How to Clean Your Stair Carpet in 5 Simple Steps

Living in a house with a staircase is quite fancy until you’re faced with the task of cleaning it and the carpet. Carpeted stairs generally get dirty after a very short period because it tends to be a high traffic area. 

You’re supposed to clean your stairs regularly to avoid dirt from getting compressed into the carpet and making it look grubby. 

What you really need to know is how you can go about the cleaning in a simple manner that won’t take too much of your time. In this article, I am going to show how to clean your stair carpet in 5 simple steps.

Before we begin our cleaning exercise, here is a list of all the tools that you require to get started and why:

  • A stiff brush – This will help you get into the corners and loosen any debris that may have accumulated there. A hand brush is easy to use too.
  • A cordless handheld vacuum – With decent suction this can make the cleaning much easier, whether you do a more in depth clean or a quick tidy up. 
  • Foam cleaner – This is easy to use and will dry within an hour
  • Carpet cleaner – For a deeper clean for ingrained stains on the carpet. A machine can be helpful, if more expensive.
  • Scrubbing brush – You can use this to scrub in the foam cleaner although some come with a brush attachment. A cheap plastic one is perfect.

5 Cleaning Steps

Below are the steps to follow arranged in order from the first to the last.

1.  Get into the corners by stiff brushing

Your first step will be to get rid of ingrained dirt that’s managed to get into the pile of the carpet. You’re also going to tackle the dirt that manages to tuck itself along the edges of the stairs. 

Making use of a stiff brush (one that has stiff bristles) will help you achieve this. It’s an extra step that you wouldn’t do every time you clean the stairs but maybe once a month to keep hidden dirt at bay. 

You can use a special vacuum attachment that helps remove dirt from the edges of the carpet but sometimes you just have to get in there with a bit of elbow grease.

Work from the top and move down. This is because once you are done with one step, you will brush the debris down to the step below or vacuum it, whichever is easier for you.

2. A cordless handheld vacuum cleaner.

Using a powerful cordless vacuum cleaner will help you whisk the loosened dirt off your carpet. We recommend this kind of vacuum cleaner because it is light and easy to manage when you have to go up and down stairs. 

The problem with a standard vacuum is the bulky size which doesn’t sit well on the steps and can be quite heavy.  Although other vacuums like hand-held ones are a good choice. They can help you achieve the desired outcome, but it’s a shame to buy one specifically for the stairs.

You could choose a cordless stick vacuum which can convert to hand-held for this job and be used elsewhere. The main point is they are lightweight, easy to use and will not leave you trying so hard to keep your balance on your stairs. You don’t want to end up risking a fall.

3. Tackle Stains

This isn’t the normal dirt buildup on your carpets but specific stains that stick out like a sore thumb. Usually from something brought in on shoes from outside that won’t rub off. There are many sites giving tips on removing stains( I’m no expert), but I like this one which uses items you will probably have in your home. I like the fact it uses steam from an iron and natural products but is surprisingly effective.

4. Clean the carpet.

For this, foam shampoo is the easiest and quickest to do. If you have kids who are likely to be running up and downstairs when they’re home, using a foam cleaner while they’re out makes more sense.

After you’ve done the previous steps, spray the foam on the stairs. Use your scrubbing brush to get it into the dirtiest areas where your family walk the most. If the foam comes with a brush attachment you can use that if you find it easier. Leave it to dry. It can take anywhere up to an hour.

If you already own a small carpet cleaner that you can use on stairs, then follow the instructions for using. You will need the appropriate shampoo. With this type of cleaner it does take longer to dry out the carpet, so you may not be able to finish all of the steps until the next day.

If it seems really damp when you’re finished sucking the water off it with the cleaner, you may need to use a towel to try and take some of the excess water out.

If you don’t have a machine, you could use carpet shampoo and water. Using a cloth or your scrubbing brush to clean each step. You have to be careful to not get the carpet too wet so I would probably use a cloth that has been well squeezed. Again use a dry towel to get the excess water out and then allow the carpet to dry overnight.

5. Vacuum the stairs for the final time.

With the foam cleaner, vacuum when it’s dry. You should have a clean looking carpet and with the scrubbing it tends to lift the pile which makes it look better too.

If you used a cleaner you can do a final vacuum after allowing your carpet to dry (overnight). This will leave you with clean, refreshed, nice smelling, carpeted stairs. As for any visible parts that are not carpeted and the bannisters use a clean damp cloth to wipe them down and remove any dust and finger marks.

How often should you do this?

I call this a deep clean, so I would only do this once a month. Although you should deal with any dirty spots as soon as you can.

Vacuum your stairs on a weekly basis for maintenance or more often if you feel it needs it.

Make it a routine and you can keep your carpet looking like new.

To help keep your stairs clean, get the family into the habit of removing their shoes at the door. If they wear slippers they will need to keep them for indoors only as they can quite easily track dirt in from outside even if you’re just stepping into the garden.

Using a mat at the bottom of the stairs to catch dirt is another way of keeping your carpet a bit cleaner.

Keeping the stair carpet looking clean is a thankless task and there’s a good chance that no-one else will notice. But you know and we know, it’s worth it to keep our carpets looking like new.