≡ Menu

How to Get Dirt out of Carpet: 7 Tips to Make it Easier

Do you slip your shoes off when you get home and leave them at the front door? If so, you join people in many parts of the world where removing your shoes before entering your or another person’s home is an unwritten social custom.

Visit a friend in Japan, and you may receive a pair of special guest slippers at the front door.

Offering socks or slippers to houseguests is one thing but can you imagine handing them to guests who visit your workplace? Things might get a bit awkward.

If keeping the carpets clean in your office is a challenge, we have solutions! No need to make people feel uncomfortable if they don’t like taking their shoes off in public. Instead, prepare in advance and learn how to get rid of dirt on the carpet.

Try these 7 tips and make dirt easier to remove from the carpets in your home or business.

1. Banish Dirt from Outside

Aside from social customs, there’s a practical reason people don’t want outside dirt inside their homes or work areas.

For people who enjoy the look and feel of carpet, dirt can ruin the experience and the appearance. When dirt comes in on shoes, it gets ground into carpet fibers. Imagine the damage if someone steps in an oily substance, or even worse, chewing gum.

When you enforce a no-shoes-indoors rule, you protect your carpet from damage caused by dirt and stains. Since you can’t always require people to remove shoes, try doormats.

At home, provide an indoor mat for shoes and encourage your family members to use it. This sets a good example for guests.

At the office, place mats and runners at entrances. Mats absorb most of the water, mud, and debris people track in from the parking lot.

Keep a broom handy at home and work so that you can sweep dirt away before it gets ground into mats.

2. Beware of Doormat Dirt

Take banishment of outside dirt to the next level. A broom works well for sweeping loose dirt from doormats but also consider a regular cleaning as well.

Outside Mats

Lift outside mats up and sweep underneath. Using a sturdy broom, whisk dirt and small particles of trash from mats. If necessary, spray them down with a hose.

Interior Mats

Check the care label on your inside mats and if you can throw them in the washer periodically. Wash on the gentle cycle and use a low dryer setting. If you can’t wash, at least vacuum the front and back of the rug.

Clean doormats once a week, or more often if needed. Make sure you include mat cleaning in the contract with your office janitorial service.

3. Learn to Enjoy Vacuuming

A good quality vacuum cleaner is your first defense against dirt. Even if you have an office cleaning service, you may need to vacuum in between their service visits.

Vacuuming with the rotating brush on your vacuum cleaner removes grit from your carpets. The brush, also called a beater bar, agitates the carpet fibers and helps loosen soil stuck deep in the pile. There is a caveat!

Don’t use a rotating brush on wool, looped, or frieze (shag) styles of carpets. Vacuuming looped carpets such as Berber may loosen the fibers giving the carpet a fuzzy appearance. The long strands of fiber common with frieze style carpets can easily get tangled up in the vacuum cleaner brush.

Instead, use the small brush attachment, or a vacuum that lets you turn off the beater bar.

Don’t wait for carpets to look dirty before you vacuum. Once they look soiled, dirt is already set in and you may need a deep clean. Carpets in high traffic areas such as hallways and entryways may need more TLC than those in other areas of your home or office.

Many people who own wool or other specialty carpets prefer calling professionals like the team at Safe-Dry. Professional carpet cleaners understand what works best on these types of carpet fibers.

4. Don’t Dig and Scoop

If you have carpet, you’ve likely already experienced spills. What about solids?

If you have carpeting in an eating area or a place where you socialize with guests, it’s inevitable—someone will drop food on the rug. For people with pets, you run the risk of animals leaving their mark on carpets.

Whatever you do, don’t dig or scoop solids on the carpet. If there’s a stain under the solid, digging only works the stain further into the carpet. Instead, use a dull knife (or spoon) and gently scrape the solid to the middle of the spill and into a towel.

Now, you can treat the stain.

5. Use Water First

Did you know plain old tap water works for most stains?

Start with a clean, dry, white cloth. Press the cloth over the stain and absorb the spill.

Once you absorb the spill, use a gentle hand and work water into the stain. Use a dry cloth and blot the stain. Always blot from the outer edge of the stain toward the center. This helps avoid spreading the stain.

For stubborn stains, mix detergent in a spray bottle with hot water and lightly mist the soiled area. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes and then clean with your cloth.

6. DIY Carpet Cleaning Solutions

For those stains that resist the water treatment, you’ll find a variety of DIY stain removers.

If the stain is a non-oily stain, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on it and then spray with hot water. Let the mixture sit for about 3 hours and then vacuum.

Everyone dreads greasy stains because they require a different approach.

Blot the stain first with a rag or paper towel until you absorb as much grease as possible. Use the baking soda treatment discussed above but let it sit overnight. After vacuuming if the stain remains, you can apply a small amount of detergent and blot, then remove the residue with water and a towel.

For wine or colored juice stains, try applying plain club soda. Club soda also works on some grease stains.

Before using anything other than water on the carpet, always apply a solution to a test area in an inconspicuous area.

7. Let Carpets Dry Completely

When you’re thinking about how to get dirt out of carpet, don’t forget to protect your clean carpets from new dirt and stains.

This starts by making sure carpets dry completely. Wet carpet doesn’t only feel soggy on your feet, it creates an ideal environment for mold. It also attracts dirt from your feet or shoes.

After you finish cleaning carpets, open the windows. Set up fans and/or a dehumidifier. If you have AC, turn it on and set between 72-78 degrees.

These actions help remove excess moisture from the air and help carpets dry faster.

Avoid walking on wet carpets and don’t put the furniture back on them until completely dry.

Final Thoughts on How to Get Dirt Out of Carpet

Carpets not only protect your feet from hard floors, but they also add a finishing touch to your home or workspace. If you follow our tips on how to get dirt out of carpets, you should get many years of enjoyment from your wall-to-carpeting and area rugs.

Start with the highest quality vacuum cleaner you can afford, keep outside dirt outside, deal with stains and spills immediately, and use the correct cleaning solutions based on the type of stain and carpet fiber.

Finally, don’t be afraid to call in the professionals for stains you can’t handle on your own.

If you found this article helpful, check out our archives for a wide range of business articles.