How To Clean Carpet on Stairs With & Without Machines?

Carpeted stairs are beautiful and more functional for a home. But, as time goes by, the carpet will become dirty and require cleaning. You mustn’t leave the carpet unattended for a long time; otherwise, it becomes unsightly. It will also develop an appearance that needs replacement quickly. That can be very embarrassing, especially when you’re hosting guests in your home.

You don’t want to replace it anytime soon or be embarrassed about too dirty carpet. Unfortunately, cleaning the carpet on stairs isn’t the same as cleaning carpets in other areas in the house. It can be quite a challenge, especially if you’re going to do it for the first time.

So, how can you clean the carpet on the stairs? What do you need for the job? We have answered these and other questions below. Keep reading.

How to Clean Carpets on Stairs?

It’s easy to clean carpeted stairs. You just need to know how and have the necessary items. Here’s a summary of what you should do. We will then elaborate on it below.

  • Step One: Stiff Brush – It will help loosen any stubborn dirt and debris embedded into the carpet’s fabrics.
  • Step Two: Vacuum – Next utilize a vacuum cleaner with sufficient suction to suck up the dirt on the stair carpet.
  • Step Three: Shampoo – You need to scrub each stair thoroughly with an appropriate carpet shampoo until it’s clean
  • Step Four: Dry- Use an absorbent towel or carpet cleaner to remove excess water.
  • Step Five: Vacuum – You need to allow the carpet time to dry. Once it’s fully dry, vacuum it one last time.

Step One: Stiff Brush

The first thing you need to do is to get rid of any debris and dirt on your stair carpet using a stiff brush. Using a stiff brush will help you get rid of stubborn dirt deep into the fabrics of the carpet that vacuuming alone won’t remove. Alternatively, you can utilize a special attachment that comes with a vacuum cleaner to remove this tough dirt.

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You should begin working from the top down the stairs. Loosen all the dirt available on each stair and utilize the brush to bring the dirt down the stairs. Once you sweep the dirt to the bottom of the stairs, collect and through it into the dust bin. That will ensure you don’t tramp it back onto the carpet. Stiff brushes also clean hair from your carpets.

Step Two: Vacuum the Stair Carpet

It’s now time to vacuum the stair carpet using a powerful vacuum cleaner. We hope that you already have one. If not, you can buy one online at an affordable price. There are many great vacuum cleaners from reputable brands such as Rug Doctor that you can buy from. The best vacuum cleaner for stairs should be a cordless one.

You can also use a corded vacuum if its cord is long enough. A long cord will help to make the job less inconvenient as you can climb up and down without a problem. The vacuum should also be lightweight so that you don’t struggle to balance yourself on the stairs.

A hand-held vacuum can be your best bet. Remember to clean your stairs from the top as you come down each stair. That way, you won’t trap on the already clean areas.

Step Three: Shampoo the Stairs

You need to shampoo each stair using suitable carpet shampoo. Shampoo the carpet by hand using a scrubbing brush. This step requires a lot of time and patience. So, be ready to give it that. A carpet cleaning machine can be a good alternative if you can afford one. However, it’s not effective in cleaning stairs because of its large size. But, the work can be easier if your machine has special attachments.

Step Four: Vacuum the Stairs to Dry

Once you shampoo the stairs, the next step will be to dry the carpet by removing excess water. If you leave it to dry naturally, it may take weeks. During that time, mold can grow in the carpet and make its condition even worse.

Thus, you should utilize a wet/dry vacuum cleaner to dry your carpet. You can also utilize absorbent materials such as cloths or towels to soak up the excess water. However, using a machine is quicker and more effective.

Step Five: Vacuum the Last Time

Once the carpet is free from any access water, then the last step should be to vacuum it. Before you can vacuum your carpeted stairs for the last time, you should leave it overnight to complete drying naturally. When the carpet is fully dry, vacuum it for the last time. That should freshen it and get rid of any debris. At this point, your stair carpet should be looking new.

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How to Clean Your Stairs Carpet without Machines?

It’s good if you can afford a carpet cleaning machine or wet/dry vacuum cleaner. However, you can still clean your carpet stairs even if you don’t have these machines at the moment. You can use homemade cleaning products such as vinegar, laundry detergents, and baking soda.

How to Clean Carpeted Stairs using Vinegar?

What you need:

  • Three-quarter cup white vinegar
  • Warm water
  • A bucket
  • Scrub brush
  • Dry towel
  • Knee pads

Fill the bucket with a quarter cup of white vinegar and one gallon of water. Dip the scrub brush into the solution and start scrubbing from the top of the stairs down. Brush each step using the solution. Scrub the solution into each stair in a circular, horizontal, and vertical motion. Ensure you use the mixture sparingly so that your carpet doesn’t soak in water.

Scrub down the stairs. Once you have done that, empty your bucket and replace the solution with fresh tap water. Dip the dry towel into the bucket, wring and wipe down the carpeted stairs with it. Ensure you wring the towel completely.

How to Clean Stairs Carpet with Laundry Detergent?

Laundry detergents can also work great on carpet cleaning. If you have some in the house already, you can clean your carpet stairs with them.

What you’ll need:

  • A quarter-cup of laundry liquid detergent
  • Warm water
  • Bucket
  • Stiff cleaning brush
  • Dry towel
  • Knee pads

Fill the bucket with about one gallon of warmth. Pour in a quarter-cup of liquid laundry detergent. Ensure you use the correct detergent amount to prevent the formation of too much foam. Dip your cleaning brush into the solution and start working on it on the first step. Begin at the top down the stairs. Work the brush in circular motions to eliminate any stubborn stains within the carpet’s fibers.

How to Clean with Baking Soda?

Baking soda is a natural and cheap product that can help you clean your stairs carpet. It can brighten it by getting rid of tough stains and odors.

What you’ll need:

  • A quarter-cup of baking soda
  • Warm water
  • Spray bottle
  • Knee pads

Measure a quarter-cup of baking soda and mix it with warm water in one full spray bottle. You also need to ensure you utilize the right amount of the substance. Use the spray bottle to mist the solution onto each stair. Spray from the top of the stairs down. Allow some time for the solution to soak up any lingering dirt and odors.

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Vacuuming and Cleaning Your Stairs Carpet – How Often?

How often you vacuum or clean your stairs carpet should depend on the amount of traffic that the carpet gets. Ideally, you should vacuum it at least once every week. If your home has pets and children, you may need to vacuum more often – possibly daily.

Cleaning your carpet should also be done regularly. We recommend that you do it at least once every three months. However, remember that how regular you need to clean your carpet majorly depends on the size of your household. If your family is big, then chances are that the carpet is receiving a lot of traffic. Generally, clean your carpet as soon as you start seeing some stains.

How Long Until You Can Walk on Your Stairs After Cleaning Them?

Once you clean your stairs carpet, you may be wondering when you can comfortably start walking on it. Of course, you need to allow it time to dry completely. So, how long should this be?

Well, if you used a carpet cleaner machine, your stairs should be ready for use in 15 to 20 minutes. But, if you cleaned manually using the steps we described above, drying might take longer depending on how wet the carpet became. For that reason, you should ensure you use water or solution sparingly so that you don’t soak the carpet.


The above are the simple steps you should use to clean your carpet on stairs. If you’re using machines, the work will be easy and quick. But, if you don’t have them, you can still clean the carpet manually, which will take longer. For manual cleaning, ensure you follow the steps well. Use the correct amount of cleaning substances. Also, use the right amount of solution to ensure the carpet doesn’t take forever to dry completely.