How Often Should You Clean Your Carpet: A Quick Guide

By
Gladys K. Connelly
As a HouseKeeping Technical Writer, Gladys actively enjoys writing guides and tips about housekeeping for Thehousewire's audience. She's a professional housekeeping specialist with just shy of 9 years' experience to boast. That, combined with seven years prior experience in teaching, helps her create content that is both captivating and insightful.
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Updated April 22, 2022

Do you clean your carpets enough?

Do you clean your carpets enough?

Woman cleaning a carpet

We all want to keep the floors in our living space looking their best. To do this, they need regular cleaning.

So how often should you clean your carpet? It can depend on many different factors, such as the level of traffic and how much dirt they collect.

If you vacuum regularly, that’s a great start. But did you know that carpets also need regular shampooing and deep cleaning?

Here, we’ll explore the best schedule for shampooing and vacuuming your carpets. With this guide, you can keep your carpets in top condition without any hassle!

FactorsVacuuming ShampooingSteam Cleaning
High Traffic AreasDailyEvery two months to four times a year Every quarter
Medium Traffic AreasTwo times a weekEvery 6 to 12 months to once a year/
Light Traffic AreasWeeklyEvery 12 to 18 months to two yearsTwice a year
PetsDailyEvery quarterEvery quarter
ChildrenDailyEvery quarterEvery quarter
AllergiesWeeklyOnce a monthOnce a month
Smoking HabitsDepends on your trafficEvery two months Every two months

How Often to Vacuum Your Carpet

Carpets need regular vacuuming to keep them in the best condition. But how often you should do this depends on different factors.

As a general rule of thumb, you should always vacuum any type of surface at least once a week.

However, you’ll need to vacuum on a more regular basis if you have a lot of foot traffic on your carpet.

The CRI recommends the following vacuum schedule for the average household:

  • Daily in areas with high traffic or pets.
  • Two times a week in medium-traffic areas.
  • Weekly for carpet spaces with light levels of traffic.

And according to the American lung association, you should vacuum at least three times a week with a HEPA filter.

HEPA filters are high-efficiency air filters that reduce pollutants in the air. So this will provide better air quality in your home.

Lastly, the NCHH (National Center for Healthy Housing) recommends vacuuming your carpeted areas weekly or at least every other week.

But keep in mind that carpets with heavy soil may need more time. Plus, shag carpet fibers or thick pile carpets may also need more time for vacuuming.

How Often Should You Shampoo Your Carpet?

Just like vacuuming, your carpets need a regular clean or wash with a cleaning solution. How often you should clean it depends on several things, such as if you have kids or pets.

Having your carpet cleaned can help to extend your carpet’s life. So it’s important to follow the proper care and cleaning criteria for your carpet.

Your carpet manufacturer may suggest a specific cleaning frequency to avoid a warranty issue. For example, Shaw Floors require cleaning your carpet at least once every two years to maintain the carpet warranty.

Ideally, you should wash your carpet flooring every 12 to 18 months. But again, this depends on the level of traffic and if you have pets in your home.

According to the IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification), you should professionally clean your carpets with the following schedule:

  • For heavy soil: every two months in high-traffic areas. And at least four times a year in the rest of your home.
  • For medium soil: every 6 to 12 months for busy traffic areas. Then, annually for other carpet areas.
  • Light soil: every 12 to 18 months for heavy-use areas and other areas with light soil conditions every two years.

Caution

Professional carpet cleaning means calling a company. But, you can cut costs by renting or buying a carpet cleaning machine.

While they don’t replace professional deep cleanings, they can be ideal for cleaning between two deep-clean sessions.

And if you’re using a carpet machine, you can deep clean based on how often you vacuum. For example, if you vacuum once a week, you should deep clean every 12 to 18 months.

If you vacuum less than once a week, we recommend a deep clean more often. In this case, you should deep clean your carpets every six to nine months.

How Often Should I Steam Clean My Carpet?

Once again, how often you should steam clean your carpet depends on the level of traffic in your home. In other words, you should steam clean as needed.

But, if you prefer to stick to a routine, we recommend steaming at least twice a year.

You might want to steam clean more often if you have kids or pets in the house. Or if you have someone with allergies or who smokes.

You should steam clean your carpet and rugs every quarter in these cases.

Factors Impacting Your Cleaning Schedule

There are several factors affecting how often you need to clean your carpets. So make sure you consider the following.

Children

First, having kids in the home can require more regular cleaning. So if you have kids, you should follow this schedule:

  • Vacuum your carpet daily. Keep in mind that you may need to vacuum several times a day depending on how many children you have.
  • Spot clean stains and spills like fruit juice straight away.
  • According to the IIRC, homes with large families should have professional cleaning as often as every two months. And deep clean the rest of your carpet at least four times a year.

Hiring professional carpet cleaners every two months may seem a little intense for you. So we recommend deep or steam cleaning your carpet quarterly with your own carpet cleaner.

And have your carpet professionally cleaned at least once a year.

Pets

If you have furry friends in your home, consider the following schedule:

  • Vacuum daily, or at least two times a week.
  • Spot clean stains straight away. Especially pet accidents such as urine or poop to avoid lingering odors.
  • Like with children, the IICRC recommends cleaning every two months in heavy-use areas when you have pets. Plus, four times a year for the rest of your carpets.

Note

We suggest you follow these recommendations. And deep clean or steam your carpets with your own stain removers at least quarterly.

You can also consider a professional cleaner to have your carpets cleaned at least twice a year.

Allergies

According to the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America, you should vacuum once a week with a HEPA filter vacuum (). This will help to remove allergy-inducing particles from your carpets.

And, if your carpet is washable, clean it with hot water (at 130F or hotter) weekly.

Because dry vacuuming doesn’t pick up dust mites, you should steam clean as much as possible. We recommend doing this alongside a deeper clean once a month.

You should also consider having your carpet cleaned professionally once a year or more if needed.

Smoking Habits

Finally, vacuum as needed if you or someone in your household is a smoker.

You can follow the CRI recommendations above, as smoking has no real impact on this vacuuming schedule.

But again, the IICRC recommends more frequent professional cleaning in special conditions. For example, when you have household members who smoke.

So, clean heavy-use areas every two months and at least four times a year in other rooms.

Because carpet fibers absorb smoke gases that can cause persistent odors, we recommend following IICRC’s schedule. So deep clean or steam your carpets at least every two months.

But, you don’t need to call a professional carpet cleaner to do this. Instead, consider investing in your own carpet cleaner.

And if you need, get professional cleanings at least twice a year.

Tips to Keep Your Carpet Clean Longer

Follow these tips to keep your carpets clean for longer.

  • Using mats in entryways can stop dirt at the door before it gets to your carpet. Taking your shoes off when you enter your home can also help to prevent dirt on your carpet.
  • Change your air filters regularly to reduce airborne dust particles landing on your carpet.
  • Smoke outside of your home to prevent gases from absorbing into your carpet. This will also help to protect light-colored carpet from fading with smoke.
  • Make sure your carpets dry after steam cleaning. Otherwise, too much water on your carpets may lead to mold or attract pests. When steam cleaning or shampooing your carpet, use fans to dry it. And, open your windows if it’s a low-humidity day. You can run an air-conditioner or dehumidifier to speed up the drying process on humid days.
  • You should also make sure there is no soapy residue left on your carpets after cleaning. This can cause tiny flecks of build-up on your carpet that may lead to unsightly stains.
  • Always make sure you clean up new messes, dirt, or spills straight away.

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