7 Carpet Cleaning Misconceptions for DIYers

vacuum chasing man

The internet is full of all kinds of information about carpet cleaning, some of it useful but some can cause more harm than good.  In fact, you can do serious damage to your carpet by falling victim to any of these carpet cleaning misconceptions.

Carpet Cleaning Misconception #1: – You Need Not Clean New Carpet

Dirt and soil particles sink down into the fibers so that even if a carpet looks clean, it may still be dirty.  While it is true that new carpet is designed to hide stains well, that does not change the fact that abrasive soil particles are still at work cutting into the fibers.  Many major carpet manufacturers recommend professional cleaning every 6 – 12 months. These recommendations are made to help extend the life of your carpets and are often included in manufacturer warranties.

Carpet Cleaning Misconception #2: Don’t Vacuum Your Carpet Very Often

Vacuuming the carpet does not harm it, despite what you may have heard. Modern carpeting is manufactured to withstand vacuuming. In fact, vacuuming is one of the best things that you can do to keep your carpet clean. Up to 80% percent of the dirt from your carpet can be extracted simply by vacuuming it.

We suggest you vacuum your carpet at least once a week, or even daily if it is in high traffic areas.

Carpet Cleaning Misconception #3:  Use Vinegar To Clean the Carpet

Many people use vinegar as a more natural method to clean, and may use it on the carpet.  We agree that it has disinfectant qualities, but not the ability to remove stains.  The Journal of Environmental Health tested many natural cleaning products including vinegar, but found vinegar to be the least effective in removing stains.

A common “old wives” remedy for stains is to use baking soda mixed with vinegar.  Not only does it not remove stains, but usually ends up with a paste that is difficult to remove afterwards.  Moreover, despite what some internet sites may recommend, mixing these two can be dangerous.  The mixture may result in peracetic acid – a corrosive chemical that can irritate skin and breathing passages.

Carpet Cleaning Misconception #4: – Use Hair Spray to Clean Your Carpet

Hair spray is manufactured for your hair, not your carpet. Hair spray will invariably leave a sticky residue which will do a very good job of attracting more dirt and contaminants.  Some kinds of hair spray also have additives that can actually can cause permanent damage to your carpet.

Carpet Cleaning Misconception #5: – Water is the Best Method for Cleaning Carpet

It may seem perfectly safe to use water on the carpet.  However, water can sometimes do more harm than good. For one thing, it is very easy to over-wet the carpet, causing moisture to soak into the underpadding and inviting mould.  Even so, if using water on some stains, ink for example, the stain could become a permanent part of your carpet. An acidic stain can be spread by water.

On our website, we have a Home Carpet Stain Removal Guide of DIY remedies for carpet stains, many of which call for dampening a stain can make it easier to remove. Dampening is not wetting.

Carpet Cleaning Misconception #6:  Dish Soap can be Used to Clean Carpet

Please don’t use dish soap on your carpet. Dish soap is very good at removing grease and food from dishes. However, dish soap is easily rinsed off the dishes after they are washed, but carpets cannot be rinsed the same way. For the most part, homeowners that mix dish soap with water and use it on a carpet will soon discover that the stain is worse than before.

Carpet Cleaning Misconception #7: – Ammonia can be Used to Clean Carpet

Ammonia is a high-alkaline solution that is caustic and potentially toxic. In inexperienced hands, it can create fumes that can cause respiratory problems if inhaled.  Conversely, highly acidic cleaners are also corrosive.  Both will potentially cause serious carpet damage.  Please don’t do this.


Home remedies and tips found on the internet, in DIY sites or chat groups, are sometimes effective but as often as not they cause more problems than they are trying to solve.  Some are even toxic.  You paid good money for your beautiful carpet.  Protect that investment by hiring a professional to clean it.