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Cleaning Carpet With Hardwood Floors Underneath: A Complete Guide

Cleaning Carpet With Hardwood Floors Underneath: A Complete Guide

If you want to know about cleaning carpet with hardwood floors underneath then you’ve come to the right place.

We recommend vacuum and spot cleaning as part of a regular maintenance routine, but you should also have the carpet deep cleaned at least once per year. To protect the hardwood below you should use a plastic sheet to protect the floor from any moisture that may soak through.

In this article, we will look at the precautions you need to take with cleaning carpet with hardwood floors underneath, as well as the problems it can cause if you don’t clean properly. But first, let’s jump straight into the step by step method to clean carpet with hardwood floors underneath.

How To Clean Carpets With Hardwood Underneath: Step by Step

The priority when it comes to cleaning a carpet that has hardwood underneath is to keep the hardwood below dry.

Any moisture that passes through the carpet can be absorbed into the wood which can lead to several problems in the long run such as cupping. The aim of the method below is to not only protect the floor below, but also to give your carpet a thorough clean at the same time.

Gather Materials

To clean your carpet thoroughly you’ll need to get a few things together:

  • Vacuum Cleaner – With carpet and hardwood attachments
  • Dishsoap
  • Dishcloth
  • Carpet Shampoo
  • Brush
  • Towel(s)
  • Empty spray bottle


The first step is to vacuum both underneath the carpet and also on the carpet itself.

To do this, start by vacuuming the surface of the carpet thoroughly using the correct attachment for your carpet. After this, lift up the carpet and shake off any dust underneath onto the floor.

You can then vacuum the area below to remove any remaining dust, using a hardwood friendly vacuum attachment this time around.

Place A Plastic Sheet Underneath The Carpet

Once the carpet itself and hardwood floor underneath are clear of dirt and debris, place a large plastic sheet under the carpet, ideally with a few feet of extra space around the perimeter.

We recommend paint sheets for this, but any plastic sheet will do as long as it doesn’t contain any holes or cuts. The purpose of the sheet is to protect the floor below from any moisture that may seep through the carpet during the cleaning process.

Spot Clean

Once the sheet is in place identify any stains on the carpet.

These can be from just about anything, including peanut butter, marshmallow or even spackle – we’ve seen them all.

Most stains can be cleaned with a few cups of warm water mixed with a tablespoon of dish soap, applied with a clean dishcloth. But depending on the type of stain, you might need to consult one of our other cleaning guides.

Don’t worry if you cant get all of the stains out though, as you will be shampooing next which can also tackle stains.

Shampoo By Hand

To deep clean a carpet by hand you will need to use a carpet shampoo.

Any of the big brands will do, such as OxiClean, and apply it generously all over the carpet according to the instructions. Once applied, take a brush and work the shampoo into the carpet, scrubbing more in areas that still contain stains or marks.

Keep in mind that you want to scrub in one direction so the shampoo only builds up in one area – or ideally on to the plastic sheet at the side.

Once you are happy with the clean, use a clean towel to absorb as much of the mixture as possible. After this, take some tap water and add it to the spray bottle. Generously spray water over the carpet and then scrub again to one side.

Use a towel again to absorb as much water and solution that is leftover and allow the carpet to completely dry before placing it back onto the floor. This may require replacing the plastic sheet.

Bonus Tip – Clean With Either A Carpet Steamer/Shampooing Machine

If you don’t want to clean your carpet by hand, then you can use a carpet steamer or shampooing machine.

A steamer is usually operated by a professional, whereas shampooing machines are quite common to be bought outright. If you want to give your carpet the most thorough clean then shampooing is recommended, but you can check out all the differences in our guide.

Maintenance Tips

It is always better to keep your carpet clean on a regular basis than leaving it until it needs a deep clean. We’ve got a few tips below that you can use to keep your carpet clean with ease.

Spot Cleaning

If you accidentally spill anything on your carpet you should clean it up as soon as possible.

The longer you leave any liquids, the more time for them to seep into the carpet padding and on to the hardwood floor underneath. This can lead to a host of problems such as mold, and even cupping in the long term. Water stains particularly can cause white spots on hardwood floors in quite a short amount of time.

Vacuum Regularly

It should come as no surprise that regular vacuuming has made its way into these tips. Vacuuming is an easy way to remove any dust, debris or potentially sharp objects that can scratch the hardwood floor below – and it only takes a few minutes at most to do.

We recommend vacuuming once or twice per week or more depending on the amount of footfall that your carpet has.

Why You Should Keep The Carpet Clean

If you follow our maintenance guidelines above and keep your carpet clean you should have no problems – but what happens if you don’t?

Let’s take a look at some issues that leaving your carpet dirty can cause, specifically for the hardwood floor below.


If your carpet contains dirt, this can scratch the hardwood floor below it quite easily.

This occurs when your carpet moves around, which happens a lot more often than you would expect at first. Movement happens usually as you step onto the carpet, or as you move things around like furniture.

If a sharp piece of debris is caught in the carpet padding, it can cause scratches as it moves over the surface of the floor below.


If you leave a spillage for long enough it can cause mold to grow, especially if the rest of the carpet is dirty as well. This is why we recommend spot cleaning your carpet as soon as you notice any spill, as moisture can lead to many issues down the line.


If the hardwood floor below begins to absorb moisture from the carpet it will swell up, which can lead to cupping.

Cupping is when individual floorboards increase in size, which causes them to push upwards at the connecting points, causing a U-shape to form. Cupping can be reversed, but it takes a lot of effort and time to put it right.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, we have cleared up  any questions you might have had about cleaning carpet with hardwood floors underneath by reading this article.

If you have any other questions then don’t hesitate to let us know.