BEST Ways to Clean Carpet on Stairs [With & Without a Machine!]

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BEST Ways to Clean Carpet on Stairs [With and Without a Machine!]

As a homeowner and mom, I know the importance of keeping my home clean.

Maintenance and cleaning include my carpeted stairs, which can get pretty gross. These steps accumulate dirt and grime over time.

While hiring a professional carpet cleaning service is always an option, it’s expensive! I’ve found that tackling the job myself can be just as effective and much more cost-effective.

Plus, let’s be honest, there’s something satisfying about a job well done, especially in my home.

I’ll share pro-level steps to clean your carpeted stairs in this article.

Ready? Let’s jump in.

What Materials and Supplies Will You Need to Clean Carpet Stairs?

To do the job right, you’ll want to gather the following:

  • Vacuum cleaner: This is a crucial first step to to remove any loose dirt and debris from the stairs.
  • Carpet cleaner: You can use either a store-bought carpet cleaning solution or a homemade mixture.
  • Carpet cleaning machine: You can rent or buy a carpet cleaner. Or, ask in a local Facebook group or check with your neighbors. (We’re lucky to have great neighbors now. In the past, we would have gone to Home Depot to rent a machine lol.)
  • Towels: You’ll need a few towels or a clean cloth. You’ll use thes to blot any excess cleaner and stains from the stairs.
  • Spot cleaner (optional): If you have heavily soiled areas or stubborn stains on your stairs, you may want a pre-treatment spot cleaner you can use to clean tricky spots.

You may also want to have the following items on hand:

  • Scrub brush: A scrub brush can help loosen dirt and stains from the carpet fibers.
  • Steam cleaner (optional): If you want to clean your stairs even deeper, a steam cleaner can be a useful tool.
  • Rubber gloves: Wearing gloves will protect your hands from cleaning chemicals and hot water.

 

Okay, let’s look at how to get a pro-level cleaning for the carpet on your stairs.

Step 1: Prepare Your Stairs for Cleaning

Before starting the cleaning process, it’s important to prepare your stairs for the task.

First, clear any clutter or objects from the stairs to make it easier to access all areas.

This will also prevent objects from getting in the way or being knocked over.

Next, vacuum the stairs thoroughly to remove any loose dirt and debris.

Pay extra attention to the corners and edges. These areas tend to accumulate more dirt and grime.

If the stairs are heavily soiled or have stubborn stains, you may want to pre-treat these areas.

Use a spot cleaner before proceeding with the main cleaning process.

This will help loosen and lift the stains, making them easier to remove.

Step 2 (Option 1): Clean the Carpet on Stairs (with a Carpet Cleaner)

In this section, let’s talk about how to use a carpet cleaning machine on your stairs:

Fill the carpet cleaner with the cleaning solution (carpet shampoo). Read the bottle and mix it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you use a homemade mixture of water and white vinegar, mix it in a separate container before adding it to the carpet cleaner.

Begin at the top of the stairs and work your way down as you use a carpet cleaning machine.

Spray a small section of the stairs with the carpet cleaner. Use a scrub brush to work the solution into the carpet fibers.

Blot up any excess cleaner and stains with a towel. Make sure to use a clean towel section for each area to avoid spreading the stains.

Repeat the process on the rest of the stairs. Work your way down one step at a time.

Once you have finished cleaning the stairs, leave the carpet to dry. You can use a fan to speed up the drying process if you don’t want to allow the carpet to dry on its own.

Avoid walking on the stairs until they are completely dry to prevent any slip and fall accidents.

Step 2 (Option 2): Clean the Carpet on Your Stairs (without a Carpet Cleaning Machine)

Cleaning your carpet by hand is a bit more labor-intensive than using a carpet cleaner. It can be just as effective if done properly, even without machine! (Also, sometimes a machine is difficult to use on stairs.)

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to clean stairs by hand:

Vacuum the stairs thoroughly to remove any loose dirt and debris. This is especially important for to clean fibrous carpets. Pay extra attention to the corners and edges, as these areas accumulate more dirt and grime.

Pre-treat these areas with a spot cleaner if the stairs are heavily soiled or have stubborn stains. Allow the spot cleaner to sit on the stains for at least 10 minutes before proceeding to the next step.

