How To Clean A Stair Carpet If You Have A Busy House

A stairway carpet adds warmth and colour while also improving safety especially for kids and elderly users. But while stair carpets and runners can add to the aesthetics they can be difficult to maintain. In high traffic areas especially, the carpet becomes dirty and worn out within no time. Things can get even worse if it’s raining or snowing outside.

You could use plastic runners but those are unsightly and you cannot leave them on the carpet for long.

Keeping your stair carpet clean doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. With the right tools and some handy tips, it’s fairly easy work. So let’s start our short guide on how to clean stair carpet.

Tools You’ll Need

Regular Cleaning

If average to high traffic areas, it is recommended you vacuum the carpet daily. This prevents dirt from setting in deep into the fibres where it will be harder to remove and can cause your stair carpet to age faster. If there are only 2 or 3 people using the stairs, you can vacuum it every other day.

Here’s how to do a regular cleaning:

  1. Use a stiff broom or scrubbing brush to loosen dirt on the carpet. Focus especially on the corners where dust and debris tends to pile up. Loosened dirt will be much easier to pick up using a vacuum cleaner.
  2. Use a vacuum to suck up the loosened dirt and debris. Handheld vacuum cleaners are much better for the stairs than traditional vacuums. A compact handheld vacuum cleaner will be easier to carry up and down and twist around to reach all areas. Look for a model that comes with attachments such as a stiff brush and a crevice tool to make cleaning easier and faster.
  3. Check again for any sports or particles you may have missed. If you notice a stain, use a carpet shampoo and water to scrub it away. You can also use a mixture of vinegar, mild detergent and water, allowing them to soak into the stained area before scrubbing.

Monthly Cleaning

A monthly deep clean is necessary to remove any deep-set dirt particles and give your carpet a bright fresh look. I recommend setting aside a couple of hours or so for this. It takes some time especially if you have a long stairway or several stairways.

For the deep clean you’ll need a carpet shampoo and scrub brush.

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Start with a regular cleaning. Loosen up debris and then vacuum it up using a handheld vacuum cleaner. This will make it easier to scrub the carpeting using the shampoo.
  2. Mix water with some carpet shampoo until you achieve a light foam. Some shampoos can also be applied directly on the carpet. Whether you use a shampoo only or a shampoo mixed with water, make sure you have soaked the carpet thoroughly. The shampoo needs to get deep inside the fibres.
  3. Use a brush to give the carpet a thorough scrubbing. This is the toughest and most tedious part of the cleaning. Make sure you scrub every inch of the carpet, going from step to step until you are done. If this sounds too hard, you can also use a steam cleaner or carpet cleaner. But these tend to be bulky and may not be ideal for lugging up and down the stairs.
  4. When you are done with the scrubbing, the carpet will be soaking wet. It needs to dry quickly to prevent mould and bacterial growth. The easiest way to get the water out is using a wet/dry vacuum cleaner. A portable model would be best. If you don’t have one you can also use absorbent towels to get excess water out and then leave the carpeting to air dry for at least 12 hours.


To keep the stair carpet looking great, don’t go for long without vacuuming it. As I mentioned, daily is best if there is heavy traffic. For little to no foot traffic, a couple or so times a week will do. Complement this with a deep clean every month. You might want to invest in a steam cleaner or carpet cleaner to make the monthly cleanings easier and faster.

Finally, clean up stains as quickly as they appear. For oil based and extra-stubborn stains, you may have to get additional cleaning treatments.