How Often Should I Clean?

Question: How often should I get my carpets cleaned?

Answer: Frequently used carpet should be professionally cleaned by a qualified technician at least annually – perhaps a little longer interval for infrequently used carpet and even sooner for carpet in homes occupied by respiratory sensitive or allergic persons; or in homes with indoor pets.

The following chart from the IICRC S100 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Carpet Cleaning serves as a guideline for recommending cleaning frequencies for carpet. They consider traffic, soil rating, vacuuming schedules, spot cleaning schedules, and professional interim and restorative cleaning.

Residential Carpet Cleaning Frequency Chart


Traffic Soil Rating

Carpet Owner/Maintainer Professional Carpet Cleaner/Restorer
Vacuuming Spot Cleaning Heavy-Use Area Cleaning Restorative Cleaning
Light Soil 1x per week Daily or as soon as spots are noticed Traffic areas every 12 to 18 months Every 2 years or per manufacturer warranty
Normal Soil
(families with children, elderly)
1 to 2 x per week Daily or as soon as spots are noticed Traffic areas every
6 to 12 months
Heavy Soil (families with pets, smoking) 2 to 4 x per week Daily or as soon as spots are noticed Traffic areas every
3 to 6 months
Semi-annually (2x annually)
Extreme Conditions (large families, multiple pets) Daily Daily or as soon as spots are noticed Traffic lanes every
2 to 3 months
Quarterly (4x annually)

Let’s look at it a different way.  Not only does your climate and environment have an impact on dust accumulation, health and wellness of a building, so too does the use of the building.  According to the IICRC Standard Referenced Guide for Cleaning, 1991, cleaning should be scheduled and modified with those factors as well.


IICRC RECOMMENDED CLEANING FREQUENCY GUIDELINE according to the enrivonmental exposure and use of structure.


Environment: Normal Contaminated Outside Dusty Extremely Cold Weather Climates High Humidity Biogenic
Day Care Center 2 wks 1 wk 2 wk 1 wk
Nursing Homes 1 mo 1 mo 1 mo 1 wk
(2 persons, non-smoking) 6-12 mo 2 mo 4-6 mo 4-6 mo
(2 persons with smoking) 4 mo 2 mo 3 mo 4 mo
(young children) 6 mo 1 mo 3 mo 3 mo
(young children w/pets) 3-6 mo 1 mo 2 mo 2 mo
Office Building
(ground floor) 3-6 mo 1-4 mo 2-6 mo 2-6 mo
(higher floors) 6-12 mo 2-6 mo 3-9 mo 3-9 mo
Food Service Establishments 1 mo 1 wk 2 wk 2 wk
(retail shops, banks) 3-6 mo 1 mo 2 mo 2 mo

Note: This frequency guideline was established based on scientific data as studied with input from Dr. Michael Berry, formerly of the EPA, world renowned expert on IAQ, or Indoor Air Quality. Dr Berry frequently lectures on IAQ and Cleaning for Health in the Built Environment. Dr Berry has been involved in writing the Standards for Cleaning that shapes, and guides our industry .

Sometimes people say, “Well I heard cleaning my carpets is not good, once you do you have to more and more.”

Actually, cleaning carpet is like changing the oil in a car you care about, or washing and waxing it and keeping it in a garage.  Periodic cleaning & routine maintenance optimizes performance and longevity and protects your investment in it.

The key here, is you have to clean properly, with the right cleaning agents and with the proper equipment.  Dust removal, emptying the carpet as a filter, applying a sanitizing solution and extracting keeps the carpet fibers free of abrasive particles and keeps it cleaner, fresher and healthier.


To conclude:  Most people do not clean enough.   You should schedule to clean probably more than you do currently.