Mix the carpet shampoo in a bucket with water. You can use a store-bought carpet cleaning solution or a homemade mixture of water and white vinegar.

Dip a scrub brush or white cloth into the cleaning solution and scrub the stairs, starting at the top and working your way to the bottom.

Make sure to clean the stairs from top to bottom so you don’t accidentally track dirt.

Scrub the solution into the carpet fibers to loosen and lift any dirt and stains. Try cleaning the carpet in a circular motion.

Blot up any excess cleaner and stains with a towel. Make sure to use a clean towel section for each area to avoid spreading the stains.

Repeat the process on the rest of the stairs. Work your way down one step at a time.

Like above, allow the carpet stairs to dry thoroughly so you don’t accidentally slip.

Step 3: Deep Clean the Stairs with a Steam Cleaner (if Needed!)

If you want to clean your stairs even deeper, use a steam cleaner!

Why? Steam cleaning the carpet uses hot water and steam to penetrate deep into the carpet fibers. They do an amazing job of removing dirt and stains.

To use it on your stairs, follow these steps:

Fill your machine with water according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Begin at the top of the stairs and work your way down. Slowly pass the steam cleaner over each step, covering the entire surface.

If the stairs are heavily soiled or have stubborn stains, you may need to go over certain areas multiple times to loosen and lift the dirt and stains.

Allow the stairs to air dry, or use a fan. Avoid walking on the stairs until they are completely dry to prevent slips.

Pay attention: Some carpets may not be suitable for steam cleaning. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions!

Also, be careful not to overwet the carpet. Why? Excessive moisture can lead to mold and mildew growth.

 

Step 4: Maintain Your Stairs Cleanliness

To keep your carpeted stairs looking clean and fresh, it’s important to follow a regular maintenance routine.

The good news is that it’s not hard or super time-consuming.

Some simple steps you can take to maintain the cleanliness of your stairs include:

Vacuum Regularly:

Make it a habit to vacuum your stairs at least once a week to remove any accumulated dirt and debris. Pay extra attention to the corners and edges, as these areas tend to collect more dirt and grime.

Use Mats:

Mats at the bottom of the stairs can help trap dirt and moisture. This way, the mats collect the grime before it gets tracked onto the carpet.

Be sure to shake out or vacuum the mats regularly to keep them clean.

Remove Stains:

The longer a stain sits on your carpet, the harder it becomes to remove.

If you spill something on your stairs, act quickly to blot up the liquid and treat the stain before it can set in.

Deep Clean on Occasion:

In addition to regular vacuuming and spot cleaning, it’s a good idea to clean deeper! Consider cleaning your stairs deeper every six to twelve months.

This can help remove any built-up dirt and stains and restore the freshness of your carpet.

These simple maintenance tips can help keep your carpeted stairs looking clean and fresh for years to come.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about DIY Cleaning Carpet Stairs:

Now that we’ve covered step by step HOW to clean your stairs let’s look at some commonly asked questions.

It turns out that sometimes cleaning stairs is not straightforward. It’s very natural to have questions. I’ll try to include them all below, but please let me know what I’ve missed in the comments!

How often should you clean carpeted stairs?

The frequency of cleaning stairs depends on a few things. Consider the level of foot traffic, the presence of pets, and the overall cleanliness of your home.

Here are some general guidelines for how often to clean your carpeted stairs:

For low to moderate foot traffic:

If your stairs see relatively light foot traffic and you keep a clean home, you can probably get away with vacuuming them once a week.

For high foot traffic:

If your stairs are in a high-traffic area or you have kids or pets that spend a lot of time on them, you may need to vacuum them more frequently, perhaps every other day or even daily.

For deep cleaning:

In addition to regular vacuuming, it’s a good idea to deep clean your stairs every six to twelve months. This can help remove any built-up dirt and stains and restore the freshness of your carpet.

Remember, the more you vacuum your stairs, the less dirt and stains will build up over time. This way, it will be easier to keep it cleaner, longer.

How do you clean carpeted stairs with vinegar?

