The industry recommendation is to have your carpet cleaned about twice a year. But your mileage may vary.
If you have six kids, three Rottweilers and a stray cat that sneaks inside and pees in your houseplants, you may need to have your carpet cleaned more often.
If you’re a single retiree with no pets, you could, in theory, go years between cleanings.
No matter your situation, the best thing you can do is enforce a strict “no shoes” rule and vacuum your carpet several times each week. In fact, many carpet manufacturers recommend daily vacuuming, although I can’t imagine many people actually doing that.
Studies show our shoes track all kinds of junk into our homes, including toxic metals like lead and mercury. It’s important to take them off as soon as you walk inside to keep such contamination outside where it belongs. If you need to wear shoes for comfort, keep a pair for indoor use only.
And vacuuming is important because it removes fine, gritty dirt particles that grind away at your carpet like sandpaper.
But you’ll still need some sort of occasional “wet cleaning”, whether you hire a pro or do it yourself. The reason why is due to the type of soil that builds up in carpet. It’s quite unique.
It’s greasy, fatty and sticky because it mixes with substances from indoor cooking, dead skin cells, pet dander and all sorts of yucky stuff. Unfortunately, vacuums can’t remove this type of soil.
Therefore, “wet cleaning” is necessary because, when done properly, it removes sticky, oily soil.
People often ask me if carpet can be cleaned too much. I suppose that could be true, but it would takes dozens and dozens of cleanings over the course of years, and carpet is really only intended to last about a decade. With that in mind, I can’t imagine someone having their carpet cleaned so much it didn’t last as long as it’s supposed to.
And if you’re having it cleaned that much, whatever you’re doing to it to require that much cleaning would probably be far worse than the cleaning.
Which is a roundabout way for me to say no, I don’t think you can have your carpet cleaned too much.
Years ago, I had a customer whose carpet I cleaned once a month. On the last Thursday of every month, I’d drive to her home in Sheridan and clean up after her pack of basset hounds. Believe me, the dogs were far more damaging to that carpet than my cleaning. In fact, due to the frequent cleanings, that carpet lasted much longer than it should have.
I guess the best piece of advice I can give, then, is to use common sense. Generally speaking, if you wait until your carpet looks like it needs to be cleaned, you probably waited too long. I’d have it cleaned once or twice a year at a minimum, unless you have a big, messy family.
In that case, you might have to clean it quarterly or more. But I wouldn’t worry about cleaning it “too much”. Since carpet isn’t supposed to last forever anyway, I honestly don’t think you can go overboard.
Of course, there’s the persistent thought that you should wait as long as possible to have new carpet cleaned. I understand the thinking, because it seems like it’s never the same after that first cleaning.
But that’s still not an excuse because I can reapply carpet protector, which totally fixes that problem. And, again, if you wait until it looks like it needs to be cleaned, it might already be damaged. That’s a risk I wouldn’t want to take with new, expensive carpet.