Cleaning a carpet can be a murky job. Wine stains, pet fluff, unidentified hard blobs of food… it doesn’t take much to turn a lovely springy and spotless carpet into a grubby old rug.

But with a little bit of TLC, you can keep your carpets looking fresher for longer and it needn’t cost the earth either.

We try seven budget-friendly tips to maintain a lovely carpet…

1. Always treat stains immediately

Although it’s tempting to scrub away, remember to blot any spillages rather than rub them into the carpet. “Make sure you get on it quickly before the stain settles into the fibres,” explains Charles Coombs, national flooring controller at sofa and carpet specialist ScS.

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“To clean red wine spillages, use white wine and rinse with warm water. Make sure you dab, don’t scrub at a stain,” he adds. The one exception to this is muddy marks which Charles recommends leaving until they’re dry before brushing them away.

2. Be careful with what you use to treat stains

Make sure you use a white or neutral-hued cloth or kitchen towels to dab your stain as vibrant tea towels may transfer their colour onto the carpet, effectively doubling your problem. Try to keep as much of your carpet as dry as possible while you do this, perhaps using a hairdryer on a mild setting on the stain.

3. Cheap fixes

As for other stains, Charles suggests looking at what you already have in the house. “If you drop nail varnish, apply a diluted acetone or nail varnish remover and washing-up liquid to the damaged area,” he says.

“Ink, on the other hand, is best tackled with alcohol-based hairspray and blotted with a damp cloth.”

4. Vacuum regularly and properly

Hoovering your carpets regularly will help preserve them. While you’re there, make sure you vacuum in both directions to ensure any pesky dust is gone. And if you’re in the midst of a spring clean, dust your surfaces, clean your walls, change your sheets, dust the blinds and window sills and do any other cleaning chores before you get your hoover out. Otherwise you’ll only have to vacuum again.

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5. Go slow

While it’s natural to want to get your hoovering done as quickly as possible, going slowly cuts down on time in the long run because it means you will give your machine chance to suck up all those nasties in your floor.  

6. Don’t cut any corners

Although you don’t need to do this every time, it’s good practice to clean corners with a nozzle attachment if you have wall-to-wall carpets because this is often where dust collects.

7. Make an appointment with the doctor…

That’s the Rug Doctor or a similar carpet cleaning rental service. Deep cleaning your carpet a few times a year, especially after big occasions like Christmas, can help lift stubborn stains and ensure your carpet stays nicer for longer. If you do hire a machine, hoover first for best results as this will help shift the dust before the cleaner does its work.

What are your best budget cleaning tips? Share your advice in the Comments section below.