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How To Clean Berber Carpet: Tips and Tricks That Work

Since the 90’s berber carpet has been one of the most popular choices with homeowners. It’s versatility, budget friendly price point and texture make it a a no-brainer for many families. As it has become more and more common in homes, how to clean berber carpet has become a frequently asked question.

How to clean berber carpet. Image of woman cleaning berber carpet in living room.

What is Berber Carpet?

Berber carpet can refer to either the color or style of carpet.

Originally Berber referred to a carpet handmade by the Berber people of North Africa, but now it refers more broadly to carpets constructed in a loop style with a tight weave that typically has a light tone with dark flecks.

Modern berber carpets now come in all sorts of colors and patterns.

Examples of berber carpet styles and colors

Berber style flooring has become the carpet of choice for many families for several reasons.

  • The loop style is highly durable.
  • It can hold up to high traffic and is easier to clean than other styles.
  • Additionally, berber carpet tends to be cheaper than other carpet styles.

It is both long-lasting and cost-effective, making it an ideal carpet choice for many homeowners.  

How Do You Clean a Berber Carpet?

Compared to other carpets, berber is relatively easy to clean.

The loop style produces a relatively tight and short weave. This means that dirt and grime are more prone to staying on the top of Berber carpet rather than sinking and becoming embedded.

Because the dirt tends to stay on top of carpet, you can keep this style of flooring extremely clean with basic and regular cleaning.

Vacuuming your berber carpet often will pick up grit and grime before it has a chance to sink into the carpet.

If you stay on top of basic cleaning, berber carpeting will last a long time and stay looking great.

However, berber’s tighter weave also means it holds moisture really well.

When cleaning, you should never over wet berber carpet as it can lead to mold.

Excess moisture should be removed with a wet/dry vacuum rather than allowing it to air dry. (Don’t ever use a regular vacuum to suck up moisture as you risk breaking your machine and electric shock).

Another thing to remember when cleaning your rug is that since berber is a style of carpet, it can be made of different materials. For the best cleaning, you should look up your carpet’s material and use products that work well with that material.

Wool, nylon and olefin are common materials used to manufacture berber, but they do not react the same to different cleaning.

The Best DIY Methods for Cleaning Your Berber Carpet

The best way to care for berber carpet is with regular vacuuming.

It takes longer for dirt to sink into Berber carpet, but once it does it is very difficult to remove.

For that reason the easiest way to keep your carpet clean is with frequent vacuuming.

Vacuum Cleaner

The vacuum cleaner should be your best friend with Berber carpet.

Regularly vacuuming will remove dirt before stains can even start, especially in high traffic areas.

However, some vacuums can damage Berber carpet.

If one of the carpet loops is loose and gets wrapped around a vacuum’s beater bar it will pull out that loop and can potentially cause a run of damage.

If you have Berber carpet, it is best to vacuum without a beater bar to avoid the risk of damage.

Pros:

  • Easy
  • Great at keeping Berber clean
  • Done regularly it can prevent the need for deeper cleaning

Cons:

  • Beater bars can damage your carpet

Steam Cleaner

If your Berber carpet needs a deeper clean than a normal vacuum provides, a steam cleaner is your next best option.

Steam cleaners vacuums are easy to use and they clean with hot water so there are no dangerous chemicals. The hot steam can remove tough and embedded grime that your normal vacuum cannot.

Although you are not supposed to wet a berber rug, steam cleaning works fine because the vacuum takes up extra moisture created by the steam. Simply make sure to always read the instructions before using a steam cleaner for the first time!

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Cleans deeper than a normal vacuum
  • No chemicals

Cons:

  • Requires you to purchase a steam cleaner if you do not already have one
  • Potential problems if used incorrectly because of the high moisture

Dry Cleaning Powder

Because too much liquid is bad for Berber carpets, a dry cleaning powder made for rugs can be a safer alternative to steam cleaning.

Sprinkling a dry cleaning powder over your Berber will help draw out the dirt and grime that your vacuum cannot reach on its own. Then you simply vacuum to clean up everything that has been brought to the surface.

Pros:

  • No moisture is great for Berber
  • Can be used with whatever vacuum you already have

Cons:

  • You may need a lot of powder depending on how much Berber carpet you have

Rent a Carpet Cleaner

Regular maintenance is important, but at some point, carpets require a deeper clean.

Instead of hiring it done, you can rent a carpet cleaner, like a Rug Doctor and deep clean your carpet yourself.

If you choose the renting option with Berber, it is important to be aware of the possible issues berber faces.

Carpet cleaners shampoo your carpet, but remember that Berber does not like excess water. You will need to monitor how wet your carpet gets while cleaning. Besides some carpet cleaners have beater bars like vacuums that could damage your carpet.

Pros:

  • Cheaper than hiring professionals

Cons:

  • Can easily damage your carpet if you are not used to cleaning it this way

Professional Carpet Cleaning Methods               

There are many different types of professional carpet cleaning methods.

  • steam cleaning
  • dry cleaning
  • bonneting
  • shampooing
  • and encapsulation

are all methods used by carpet cleaning professionals.

Some of these methods like steam and dry cleaning, you can do to some degree yourself, but others, such as shampooing, bonneting, and encapsulation, require specific equipment. Berber carpet does best with methods that do not over-wet the carpet.

