How to Clean Carpet Tiles

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Carpet tiles require a periodic deep cleaning to maintain their appearance.

Carpet tiles require regular cleaning just like any other type of flooring. Most of the time, a standard carpet-cleaning session will consist of vacuuming along with a bit of spot cleaning, but these flooring tiles also benefit from a periodic deep cleaning. One of the benefits of carpet tile is that it can be removed and replaced if it becomes too badly stained to treat. A little care and attention can keep this type of carpet looking good for a long time.

Vacuum Carpet Tiles Regularly

Regular vacuuming is one of the most basic, effective ways to help prolong the life and look of your carpet tiles. It also helps reduce allergens in the home environment. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, household dust contains a host of undesirable things, including pollen, animal dander, dust mites and other particles.

Since this type of flooring is often used in high-traffic areas, it will need to be vacuumed more often than spaces that see less action day to day. The Carpet and Rug Institute recommends vacuuming areas that are frequently used at least twice per week to help keep carpeting in good shape. This can be especially true if you have pets.

Some simple tips can improve the way you vacuum the carpet squares. Before getting to work, look for and loosen any clumps of dirt or other material with your fingers so that it will come up easily and not get ground in. It also makes sense to move furniture once in a while to get underneath and pick up dust in those hard-to-reach areas.

Be sure to move the vacuum slowly and try to be thorough in going over each section. While a quick once over is better than nothing, you'll get better results if you don't rush. It can also be smart to vacuum from a variety of different angles. Make sure to empty the container or bag frequently so there's plenty of room to hold dust and debris as you go. Vacuums that are overly full don't operate as effectively.

Spot-cleaning carpet tiles can help deal with small, pernicious stains.

Spot-Clean Tiles Where Needed

Once you have the basic vacuuming complete, take a closer look to see if any sections didn't clean up well. These areas can benefit from a spot treatment. Since carpet squares can be removed, it's usually easier to take the square out to complete a spot treatment rather than attempting to do it in place.

To remove a carpet tile, first see if it will come loose easily by gently pulling up on a corner. If the tile has adhesive and isn't coming loose, try running a putty knife along the edge to help separate it from the floor.

The most important thing to remember when spot cleaning is to follow the manufacturer's directions in terms of what type of cleaning solution to use and how to apply it. Many recommend a mild detergent and gentle blotting with a soft, white cloth. Be sure to rinse the area(s) completely so all of the detergent comes out. Carpet tiles can be rinsed with a hose or sprayer and hung up to drip dry. You can also agitate the fiber with your fingers in a washtub or bathtub and rinse to get the tile clean. Use a clothesline to dry it.

Keep track of individual tiles so you know where each one goes when you are finished. If any adhesive was left behind on the floor, use a scraper to try and remove it prior to putting down the clean piece. If the adhesive won't budge, mix a little trisodium phosphate with warm water according to the directions, and that should help, or use some carpet-adhesive remover. If tiles were placed with adhesive, you may need to use fresh strips to refasten the carpet square. Check the manufacturer's recommendations or use double-sided carpet tape.

In addition to regular carpet cleaning, you may experience the occasional spill or accident. If this occurs, use a clean, white rag or paper towel to gently blot the area. Do not rub the stain, as this can damage the carpet fibers. Repeat this with a new dry towel or rag until the stained area is only damp. Use a mild cleaning solution to gently treat the area, blotting from the outside in. If this doesn't remove the stain, either repeat the treatment or replace the tile depending on the results and your budget.

A periodic deep cleaning goes a long way toward carpet tile success.
Image Credit: Stephen Paul for Hunker

Deep-Clean Carpet Tiles Periodically

All carpeting can benefit from a deep cleaning periodically, and carpet tiles are no exception. Many people opt to have a professional come in to do a cleaning once a year or so as a way of making sure that all of the ground-in dirt and debris are loosened and removed. Professional carpet cleaners are also able to address difficult issues, such as pet stains.

If you want to try and rent a carpet-cleaning machine from a home improvement store, be sure to check the carpet manufacturer's recommendations for what cleaner to use and how to best apply it. You'll also need to remove the furniture from the room, make sure you have proper ventilation and follow the instructions that come with the machine for best results. Once finished, be sure to keep airflow going throughout the space so the carpeting has the chance to dry completely.


Catherine L. Tully

Catherine L. Tully

Catherine L. Tully has been a professional writer since 2002, and authors work for a wide range of clients in the U.S. and beyond.