How to clean carpet on stairs without breaking a sweat

best way to clean carpet on stairs
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Besides sprucing up your home, stair carpeting can prevent accidents and ensure longevity.

Unlike hard, slippery surfaces, carpeting provides traction that can reduce the chances of falling. Plus, it helps reduce noise and adds an element of coziness to your home.

Unfortunately, stair carpeting is one of the most challenging things to clean. They are the perfect place for lingering dirt and dust to accumulate, acting as a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. While regular vacuuming can keep other areas of your house clean, carpeted stairs require a more thorough approach.

For these reasons, proper and timely cleaning of carpeted stairs is vital. We know that cleaning carpeted stairs can be quite a challenging task, and that’s why we’ve compiled this excellent guide covering the best techniques and methods to help you out.

So, without further ado, let’s get down to it.

Most Effective Cleaning Methods For Carpeted Stairs

Whether wall-to-wall or those on stairs, carpeting can be cleaned using different techniques. Each technique has its own advantages and disadvantages, and which one would be best for you depends upon several factors. These factors may include the type of flooring in the building, the available tools and machines, etc.

The time and effort required for various processes can vary. For instance, you can easily clean staircase runners in a washing machine, while installed carpeting requires a more hands-on approach. Also, keep in mind that you get excellent results whether you follow the machine cleaning technique or clean it by hand.

Generally, using a vacuum and carpet cleaner is one of the most efficient and quickest ways to clean your carpeted stairs. However, this solution may not be ideal for all situations as some people may not have a carpet cleaning machine. Another option would be to hire professional services to get the job done, but that can be a costly affair.

On the other hand, most products required to clean carpeted stairs are quite affordable, and some may already be available at home. If you do not have a carpet cleaner, you can hire commercial-grade machines from a store easily or even scrub the staircase manually, though it might take a bit longer.

Machine Cleaning Techniques

Let us first look at the best methods of cleaning carpets on stairs using machines, such as a carpet or vacuum cleaner. While using vacuum cleaners is the most effective method, it involves an element of risk since they are generally difficult to operate on stairs due to their size.

Additionally, while a vacuum cleaner can be great for cleaning specific spots, it may not be as effective for a large, messy carpet. That is why it is recommended to use both vacuum and carpet cleaners.

Cleaning The Vacuum Filter

Before using the vacuum cleaner, you should always check the filter and clean away any dust that might have accumulated there. You can also replace the filter or empty the contents in a trash bin if required.

Remove Large Items From The Stairs

You should remove any items that can get sucked into the vacuum, including paper scraps, toys, and similar objects. Also, ensure that you have enough cable slack to prevent pulling.

Start at the top of the stairs, vacuuming each step carefully from left to right. And make sure to stand behind the vacuum while you continue down the stairs.

Using The Extension Hose

Following this process, you will need to fix the brush attachment to the end of the extension hose. Then, start from the top of the stairs again, operating the brush from left to right.

Just be sure to begin at the corner of each slab to ensure that any accumulated dust and dirt is effectively removed.

Using The Carpet Cleaner

The final step is to use the carpet cleaning solution, so pour it into the cartridge before starting at the top of the stairs again.

Move the cleaner back and forth over each step while going over every section twice. And after cleaning, leave the clean carpet to dry for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Final Vacuum

Once all the water has been removed from the carpet, leave the carpet to dry overnight for at least 12 hours. Vacuuming one last time after the carpet dries will help remove any debris and ensure that it’s clean.

Steam Cleaning (Optional Step)

For carpeted stairs that are extremely dirty, steam cleaning can be an effective way to remove dirt particles. Steam machines use hot water to remove stains and dirt from the carpet fibers. One advantage that this technique offers is that it prevents the growth of mildew spores and mold on the carpet.

These machines are available at local hardware stores for purchase or can be rented from home improvement stores. Plus, they come with varying functions suitable for removing pet hair, embedded dirt and dust particles, or stains.

Steam cleaning is also one of the heavy-duty cleaning methods, even though it may not remove all types of stains. However, it is an excellent alternative to weekly vacuuming and guarantees proper maintenance. Just make sure to dry the excess moisture that the steam cleaner produces so that the carpeting is ready for use quickly.

Cleaning Stair Carpeting Without Machines

For those who do not have access to vacuum and carpet cleaners, there are other techniques that can be highly effective for cleaning carpeted stairs.

Using White Vinegar

For cleaning carpeted stairs with vinegar, you need a list of things beforehand. These include:

  • Warm water
  • Bucket
  • ¾ cup white vinegar
  • Dry towel
  • Scrub brush
  • Knee pad

The first step is to fill the bucket halfway with about a gallon of water and ¼ cup of white vinegar. Then, starting at the top of the stairs, scrub each step carefully with the brush after dipping it into the solution. Use horizontal and vertical motions to ensure that the solution enters the carpet fibers completely.

During this phase, it is essential to ensure that your brush has enough solution but not so much that the carpet is soaked in water. If that happens, the carpet will take longer to dry, leading to mold growth.

Once you reach the bottom of the stairs, empty the bucket and fill it with cold water before using a dry towel soaked in clean water to wipe the stairs. Wringing the towel properly or using a floor fan will also help speed up the drying process.

Additionally, you can open up the windows to make sure that the vinegar smell dissipates quickly.

Using Baking Soda

Baking soda is yet another inexpensive option that can be effectively used to clean carpet stairs. Besides being very effective in removing stubborn stains and odors, it can help brighten the carpet, restoring its original color.

You’ll need the following items if you are planning to use baking soda for cleaning carpeted stairs:

  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • Knee pads
  • Warm water
  • Spray bottle

First, you need to fill a spray bottle with warm water and add ¼ cup of baking soda to it. Be sure not to exceed the amount of baking soda, or you will need to vacuum the stairs afterward.

