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Cleaning Carpet on Stairs

Carpet is one of the most used types of flooring in most homes and usually stairs are installed with carpet on them. In this article we’ll look at the most effective way to cleaning carpet on stairs. There are a series of steps that explain the necessary measures to take when cleaning your stairs. While the stairs may not be the easiest area of the house to clean this article should hopefully help you with that problem going forward.

Use A Medium Hard Brush

The first thing you’ll want to do when cleaning carpet on stairs is to use a medium hard brush. Typically the brush can be an accessory of a vacuum or can be a standalone brush but it’s important to use a medium hard brush with very dense bristles.

By using a medium hard brush this allows dirt and debris that may be stuck in the carpet to break up easier making the initial clean a lot easier in the long run. When brushing you’ll typically want to work your way from the top stair down to the bottom. Make sure the carpet is thoroughly brushed and any debris isn’t left behind and stuck to the stairs.

Vacuum The Stairs

After you brush the stairs you’ll next want to vacuum just to make sure any excess dirt left behind is now swept up. By doing this you’ll be able to get the majority of the dirt that was either loose or simply missed from the brushing.

cordless vacuums are great for cleaning carpet on stairs

Cordless vacuums are great for cleaning carpet on stairs


I’d recommend either a lightweight vacuum or a hand held as either one will help with navigation. You can also use a hose attachment on a vacuum which can be useful but it’ll typically be limited to sucking up smaller portions of dirt in the carpet. For a better overall approach to vacuuming the stairs I’d recommend just using some sort of regular vacuum rather than an attachment.

Shampoo The Stairs

Shampooing the carpet is a crucial step after you finish vacuuming. In order to properly add the shampoo to the carpet you’ll want to work it into the carpet with a scrubbing brush but different from the one you used when you were first getting the dirt and debris loose.

There are ways to shampoo the carpet without having to use a scrubbing brush such as cleaning machines but they aren’t always recommended since they have issues with working on stairs. Be sure not to over shampoo and wet the carpet.  Give the carpet a thorough scrubbing and don’t miss any areas. Shampoo the carpet on the stairs at least once a year so that the carpet doesn’t end up looking ragged.

Rinse And Wet Vacuum

Once the stairs are shampooed you’ll want to rinse and wet vacuum the stairs. Wet vacuuming the stairs not only makes the carpet completely dry but also removes the shampoo, dirt or impurities making the carpet feel new again.

Let The Stairs Dry

Drying the stairs is one of the most important steps you don’t want to gloss over. Once you’re done shampooing and rinsing the carpet will then have a lot of water and moisture in it so you’ll want to dry it as soon as possible. To get rid of the residue rinse and wet vacuum the stairs again and make sure you get to all the areas so that no excess water is left behind.

fans can be used for drying stairs

Fans can be used for drying stairs

Any excess water left behind can cause not only damage to the stairs but can become an area where mold and bacteria can form leading to longer lasting problems. After you wet vacuum the carpet on sunny days the carpet will dry naturally in at least two days. You can even use box fans, heaters and open the windows in order to dry the carpet as well.

I’d recommend vacuuming the stairs at least once a fortnight especially if there is a lot of traffic occurring on the stairs.  Depending on how often the stairs are used you may find yourself having to vacuum more often than not.


You’ll want to start cleaning the carpet on your stairs with a medium hard brush. The bristles on the brush should be very dense as this will be vital for getting dirt and debris up and out of the carpet. After you use a medium hard brush vacuum the carpet so the broken up dirt can be swept up easily. I’d recommend either a lightweight vacuum or a hand held vacuum.

Once you’re done vacuuming it’s time to shampoo and rinse the carpet. Use a scrubbing brush though make sure it’s different from the brush before in order to really get the shampoo into the carpet. This can be done yearly to keep up the carpet’s appearance and make it look like new again.

Dry the carpet with a wet vacuum with a combination of a box fan, heater, open windows or naturally letting it dry in the sun. If you don’t dry the carpet at all this can lead to the growth of mold and bacteria.

Last but not least vacuum the stairs again once the carpet is dry. Vacuuming the stairs should be performed on a fortnightly basis but vacuuming may occur more often given how used the stairs are in a given week.


Hopefully this article was able to give you some insight into how to go about cleaning carpet on stairs. With how much carpet affects us in our homes as it may be the only kind of flooring available it’s important to keep up its appearance.

While stairs may not be easy to clean given how there’s not much surface area to work with using the tips and tricks in this article should help you. The thing to keep in mind is that you should follow this list in order as it will provide the best results.

Sammy Dolan is the author and owner of the blog at Home Clean Expert. He is currently in the process of juggling home renovation, working and coming up with new ways of making life exciting for his family.

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