Guide to Cleaning and Caring for Carpet

General Tips and Information on Cleaning and Caring for Carpet

Regular Vacuuming

Once your carpet is installed, vacuum lightly and frequently in the first week to remove surface lint, dust and fluff.

Continue to vacuum at least weekly to remove soil and grit.

The quick removal of soil will reduce abrasive forces on the pile fibre. In heavy traffic areas, slow repeated vacuum strokes over the same area of carpet may be necessary. Always vacuum first against the natural direction the pile lays as this will slightly lift the pile and help unsettle and remove dirt and grit. When finishing, vacuum with the direction of the pile to achieve a uniform appearance.

Vacuum Cleaners

There are two major types of vacuum cleaners. Upright cleaners are particularly good as they usually incorporate a pile agitator such as a beater bar or revolving bristle strip that lifts the pile and facilitates the removal of dirt and grit. However, exercise care as over use can damage the pile surface.

Barrel cleaners rely on suction removal only and most perform the task quite well. Some Barrel cleaners now have power head attachments to agitate the pile in the same manner as upright cleaners.

Ensure the vacuum is cleaner is kept in sound mechanical condition and brushes are cleaned and replace when worn.

Spot Cleaning

It is important to act quickly to remove any spillage immediately before it penetrates into carpet fibres and pile.

In case of spill, remove excess spillage immediately by first scraping any solids and blotting liquids with a white coloured absorbent cloth. Use a spoon or blunt knife to remove the bulk of semi-solids or greasy substances and follow this with blotting.

Always begin at the outer edge and work towards the center of the stained area using a blotting or dabbing motion. After most of the spill has been absorbed, place a fresh pile of paper white towels over the area and place a flat weight on them.

Never rub a stain. If necessary, follow these actions with a spot remover product.

Hot Water Injection and Extraction

Hot water extraction cleaning (Steam Cleaning) is generally recognised as the best way to revitalize and deep clean your carpet

As a general guideline, steam cleaning should be carried out at 18 month intervals, depending on the wear and use environment.

Injection cleaning and extraction machines should only be used by skilled professionals.

If not performed properly the carpet may be over wet and this can permanently distort the carpet pile and backing material.

Carpet Cleaning Services

It is advisable to have your carpet professionally cleaned about every 18 months. Professional cleaning will revitalize your carpet and remove soil and other matter that settled beyond the reach of routine cleaning methods. We suggest using a company recommended by the carpet manufacturer or one who is a member of a professional association.

Tips to Extend the Life of Your Carpet

Despite the traffic it endures every day, carpet will still look good after many years with the correct maintenance.

  • Vacuum at least weekly, and have your carpet professionally cleaned by hot water extraction cleaning about every 18 months.
  • Invest in a quality vacuum cleaner, not only will it clean the carpet more effectively but many of today’s vacuum cleaner incorporate fine and multi filter systems to safely remove the finest particles.
  • Treat spillages immediately. While today’s carpets have been designed to release many common household stains, there are always exceptions. Do not use soap, ammonia, washing soda or any strong household cleaning agents intended for use on hard surfaces.
  • Use furniture cups under chairs, tables and sofa legs.
  • If possible periodically relocate your furniture to evenly distribute wear.
  • Place Rugs or carpet protectors in heavy area of traffic to protect carpet from excessive wear.
  • Always insist on the use of a high quality underlay for your carpet installation. Although you don’t see the underlay, the carpet and underlay are designed to work together as a complete flooring system.
  • Place barrier mats outside doorways to trap dirt from shoes. Remember to clean these mats regularly.


This table list some common types of stains and steps to removing them. Use the Stain Removal Legend and follow each cleaning method in the sequence listed. Be sure to follow the ‘Spot Cleaning’ procedure mentioned above.

Beverages (Tea, Coffee, Soft Drink)13, 14, 13, 11, 213, 14, 13, 1
Blood13, 15, 13, 33, 25, 1
Chewing Gum16, 6 (3-5min) – Repeat if necessary416, 6, 5, 1
Chocolate13, 15, 13, 11, 56, 5, 1
Crayon6, 3, 17, 3 – Repeat if necessary6, 26, 5, 1
Fruit Juice13, 14, 13, 11, 25, 1
Furniture Polish6, 13, 16, 5, 76, 5, 1
Ink (Ball Point Pen)6, 13, 16, 2, 118,5, 1, 6
Lipstick6, 13, 16, 2, 118, 5, 1, 6
Nail Polish88, 68
Oil & Grease6, 13, 16, 56, 5, 1
Paint (Oil)6, 13, 19 or 10, 6, 5, 79, 6, 5, 1
Shoe Polish6, 13, 16, 55, 1, 6
Urine (Damp Stain)1, 15, 13, 155, 1
Urine (Dry Stain)13, 14, 15, 13, 175, 1
Vomit19, 13, 15, 13, 175, 1, 6
Wax (Candle)12 or 16, 6 (3-5min)11, 6 
Wine (White)13, 14, 13, 11, 220, 5, 1
Wine (Red)20, 1, 211, 220, 5


1Clean warm water
2Fabric detergent = solution of 1 teaspoon (5ml) of approved wool detergent with 1 teaspoon of vinegar and 1 litre of warm water
3Clean Cold Water
4Chewing gum remover (freezing agent)
5Carpet shampoo solution
6Dry cleaning fluid. Caution: Ensure that no flame or lighted cigarette is near, and use in a well ventilated area.
7Consult Specialist Carpet Cleaner
8Nail Polish Remover – should not include lanolin or be of a greasy nature
10White Spirit
11Absorbent paper and hot iron
12Brown paper and warm iron
13Detergent = 1 teaspoon clear dishwashing detergent with 1 cup warm water
14Undiluted white vinegar
15Ammonia – undiluted household ammonia, foaming type containing detergent
16Freeze with ice cube, shatter with blunt object and vacuum clean
17Solution = water and non bleach mild detergent
18Methylated spirits. Caution: Ensure that no flame or lighted cigarette is near, and use in a well ventilated area.
19Baking Soda, scrape and vacuum
20Absorbent powder (Salt) sprinkle on spillage, leave overnight and vacuum next day
21Dye Stripper: Dilute 50 to 1 with cold water. Caution: Do not use on dark or patterned carpet


Disclaimer: While all care is taken in compiling this guide, Alstonville Tiles & Floorcoverings accepts no responsibility for claims arising from the treatment proposed.

If stains fail to respond to the treatments listed above, then a professional carpet cleaning company should be called immediately!