Carpets should be shampooed or otherwise given a deep cleaning on a regular basis; this might mean every year or even more often, depending on the foot traffic inside your home. A homeowner can rent a carpet cleaning machine from a home improvement store and try to manage this cleaning themselves, but note a few mistakes they often make in the process. Doing so will ensure you avoid these mistakes if you're thinking of cleaning your home's carpeting or help you to determine if the job is best left to a professional.
Not extracting the water
To properly remove detergent and dirt from carpeting, you'll need to use lots of water or steam, as this will loosen dirt and rinse away the detergent. However, many homeowners forget that they should also extract the water once they've removed the dirt and detergent! Running the extractor over the carpet a few times after it's clean will remove excess water to reduce the risk of mould and mildew growing along the carpet pad that is under the fibres. Don't assume that you should just extract the carpeting until the dirt is up. Remove as much water as you can after the cleaning is finished to then protect the carpets.
Using too much shampoo
A strong carpet shampoo can be needed for wool or cotton carpeting, and for heavily soiled carpets, but shampoo can actually damage carpets with silk in the fibres. Shampoo may also be difficult to extract from carpets with long fibres, so that the detergent remains in the base of those fibres; it can then get sticky, and actually attract more dirt. In some cases, a simple steam can be all that's needed to loosen dirt so it can be extracted, or a professional cleaner might use a type of carbonated water that helps to lift dirt, rather than using any shampoo at all.
Not spot treating
When you wash your clothes, you may know to treat certain spots and stains before you toss an item into the washing machine. This extra treatment will loosen that stubborn dirt, which standard detergent might not address. In the same way, you don't want to make the mistake of thinking that a standard carpet shampoo will be enough to get out all stains from the carpeting. You might need to add a deep cleaner or stain remover to high-traffic areas in front of entryway doors, or where there are pet stains, food stains and the like. This will ensure those stains are removed and your carpets are thoroughly cleaned.