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Cleaning your carpet is hard enough. If you have carpeted stairs? Good luck. That is, unless you know the best way to clean carpet on stairs. In fact, there are a handful of different methods, tools, and techniques you can use to make it a lot faster and easier. We’ll go over everything you need to know to keep your stairs looking great, with as little hassle as possible.

Best Way to Clean Carpet on Stairs

Ready to get started? Here’s what you need to know:

Prepare your stairs

Don’t try to clean carpeted stairs without getting the easier gunk off. It’s true you can get everything out of carpet with a vacuum or brush alone. However, you can save yourself a lot of time and effort in the long run if you use them first. Begin by vacuuming your stairs to get any loose debris out. If you have caked on messes, like mud, use a fabric or upholstery brush. Take the brush and gently but firmly scrub the mess. 

While it may not eliminate all the mess, it will make it easier to get out of your carpet. If you’re dealing with thick, set in messes, don’t stop at the brush. Vacuuming after you brush scrub the mess loose prevents another mess later. 

Using a broom to Clean Carpeted Stairs

Do a deep clean

There are a couple ways to do the next step. Which method you choose really depends on your preference, stairs, and needs. For those heavy, set in messes, it might take a full shampoo to get rid of any residue or stains. However, if your stairs have only light to moderate mess, a single steam cleaning might do the job. Steam cleaning is a great option for households with allergy sufferers, and for eliminating mildew, bacteria, and other germs.

In some cases, you might need to do both. However, the right tools can make all the difference. If steam cleaning is the best fit, you can purchase or rent a carpet steam cleaner. If your carpets need to be steam cleaned regularly, a steamer may end up being the better investment. 

The other route you can take is shampooing your carpeted stairs. This does require a little elbow grease on your part. That said, in many cases it’s the best way to get really tough, set in messes out of your carpet. 

If you shampoo your stairs

Here are some things to keep in mind if you need to shampoo your stairs:

You’ll need a lot of towels. Depending on how many stairs you have, and how much carpet, you might need to have several on hand. You’ll work the carpet shampoo into your stairs, often using a brush (although that also depends on manufacturer instructions). Work the shampoo into the carpet over an entire step. Then, use one of your extra towels to soak up extra moisture left behind. After that, it’s on to the next step. 

No matter what, you’ll have to let your carpet dry after a good shampoo. However, if you don’t dry them out, you might be left with long term consequences like mildew or mold. 

Finishing steps

As we mentioned, you need to let your carpets dry out. That’s a fact, whether you steam them, shampoo them, or both. Giving them a break for around 12 hours is often enough, but don’t step on them if they still feel wet. You can direct a fan at your carpeted stairs to speed up the process a bit if they’re a high traffic area. 

We recommend planning out your cleaning process so that when you finish, the stairs can dry overnight. 

For your last step, you’re right back at the beginning. Because steaming and shampooing loosen set in dirt and messes, some of that might still remain near the surface. Vacuum it up, and you’re done. 

Cleaned carpeted stairs


As you now know, cleaning carpeted stairs isn’t that hard. You just need to know what to do, and which tools to have on hand. 

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