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Your carpet needs a deep clean—here's what you should know

Hire, rent, or DIY?

Man cleaning blue carpet Credit: Getty Images / AndreyPopov

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Summer is upon us, and if you haven’t already it's time to give your carpets a deep clean. All winter and spring you’ve tracked in salt and mud on your boots, you’ve spilled snacks while binge watching, and your pets and kids have been cooped up inside making messes.

Deep cleaning your carpets takes more than just a run-of-the-mill vacuum. You need to get detergent involved to lift set-in stains, and to do so, you have three options: hire someone, rent equipment, or buy a carpet cleaner.

Hiring and renting is a waste

It's time for a deep clean if your carpets are looking dingy.

Carpet cleaners, which are different from vacuums, are a great tool to lap up stains and detergents.

If you own your home and it has plenty of carpets, getting a carpet cleaner is a good investment. Based on our testing, we like the Hoover Smart Wash.

Instead of buying a carpet cleaner, you can also rent one for a fraction of the cost, about $50 a day. But, this option comes with headaches of its own. Rental carpet cleaners share a lot in common with laundromat washers, as in, they’re built for sturdiness rather than performance. Also, since it's a cleaning tool, you know the product you are renting has touched other people's messes—and you don't know what it was. Insert terrifying nightmares here.

However, hiring someone to clean your carpets can be expensive. Poking around online, I’ve found plenty of ads that proclaim cheap prices, like $99 to clean three rooms. However, a reading of the fine print reveals that the deal is only up to 450 square feet—a quarter of a house at best. This is a typical tactic for too-good-to-be-true ads. The ad says $99, but you're really looking at a $300 to $400 bill.

That $99 cleaning service deal would cost you $300 to $400, at least.

Deep cleaning your carpet yourself gives you more control

When you clean your own carpets, you know exactly what you’re bringing into your home and what you’re applying to your floors. We’ve tested tons of carpet stain removers, and products can range from those specializing in removing pet stains to eco-friendly detergents that are derived from plants.

Speaking of stains, here’s the best way to clean them

Woman cleaning carpet
Credit: Getty Images / Anatoli Igolkin

The faster you start treating a stain, the better.

We’ve got a great comprehensive guide on how to get everything from red wine to grease out of your carpet. However, there are some general rules you should follow.

The first is to treat the stain as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more set in it becomes. Most stains can be at least partially treated by applying salt, which helps soak up moisture and keeps it from spreading.

After this, you can blot the stain with the cleaner of your choice.

How often should you deep clean your carpets?

Bissell recommends that you deep clean your carpets twice a year, and we agree. We suggest after fall and then again after winter.

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