Last month I talked about applying the “80/20 rule” to carpet cleaning with a focus on prevention. Today, I want to swing the carpet cleaning pendulum in the other direction with a comprehensive look at best practices. However, before getting started, you might want to review this article on vacuum cleaner maintenance to make sure your equipment is functioning at peak performance.

Keep a Schedule

It’s not fun, but regular vacuuming removes dust, dirt particles, and allergens. Dirt can act as an abrasive, wearing carpet fibers down. Frequent vacuuming not only makes your home cleaner but can help prevent your carpets from wearing out prematurely. Consider vacuuming heavy-traffic areas, such as entrances and main hallways, twice a week.

Map Out Your Order of Operations

Many times, vacuuming is part of your regular cleaning regimen. If so, consider saving vacuuming for the last step, especially when it comes to dusting. As the name implies, dusting will inevitably lead to dust getting kicked up where gravity eventually takes over.

Quick Upholstery Refresh

As part of your normal routine, consider damp dusting and vacuuming your furniture. Damp dusting is quick and easy: mist a clean white towel with water and lightly wipe (don’t scrub) the arms and seating areas of all furniture in your home.

Flip the Cushions

It’s a good practice to regularly flip the cushions to help keep them spread the wear and keep them even. Plus, as I’ve noted in the past, if everyone in your house knows you do this often, they may not be tempted to deal with spills by simply flipping the cushion and hoping will remain a hidden secret.

Change Directions

It might be more convenient to just go from one end of the room to the other and call it done, but for maximum dirt extraction, it’s best to cover the room again at a 90-degree angle. In other words, go front to back and then left to right to hit the carpet fibers from different angles to release trapped dirt.

Go Slow

As alluded to above, regular vacuuming isn’t what most people do for entertainment but as my mother said – if you are going to do it, do it right. For vacuuming, that means taking your time and giving the brush roll a chance to release the dirt and the vacuum a chance to pull that dirt into the bag or canister. Otherwise, you’re just kicking dirt up and allowing it to settle back down.

Pick Up the Pieces

We’ve all done it. You are vacuuming the carpet and see a piece of something on the ground. Maybe it’s a piece that came off that cheap toy included with a child’s value meal, or a small hair clip, or a penny. You see it and think, sure the vacuum will take care of this, and no one will miss it. A certain someone (who will remain nameless) once tried that with a piece of a popsicle stick laying on the floor. The vacuum sucked it right up, and he was supremely proud of himself…for about one second. That’s how long it took for the stick to lodge in the hose and make a whistling sound reminiscent of one of those noisemakers you blow into on New Year’s Eve. He then spent the next half hour pulling the vacuum apart to clean the clog and cleaning up the mess that “fix” made. The moral of the story is don’t suck up the thingamabobs. They can lead to clogs and even cause damage.

Don’t Forget the Edges

While you don’t need to do it every week, you should occasionally use one of the attachments to get into the corner where the carpet meets the baseboard. Most vacuum heads can’t get in close enough to this area and even if they can, they will end up banging the baseboards up. And while you’re getting the edge of the carpet, run the brush attachment along the top of the baseboard. Even if your baseboard has a narrow top profile or is rounded, dust will still accumulate, especially if the baseboards are caulked to the wall.

Spot Clean as Needed

Regular vacuuming is good for removing dirt particles and reducing allergens, but it has little effect on stains. For small spots on carpet and upholstery, try treating with a residue-free cleaner such as water, white vinegar, and club soda.  Be cautious with store-bought cleaners as they may use harsh chemicals and leave a residue which can eventually attract dirt.

Rotate Area Rugs

Area rugs are often used in high-traffic zones or areas with obstacles, such as tables, which cause distinct wear patterns. For example, a family I know has an area rug under their dining table, which sits between the kitchen and the family room. Because of the layout, one side of the area rug sees much more foot traffic than the other. As with the point above on flipping seat cushions, rotating area rugs helps to minimize uneven wear, extending the life of your area rug.

Don’t Forget about Professional Cleaning

My last recommendation is to have your carpet and upholstery professionally cleaned twice a year using the hot water extraction method, which is what top carpet manufacturers recommend (and in some cases require) in order to maintain your carpet warranty. We specialize in the hot water extraction method using state-of-the-art equipment, environmentally safe supplies and highly trained technicians. And, as always, we are proud of our:

  • A+ BBB Rating and IICRC Certification
  • Personalized service with large company capabilities
  • 34 years of carpet cleaning in West Chester, Greater Cincinnati, and Northern Kentucky
  • All-inclusive pricing – we will give you an exact estimate before any work is started and WON’T tack on extra costs for fuel/trip charges, deodorizer or fabric protection

Questions? I am always available to answer your stain removal questions and concerns. Call us today at (513) 777-8770 to learn more about our carpet and upholstery cleaning services. Or email us at to learn about this month’s cleaning special.

Elliott S. Fishman, Co-Owner
Extra Effort Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning, Inc.

About Elliott S. Fishman

Elliott Fishman, along with his son Brian, is the owner and operator of Extra Effort Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning, Inc.   We serve the residents and businesses of Greater Cincinnati to include West Chester, Mason, Maineville, Loveland, Wyoming, Fairfield, Indian Hill, Montgomery, Hyde Park and Anderson Township. Elliott started this company in 1984, based on the belief that it takes Extra Effort to make each job a success. The father/son team puts the extra time, extra care, and extra effort go into every task they undertake – no matter how large or small the job. Extra Effort’s quality equipment, trained technicians and safe products have made the company a top choice for residential and commercial carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, water damage / water extraction, fabric protection, odor control and spot removal.

Extra Effort Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning

8303 Darlene Dr

West Chester, OH 45069

(513) 777-8770