Pros:

  • Offer a deeper clean that normal cleaning simply cannot achieve

Cons:

  • Requires special equipment
  • Can be tricky to do properly

Professional Carpet Cleaner

Professional carpet cleaner on Berber carpet

A professional carpet cleaner can save you a lot of hassle and will probably make your carpet look better than you could do yourself.

Professionals are aware of berber’s unique qualities, so they will not use too much water or equipment that could damage the carpet.

Most professional carpet services will also have access to tools that the average homeowner simply does not.

If your carpet is in desperate need of thorough cleaning, professionals can simply bring more knowledge and equipment to the task.

Pros:

  • Carpet is not likely to be damaged
  • Likely cleaner than you can achieve yourself
  • Hassle-free

Cons:

  • Expensive

Professional Dry Cleaning

This is one of the best methods for Berber carpet because it completely avoids the issue of moisture.

Dry cleaning relies on the use of chemicals that draw out the dirt and grime from the carpet in place of steam or water.

A professional service has access to more advanced solutions and higher-powered vacuums than doing dry cleaning yourself.

Pros:

  • Great for Berber because it avoids moisture
  • Professionals offer better solutions and vacuums for a thorough clean

Cons:

  • Uses chemicals to clean
  • More expensive than doing it yourself

How To Get Stains Out Of Berber Carpet

Cleaning the carpet regularly is the best way to avoid dirt and grime setting in to become stains. However, sometimes accidents happen, and our carpet takes a beating.

When spills happen on Berber, they should be cleaned immediately. Here are some methods for cleaning those stains.

Cold Water Method

One way to clean stains from Berber carpet is with nothing but cold water. The first thing to do with a fresh stain on Berber carpet is to vacuum up with excess moisture.

Then take a rag dipped in cold water and gently blot the stain working from the outside toward the center.

With Berber carpet, it is best to use a damp rather than dripping rag to avoid putting too much moisture in the carpet.

You should also only pat and gently rub the stain. Vigorous rubbing or brushing will damage the carpet.

The cold water method works well for fresh stains that are water-soluble. This would include stains caused by:

  • Soda
  • Alcohol
  • Jelly
  • Mud

Baking Soda/Vinegar Solution

Baking soda is an essential cleaning tool for stains on a Berber carpet.

Sprinkling baking soda immediately on a stain helps to draw out moisture.

You can then vacuum up the baking soda to remove the moisture and prevent your Berber carpet from becoming moldy and permanently stained.

After using your baking soda to remove excess moisture, a mixture of vinegar and water can be applied and blotted in the same way as using cold water.

Always start with a small amount of solution and then increase as you need it to keep your carpet from becoming too wet.

Important note: Do not use vinegar on alcohol stains, like red wine! Vinegar and alcohol react to create a toxic gas. For alcohol stains, it is best to clean quickly with cold water.

Club Soda is also a great option or alcohol or other water based stains. However, you need to be careful to not get the stain too wet. For this reason it is best to pour some Club Soda onto a dry towel and use that to blot up the stain.

Baking soda is ideal for oil-based stains which water cannot clean. This includes stains caused by things like:

  • Cooking Oil
  • Grease
  • Peanut Butter
  • Makeup

A mixture of vinegar and water works best on water-soluble stains. If the cold water alone is not doing the trick then a vinegar solution is a tougher solution.

Stain Removal Products 

In our house we often keep a supply of stain removers on hand. That’s because we have kids and pets and we know that accidents happen.

While baking soda and vinegar are typically all that you need to remove a stain from berber flooring, sometimes you don’t have those products on hand…or it’s just easier to spray a stain remover on and let it work it’s magic.

Some of the top recommended products for removing stains include:

Conclusion

Compared to other carpet styles, berber carpet is easy to clean. Regular vacuuming and the periodic use of a dry cleaning powder will keep your berber rug clean and free of harmful moisture. While you can definitely take care of regular care and the occasional stain on your own, deep cleanings should be done carefully or by a professional to avoid damaging the carpet.

More House Cleaning Posts:

How to clean berber carpet

Cleaning Berber Carpeting FAQ’s

Can I use Oxiclean on a berber carpet?

Oxiclean works great for those particularly tough carpet stains, and Berber carpet is no exception.

Oxiclean can be used on most carpet. Oxiclean powder is dissolved in water, so make sure to use sparingly and dry thoroughly on Berber. Finding a spray version is best so that you can control the amount of moisture you apply to the stain.

For the best success with Oxiclean carefully follow the instructions included with the package.

Can you use bleach on a berber carpet?

Whether bleach is a good idea to use on Berber carpet depends on the material of which the carpet is made.

Berber carpets made from nylon and wool can be more easily cleaned with bleach, while Olefin and other materials should not be cleaned with bleach as it will cause color fading.

Despite its effectiveness, you should think twice before cleaning even a nylon or wool Berber carpet with bleach.

You always want to do a spot test first in a place where you can check the results first. Depending on the color of your carpeting, you may see color changes or bleeding.

Bleach is best used on white or very light colored carpets.

Also, bleach will remain in your carpet even after you clean.

As a hazardous chemical, this bleach can cause irritation and rashes for those who come in contact with it. Plus if it gets wet, the bleached area of the carpet may begin to put off fumes again.

Technically you can use bleach on Berber carpet made from nylon or wool, but it is likely to remain in your carpet for a long time and irritate those who come in contact with it. It is best to reach for other cleaning solutions for your Berber carpet instead of bleach.

Cleaning Berber Carpet: Advice and Tips That Work

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