Use the spray bottle to apply the solution onto the stairs, starting from the top. Then, leave the solution for about two to three hours, allowing it to absorb any dirt or odor.

You can start using the stairs once they are dry, provided you added the correct amount of baking soda. The carpeting does not need to be vacuumed afterward as the baking soda will dissolve in the water.

Other than that, for removing a particular stain, sprinkle some baking soda over it and then spray the solution. Let it rest for around 30 minutes to one hour before vacuuming or wiping the stairs with a wrung-out wet towel.

Using A Laundry Detergent

Regular laundry detergents can be used as a carpet cleaner because they are designed to clean fibrous materials. Some of the items you will need for cleaning carpeted stairs with a laundry detergent include:

  • ¼ cup liquid detergent
  • Bucket
  • Stiff cleaning brush
  • Dry towel
  • Knee pads

The first thing to do is pour about a gallon of water into the bucket and add ¼ cup of liquid detergent. Ensure that you do not exceed the quantity of detergent, or your stairs will become soapy.

Dip the cleaning brush into the solution and scrub the stairs from the top. Using circular motions will help remove any stubborn stains and dirt particles that may be embedded in the fibers.

On reaching the bottom step, replace the solution in the bucket with cold water. Again, start from the top of the stairs and use the dry towel soaked in water to wipe off the detergent.

If you add excess detergent to the solution, you’ll need to wipe it multiple times to prevent the carpet from becoming stiff.

Using Carpet Shampoo

For cleaning specific stains, carpet shampoo delivers superb results. While using this technique, have an extra cloth or towel for soaking up the shampoo from the carpet. Excess water in the carpet can lead to mildew or mold growth, which is why you should allow up to 15 hours for the carpet to dry.

Using Homemade Carpet Cleaners

If you do not have a carpet cleaner at home or are unwilling to spend on one, making one at home using natural ingredients can be an ideal solution. Here are some of the most effective carpet cleaners that you can easily make at home:

Salt, Vinegar, And Essential Oils

This deodorizing and cleaning solution requires mixing one part vinegar with two parts water in a large spray bottle. Add one teaspoon of salt for every cup of water and five to eight drops of the preferred essential oil. Agitate the bottle slightly and spray the carpet before using a clean cloth to ensure that the solution soaks the carpet fibers.

Vinegar And Baking Soda

The baking soda and vinegar solution is one of the best mixtures that can be used for several purposes.

Mix one cup vinegar with a cup of water, and add a tablespoon of baking soda to the mixture. Fill it in a spray bottle and apply it over the areas that have persistent stains. After that, allow the solution to rest for an hour before cleaning it with a moist cloth or towel.

Baking Soda And Laundry Detergent

Mix ¼ cup of baking soda in warm water before adding some detergent. Then, pour this solution into a bottle to spray it onto the carpeted stairs. Work from the top of the staircase, and once you reach the bottom, let the solution rest for around two to three hours.

This will allow the mixture to soak the carpet, helping deodorize as well as remove stains and dirt particles from it. Following this, soak the carpet again with fresh water from a spray bottle and wipe the surface with a cloth.

Since the baking soda will dissolve in the water, you do not need to vacuum the carpet afterward. To speed up the drying process, you can open up the windows and use a wet cloth to wipe the carpeting.

Other Techniques

Besides these methods, other easy-to-use techniques can help you clean carpeted stairs effectively.

Using A Stiff Brush And Dustpan

Whether they are in your room or on the stairs, all types of carpets accumulate dust over time. Using a stiff brush or broom to clean them can help retain the color and prevent fading.

So start from the top of the stairs and sweep or brush your way down to collect the dust in the dustpan.

Using A Sticky Tape

A lint roller or sticky tape can be highly effective in removing material such as hair from your carpet fibers. Simply roll the sticky side of the tape over the surface, and it will catch any human or animal hair present on it. However, doing this on every step will require a lot of time and effort, which is the only downside to this technique.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the frequently asked questions regarding how to clean carpet on stairs. We’ve provided detailed answers to help clear your doubts and make the process easy and simple.

How Often Should Stairs Be Vacuumed?

Usually, vacuuming your carpeted stairs once a week is enough to ensure that they are clean, though this depends upon the amount of traffic. For instance, homes with children or pets may require more frequent vacuuming.

How Often Should You Clean The Carpeting On Stairs?

One of the best ways to determine whether the staircase needs cleaning is by looking at the amount of dirt or stains on the carpet. Daily cleaning is the best way to ensure that the carpet remains clean, but it may not be possible in all households.

Generally, cleaning stair carpeting once every three months is adequate. However, keep in mind that it depends upon various factors, such as the size of the family and the amount of footfall. Moreover, deep cleaning for removing odors and stains should be undertaken at least once in six months.

How Soon Can You Use The Stairs After Cleaning Them?

How soon the stairs become usable depends, to some extent, on the type of cleaning method used. For instance, if you use a carpet cleaning machine, the staircase can become ready for use within 15 to 20 minutes.

On the other hand, when cleaned manually, the carpeting will require more time to dry. This is why you should always be careful regarding the amount of water that you use.

The material that the stairs are made up of also determines how soon they can dry. For instance, uncovered hardwood floors should be allowed to dry completely as they can be quite slippery.

Final Thoughts

Regular cleaning and maintenance go a long way in ensuring that your carpeted stairs remain in good condition and last longer. But cleaning carpet on stairs can be pretty challenging and requires a lot of time and effort. However, once you become familiar with the various techniques, it can become quite simple.

Just make sure that all the tools are at hand when you get down to cleaning. With that, it is time for us to sign off; bye!