Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.
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Stairways can be one of the highest-traffic spots in a home as you carry laundry, clean around the house, and use the bathroom going up and down throughout the day. With children and pets, these stairs will be used even more, increasing the likelihood of damage and stains, especially if they’re carpeted.
Here’s how to keep carpeted stairs clean:
- Keep doormats on both sides of entry doors.
- Schedule a reminder to change the filter on your furnace.
- Vacuum at least once a week.
- Clean up any spills and treat stains immediately.
- Get a professional deep clean annually.
- Install blinds to block the direct sunlight.
- Put down a vinyl carpet runner or stair treads.
- Put down a stair carpet protector.
Carpet replacement can be costly, which is why properly maintaining your carpeted stairs can do wonders when it comes to their quality and longevity. Keeping a clean carpet not only gets rid of stains and odors but also eliminates pollen, mold, and other air-borne pollutants from the air you breathe in daily. By reading this article, you’ll learn some helpful, practical, and easy-to-implement tips for keeping your carpeted stairs clean.
1. Keep Doormats on Both Sides of Entry Doors
Dirt and grime can be wiped and left behind on doormats on both sides of the entrance doors as people come and go through them.
To keep dirt away, people can take off their shoes and leave them on the outdoor mat if sheltered from the weather and other elements. Shoes carry many bacteria, chemicals, and even fecal matter. Carpeting will collect everything you track in from the outside, and shoes are more abrasive on carpet fibers resulting in a worn look and debris that gets grounded in more deeply.
You could hang up a welcome Nikky Home Wooden Shoes off Sign from Amazon.com to politely request your visitors to take off their shoes. This sign is 11 x 6 inches (27.94 x 15.24 cm) and made of high-quality wood for added durability and cleanability.
This Ubdyo Extra Durable Door Mat from Amazon.com is 30”x17” (76.2 x 43.18 cm) and made with rubber stripes and artificial grass to prevent slipping, and helps remove grime and debris from the bottom of your shoes. It has a low profile so that it doesn’t get stuck underneath swinging doors, and it is easy to shake off and spray clean.
2. Schedule a Reminder To Change the Filter on Your Furnace
Duct heating systems can blow dust, pet hair, dander, leaving them to settle right onto carpeted areas, such as the stairs. Traffic from bare and socked feet can also collect this dust and deposit it on the stairs as you go up and down.
When your furnace filter is regularly replaced with a clean one (according to manufacturer or installer recommendations), it will help to filter out and collect those particles on the fresh filter. Generally, if you have pets, filters should be changed more often. Try scheduling a reminder on your phone or calendar.
3. Vacuum at Least Once a Week
Vacuuming is an excellent way to keep the carpets and overall space cleaner in your home and works in conjunction with your furnace filter by collecting particles that the latter cannot.
High-traffic areas, such as stairs, should be vacuumed more often. Consider moving the nozzle across each step several times for a thorough cleaning.
To vacuum efficiently, make sure you clean the bag or canister when full, and replace or wash the filter to get maximum suction.
By using the vacuum’s attachment hose with accompanying accessories, vacuuming can be good for getting into all of the tight corners and cracks of your stairs. However, handling a cumbersome and unbalanced vacuum on the stairs can be difficult, dangerous, and restricted by the length of the attachment hose and the power cord.
Consider a cordless or lightweight and compact vacuum with a hose attachment, or try a handheld vacuum such as the BLACK+DECKER Furbuster Handheld Vacuum from Amazon.com for ease and comfort. This cordless option is great for cleaning smaller high-traffic areas like your stairway.
It comes with a long crevice tool to get in those hard-to-reach spots. With this equipment, you won’t have to bend and stretch cautiously to reach where you need to. This vacuum is easy to care for with its washable filter.
In conjunction with vacuuming, you can also use a carpet brush. You can use it to bring up the dust, dirt, pet hair, and so on, and then immediately vacuum them up. This helps to plump up any matting on your carpet as well.
This MAITING Portable Carpet Brush from Amazon.com can lift hair, dust, and more from your carpet and furniture. It is rustproof, durable, sharp, and made with a copperhead.
4. Clean Up Any Spills and Treat Stains Immediately
The longer you leave a stain or spill in place, the harder it is to remove as it settles into the carpet fibers at a deeper level.
To remove or clean up a stain or spill:
- Vacuum to pick up any loose debris.
- Mix ¼ teaspoon of liquid dish soap and one cup of warm water.
- Use a clean white paper towel or cloth soaked in the mixture to blot the stain. Using a white material avoids transferring another color from the cleaning materials onto the carpeted area.
- Blot at the spot, working from the outside towards the center. Do not scrub, as scrubbing will make the stain dig in deeper.
- Allow the mixture to soak on the spot for a minimum of five minutes, and then blot again with a new and clean white paper towel or cloth until the stain is gone (repeating the process as necessary).
You can try cleaners from Amazon.com designed specifically for cleaning carpets and particular types of stains as well such as:
- Rocco and Roxie Stain and Odor Eliminator: This product helps remove stains and odors caused by pet waste, vomit, and other organic material. It is safe to use around pets and children with no residue left behind. It can be used on carpets, furniture, clothing, and more.
- Parker and Bailey Stain Remover: This 16-ounce (453.59 grams) bottle can be used on stains from blood, grease, coffee, and other tough staining substances. This scrub-less formula is unscented, sulfate, and bleach-free.
