Shirts on Hangers

The first step in any cleaning job is to look carefully at what you're taking on. Find areas that are heavily soiled or worn, note where stains are and if necessary test an area of the carpet for colour fastness. If the carpet is heavily stained you are going to use more water and soap.

Logical Order

Basic Steps

Look at the picture on the right and descriptions below. These indicate the general areas that nearly always require special attention. Spend some time looking at these first to get a good idea of the job ahead.

Walkways are a prime area for ingrained soiling. Here, what comes off of your feet is made worse by treading the grime deeply into the pile of the carpet time after time. Sometimes the ingrained soiling is so bad that after the area has been cleaned the wool in the carpet acts as a wick and brings further dirt to the surface some time after it has been cleaned and clearly looked clean. In this event the only thing you can do is let it dry and treat again.

Tables Occasional and main tables are magnates for spills. Everyone drops some food at some time, or knocks over a glass, so this is a good place to find stains.

cleaning a carpet

Children are adorable but quite messy, especially when toddlers. Look for spillages of juice and sticky finger marks of sweets and food. This will be especially evident where they eat, play and watch teleision.

Pets are a natural source of marks and you may have to remove the surface hair and grime before treating stains. Their sleeping places, eating places and where they lie to get close to you are alllikely to be more soiled than other areas.

General Assume that there will be a mess somewhere along a route from the kitchen. If you don't find something first time look again just to be sure.

Special for Walkways

Walkways Often need extra treatment because of the traffic traveling through the area. Try the following techniques to ease away the extra soiling that accumulates.

To Start

Use a generic spray spotter for heavily soiled areas or make your own spray by mixing a small amount of low foaming carpet detergent in water.

Spray the mixture evenly over the whole area. Use a simple hand-held sprayer bottle if you have just a small area or a pump sprayer to cover larger areas.

spraying a walkway
hard brush on a walkway

Cleaning The Area

Now lightly scrub in the liquid into the surface of the carpet, either with a scrubbing brush or a long handled broom. 

For safety a broom can save your back from potential problems.

Although we want to use a hard brush we don't want the scrubbing to be hard. Effectively all you want to do is ensure the mixture reaches and penetrates all the dirt. A soft rubbing is best all over area.

Now use your cleaning machine to clean and make sure you extract as much of the water/detergent mix as you can. Water left on a carpet can have a wicking effect from below the surface, bringing some deeply engrained dirt to the surface that leaves the area still dirty after cleaning.

Treating Stains

Mistakes on carpets can be very costly so please be sure and test a portion of anything you are about to treat.

Plain water treatment should be safe, as carpets or rugs whose colour runs with just water will be unsafe even to walk on with wet shoes.  However, you should still test an area, especially if there are vivid colours or special materials.


This stain on the right is fresh orange juice kicked over by a child, a typical type of stain where children sit and play.

Here's how the stain looks before any treatment. It's been there for 2 weeks but it still looks like a drink stain with an orangey colour.

carpet stain of orange
carpet stain being sprayed


For best results on this type of stain use dilute acetic acid (about 3:1 water to acid) but you can use malt vinegar (around 1:1 mix with water or even neat) to very good effect. However, you can get a professional solution by clicking through to the professional stain treatments available in our shop.

The one best for this stain would be the Coffee and Tea remover.

Put about 200ml in your spray bottle and spray evenly and liberally over the whole stain..


Now we want to get the reagent into the fibres. Use your hard brush to "tamp"  the stain. This involves effectively hitting it by first raising the brush...

...and then letting it fall under its own weight onto the stain. Do this all over the stain for around 2 minutes to ensure the reagent gets into as many fibres as possible.

tamping the treated stain
tamping the stain after adding water


Dip your brush in fresh warm water and tamp the water into the stain. Keep putting more water on the brush and repeating until the whole stain is quite wet.

and Finally

Start vacuuming away the liquid working towards you...

...and keep repeating until you have removed as much liquid as possible.

hand tool on stain
stain removed


Your stain should now be gone but if it isn't don't panic. Go back to the top and repeat the process. If there isn't very much of a change in the stain you probably haven't guessed the right kind of stain. Simply try for food if you've tried for drink and visa-versa.