Carpet Shampooing Made Easy – Or at Least Easier

Carpets take a beating between the kids, the pets, and living. So every change of season it’s a great idea to pull out the carpet shampooer and scrub away on the flooring, the rugs, and the furniture… or even better call in a professional carpet cleaner to do it for you. The first time I had the adventure of carpet shampooing I made a few rookie mistakes, but you can save yourself the misery of things such as furniture stains by following a few of these easy tips.

Before Shampooing

  • Begin by removing as much of the furniture as possible. It seems like a daunting task but it really makes the actual job so much easier and productive.
  • Vacuum the entire room thoroughly to remove pet hair, dandruff, dust, and debris. If you skip this step these things will only clog your shampooer and reduce the effectiveness.
  • Place sheets of plastic wrap around the legs of furniture you can’t move from the room. If you have a large bed you won’t be moving, carefully lift up one bedframe leg at a time and wrap it with plastic wrap, even using a rubber band to secure the wrap. This important step I learned to do the hard way – by not doing it the first time and getting small brown rust stains in my carpet from the tiny metal tips on the sofa leg coasters. The moisture in the carpet during shampooing seeped to the metal tip and was enough to do the damage.
  • Test your carpet for colorfastness by applying a small amount of the carpet cleaning formula on an inconspicuous piece of the carpet. Blot the area dry and make sure the colors don’t bleed or fade.
  • Inspect your carpet for loose threads that can get sucked into the carpet shampooer and cause more fraying and damage of the carpet. Snip long, loose threads to be even with the pile of the carpet.
  • Pre-treat stains and high traffic areas with an appropriate carpet cleaning solution or stain fighter. Sometimes I just use the same solution that I am adding to my shampooer.


  • Make sure the room is well ventilated. This is not only better for your senses as you use a carpet cleaning solution, but it will help the carpet dry faster, which is better for the carpet backing.
  • Unless otherwise directed by the label or manufacturer’s instructions, use very hot tap water mixed into your cleaning solution as an added cleansing element.
  • Use single strokes with your shampooer. The tendency might be to use the shampooer to scrub back and forth, repeatedly squirting more cleaning products and sucking more residue away, but this is rarely effective and just causes the carpet to be overloaded with moisture. If there are stains significant enough that one pass isn’t enough to clean them, go back to your pre-treat regimen and specifically target the stains once again.
  • Don’t walk on the carpet or replace furniture until the area is completely dry. Walking across wet carpet can crush the fibers and leave it to dry in a matted pattern (not to mention give you soggy socks). Furniture placed on damp carpet can also lead to stains.

If you have large rugs to shampoo, follow the same guidelines as above, but make sure that your rug is placed on a top of a surface that can withstand moisture, and avoid things like shampooing a rug that is resting on hardwood floors or another carpet. And always make sure you thoroughly rinse and clean your shampooer so it’s ready to roll next time!

When in doubt it is always better to hire a profession to do the job right. To find a professional in your area visit

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  1. Our carpets take a beating with the help of our children, dog and as you put it living. I enforce a no shoe policy on the carpets as shoes are notorious for carrying in dirt, bugs, leaves and other unwanted debris that get trapped in the carpet fibers causing unwanted spots and stains. We try to clean the carpets every four months or when the carpets warrant it.

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