Steam cleaning your carpets – tips and tricks to get more of your deposit back

As part of our series on end-of-tenancy cleaning tips, this week we present a few tips and tricks that tenants can use to clean your carpets at the end of their lease, or that landlords with a bit of the old DIY in them can use after a less attentive tenant moves out.

First, DIY end of tenancy cleaning really does mean steam cleaning. Steaming (or as it is sometimes called: carpet shampooing) means hiring your favourite brand of cleaning machine and buying an approved cleaning solution, and really giving those carpets a deep clean. It won’t make an old, worn carpet look as good as new, but it will get out all but the worst stains, and even they will usually look nowhere near as bad.

  1. Vacuum thoroughly before steaming. Steam cleaners are not very good at getting out the kind of dirt vacuums are designed to, so vacuum then steam.
  2. Move the furniture out. You’ll be doing this eventually anyway. Clean the carpets last, so you can get to every spot and you won’t track more dirt in later.
  3. Dust all of the surfaces you’ve just uncovered, including the tops of the skirting boards. Trust me, they probably need it, and you don’t want to get that yuck on your nice clean carpets!
  4. Spot treat visible stains before steaming. You’ll have much better and longer lasting results this way.
  5. Test the steamer somewhere out of the way before doing the whole floor. There is a small chance that it will damage or discolour the carpet, and you want to try it in a closet or other small, inconspicuous area first.
  6. Use the right cleaning fluid. If your steam cleaner has a recommended product, use that. Otherwise, go over the carpet once with a mixture of an oil-based product like Castile soap, at one tablespoon per litre of nearly-boiling water.
  7. Make sure to extract as much of the water as possible. The water left in the carpets and padding will itself be pretty filthy (as you will see when you dump it out). Getting as much out before the rinse stage will make it that much cleaner in the end.
  8. Now, perform a rinse. Unless your machine’s instructions say not to, go over the carpet again with hot water and white vinegar in equal measure. This second go removes the last of the soap, and quite a bit of any remaining odours.

Of course, nothing can guarantee a good result if you’ve really abused your carpets, but these tips should at least help. Steam clean at least once a year for the best results!