergent and solutions, while some will ask you to mix your water and cleaning solution. Do not add the detergent to the water tank until you know there’s no separate compartment to consider.

Step 6: Start Cleaning

Follow the instruction manual carefully and consider moving the carpet cleaner around for a few dry passes on the same area to check you can move it properly. If you’re not sure about the cleaner you’re using, try testing it on a small amount of carpet in the far corner of the room to ensure it doesn’t damage your carpet in an area with a lot of foot traffic.

Planning Before You Clean Your Carpets

Learning how to clean your carpets as a beginner can be a bit daunting. Before you clean your carpets, you need the right cleaning strategy.


Suppose you have a build-up of dirt in certain parts of your room or stains you need to deal with. Wait to turn on the machine until after you pre-treat these areas. There are various pre-treatment solutions you can use on different stains if your floor is particularly dirty.

Your carpet cleaning machine might come with a hose attachment for cleaning upholstery and stairs, but you can also use this to spray a small amount of water and pre-treatment substances onto the floor with the worst stains. You’ll need to rinse the carpet with the pre-treatment for around five minutes before you’re ready to continue cleaning with the main machine.


When you’re ready to wash your dirty floor properly, take your machine over to the furthest point from the door in the room. This will stop you from going over the same area twice, and it should reduce the amount of time you spend walking on your wet carpet. Use the machine according to the instructions. There may be different settings depending on the type of carpet you have.

Using your carpet cleaner will be similar to vacuuming. However, unlike vacuuming, you won’t be pushing the machine in random directions. Instead, try to take a structured approach, starting at the wall or skirting board and working outwards in stripes.

Tips on Cleaning Your Carpets Thoroughly

Cleaning your carpets requires a lot of work. To further help you out, here are some tips to make your work more efficient.

Go Slow

Although you might be tempted to rush through your cleaning process, carpet cleaners work best when they can move across surfaces slowly. Move at a slow pace as your carpet cleaner sprays the area with soap and then gradually sucks the dirty water back up. You may need to stop from time to time to top up the clean water in the tank (again, not with hot water) and empty the dirty water tank.

The slower you go, the deeper the clean will be, so make sure you spend extra time on areas with the most stains. However, try to avoid letting the area get too wet. Don’t rush when you clean your carpets, or you’ll miss out on the great results your carpet cleaners can give.

Go Over an Area More Than Once

You may want to go over your room more than once if the carpet is very dirty, but make sure that you check the instructions first, as this might not be a good idea. Once you’ve finished the cleaning, fill the water tank with cold water and no detergent, then rinse the entire carpet using just the water.

Dry Completely

When you’re sure you’ve removed all the dirt and soap from your carpets, you can leave the surface to dry completely. Do not vacuum the carpet to remove any stray debris or left-over dust before the carpet is completely dry. Depending on the depth of your carpet, some areas may need more drying time than others.

After Cleaning Your Carpets

After your carpet is clean, you can consider using your carpet cleaner to wash your furniture too. Some devices come with tools and special tips to spray and clean furniture surfaces. Once again, make sure you follow the instructions when choosing what to spray your furniture with.

You can use your vacuum cleaner to pick up any remaining dirt on the carpets when they’re done drying but stop if you notice dampness in your carpets in any areas. Waiting for your carpets to dry completely will stop you from damaging your vacuum cleaner.

When your carpets are dry, you should also be able to see if you need to clean your carpets again or try a different treatment for certain carpet fibres. Sometimes, finding the right carpet cleaning formula to clean your carpets is a trial and error process.

Carpets That Are Just Like New

Cleaning a carpet is no easy feat. But if you do it the right way, you will have clean and safe carpets for everyone living in your home. Follow our guide here if you opt to use a carpet cleaner to make sure you do everything properly.

Learning how to use a carpet cleaner will ensure that your interior always looks neat and clean. Carpet cleaners can even do much more. While you’re at it, you can even wash your furniture. In any case, always remember to take your time so you can do a thorough washing.

How do you make your carpet clean? How often? Do you have other tips you’d like to share with others? Tell us below!

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