Cleaning Carpet on Stairs for Dummies

carpet on stairs

Carpeting on stairs requires regular maintenance to look its best. Luckily, there are many different ways to keep the carpet on your stairs clean. Stairs tend to be located in high-traffic areas, and their shape can be awkward for many cleaning tools. These tips will help you keep the carpet on your staircase looking its best for many years to come.



Vacuuming is your first line of defense when it comes to keeping your carpet clean. The more often you vacuum, the less often you’ll need to spot treat and have the stairs professionally cleaned. To vacuum the stairs, you’ll want a lightweight vacuum cleaner that can easily be held in one hand, so that the other hand can manipulate the brush attachment.

  • How Often: Weekly
  • Tools: Hand-held portable vacuum, brush attachment
  • Process: Start at the base of the stairs and move upward, vacuuming as you go. Use the brush attachment to clean in the corners where the top of one step meets the bottom of the next step.


Spot Treating

Spots happen–especially in homes with small children. Keep a good spot treatment carpet cleaner on hand, and clean spots as they occur.

  • How Often: As Needed
  • Tools: Carpet cleaner, rag
  • Process: To spot treat your carpet, start by vacuuming the affected area. Then follow manufacturer’s instructions provided on the back of your cleaning product of choice.


Professional Cleaners

Many homeowners clean their own carpets with rental equipment available at home improvement centers. However, these carpet-cleaning units are too large and awkward to clean carpet on stairs. If you’re unable to safely use the rental equipment on your stairs, consider getting your staircase professionally cleaned.

  • How Often: Once per year
  • Process: For best results, find a professional carpet cleaner you can trust. Typing the name of your town and key words like “carpet cleaning services” into a web browser is sure to lead you to a number of companies. Narrow down your search with websites like Angie’s List and Yelp. These services provide online company reviews and star ratings, to help consumers pick those companies that treat customers well. The Better Business Bureau is another excellent resource for consumers searching for a reputable company. The BBB can tell you how many complaints have been filed against a company, and how that company handled those complaints.


Additional Tips

A rigorous cleaning schedule is just one way that homeowners keep their carpeted stairs looking its best. There are actually a variety of different ways to maintain your carpet.

  • Buy clear vinyl runner mats. It’s not the coolest thing in the world, but parents with small children and pet owners may consider installing clear vinyl runner mats on their staircase. Vinyl runners can preserve carpet on stairs, and can always be removed at a later time.
  • Scotch guard. Scotch guard is a chemical repellant that makes carpet easier to clean and more resistant to dirt and stains. Many professional carpet cleaners provide scotch-guarding services. Some services can be pricey, but many homeowners find the cost to be worthwhile when they take into account the hassle of cleaning the stairs.
  • Buy easy-to-clean carpet in a practical color. Closed loop carpets like are often easier to maintain than cut piles that accumulate dirt more easily. In addition, practical colors like beige and light gray show dirt far less than light colors like white, light blue or cream.


If you’d like more advice for maintaining your carpet, visit the carpet tips and tricks section of our blog. You’re going to find lots of information that will help you keep your carpet in top condition!

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