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How to clean your carpet

Knowing how to clean carpet comes down to the quality of your vacuum and the methods applied when using it. From daily cleaning to dealing with entrenched dirt and stains, Dyson engineers James McCrea and Dr Calum Robertson share their top tips on how to keep your carpet clean with your vacuum.

10 January 2022

  • vacuum carpet clean test

  • Despite the popularity of carpets and rugs in homes around the world, few people are confident on how to clean and maintain them. On top of regular cleaning to prevent the visible build-up of dust and dirt, understanding how to manage embedded fine dust and remove stains can be a challenge.

    Dyson’s engineers have developed different forms of vacuums for carpet and hardwood floors, to allow for targeted cleaning. “At Dyson, we have almost 30 years of research into how best to clean flooring, including carpets,” says James McCrea, Senior Mechnical Engineer at Dyson.

    ”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”.

    To discover the best vacuum cleaner for carpet for your home or indoor space, read on. Our engineers show how to get stains out of carpet and cover every space for seamless (and spotless) vacuuming every time.

How to keep carpet clean

To maintain the appearance of your carpet, a vacuum cleaner should be your first port of call.

“Carpets can hide dust and dirt between their fibres, as well as harbour microscopic life – such as dust mites, moulds and allergens – all of which can impact your wellbeing. So, it’s important not to wait until your carpet looks visibly dirty before vacuuming,” says James.

“Vacuuming high-traffic areas twice a week and the rest of your carpeted spaces once a week is enough to keep dust and dirt at bay. But there are some engineer tricks you can use to make sure you’re vacuuming in the right way.”

1. Vacuum slowly

Vacuuming slowly gives the airflow and brush bar more time to “agitate” the dust and dirt between the carpet fibres and remove them entirely. It also means you’re more likely to capture invisible allergens hidden deep in the carpet pile.

2. Go over the same spot – but not too often

More passes over an area will give the machine the best chance of cleaning carpet well, but any more than two or three times gives minimal increase, according to our research in the laboratory.

3. Don’t forget to make use your vacuum accessories

From hard-to-reach spots to pet hair removal, Dyson’s vacuum accessories help you cover all areas. When cleaning, keep tools handy to deal with particular challenges as you encounter them. For high up and invisible areas, the Up-top adaptor has different angles for differing vantage points. The Stubborn dirt brush contains stiff nylon brushes to dislodge ground-in dirt from coarse carpets and high traffic areas like rugs.

Discover how to use vacuum cleaner attachments.

3. Vacuum everywhere

While they may not be top of mind, areas under sofa cushions, furniture and in curtain creases can harbour dust and potentially millions of dust mites and their faeces. Once these are disturbed, they can become airborne and easily inhaled. This in turn can trigger allergies, so ensure you don’t neglect them in your frequent cleans. Mini-motorised tools are ideal for hidden corners of soft furnishings, while Soft Brush tools or Combination tools can gently remove dust from curtains and bookshelves. For automatic deep-cleaning across carpets and hard floors, Dyson V15 Detect™ contains our most advanced engineering yet – with laser detection2 and a piezo sensor particle counter3

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How to get stains out of carpet

Beyond day-to-day cleaning, there are times when carpets need extra attention. Whether it is getting spilt coffee out of carpet or others, stains can be made up of a number of chemicals or chemical components, so you may need to use a variety of methods to remove them from your carpet. Dr Calum Robertson, Chemical Research Scientist at Dyson explains, “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”. Instead, Dr Calum suggests going with light treatments and working your way up from there.

For how to get stains out of carpet without damaging the materials and fibres, vacuum in these ways only:

  • Vacuum the stain if it’s dry: Avoid wiping substances like ground coffee and spices - water can make the stain worse and even permanent. If you have a surface level stain or spill, try vacuuming it first – unless it’s already a wet stain. Moisture can have a negative impact on the mechanics of your vacuum.
  • Start slowly with soap and water: Carpets are usually dyed fabric, so if you use a product that is too strong on a stain, you risk removing the carpet dye too. Start by delicately blotting the stain with a surfactant, which is typically warm water and soap. This will work to break down or emulsify oil stains like grease or butter and won’t put your carpet at too much risk. Watch out for delicate rugs though, as the dyes could be impacted by certain soaps.
  • Try a biological cleaning products for: grass, chocolate or blood stains. As they’re made from proteins, these compounds can be broken down via enzymatic solutions like biological laundry detergent. Use warm water and biological laundry detergent and gently blot the stain until it has dissolved.
  • Use bleach-based products sparingly: Some stains, like tea, coffee or red wine can discolour your carpet and so you may need to apply a bleach-based product – but only in sparing amounts. Always test the product on a more inconspicuous bit of carpet first and be patient when cleaning. Applying too much at once can cause irreversible discolouration to both the stain and your carpet.

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