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Healthy Home article

How to clean your carpet

From stain removal to whole-home cleaning, James McCrea and Dr Calum Robertson share tips and methods for how to clean a rug or carpet properly.

  • vacuum carpet clean test

  • Even when attended to daily, it can be difficult to maintain a clean carpet without the right methods and tools. Dirt, fine dust and stains can become embedded in carpets and rugs, posing a challenge to remove. “At Dyson, we have almost 30 years of research into how best to clean flooring, including carpets” says James McCrea, Senior Mechanical Engineer at Dyson.

    The range of vacuum cleaners and accessories at Dyson have been developed using advanced engineering, to solve the problems that others ignore. Floor types differ around the world, which is why at Dyson each vacuum has been rigorously tested across different forms of flooring. “In our Pick-Up Laboratory, we test how effective our machines are at removing dust, dirt and hair from your home using many different floor types – from industry standard carpets to tatami matting commonly found in Japan”.

Tips for how to clean carpet at home

When it comes to cleaning carpet in the home, Dyson has engineered vacuums to detect and extract hidden dust, dirt, mould and other allergens beyond what's visible on surfaces. "Carpets can hide dust and dirt between their fibres, as well as harbour microscopic life," McCrea explains, "all of which can visibly impact your wellbeing."

Maintaining clean carpet requires a two-pronged approach combining twice-weekly vacuuming of high-traffic areas and once-weekly vacuuming of all other spaces. To help sustain the carpet longevity and air quality in the home, McCrea advises, "It's important not to wait until your carpet looks visibly dirty before vacuuming."

For how to clean carpet the right way, we have outlined some tips that will ensure you successfully remove particles and allergens with every clean

1. Use slow, purposeful movements

To create the best vacuum cleaner for carpet and rugs, Dyson has developed technology that combines suction and agitation with powerful cyclone technology and engineered brush bars. Slow movements allow the brush bar more time to lift dirt and dust that's embedded in your carpet fibres. Repeated passes over each area will also give your Dyson machine the best chance of complete dust removal. According to our laboratory research, 2-3 times should suffice - anymore yields little difference in results.

To stay on top of your weekly cleaning, we suggest following a cleaning schedule to streamline interior upkeep.

2. Have the right accessories on hand

Dyson technology engineers understand that different carpeted surfaces in the home require varying levels of cleaning and maintenance. Dyson have constructed a wide range of accessories to remove dust, pet hair and dander, allergens and other debris from small crevices and hard-to-reach spots. Compatible with many Dyson models, the Low-reach Adaptor modifies the vacuum wand up to 90° to effectively clean carpet underneath furniture. To clean high-up and obscure areas, the Up-top-adapter angles and locks at various vantage points. For how to clean a rug or carpet with coarse materials, the Stubborn Dirt Brush helps dislodge ground-in dirt using stiff nylon and bristles.

3. Cover every area

We know that lesser-exposed surfaces can also harbour dust and dirt. Particles, including potentially millions of dust mites and their faeces, can be found underneath sofa cushions, and in furniture and curtain creases. If overlooked, they can easily become airborne, inhaled and trigger allergies. To clean dust particles hidden from view, we recommend a stick vacuum attachment like Mini-motorised tool1 for tackling pet hair and harder to reach areas when cleaning carpet.

4. Regularly deep clean carpet

If certain carpeted interiors are overlooked during weekly vacuuming, it can eventually cause dullness, discolouration, and trapped odour and bacteria. Regular, deep cleaning of indoor spaces can help extend the wear of your carpet and rugs while preserving air quality. We recommend deep cleaning your carpet every 6-12 months to improve longevity.

For large surface areas, we suggest the Dyson Outsize. Formatted with a Laser Slim FluffyTM cleaner head to target small, hidden particles, this design has been engineered for faster deep cleaning. Power-optimising technology also delivers up to 60-minute run time to expediate large-scale home vacuuming.

How to get stains out of carpet

While regular vacuuming will help enhance the life and wear of your carpet, treating stains as they arise will also serve to keep your fibres in good condition. However, it's important to note that not all stains can be treated the same way. In fact, mixing multiple chemicals to remove a stain could exacerbate the problem.

"While it can be tempting to try and deal with a stain as quickly as possible with as many cleaning products as possible, it's vital not to mix cleaning products," explained Dr Calum Robertson, Chemical Research Scientist at Dyson.

In determining how to get stains out carpet, it helps if you can first identify the type of stain - this will often indicate which cleaning products are best to use. Dr Robertson suggests approaching a stain with light treatment first and following with more abrasive methods where necessary.

  • Vacuum if the stain is dry: Moisture can damage mechanics of a Dyson carpet cleaner, but if you've spilt a dry substance - like a ground coffee - it should be safe to vacuum over.
  • Go slow: Most carpet or rugs are dyed, so strong cleaning products can potentially lift dye in the cleaning process. Begin with soap and warm water to help break down oil-based substances.
  • Try a biological formula: Some stains – like grass, chocolate and blood – are made of proteins and starch. These compounds can be broken down effectively via enzymatic solutions like warm water and biological laundry detergent.
  • Use bleach only when necessary: Compounds that discolour carpet - like red wine, tea or coffee - may require a little bleach to visibly clean carpet and rugs. Make sure you patch test a hidden area of carpet and start with a small amount.

Now that you're armed with the expert knowledge of how to clean carpet

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