A homemade carpet cleaning solution is great, especially if you have little kids. How do you do it?

Begin by vacuuming the stairs thoroughly to remove any loose dirt and debris. Pay extra attention to the corners and edges, as these areas accumulate more dirt and grime.

Pre-treat carpet stain areas with a spot cleaner if the stairs are heavily soiled or have stubborn stains. Allow the spot cleaner to sit on the stains for at least 10 minutes before proceeding to the next step.

In a separate container, mix equal parts water and white vinegar. You may need to adjust the ratio depending on the severity of the stains. For example, you may want to use more vinegar for tougher stains.

Dip your brushing into the solution. Use a scrub brush or a clean, white cloth.

Scrub the stairs, starting at the top and working your way down, and clean your stair carpet.

Scrub the mixture into the carpet fibers to loosen and lift any dirt and stains.

How can I make my stair carpet fluffy again?

Good news – this is a relatively simple home improvement project that quickly makes your house nicer.

There are a few steps you can take to make your stair carpet look fluffy again:

Vacuum the stairs thoroughly:

Use a vacuum cleaner – regular vacuuming is essential! This helps to remove any dirt and debris that can weigh down the carpet fibers and make them look flat.

Pay extra attention to the corners and edges, as these areas accumulate more dirt and grime.

Use a carpet rake:

A carpet rake has long, flexible tines. A rake helps to fluff up the carpet fibers and lift the nap. Use the rake to brush over the carpet in a back-and-forth motion gently.

Use a steamer:

A steamer can help restore the fluffiness of your carpet. It releases the trapped dirt and oils that can weigh down the fibers.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using the steamer on your stairs.

Use a carpet powder:

Sprinkling carpet powder over your stairs. Then vacuuming it up can help revive the fibers and make the carpet look fluffy again.

Choose a powder that is specifically formulated for use on carpets.

How do you update old carpeted stairs?

Do you feel like your carpeted stairs are beyond repair? There are a few ways you can update old, carpeted stairs the easy way:

Re-carpet the stairs:

This option involves removing and installing the old carpet on the stairs.

You can choose a new color or pattern to give the stairs a fresh, updated look.

Install a runner:

A runner is a narrow strip of carpet. It can be installed on the center of the stairs, covering the treads but exposing the risers.

This can give the stairs a more updated, polished look.

Add a stair tread cover:

Stair tread covers are adhesive-backed carpet squares.

They are applied directly to the treads of the stairs. They come in various colors and styles and can easily be removed or replaced.

Paint the risers:

If you want a more dramatic change, you can paint the risers (the vertical part of the stairs).

Paint them a different color than the treads (the horizontal part of the stairs). This can add a pop of color and update the look of the stairs.

How do you clean carpeted stairs without a vacuum?

Not gonna lie. This can be a bit more challenging. Why? a vacuum is crucial for removing loose dirt and debris from the carpet.

But cleaning your stairs without a vacuum is still possible.

Here’s the trick:

Begin by sweeping the stairs with a broom to remove loose dirt and debris. Pay extra attention to the corners and edges, as these areas accumulate more dirt and grime.

Pre-treat these areas with a spot cleaner if the stairs are heavily soiled or have stubborn stains.

Allow the spot cleaner to sit on the stains for at least 10 minutes, then follow the instructions above.

What’s the best carpet shampoo or cleaning solution?

Some popular carpet shampoos that receive good reviews include:

  • Bissell Deep Clean Premier Pet Full-Size Carpet Cleaner
  • Hoover Power Scrub Elite Pet Upright Carpet Cleaner
  • Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner
  • Scotchgard Oxy Carpet & Fabric Spot & Stain Remover

Let’s Wrap Up

I hope this guide on how to DIY clean carpeted stairs has been helpful. Learning how to clean carpet stairs doesn’t have to be hard!

From gathering the necessary materials to maintaining their cleanliness, I’ve shared tips and tricks to help you achieve professional-level results.

Whether you’re a homeowner looking to save money or just enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done, I hope you’ll find this guide useful.

If you have any additional questions or need further clarification, please leave a comment below.

I’m always happy to help! Let me know if you have any tips or tricks for cleaning that I missed!

 

 

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