- Resolve Professional Strength Carpet Cleaner: This 32-ounce (907.18 grams) spray bottle claims to be the number one carpet stain remover. It’s great for lifting out tough everyday stains and odors, penetrating deep to prevent stains from reappearing.
5. Get a Professional Deep Clean Annually
In addition to vacuuming, a deep clean that gets below the surface of the carpet fibers to pull out pet dander, dust mites, pollen, and more, can be necessary.
You can rent a deep cleaner from Rent a Rug Doctor if one is available in your area or hire a professional from a local carpet cleaning service. The equipment offered for rental or from a cleaning service is more powerful and better-suited to handle bigger carpet cleaning jobs.
Keep in mind that any deep carpet cleaning will be carried out with a solution involving water. Often, cleaning services have methods for drying carpets faster so that mold and bacteria don’t have time to grow. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you permit it to dry and keep the area free from pets and small children throughout this time.
You can try a small handheld version for deeper spot cleaning, such as the Cordless Bissell Pet Stain Eraser from Amazon.com. Powdered by a lithium battery, this little yet powerful machine can spray, scrub and suction to remove stains and more from carpet, stairs, area rugs, and more.
Additionally, you can try dry carpet shampoo, which helps lift dirt and more by bringing particles up to the surface of the carpet fibers. After applying, you can vacuum it all up. Consider this Arm & Hammer Pet Dry Carpet Cleaner from Amazon.com, which is safe to use around children and pets, as it leaves carpets clean and dry for immediate use.
Carpet cleaning can be done in any season.
Spring is a popular time to remove all of the salt and debris from winter weather.
Summer is a great time to remove pollen that floats in from the Spring and the mud from your shoes.
A Fall carpet cleaning gets it in shape for the holiday season when you will start to spend more time inside.
Winter is also a perfectly acceptable time to have your carpets cleaned, removing all pollutants tracked in from the outdoors while you mostly stay inside. This will help make the indoor air quality better as you hunker down to stay inside and warm.
6. Install Blinds To Block the Direct Sunlight
In many homes, a doorway illuminates the staircase through a window. However, direct sunlight and ultraviolet rays can cause premature fading and help any stains settle in more permanently.
You can try adding in blinds or room darkening curtains to reduce the effect of the sunrays. Blinds may be more effective in keeping out the rays than window darkening curtains but cost more, are harder to clean, and may not be as pleasing to look at.
This Redi Shade Easy Lift Trim-At-Home from Amazon.com is a nice option that is cordless and comes in four different sizes. It can be installed without screws or a power drill.
7. Put Down a Vinyl Carpet Runner or Stair Treads
You can use a vinyl carpet runner down your stairs, providing an easy-to-clean surface. An effective runner should adhere or grip tightly to your base carpet. Use caution, however, as the vinyl surface could be slippery, especially with socks. Some people may also be sensitive to the smell of vinyl and simply don’t care to have it in close proximity.
The Resilia Floor Protector from Amazon.com is clear and easy to clean and use with deep-pile carpet. It is available in many sizes and can be trimmed to fit your staircase. Noticeably, it is made with a flexible and phthalate-free vinyl, which is friendlier to the environment and your nose.
Non-slip stair treads can also be added onto the carpet to protect it from becoming worn or dirty in the areas that are most stepped upon on your stairs.
Consider these Clear Stair Treads Carpet Protectors from Amazon.com with “teeth” used to grip the carpet and hold them in place. While they are intended to prevent slips, any smooth-like material can be slippery with socks, so try out this set of two to see if they work for you. Amazon offers easy returns if these are not what you’re looking for.
Make sure these products are set securely in place to avoid any trips or falls.
8. Put Down a Stair Carpet Protector
This is slightly different from the carpet runner or treads in that it more thoroughly covers the stair to protect them from stains, dirt, and more. These are generally used when construction work is done and typically don’t hold up for very long.
If applied using an adhesive, there may be remnants on your carpet, potentially making your cleaning job a bit more challenging. However, it might be worth it if stains and dirt are an issue for your household.
The LAMINET Non-Slip Carpet & Floor Protector from Amazon.com is a higher quality option for protecting the carpeting on your stairs. It relies on a non-slip backing that works well with any type of carpet and can be used on hardwood or tile.
It can be cut to fit the size you need, and it can be removed easily and cleaned in the washing machine. This protector will not leave behind any marks or residue on your base carpeting.
As mentioned before, any additional layers on top of a carpet should be flat and adhere tightly to prevent tripping and any falls.
To thoroughly clean your carpeted stairs, you can try out a few simple techniques, including using doormats on your entry doors, changing the filters on your heating furnaces, vacuuming, cleaning up any spills immediately, blocking direct sunlight, and investing in a carpet protector. You’ll also want to have your carpet professionally cleaned at least once a year.
- Weekend Builds: How To Protect Carpeted Stairs: 8 Effective Ways
- Rug Doctor: 6 Simple Ways To Keep Your Carpets Clean
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- Carpet Direct: The Most Efficient Way to Keep Stair Carpet Clean
- SFGate Homeguides: Can a Runner Be Places Over Carpeted Stairs?
- Better Homes & Gardens: How to Remove Carpet Stains, Including the Worst Offenders
- Horizon Carpet: What Is the Best Season To Have Your Carpets Cleaned?
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