How Often Should You Clean Your Carpet & Rugs?

You probably vacuum your area rugs and carpets regularly, but is that really getting them clean? And if not, how often should you steam clean them? Who knows what's living deep within those fibers. Well, you may be surprised. We asked housekeeping consultant Leslie Reichert, the Green Cleaning Coach, for advice on keeping your carpet and rugs clean.


Surprise! You actually shouldn't steam clean your rugs and carpets very often at all, thanks to that creepy relationship between dampness and bacteria. Reichert says steam cleaning looks great, but, "You're putting a lot of water in there, and that's not such a good thing, especially if you live with people with allergies."

Reichert recommends getting your area rugs and carpets steam cleaned maybe once a year, on a day when you can leave all your windows up to help everything dry out completely. 

The rest of the year, spot clean carpet as needed for spills, smudges, and basic high-traffic dinginess.

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Then take this approach to keeping your rugs clean. Once a week or every other week, roll up your smaller rugs, clean underneath them, shake the rugs outside, and then vacuum them again. Do this with your larger rugs at least once in the spring and once again in the fall.

Reichert says vacuum cleaners pick up about 80 percent of the dirt in a rug but let 20 percent fall back down again. That's why it's important to shake rugs out when you can and to clean underneath them.


Image via Africa Studio/Shutterstock;

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