How To Clean Carpeted Stairs

Stacy Randall
by Stacy Randall

Carpet on stairs presents a few extra challenges when it comes to cleaning. It’s not like you can quickly run your vacuum across the steps. However, knowing how to clean carpet on stairs doesn’t take a lot of specialized knowledge or tools.

Use a vacuum brush attachment to clean the carpet on your stairs. Running your hand across steps while wearing a damp rubber glove is great for digging out embedded fur and hair. Work baking soda into the carpet using a stiff-bristle brush to freshen up your steps. For deep stains, scrub with carpet shampoo, then vacuum up using appropriate attachments.

There’s no denying that keeping carpeted stairs clean takes a bit of extra effort. However, if you clean the steps once a week, you can avoid dirt and grime building up, making your cleaning sessions easier.

Six Tips for Cleaning Carpet On Stairs

Luckily, you don’t need to get a bunch of fancy gizmos and machines to get the job done. To clean the carpet on your stairs, keep the following simple items on hand:

  • Carpet shampoo (or Dawn dish soap)
  • Baking soda
  • Vacuum with brush and nozzle attachments
  • Rubber gloves (or a small rubber squeegee)
  • Stiff-bristle brush
  • Stiff broom
  • White vinegar
  • White towel or paper towels

1. Once A Week, Sweep Or Vacuum Carpet On Stairs

Regularly cleaning your stairs is one of the best ways to keep the process manageable. Vacuum the carpet on the stairs once a week using the brush attachment on your vacuum. Alternatively, you can use a stiff-bristle broom or brush to sweep the stairs.

Start at the top and sweep the stairs toward the bottom. When you reach the bottom, sweep up or vacuum the debris that ends up on the floor at the base of the stairs.

2. Use Baking Soda To Freshen Carpet

Does your carpet carry a bit of an unpleasant odor? Sprinkle baking soda on the carpet to freshen things up a bit.

Baking soda works great at neutralizing odors. To maximize your efforts, work the baking soda in slightly with a brush and let it sit for roughly 15 minutes. After, simply vacuum it up using an attachment or a handheld vacuum.

3. Lift Embedded Pet Hair With Rubber Gloves

If you have a pet in the home, then you probably also have pet hair on your rugs, furniture, and in your carpet. Pet hair can become deeply embedded in carpet fibers, making it challenging to clean. It’s hard to get all the hair with a broom or vacuum.

But you don’t need any hi-tech gadget to rid your carpeted stairs of pet hair. Put on a pair of rubber gloves, wet them slightly, and run your hand across the step. Drag it from one end to the other with a bit of pressure and watch as pet hair and more come up like magic.

As with the broom in step one, work from the top to the bottom so you don’t get dirt on clean steps. Once you reach the bottom of the stairs, gather up the dirt and debris using a broom and dustpan.

4. Scrub With Carpet Shampoo To Tackle Tough Stains

If you have tough stains on your stairway carpet, use carpet shampoo. Work the carpet shampoo into the stain using a stiff-bristle brush. Follow the instructions on the label.

Some shampoo requires you to mix it with water first. Others instruct you to apply it directly to the stain, then follow with a damp cloth to soak up the shampoo. Use a circular motion to work the cleaner into the stain. If you have wool carpet, avoid scrubbing. Instead, apply the cleaner, let it sit, then blot it with a white cloth.

As with any cleaning product, before you apply your carpet cleaner of choice, do a spot test in an inconspicuous area. It’s wise to test for color-fastness before you apply any cleaner to a large area.

As an alternative to carpet shampoo, you can use Dawn dish soap. Mix 4 ounces of dish soap into a gallon of warm water and treat the stain in the same way. Again, if wool carpet, spray or dab it on the stain, then pat it to soak up the moisture.

5. Rinse Soap Out Of Carpet

It’s best to avoid using too much soap on your carpet, but if you find you have too much, make sure to rinse out the soap. To rinse soap or detergent out of your carpet, use a mixture of roughly ¼ a cup of white vinegar in a gallon of water.

Spray the solution onto the steps (working top to bottom), and work it into the carpet using a soft brush. (Again, test for color fastness in a subtle area first.) Follow up with plain water on a damp rag to wipe down the carpet.

Soak up the wetness with a white towel or paper towels as you go to keep the moisture level low. You might also want to use a fan to help dry things out faster if you find there’s too much water. It’s essential to ensure the carpet dries out quickly, as allowing it to remain damp can lead to mildew or mold.

6. Consider Renting A Steam Cleaner

If the carpet on your stairs is in rough shape, it might require a deep cleaning. The best way to acquire a real deep clean on your carpet is by using a steam cleaner. The steam gets out heavily embedded grime and dirt, removes stains, and makes your carpet look like new.

Steam cleaners are available for rent at a home improvement store or carpet cleaning stores, so there’s no need for you to buy one. You can expect to pay around $20 for four hours or $40 for 24 hours. It’s a reasonable price, but you can spend even less if you split the cost with a friend. Clean your carpet, then head to your pal’s place so they can use the cleaner before you return it.

If you simply don’t want to tackle the job yourself, you can also outsource the task to professional carpet cleaning companies. Costs vary based on the company, the size of the area to clean, and the location. You can get a quote by going to the business’s website.

Simple Steps To Clean Carpet On Stairs

Cleaning the carpet on your stairs isn’t rocket science. You don’t need specialized tools. A stiff-bristle brush, some dish soap, and a towel can go a long way to making your stairs look like new. If you have a vacuum with a brush attachment, this can make things a bit easier.

Regularly sweeping or vacuuming stairs once a week goes a long way in making upkeep simpler. It helps keep dirt and debris from building up and requiring more intense cleanings. But if you’re struggling with extra challenges, like pet hair, the rubber glove trick works wonders.

Baking soda helps freshen things up and knock out odors. For a deep clean, rent a steam cleaner or hire a carpet cleaning company. No matter which method you choose, your efforts will pay off with like-new, clean carpet on the stairs.

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Stacy Randall
Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.

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